Last Saturday, our family went to Los Baños Laguna for our annual outing. Our objective was to bond and enjoy swimming. Little did we know that we were in for a history lesson on the place where we went. I am quite lucky that I am blessed with super generous friends since the venue of our outing was in the ancestral house of the family of my good friend Maurice Hilario.
This is actually the second straight year that we are having our outing at the house of his grandfather, the house of Gen. Paciano P. Rizal – the older brother of our national Hero Jose P. Rizal. As you enter their house you can see the nice structure of the statue of Gen. Paciano Rizal and at the right part (not seen in this pic) is a tomb that has the bones of Paciano and his three sisters.
Gen. Paciano P. Rizal was born in Calamba Laguna on March 9, 1851. Born to a wealthy family, the RIZAL name actually came from “Rice Lands” as the Rizals obviously were rice land owners. Paciano was a Brigadier General of the Revolutionary Forces and was the Secretary of Finance in the Departmental Government of Central Luzon in the Philippines.(1897 - 1900 )
After the Filipino – American war in the early 1900’s the Rizals were driven out of their home in Calamba and Paciano eventually settled in Los Baños so that it will just be near Calamba. The house that Paciano built is a monument to his greatness which has been constantly renovated by his family even generations after.
The antique table here in this terrace is where Dr. Jose Rizal would eat whenever he would visit his mother at the house of his sister Narcisa at Calle Estraude in Binondo Manila. The table was made in the old traditional way using wooden pegs instead of nails. No restoration has been made since its appearance in 1891. Due to age, its color may have changed but its structure is sturdy enough to be used by their family now.
As Maurice narrated, beneath the house is a small pool with hot spring water from Mt. Makiling in Laguna. This is where Gen. Paciano Rizal reinvigorates himself. Mt. Makiling is a dormant volcano. Although historically it has never erupted it has supplied numerous resorts and private pools with hot springs in the Calamba and Los Baños area. Maurice describes the water as "Sulfuric Volcanic Water" which eventually cleanses your body, opens your pores and gives you a good night sleep after experiencing it.
The small pool was eventually transformed into a nice jacuzzi and another pool was made. Their family was also one of the major sponsors of the Ms. Universe pageant when it was held in Manila in 1974 and back then they sponsored souvenir ashtrays that were crafted from tiles. Since there were so many tiles manufactured, they eventually used the excess tiles as flooring of the pool built just at the side of the house.
Once again our thanks to Maurice for this wonderful opportunity to bond with my family and at the same time witness history through the Gen. Paciano Shrine. We look forward to going back in the future to once again bond and listen to more stories about our country’s history.