MANILA, Philippines - In celebration of the 150th birthday of its most famous alumnus, the Ateneo de Manila University on Friday launched its commemoration of the sesquicentennial of Jose Rizal's birth.
The university launched "A Legacy of Service: Rizal for the 21st Century," a series of historical exhibits, academic lectures, and other events commemorating Rizal's 150th birthday, at the Leong Hall of the university's Loyola Heights campus.
In attendance were descendants of Rizal's siblings, in particular descendants of Saturnina, Narcisa, Lucia, Olympia, Maria, and Paciano.
The event served as a kick-off of the celebration of the sesquicentennial of Rizal's birth, with events scheduled until December.
Two Rizal-related exhibits, focusing on his days in the Ateneo and his writings, were also opened during the event.
"Rizal in the Ateneo/The Ateneo in Rizal" is an exhibit of original artifacts associated with Rizal and his days at the Ateneo.
Among the artifacts on display are photographs of 19th century Ateneo, which was then located in Intramuros; a statuette of the Sacred Heart carved by Rizal in 1875 out of batikuling wood; a Card of Excellence awarded to Rizal; the seal of the Ateneo Municipal de Manila; and even a silver quill which he won in a literary contest in 1879.
The exhibit also shows photos and artifacts of Rizal from his days in Europe, as well as during his days in exile in Dapitan.
Also opened on Friday was "Rizal, The Literary Genius," an exhibit of select books by and about the National Hero, from the collection of the Ateneo's Rizal Library.
Among the books and writings on display are Rizal's iconic works, such as 19th century editions of Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo; the "Mi Ultimo Adios"; letters and correspondence; and biographies, adaptations, and other works about Rizal.
Also on display are photographs of Rizal and his milieu, and a chronology of the life of the National Hero.
Both exhibits are housed at the Rizal Library of the university, and is open to the public Mondays to Saturdays.
Aside from the exhibits, the Ateneo de Manila's different units also have other exhibits and events scheduled to commemorate Rizal's 150th birthday.
Among the events scheduled are lectures and a conference about Rizal; book launches; lectures and screenings on films about the National Hero; a revue of songs inspired by or composed by Rizal; a play by the Tanghalang Ateneo about Rizal and the youth; and a 2-hour cultural gala.
The university's grand alumni homecoming in December will also take a Rizal-inspired theme.