One school day of 1934, the residents of barrio Vito in the town of Siruma, installed on a pedestal a bust of a national hero at the school grounds of Vito Elementary School. The event was attended by most of the locals including the teachers and pupils of the school.
It was made at the behest of Pedro Pascual, the honorary president of the Parent Teacher Association in the barrio school. He led the group in contracting a sculptor sometime between 1933 and 1934.
Upon finding one, Pascual presented the details of the project for rendering. The artist, whose name our source can not recall anymore, immediately worked on the full bust statue of Dr. Jose P. Rizal.
On that historic day of the memorial dedication, the eldest grand daughter of Pedro was a grade two pupil of the school being managed by head teacher Leovegildo Clavo.
The sculptor was paid a good sum for his work beyond and above the contracted price. Because of that, he reciprocated goodwill by extending his artistic generosity. He then made two more identical bust (smaller) reliefs of Rizal. The one pictured above is the second piece rendered by the artist.
One hundred fifty one years ago, on June 19, 1861, the boy destined to become one of the national hero of the Philippines was born to a rich family in Calamba town. He was fondly referred to by his parents and siblings as Pepe, short name for a long one- of Jose Protacio Rizal Mercado y Alonzo Realonda.
The first ever Philippine monument erected in honor of Rizal was dedicated on December 30, 1898, in the town of Daet of Ambos Camarines.
It was two years after the execution at the Bagumbayan Fields. The “monument” was more of a marker, devoid of a Rizal statue, as shown on this our earlier post: Rizal Marker here. Very much later, on December 30, 1913, the life-size statue of the hero was unveiled at the Luneta Park.
Could the Rizal bust in Vito the first ever in the country? And by any stroke of historic incidence, could it be the second memorial dedicated with the head/bust in the likeness of Rizal? Just asking. Readers are encouraged to react on this with our utmost appreciation.