19 June 2012, Brussels, Belgium – On the occasion of the 114th Anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence and the 151st birth anniversary of Dr. Jose P. Rizal, the Philippine Embassy in Brussels, in cooperation with Mr. John Ablaza, noted Fashion Designer and Project Coordinator of the Jose Rizal Travelling Museum and the Knights of Rizal in Belgium, staged the exhibit “Jose Rizal Travelling Museum” at the Chancery from 16 to 19 June 2012. The exhibit showcased some of Dr. Rizal’s personal belongings (replica), photos on his life, works and writings.
The exhibit was highlighted by the international premier of the documentary movie “Jose Rizal: The First Hero.” Mr. Ablaza, together with the producer of the movie, Mr. Jourdan Sebastian and the actor who played Rizal in the film, Mr. Giovani Vicente, were all present for the duration of the exhibit, and spoke about the film after the premier.
This was the first-ever visit of the Jose Rizal Travelling Museum to Europe. The Museum, coordinated by Maestro Filipino, was conceptualized by Mr. Ablaza who made faithful replicas of Dr. Rizal’s clothes as well as the costumes used in the documentary film. The Jose Rizal Travelling Museum was launched in 1998 in Cebu City in line with the centennial celebration of the Philippine Independence. Since then, it has been presented in major parts of the country and key cities in the United States (i.e. Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago).
Inspired by the success of these Philippine and US tours, Mr. Ablaza’s group brought the Jose Rizal Traveling Museum to Europe, in particular to Belgium, as this country figured prominently in Dr. Rizal’s life. Also in commemoration of the birth anniversary of Dr. Rizal, Philippine Ambassador to Belgium H.E. Victoria S. Bataclan led the ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open the Rizaliana Section of the Embassy library.
The program culminated in a wreath-laying in front of Dr. Rizal’s bust at the Embassy garden. A moment of silence was also observed to pay respects to Dr. Rizal.