Today, December 30, marks 124 years since that fateful day in Bagumbayan (now known as Luneta Park) where our national hero Dr. Jose Rizal was executed.
The execution was decided upon after the hero-polymath was found guilty in a show trial, and was ordered to be put to death before a firing squad. And as we all know, this execution was what fueled the Filipino people to fight for their freedom and lead a historic revolt against the colonizers who have been in the country for over 300 years. (LOOK: Critics Rank Every Actor Who Played Andres Bonifacio in Film)
But before he was executed, Rizal was exiled in Dapitan (a city in Mindanao) for four years. While he was there, the Filipino hero was still able to become a productive citizen— even providing medical assistance to his Mindanaoan kababayans. And of course, Rizal showed his human side, too— as evidenced by the letters he wrote to his family, detailing the food cravings that he specifically requested from them.
Here are some of the food that Dr. Jose Rizal craved during his stay in Dapitan.
Jose Rizal’s Food in Exile: Mangoes
As we all know, the Philippines has one of the sweetest mangoes in Asia, if not the world. And Dr. Jose Rizal is no stranger to that for he regularly requested for his mother, Teodora, to send him some mangoes during his exile. (Read: Travel Around Philippines With These Fruits in Season!)
Jose Rizal’s Food in Exile: Laguna Cheese
Laguna cheese or kesong puti is another one of the food items the hero asked from his mother. Being born in Calamba, Laguna, Dr. Jose Rizal would naturally be a fan of this Lagunense delicacy which has a distinct taste and texture to it. This cheese is unaged and made from unskimmed carabao milk, citrus juices, and vinegar. It’s soft to the touch and healthy for the body! (Read: Dr. Jose Rizal’s Quirkiest Dining Habits)
Jose Rizal’s Food in Exile: Tuyo
Rizal was known to be frugal, especially when it came to food. So it’s no wonder that he loved tuyo (dried fish or sardines) for breakfast, seeing that this kind of fish is relatively cheaper than other options. According to his cook in Dapitan, the hero’s favorite breakfast was tuyo, rice, and hot chocolate— a very Filipino breakfast indeed! (Read: 3 Pinoy-Made Chocolates for Your Next Cup of Hot Cocoa)
Jose Rizal’s Food in Exile: Munggo
At a time when fish and vegetables were scarce, Dr. Jose Rizal would write to his sister to send him some munggo. It was also said that the polymath had a particular liking towards munggo soup that he even served it to his visiting relatives.