Playing with Fire

Rizal’s unread letter to Leonor discovered

By Gonzalo Duque

 

THIS corner received from Canada a copy of Leonor Rivera’s letter to our National Hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal.

It was sent to us by Dr. Catherine Velasco, who received the document from Marife Llamas Dioquino whose lola, a certain Ms. Llamas from Dagupan, had long kept the letter per request of Leonor Rivera, a close confidant.

Because of the letter, Leonor discovered that her mother Silvestra had been confiscating the hero’s letters for a long, long time. The mother was against the love affair of Jose and Leonor because she believed that a political enemy of Spain would give her problems.

The mother was cajoling Leonor to marry instead the British engineer Charles Henry Kipping, who was supervising the construction of the Manila-Dagupan rail.

Leonor confronted her mother about the letters. Silvestra stood her ground, explain that marrying Kipping was for her good, and that was her filial duty to obey. Leonor succumbed to the pressure.

On June 17, 1891, Leonor and Kipping were married by Fr. Vicente Iztegui in the St. John Church of Dagupan. Their union would bear one child, a boy by the name of Carlos.

In a letter, Leonor confided to Rizal that she was unhappy and that she would not live long. As though wishing her own death, her health did start to fail. She died on August 28, 1893.

We remember this after Councilor Jigs Seen, incoming commander of the Knights of Rizal, Dagupan chapter related to us the recovery by the Dagupan City government of the piano where Leonor Rivera used when she was still a resident of Dagupan.

The poignant story about the Rizal-Rivera love affair seems to underscore the theory that great love stories are bound to fail. There are those who believe that had their love story ended in the happily-ever-after stuff, then there would have never been a national hero of global dimension, as that of Jose Rizal.

Councilor Jigs, we were told, is preparing the ground for a mammoth Rizal Day celebration on June 19, in Dagupan City.

Let’s hear more about the hero’s visits of Dagupan City during his courtship of beloved Leonor.

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            We got its straight from Barangay Captain-elect Nelson Cuison that under his leadership, that eyesore and stinking garbage at the back of our Lyceum Northwestern University will now be a thing of the past.

            This was first relayed to us by topnotch Kagawad-elect Kit Coquia who, like his boss Dr. Nelson Cuison, believes that cleanliness is next to godliness and that dirt and garbage have no place in a decent society.

            May your tribe increase!

            And congratulations for winning in the last barangay elections!

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            The province is preparing for the 100th birth anniversary of the late former Court of Appeals Justice and former vice governor Porfirio V. Sison on Sept. 6, 2018.

We were informed beloved daughter Mita Sison-Duque, beloved wife of our older brother Dr. Salvador T. Duque, who is already deceased and her think tank led by Cesar Carpio and Jun Velasco are preparing a big event for the celebration centering on the life of Justice Sison as a newspaperman.

Many know that masiken Porfi and the late Ermin Garcia, Sr., founder of this paper were the original leaders of the Pangasinan press.

It is really appropriate that a meaningful event be held in their honor.

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