Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Day 11: Rizal in his 40s

Rizal died when he was 35 and so that leaves middle-aged Rizal fans like me without a model on how to grow old gracefully. We know he lifted weights and left behind some cement dumbbells in his Dapitan home before that fateful trip to Cuba, which was turned back to Manila where he would eventually be executed. Yet, we can probably project how he would have been in his 40s. He was a sportsman and was into fencing in the days before basketball was invented. I have yet to see a picture of Rizal with a ball, albeit balls were probably around in his time. But the dumbbells are telling. If he were alive at his 40s, Rizal would have maintained his buff physique, probably bulging a bit in the belly, but physically active despite his intellectual pursuits. In his time with Los Indios Bravos in Spain, Rizal got drunk every now and then. We have that picture of Rizal in a restaurant about to throw an apple on Trinidad H. Pardo de Tavera who passed out because of drunkenness. I doubt it if Rizal would have kicked his drinking habit, but he lamented this propensity for revelry and hedonism among the Filipino expats in Spain who drove him to leave and carry on his cause back to the motherland. Without his friends, Rizal would have probably settled for a glass of wine every meal, if he could afford it, and avoided binge-drinking, because there was no one to get drunk with. Besides, Rizal would have been conscious of what his students in Talisay would think if they saw him in public drunk and wasted. Rizal would have been a healthy 40 year old then,  but the Spaniards and the pesky Katipunan members (who used his name as a password) would have given him hypertension.

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