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Dr. Jose Rizal’s Quirkiest Dining Habits

Happy 159th birthday anniversary, Dr. Jose Rizal!

Today, June 19, marks the 159th birth anniversary of the Philippines’ national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. He was known for being an author—famously writing the novels Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo—an artist, a doctor, a polymath (one that’s good in both science and arts), a farmer, a historian, and many more.

With the accolades that come with the name Jose Rizal, you would think that this hero is a serious person who only means business, but that’s not entirely the story. According to historians, friends and family would describe the Laguna-born hero as a man with a good sense of humor and an even better taste for food. And with his love for food, there also come some quirky and curious dining habits!

To celebrate his birthday, get to know the fun side of the one and only Jose Rizal. (Read: Here’s why Jose Rizal is the original millennial the youth can look up to)

He loves “deconstructed champorado.”

Despite staying in Europe for practically half of his life, Jose Rizal still loved the taste of Filipino dishes. This is why for breakfast, he always opts for a Filipino fusion of food. He reportedly loves to eat ‘deconstructed’ champorado for breakfast—which essentially means hot chocolate paired with rice and sardinas secas, or in other words, tuyo. (Read: Tinapa Recipes: Three Ways to Cook Andres Bonifacio’s Favorite Food)

jose-rizal-dining-habits
Photo from Panlasang Pinoy

He was a kuripot when it came to food.

Even though he was from a wealthy family, Jose Rizal didn’t spend much when it came to food. It is said that during his stay at a hotel, he usually opts to forego the breakfast package so he can save money. So where does he spend the money he saves on breakfast? Jose Rizal would use it to go to a professional to get his photo taken! (Read: Pinoy Migrant Makes Headlines for Stunning Photos of Life Canada)

A record of his expenses in 1884 showed that of his P329.30 monthly budget, he only set aside P71.75 for food, but saved a large portion for a professional photo. And during parties and gatherings, Jose Rizal would pass around his hat to collect his dinner mates’ share for the champagne bill! This was why he had never gotten popular with the Filipino community in Europe.

jose-rizal-dining-habits
Illustration by Tintin Lontoc / Pepper.ph

His cheat day is pancit day!

No matter how kuripot he was when it came to food, Jose Rizal would still allow himself a ‘cheat day’ when he had money. And during cheat days, it would always be a big plate of pancit! He grew fond of the dish because it was what he and his Filipino classmates would cook during the weekend at school.

Happy Birthday, Dr. Jose Rizal!

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