There’s one place in the city that is more Filipino than any other Madrid attraction, and indeed, it’s a destination of sorts for expatriates and tourists from the Philippines and other countries — this is the Monumento a Jose Rizal. This must be the reason why many Pinoys are found around Glorietta de Cuatro Camino and Bravo Murillos — those hot spots for Filipinos and other Asian nationals are just a few blocks away from the avenue where the monument is found — Avenida de Filipinas. That’s right, the Philippines is one of the many countries honored by the City of Madrid in this manner.
By the way, not only does the country lends its name to a busy city thoroughfare; but also to a Madrid Metro station – the Metro Islas de Filipinas.
Jose Rizal was put to death by firing squad in December 30th of 1896 in the former Bagumbayan, the park now known as Luneta. His life, albeit short, was nonetheless colorful and impressive. He was a scholar, writer, linguist, a lover of sports, and a doctor. He studied in the top universities of Manila, and other cities abroad like Madrid, Berlin, and Paris. We can say that he was well-traveled and loved to do so, having visited and stayed in quite good number of European countries.
But above all else, he possessed this great respect and adoration for his country. In his monument was a marker or plaque, upon which is etched the Mi Ultimo Adios, the last poem (written in Spanish) that the Filipino hero wrote before his execution. The poem clearly conveyed his professed unconditional love for his country.
Filipinos in Madrid, led by the officers and staff of the Philippine Embassy in Madrid, visit the monument during important occasions, like Rizal’s birth and death anniversaries, and commemorate them by performing wreath-laying ceremonies.
Indeed, Pinoys are proud that Spain chooses to express its great respect and admiration for our own national hero with the erection of such a beautiful monument in the midst of the city.
Rizal Walking Tour, Madrid Attraction
And while you’re at it, why don’t you try to learn more about the national hero, particularly that part of his life when he was here in Madrid? Perhaps you are a historian, a student of Philippine history, or simply a great admirer of Jose Rizal — if so, then click and visit the walking tour link here. This webpage is very useful as it offers valuable information on how the Philippine hero was like then when he lived in Spain.
The web page, which is a part of the official website of the Philippine Embassy in Madrid, provides a list of buildings, restaurants, streets, and universities that were associated with the hero. Two of the most popular places are Parque del Buen Retiro, the city’s popular park and Rizal’s favorite place of rest, and the Escuela de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, where he is said to have taken a short course in painting.
Avenida de Filipinas and Calle Santander, Madrid (Near Parque de Santander and Estadio Vallehermoso
Via Madrid transport:
Take Metro Linea 7 and get off at Islas Filipinas Station; Ride the Autobus 2 that runs from Plaza Manuel Becerra and Ave. de Reina Victoria and alight at Parada Vallehermoso – Avenida Filipinas