Aquino arrives at Calamba for Rizal Day rites

President Benigno Aquino III arrived before 8 a.m. Sunday at the birthplace of the Philippine national hero Dr. Jose Rizal in Calamba, Laguna, to mark Rizal’s 150th birth anniversary.

Aquino received full arrival honors and was welcomed by officials shortly before the flag-raising and wreath-laying ceremonies, government radio dzRB reported.

He was scheduled to unveil what would be the tallest statue of Rizal, in honor of the hero’s supreme sacrifice for the Filipino people.

The statue is 22 feet tall and is standing on a 6.7-hectare property in front of the Calamba City Hall complex.

A Palace statement said the 22-feet height represents the 22 different languages spoken by Rizal, including English, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Russian and Spanish.

Rizal’s newest monument is expected to be a tourist and historical landmark, not only in Calamba, but in the whole world.

The construction of Rizal’s tallest monument was made possible through the coordination between the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) and the Calamba local government.

Also in attendance at Sunday’s event were diplomats from other countries, including Germany and Spain. — LBG, GMA News