Do you know whom he loved best of all? I am often asked that question by those who delight in trivia under the guise of humanizing my illustrious and heroic great grand-uncle.
The owner of a private museum in Makati actually commissioned portraits of the fabled women in Rizal’s life; there is a large, crackled oil painting of the Japanese one in, of all places, Fort Santiago. One cringes at the thought of the noble and gallant Rizal presented as an irresponsible womanizer by some untrained tourist guide. Let us hope that foreigners who visit Intramuros do not get the impression that Rizal was executed for polygamy.
So much time is consumed speculating on the degree of intimacy of each friendship, how many hearts he may have broken. Is fodder for endless debate. When Filipinos start bragging about Rizal’s conquests, it sounds so ungallant, so vulgar and lacking in delicadeza.
Rizal himself was admirably circumspect, in his letters to his sisters he extolled the virtues of the European women he befriended; neither is there evidence of kiss-and-tell stories to his drinking buddies. Whom did Rizal really love is everything the youth want to know these day. Whenever there is a deadline to beat for the Rizal course, groups of students from nearby schools flock to Manila City Hall to interview me.
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