On the night of the 17th of July 1892, our National Hero, Jose Rizal landed on the beach of Sta. Cruz in Dapitan. Escorted by artillery men and Captain Delgras, they trod the dark roads of the town, lamps in hand, and presented him to the district’s Military Governor to live life in exile.
With the publication of his first book Noli Me Tangere, the Spanish government branded Rizal as an enemy of the state. Further implications in a July 1892 rebellion sealed his fate to exile.
This historic moment in Philippine history is immortalized at the actual landing site near Sunset Boulevard in Dapitan City. Larger than life sculpture of the national hero along with his captors are depicted in gleaming gold along the coast of Sta. Cruz beach where a barricade of white concrete balusters form a small plaza.
The sculpture was conceptualized by Antonio Tuviera and was executed by Manuel Tolentino. The monument consists of five figures, including the three artillery escorts seemingly loading off from a small boat and the Spanish Captain on Rizal’s right side. It was opened to the public, 117 years after the actual event.
I love the artistry that went into this sculpture. The likeness and details are excellent; from individual faces down to their accessories. Rizal’s bowler hat in his hand, the rifles slung on the back of the soldiers, the captain’s sword and the farole de combate lamp.
The shrine is located on a stretch of beach which Dapiteños dub as the Sunset Boulevard. And besides the checking out the famous sculpture, one can also walk along the beach and even swim if one so wishes. Although the sand is not as white as those at Dakak, the water is still inviting.
Huts line the boulevard and I saw a couple of families spending the afternoon on the beach. It was quite tempting to join them in their revelry if not for our limited time in Dapitan City.
The boulevard is also a great place to watch the sunset. I wanted to see the sun retire down the horizon of Sta. Cruz beach but was just too shy to inconvenient my fellow travelers as we still got a lot on our itinerary.
It was just pure luck that we got to stop at the Sunset Boulevard on our way back while on the hunt for some Spanish Sardines. They got their precious bottled sardines and I got my sunset photos.
Jose Rizal spent four years of his life in Dapitan. And a quote on the historical marker posted along the landing site perfectly echoed the works he has done in the region given such a short period of time.
Wherever I go, I would always be in the hands of God who has in His hands the destinies of man.
- Jose Rizal -
Rizal Landing Site
Address: Sta. Cruz, Sunset Boulevard, Dapitan City
Entrance Fee: None
GPS Coordinates: 8.656654,123.419271
View Location on Google Maps: Click Here