UA&P historian wins Rizal Award

UA&P historian wins Rizal Award

by Daryl Zamora, CCO on June 26, 2012 - 10:56 am

College of Arts and Sciences historian and playwright Dr. Paul A. Dumol received the prestigious Rizal Award from the National Historical Commission (NHC) in Calamba City, June 19.

Dr. Paul A. Dumol received the Rizal Award in the culminating activity of the 150th birth anniversary of national hero Jose Rizal

He was among the three recipients of the award, which capped the year-long sesquicentennial celebration of the national hero’s birth.

Dr. Dumol, according to his plaque of recognition, was conferred the honor “for his earnest, loyal, and creative promotion of the teachings and ideals of the heroism of Dr. Jose Rizal in his being a patriotic playwright, writer, educator, teacher, scholar, and historian, who generates and gives inspiration and model to different sectors of Philippine society” […dahil sa kaniyang masugid, matapat, at malikhaing pagtataguyod ng mga aral at diwa ng kabayanihan ni Dr. Jose Rizal sa kaniyang pagiging makabayang mandudula, manunulat, edukador, guro, eskolar, at historyador, na nagmumula at nagbibigay ng inspirasyon at huwaran sa iba’t ibang sector ng lipunang Pilipino].

An Associate Professor, Dr. Dumol attained his doctorate in medieval studies at the University of Toronto.

He has written a textbook on Philippine history, numerous essays and plays (many of them on historical figures), and is best known for his Ang Paglilitis Kay Mang Serapio, which some consider the first Filipino modernist play.


According to the NHC, the award was “given to individuals, Filipino or foreigner, and to societies, institutions, or other organizations that have an unassailable track record of stimulating and encouraging works toward the Rizalian concept of love of country.”

It recognized “meritorious achievement, individual or institutional, in a profession with a strong orientation toward service to the community and/or country at large in light of Rizal’s teaching and way of life.” It also honored those who “[promote and encourage] civic competence and integrity.”

Other recipients of the award were former Zamboanga City Mayor Cesar Climaco (posthumous) and the Metrobank Foundation.

‘Rizal on Rizal’

In his response to the NHC, Dr. Dumol urged everyone to “take what Rizal says about himself seriously.”

He said this after observing that Rizal’s reputation has gone through various stages: “adoration, vilification,” then what he called the “Ambeth Ocampo stage.” Dr. Ocampo, former NHC chair, is known for his exposition of Rizal’s “human strengths… [and] human weaknesses.”

This current stage, said Dr. Dumol, is “not to detract from Rizal’s greatness. On the contrary, his greatness shines all the more brilliantly before our eyes the more human he appears.”

Dr. Dumol said the next stage — “which will not be an easy one” — would be “to take Rizal on Rizal seriously.” He noted that the national hero “was nothing less than sincere in his assessments of his own life,” particularly in his poem “Mi Retiro.”

In the said work, Rizal “reviews his life from childhood to exile and describes his years outside the Philippines, from 1882 to 1892 (excluding of course his brief return to Calamba from 1887 to 1888), as a time in which he ‘squandered’ — in Nick Joaquin’s translation; correctly, in my opinion — his youth.”

He added that Rizal in the said poem “thanks God for his exile, and therefore for his years in Dapitan — exactly the opposite of what we usually have in our textbooks, where we exalt his years in Spain, England, and Europe, and see Dapitan as the time of his marginalization.”

Dr. Dumol said Rizal “is telling us something… about the value of direct contact with the people we would serve, the value of teaching people face to face, the value of actually living in the Philippines and serving directly the community, the value of an immediate, personal, living example.”

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