Half a kilometer away from the Rizal Landing Site in Sta. Cruz beach is another set of landmarks worthy of a visit when in Dapitan City. Towering over the town of Dapitan is the Baroque-styled St. James Church and along its perimeter, the relief map of Mindanao made by none other than Jose Rizal.
The map is made of grassy mounds in rough scale of the Mindanao Islands. It was based from a scientific one made in 1734 by a University of Manila professor, French Jesuit Fr. Murilio Velarde, for the then Governor Valdes Tamón.
Some of the district names on the map which are painted on the fading blue ground paint depicting the seas still reflect the old names and towns of the island. The miniturized Mindanao stands on a 900 square meter lot facing the bare façade of Dapitan Church and has since been fenced by the Americans in the 1920’s during their teaching stint in the province.
Rizal was said to frequent the church grounds and the relief map probably is one of the reason. Along with Francisco Paula de Sanchez, Rizal’s mentor from Ateneo, they shaped the map from August to September 1892. It was created as a beautification project and a geography guide as well for his students in Dapitan.
The map is now a frequent hang out for kids on lazy afternoons. Ignoring the “keep off the grass” signs, I saw several of them playfully running around the mounds.
Rizal’s Mindanao Relief Map is beautifully made, but I just wish there is a viewing platform where one can see the entirety of the map from a higher ground. A perfect way to appreciate one of the many legacies of our National Hero in Dapitan City.
Rizal’s Mindanao Relief Map
Address: Junction Polo-Dapitan Park National Road, Dapitan City
Entrance Fee: None
GPS Coordinates: 8.655227,123.424368
View Location on Google Maps: Click Here