Rizal’s Hong Kong
The good thing about Hong Kong is that it’s just a two hours flight from Manila — and they don’t require a visa. You can grab round trip tickets on line for dirt cheap prices. Thanks to budget airlines.
There’s a huge Filipino community here. Never had problem finding my way around because there’s a Filipino in every corner. I heard Tagalog everywhere. Heck, I even saw a Jollibee on my way to the Mid Level.
Like many students, I saw those Rizal calling cards in Fort Santiago back in the 80’s. Since then, I’ve been dreaming of finding those Hong Kong addresses.
Finding Rednaxela Terrace and the hero’s eye clinic at no. 5 D’Aguilar Street didn’t posed that much of a challenge. Both have historical markers installed by the local government. Although the original structures are no longer there, seeing where they once stood was worth the visit.
The old Rizal home in Rednaxela was actually located further back near Peel Street. The marker was placed in the main path way for visibility. Rednaxela is Alexander misspelled. Obviously, someone messed it up pretty bad during the area’s zoning and the name got stuck.
The granite road and the street lamps Rizal wrote about in Duddell St. are still there. It’s a couple of blocks from the Central train station. The place appears to have been locked in a time capsule.
There’s another clinic, said to be somewhere near the Rizal’s Rednaxela Terrace home in the Mid Level. I haven’t come across any direct reference where this place used to stand.
Another site worth the visit is the location of the old Agoncillo residence in Morrison Hill Park. Said to be where Aguinaldo commissioned our flag to be sewn together. It also have a red metal marker courtesy of the Hong Kong Antiquities Council.
I’m interested to find where Aguinaldo and his men lodged during their exile. We don’t have any existing reference where this place was. Maybe someone would dug up this little piece of our history someday.
Another interesting location would be Jose Ma. Basa’s home. The unofficial Filipino center as it was customary for expats to pay it a courtesy visit upon arrival. I wonder what his opinion would be of his descendants feuding over the wealth he left behind.
Other places like the Mariano Ponce residence are yet to be discovered. In this house Juan Luna abruptly died of a heart attack. I read an interesting article from Ambeth Ocampo that alludes to the opinion that the painter was probably poisoned.
Later on, his son would take possession of his remains and stay in Hong Kong for some time before bringing his father to San Agustin church. It is said that he carried his father bones inside a bucket and would sleep with it under his bed. I assume that they stayed in a different location and not with Ponce. Where exactly, no one seems to know.
So many historic places that we have yet to find. I think it’s time our government commissions a study to find all these places.