Painting Rizal’s house green is vandalism

By Ramon Tulfo – IF JOSE RIZAL were alive today he would brandish a whip, the one used by the cocheros, and run after that wise guy who had his ancestral home painted green. The scene would be reminiscent of Jesus whipping the people who sold their wares in a place of worship in Jerusalem for “desecrating my Father’s temple.”

Painting the national hero’s house green is vandalism.

Rizal’s original surname was Mercado, which means “market.”

Had his parents retained their original name, would the wise guy have made the ancestral home into a marketplace?

This is the same guy who criticized Martin Nievera for singing the National Anthem in a different tempo.

Oh, well, some people see the mote in the eyes of others, but don’t see it in theirs.

* * *

If your life is in danger, don’t run to the Police Protection and Security Group (PPSG) in Camp Crame.

If you’re rich enough, hire private bodyguards who will die for you if you pay them well.

My friend, a big businesswoman whose family was once a victim of kidnapping, asked for protection from PPSG, which assigned five bodyguards to her.

My friend took care of her bodyguards’ needs although she didn’t have to.

She gave each of them a P12,000 monthly allowance.

She gave each of them P150 for every meal when she had meetings outside her office.

She gave them overtime allowance when she stayed up late for her appointments.

She gave them and their immediate family members free annual medical check-up.

Despite all those privileges, they left her because they were asking for a much higher pay from her.

They left her because she wouldn’t grant their immediate superior’s request for a motorcycle.

The PNP motto is “to serve and protect.”

It should be, “to serve and protect so long as the price is right.”

* * *

Oil smuggling, which has been denounced by anti-smuggling czar Antonio Villar, could have been prevented if only the Bureau of Customs were doing its job.

Villar has filed graft charges against Customs Commissioner Napoleon Morales and the Jetti Oil Supply Distribution Inc. for the oil company’s non-payment of taxes and duties amounting to P288 million.

Suddenly, oil smuggling has become a battle of personalities, not the actual issues involved.

With or without the alleged involvement of Morales with Jetti, there remains the case of blatant oil smuggling with lost revenues that can’t be considered peanuts.

Why is the customs bureau looking the other way while oil smugglers are having the time of their lives?

A few years ago, the big oil companies hired private investigators to find out who was protecting the oil smugglers.

They kept their mouths shut after the results of the investigation came in.

The protector is much too powerful for the oil companies to tangle with.

Find more like this: Culture


  1. Dr. AMBETH R. OCAMPO says:

    Thank you for reading the column and having strong feelings about the preservation of our heritage.
    Before you see red while seeing Rizal’s house in green we hope you can at least read the reasons for the change:

    People who have complained demand restoration of the house to the “original” color but then the funny part here is that the NHI HIstorica Preservation division before repainting the house scraped off layers of paint from a part of the house and, believe it or not, the green everyone hates today happens to be the “original” color when the reconstructed house was opened to the public 50 years ago.

    Perhaps it is the shock of the old rather than shock of the new.

    Dr. Ambeth R. Ocampo
    National Historical Institute

  2. Tom says:

    What a lame excuse Ocampo! We should have left it alone and used the color that people are accustomed to. We shouldn’t change something just because we can. The place has become a shrine of sorts whether this was an original or a reconstruction is immaterial. What NHI fail to realize is that the people are appalled in the choice of such bright and loud neon green. Even the interiors are painted as such. The reason of Rizal’s name’s meaning being such hue is shallow and somewhat out of line from what a ‘Historical Institute’ would deem appropriate. Furthermore, there should at least have been some sensitivity to the people that are greatly impacted by this change – the people of Calamba. I believe, some form of consultation would not have been too much to ask.

  3. Laura says:

    I am SHOCKED! This is an outrage. How dare the NHI and Mr. Ocampo desecrate a symbol of Rizal.

    Change it back NOW!

  4. Vicente Calibo de Jesus says:

    Ocampo’s Schlimmbesserungen

    This is a case of Schlimmbesserungen, a German term for a solution–painting the Rizal home neon green (see–to a perceived problem, ignorance of the Spanish provenance of the Rizal name which is “racial”, which makes conditions worse.

    The Chair of the National Historical Institute of the Philippines, Dr. Ambeth Ocampo, gave a precise definition of his “ricial”. In his column (click, Ocampo states, “The word comes from the Spanish ‘ricial’ which describes a green field ready for harvest.”

    Dr. Ocampo further defines his “racial” to more precisely fit what specific green he had in mind as “the color of palay or ripe rice stalk.”

    “Ripe rice” ready for harvest is “golden yellow” (click showing rice that’s ripe for harvest).

    Ocampo’s notion of the color of “ripe rice stalk’ conflicts with reality. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know this.

    So, even the basic assumption of Ocampo that underpins his solution is a “historian’s logical fallacy.”

    His solution to a self-inflicted problem consists of several fallacies:

    1. Painting Rizal’s home with an “offensive green” (Ocampo’s own term) is an aesthetic solution to a lexical problem or more to the point an information problem. He can very well make use of a limitless array of lexical armamentarium open to Ocampo: radio, TV, newspapers, DVDs, movies, magazines, books, brochures, listservs, Facebook, Flickr, Multiply, Twitter, YouTube, blogs, advertising in all forms of media, etc. Imagination is the only limit;

    2. Any solution applied to an architectural object that speaks to a people’s sense of their past should be in harmony with good taste (aesthetics), good history, and good public relations, i.e., it should be respectful of the feelings of people who have to live with the object. Ocampo and it seems the entire Board of NHI do not reside in Calamba and do not have to suffer the pain of this aesthetic monstrosity;

    3. It’s clear Ocampo is in error in many respects, lexically, aesthetically, architectuarally, strategically, tactically, etc. Now it seems he’s determined to get even more wrong (wronger or wrongest). Ocampo has triumphantly announced Boysen has offered to repaint Rizal’s home at no cost to the taxpayer (that’s you and me). So what does Ocampo decide? He will paint Rizal’s home a another shade green this time “dark green.” Which is to redefine his “racial” as the color of palay when it is most unsuitable for harvest.

    There is a phrase for this, “Jumping from the frying fan to the fire.” The Germans have a term for this, schlimmbesserungen, which denotes making something worse through an attempt to make things better.

    History is replete with examples of schlimbesserungen: the eighteenth-century correction of asparagus to sparrow-grass. An extreme example was the notion seriously thought of by John von Neuman (father of the electronic computer) and Edward Teller (father of the hydrogen bomb) who both enthusiastically proposed using nuclear explosions to deflect hurricanes.

    Ocampo’s green solution may not be so devastating to the world but it may well be disastrous to Calamba’s people, at least.

    Dr. Ocampo has to have enough humility, grace, and sense to accept the fact he’s wrong in painting the Rizal home green.

    If he does not have the strength of character to admit an error publicly and to apologize to the people for a grave error, he can very well just announce the NHI now wants to consult the people of Calamba for them to decide what is the best solution that the people can live with, maybe even be proud of.


  5. ted says:

    “the funny part here is that the NHI HIstorica Preservation division before repainting the house scraped off layers of paint from a part of the house and, believe it or not, the green everyone hates today happens to be the “original” color when the reconstructed house was opened to the public 50 years ago.”

    found an earlier photograph of the reconstructed house in the late 1950’s, its WHITE
    please visit this site…

  • U.N. Rights Council to Investigate Killings in Philippine Drug War
  • Philippines declares national alert after 456 die from dengue fever
  • Trying to save the stories of a Philippine culture, one scan at a time
  • Pinoy archaeologist brings new human species discovery to Australia
  • Philippines a slowly ageing society – PIDS study
  • Page 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7


  • Nickelodeon releases first look at rebooted classic kids program Blue’s Clues with Filipino-American host Joshua Dela Cruz
  • How Marvel’s first featured Pinoy superhero can save society
  • This play tells the urgent story of a Filipino comfort woman
  • Will ‘Sahaya’ be the first Pinoy series on Netflix?
  • Z-GIRLS, Z-BOYS with Pinoy members to debut in Korea
  • MORE...


  • My story, and the new story of Filipino immigration
  • An appreciation of Moro food can bring Pinoy Muslims and Christians closer, says this Muslim chef
  • Showcase of PH culture, heritage
  • US and Philippines: Friends, Partners, and Allies
  • A Transgender Paradox, and Platform, in the Philippines
  • MORE...


  • Northern Blossom Flower Farm: Atok’s floral carpet
  • Philippines records ‘all-time high’ 7.1M tourist arrivals in 2018
  • Philippines island Boracay reopens for test run following huge cleanup
  • Philippines closes ‘cesspool’ tourist island of Boracay
  • Boracay Set to Ban Tourists for Six Months During Island ‘Rehabilitation’
  • MORE...


  • Filipino speed skater bags spot in 2020 Winter Youth Olympics
  • Pinoy gymnast Carlo Yulo earns historic qualification in worlds
  • Finding a way to bring the NBA to the Philippines
  • First Filipino table tennis Olympian Ian “Yanyan” Lariba dies at 23
  • Skateboarder Margielyn Didal wins 4th gold for Philippines
  • MORE...

    OFW News

  • Filipino maids’ dragon boat team makes splash in Hong Kong
  • DOLE suspends OFW deployment to Kuwait
  • Some OFWs turn to vlogging to beat loneliness, share life abroad
  • Overseas Filipino Bank to serve immigrants, workers
  • The ‘bagong bayani’ of the Philippines
  • MORE...


  • ‘Sordid Chapter’ Ends As Philippines Sends Back Canada’s Trash
  • Southeast Asia became dumping ground for plastic waste – study
  • Boracay Set to Ban Tourists for Six Months During Island ‘Rehabilitation’
  • Boracay: the good, bad and ugly sides to Philippine island for tourists
  • Luzon has greatest concentration of unique mammals
  • MORE...

    Pinoy Places
    and Faces