Tuesday, August 30, 2011

JP Rizal and Ateneo students: a then-and-now look

We were watching the live TV coverage of the basketball game between archrivals Ateneo and La Salle at the Smart-Araneta yesterday--the Blue Eagles of course walloped the Green Archers, securing their 11th straight wins in the ongoing UAAP season--but were we surprised at half-time by a Jose Rizal among the blue cheering squad!  Then at the last beat, they all stripped their blue jackets to reveal black tees with Rizal's figure on them.

That's now, 2011.  Of course Rizal lovers know that the chairman of the AdMU history department is the Rizal expert himself with a large Facebook following, Ambeth Ocampo. Sir!

But a century ago, the students from Catholic schools like the Ateneo could not participate in the Rizal Day celebrations. The religious orders did not allow them.

The caricature below from the 25 January, 1908 issue of the satirical weekly Lipang Kalabaw tells it all in good humor.

"Why were you not there when Rizal was given honors [the civic parade of Rizal Day]?," a student from the Trade School (a public school) asks those from Ateneo, San Juan de Letran and San Beda.

"Well, because there's no San Rizal, bishop, martyr or even virgin," they reply.

"Oh, yes, I forgot," says the Trade School boy, "you're only allowed when there are processions of saints and friars!"

Source:  Lipang Kalabaw (25 January, 1908).

We're surprised that there are no Thomasians among the students.  The Letran boys probably represented them as well since they're all wards of the Dominicans.

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