>DAPITAN CITY, Zamboanga del Norte, Philippines – The Shrine City of Dapitan, where Dr. Jose Rizal was exiled for four years by the Spanish government before he was killed by musketry at the Luneta, has been declared the ”cultural capital” of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), it was learned here recently.
City Vice Mayor Patri Bajamunde-Chan said the declaration was issued by authorities during the launching of the sesquicentennial or 150th birth anniversary here of the national hero who spent some 1,440 days of his life in this coastal city when it was still a Subano-inhabited village.
Chan said the ceremony, held in Barangay Talisay where Rizal built a ”nipa house” and sojourned from 1892 to 1896, was led by Philippine International Theater Institute president Cecille Guidote-Alvarez, City Mayor Dominador Jalosjos Jr., Executive Director Frank Rivera of the National Council for Children’s Television, provincial tourism officer Lawyer Ivan Patrick Ang, former Rep. Romeo Jalosjos, city officials, and members of the Knights of Rizal.
Alvarez said the significant event will help ”spruce up the tourism industry of both Dapitan, which was pronounced as the Philippine’s Shrine City by then President Ferdinand E. Marcos, and the province.
Chan said that during the occasion, the life and sacrifices of Rizal were highlighted through appropriate dances and songs performed by students of the Dapitan City-based Jose Rizal Memorial State University, and Dapitan National High School.