I just came back from a wonderful trip to Manila where I visited Rizal Park in Luneta to see the celebrated Wilhelmsfeld Drinking Fountain; now refurbished, repainted, and looking spanking new. Read on.
My own ignorance.
|The Wilhelmsfeld Drinking Fountain|
Had this Rizal Relic ever gained an inch of print anywhere?
Shame! This blog is the answer to that stinging reproach.
|Pamela, Predy, Rizal Park Tourist Police, Penelope V. Flores|
I observed the spiffy Philippine Army’s Special unit dressed in revolutionary rayadillo uniform changing guards at the Rizal Monument. Impressive!
I met a Tourist Police park employee and said;
“I came all the way from San Francisco, California to see a special place in Rizal Park. Where’s the Rizal living Monument?”
Park emp.: Patay na po siya. (He’s already dead.)
Me: Well, isn’t there a drinking fountain which Rizal used?
Park emp.: Oh, yes, over there on that side, po. France donated it.
Me. No, Wilhelmsfeld, Germany gave it.
Park emp.: Well, OK, po. It’s a replica.
Me. Sorry, it’s the original fountain, a living monument.
Note: Even Rizal Park employees seem unaware of Rizal’s Wilhelmsfeld Drinking Fountain within their own premises.
|Ida Flores, at the Rizal Drinking Fountain, Rizal Park, Luneta , April 2012.|
|This is the drinking fountain at Pastor Karl Ullmer's Vicarage where Rizal lived (1886), Wilhelmsfeld, Germany.|
|It was donated by the Wilhelmsfeld Village to the Filipino people on 30 December, 1964, Luneta. I like the clean imprints of the medieval fountain design.|
|The fountain is of natural reddish sandstone, but the Rizal Park officials painted the fountain burnt sienna and the wall behind it, brown umber. Thus the wall and fountain almost blend together from a distance.|
|The local farmers quenched their thirst from this very fountain as they came home from work. So did their cows. I would like to imagine that José Rizal must have sat on this very rim.|
|Rizal must have admired the idea of a pine cone finial, so pleasing to his artistic eye, that topped the fountain base.|
|Penélope, that fountain had dried up during WWII. It was just sitting as a decoration on the vicarage garden when it was donated to the Philippines at the 1964 Rizal Centennial.|
Go there and find time to relish Dr. José Rizal's presence.
Get thee to this living monument when you visit the Rizal Monument next time. It is about 500 yards south from the monument itself. Get off at Roxas Boulevard in front of the familiar Rizal Monument. Walk straight up to Rizal's statue, then turn right and follow the path. It is defined by several concrete platforms. Almost nobody knows about it.
It's about time we raise our consciousness about this Rizal living legacy: the Wilhelmsfeld Drinking Fountain.
Where is Wilhelmsfeld, and why is it important among Rizal scholars?
Wilhelmsfeld is about 13 kilometers from the university town of Heidelberg. Rizal came to Heidelberg University to study ophthalmology and to gain clinical experience in using the new eye medical instrument: the ophthalmoscope first used in Heidelberg. He studied under Professor Dr. Otto Becker. The clinic where he trained now has a Rizal historical marker. His apartments at Heidelberg University also carry historical markers.
Rizal perfected his German language skills here. He had a unique way of studying a language. He read Schiller's play: William Tell and then translated the whole 68 pages in Tagalog. Talk about focus and sheer persistence!
|Page 5 of Rizal's translation in Tagalog of Schiller's William Tell|
Important to note is that Rizal finished the last chapters of Noli me Tangere at the vicarage in Wilhelmsfeld. This village is officially called "Noli Village". It has a Rizal Park, a Rizal Street and the village council and local Knights of Rizal chapter celebrate 30 December, every year.
Well, only in Wilhelmsfeld!