AMBETH:...While our lawmakers debate the pros and cons of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, while farmers march to Congress to push for the implementation of CARP, we should remember that one of the seeds of Rizal’s heroism was that his family was evicted not just from Calamba but from Laguna. Contrary to popular belief, the Rizals did not own land; they were tenants of the Dominican hacienda. They refused to pay increased rent, went to court and lost.
...Finally, the reason for painting Rizal’s house green highlights and informs visitors of the meaning of his surname. Following the 1849 Claveria decree giving surnames to Filipinos for tax and census purposes, the Rizals who were also known by their other surname Mercado (market) chose “Risal” from the “Catalogo alfabetico de apellidos.” The word comes from the Spanish “ricial” which describes a green field ready for harvest. It was hoped that after asking, “Why is Rizal’s house green?” the visitor will get a relevant answer: the green hues are meant to honor the memory of the Rizal family and their way of life.
I have not seen the newly painted house at Rizal Shrine in Calamba, so I cannot really speak as to aesthetics, but I am won over by Ambeth's substantial reasoning above. (Read his whole piece!).
For me this actually also goes hand in glove with the recent UNANIMOUS APPROVAL of House Bill 5408 which seeks to move the December 30 holiday to Jose Rizal's Birthday on June 19. By celebrating his life instead of his death, perhaps we shall get away from Rizal the Morose and Melancholy Victim to living, breathing hero he can be in the 21st Century.
That is the true 'GREENING' of Jose Rizal.
Jose Rizal as the symbol of our struggling tenant farmers and an environmentalist fighting for modern agriculture. I like it!