Talisay, Dapitan City
Zamboanga del Norte
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Rizal was implicated in the activities of the nascent rebellion and in July 1892 was deported to Dapitan in the province of Zamboanga (in Mindanao). Aboard the steamer Cebu and under heavy guard, Rizal left Manila, sailing to Mindoro and Panay, until he reached Dapitan at seven o’clock in the evening of June 17. From that day until July 31, 1896, Dapitan bear witness to one of the most fruitful periods in Rizal’s life. There he built a school, a hospital and a water supply system. He taught and engaged in farming and horticulture, as well a practice medicine and served the poor.
In a letter to his friend, Ferdinand Blumentritt, on December 19, 1893, Rizal described his peaceful life in Dapitan:
“I shall tell you how we lived here. I have three houses-one square, another hexagonal, and the third octagonal. All these houses are made of bamboo, wood, and nipa. I live in the square house, together with my mother, my sister, Trinidad, and my nephew. In the octagonal house live some young boys who are my pupils. The hexagonal house is my barn where I keep my chickens.”
Near the end of his exile he met and courted the stepdaughter of a patient, an Irishwoman named Josephine Bracken. He was unable to obtain an ecclesiastical marriage because he would not return to the religion of his youth and was not known to be clearly against revolution. He nonetheless considered Josephine to be his wife and the only person mentioned in the poem, Farewell, sweet stranger, my friend, my joy…