The statues of a boy and a man near the gate of the Antipolo Cathedral, also known as the National Shrine of the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage in Antipolo City, may be strange to many who pass by the area regularly.
Manila Bulletin tried to ask a few people if they know the boy and the man whose statues are put near the gate of the church, but no one could identify them.
In fact, the two statues are not characters in our favorite telenovela or a movie but are characters in our country’s history.
The boy, who appears to be looking up to a man, is actually the young Jose Protacio Rizal Mercado Y Alonso Realonda or Jose Rizal and the man in front of him is his father, Francisco Engracio Rizal Mercado Y Alejandro.
Below the two white painted statues is a concrete mural of the Antipolo Cathedral.
Rely Bernardo of the Public Information Office of the Antipolo City government told Manila Bulletin that the two statues were put up during the term of then Mayor Casimiro “Junjun” Ynares, III to commemorate the pilgrimage of the young Jose and his father to the Antipolo Cathedral.
Based on the history of the travels of Dr. Jose Rizal, the pilgrimage of the young Rizal to Antipolo first happened on June 6, 1868 when he was brought by his father to the cathedral.
The pilgrimage was a fulfillment of the vow of the hero’s mother, Teodora, to the “Virgin of Antipolo” (Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage) for safely giving birth to her son Jose.
During that time, Teodora could not accompany Jose to Antipolo since she had just given birth to Trinidad so her vow was fulfilled on her behalf by her husband Francisco.
On board a barge, Jose and his father traversed Laguna De Bay in going to Antipolo Cathedral.
After their pilgrimage to Antipolo, the two traveled to Manila to visit Jose’s eldest sister, Saturnina, who was boarding in La Concordia College in Santa Ana, Manila.
It was learned by Manila Bulletin that the statues were constructed during Mayor Ynares III’s last term in coordination with then Angono Mayor Gerardo Calderon and the Knights of Rizal to commemorate Rizal’s travel to Rizal Province.