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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

US Summer 2011: Retracing Rizal's Travel In New York and The East Coast!

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

Date: June 30, 2011, July 12,2011 & July 28-30, 2011
Locations: Chicago,Illinois, Niagara Falls, & New York,USA



Back in the East Coast, I want to take advantage of retracing Dr.Jose Rizal's coast-to-coast visit,although it wasn't a continuing journey. Enough to say that I have stepped afoot on the same places as our national hero while in the United States.

Dr.Rizal's diary in America described that when he left San Francisco on Sunday, the 6th of May, 1888,he boarded a train that was loaded up on a train ferry at Port Costa and sailed to Oakland - Nevada -Utah-Colorado-Nebraska - Chicago - Niagara Falls - Albany with a final destination in New York City .



Dr. Jose Rizal stopped over in Chicago and noted that every tobacco shop has a statue of an Indian. I didn't notice that at all during my day tour in Chicago last July 28, 2011. All I know is that the buildings I have seen are so much different from what our national hero has seen as almost all of the buildings in Chicago were gutted by the fire in 1871 with the exception of the Chicago Water Tower.



Also, the train stopped for a few hours near Niagara Falls where Dr. Rizal went down to the foot of the falls and was amazed by its titanic size and majestic cascades.



Like Dr. Rizal,I too was able to see and feel the power of the Niagara Falls last July 30,2011.I considered it an experience of a lifetime to come face -to- face with the pounding waters during the half hour scenic Maid of the Mist boat tour with my prince and observed the majesty and beauty of both the American and Horseshoe Falls from the Observation Tower.



When Dr. Rizal arrived in New York, he got a room at the Fifth Avenue Hotel from May 13-16, 1888. Fifth Avenue Hotel was one of the best hotels in New York City at the time. Now, the hotel is the location of the International Pencil Factory located at the Madison Park which is incidentally the venue for the annual celebration of the Filipino Independence Day Festival.



New York impressed our national hero with its big city and new buildings which is very much different from the buildings in Europe. The Statue of Liberty was only 2 years old then and surely was seen by Dr. Rizal on May 16, 1888 onboard the luxurious liner City of Rome for his trip to London.

I look forward to retracing our national hero's steps in United Kingdom come January 2012!

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