Rizal house is green but people see red

By Maricar Cinco – The of National Hero Jose Rizal has been getting pained attention since it was painted green last month. In text messages, e-mails and phone calls, residents based in the city, other provinces and abroad have expressed “shock” and “horror” over the new color of the bahay na bato.

“We don’t like it,” declared Linda Lazaro, a school teacher in her 70s and a member of the Rizal Day committee for the past 15 years.

“The house symbolizes Rizal and [the paint job] is an insult to his memory,” she said.

The house, now a shrine, was reconstructed in the 1950s using the 25-centavo contributions of students in a number of schools. It has stood for decades in dirty gray.

The National Historical Institute (NHI) had the house painted in a light shade of green. The interiors were painted yellow and the ceiling blue.

“Even the well in front of the house was painted green,” lamented Lazaro, who claims to be a member of the clan through the wife of Rizal’s brother Paciano.

‘Flimsy’ reason

In his column in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on June 3, NHI Chair Ambeth Ocampo explained that the reason for painting Rizal’s house green was to “highlight, and inform visitors of, the meaning of his surname.”

The surname Rizal is rooted in the Spanish word “ricial,” which means a green field ready for harvest, Ocampo said.

But a resident of Calamba, who preferred not to be named, said: “It does not follow that your house should be painted according to the meaning of your surname.”

Neither was Lazaro impressed. “It’s a flimsy reason,” she said. “It doesn’t hold water.”

She said a running joke had the city residents talking about their surnames and how their houses should be painted.

“If our last name is Guinto, should our house be painted in gold?” she recalled one sarcastic remark she had heard.

To address the violent reactions, the shrine curator has put up a tarpaulin bearing an explanation why the house was painted green.


The staff of the Rizal shrine welcomes visitors, mostly people on educational trips, especially during weekends. Occasionally, the visitors number about 10 batches in a day.

“That’s all we have here in Calamba, and we’ve lost our symbol,” Lazaro said in expressing worry over losing the city’s main historical and tourist attraction.

She said a British guest recently came to see the house and was “horrified” by its color.

“It’s embarrassing,” she said. “We are having a hard time explaining to [guests] why it is green.”

Lazaro said it was different in the pre-green days: “Children would turn quiet upon entering the house. There was a certain ambiance and romance, it being an old house.”

She said this was contrary to a reaction from another recent guest who referred to the shrine as “a toy house.”

Another resident said Rizal’s house now looked “like a cake.”

Lazaro said teachers on a tour of Calamba were “angry that they lost credibility before their students” in showing the national hero’s supposed representation of home.

Doctor Virgilio Lasaga, tourism officer of Calamba, said his office had likewise been receiving negative feedback on the paint job.

‘Disco house’

“We are being blamed [for turning Rizal’s house green],” Lazaro said.

She said she had been avoiding the market because people there kept asking her why the shrine was painted that way.

According to Lazaro, an old female resident of Calamba even wept over the change, and teenagers have started referring to the shrine as “a disco house with neon colors.”

In a text message, a concerned individual said in Filipino: “I did not expect the painting of the bahay na bato. If we solicit funds for its repainting, I am sure many will be open-handed.”

But Lazaro said it would be too late to repaint the house in time for Rizal’s birth anniversary today.

She said the residents were also of two minds over whether there should be a celebration.

Find more like this: Culture


  1. Tom says:

    Grabe! Ano ba yan?! Nakakahiya! AT, nakakatawa!

  2. Dr. AMBETH R. OCAMPO says:

    Thank you for 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

  3. 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.

  4. Shirley says:

    hahaha. Looks like a Nickelodeon SLIME! hahaha

  5. CA says:

    Dr. Ambeth,

    I don’t believe that the green (neon) you used was the original color of Rizal’s house. Rizal and his family had better taste than you.

    How much did you spend for that to make it look so awful?! Much less than the receipts, I bet. You f*%^@’n idiot!

  6. […] Rizal Shrine in Laguna. One of Laguna’s best known landmarks is the Rizal Shrine, the childhood home of our country’s […]

  • 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