Sentro Rizal in New York opens
NEW YORK – As New York City braces itself for the upsurge in Covid, and indoor gatherings once again have been limited, the Philippine Center on Fifth Avenue remains a cultural hub and home to Filipino festivities in North America.
Soon after the commemoration of the 125th anniversary of Dr. Jose P. Rizal’s martyrdom, the Center marked the 10th year of Sentro Rizal, created under the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009.
National Commission of Culture and the Arts Chairman Arsenio “Nick” Lizaso, officers of Knights of Rizal New York and Metropolitan Chapters, and two of Rizal’s descendants attended the center’s opening.
Sentro Rizal New York has a collection of rare books, materials and video learning tools about the life and works of the national hero.
Festivities started last December with a film showing and talk by Lizaso, who is also the president of Cultural Center of the Philippines, on Jose Rizal’s legacy, teachings and values to be passed on the youth of today.
Actress Lorli Villanueva anchored the program with highlights on the early days of Philippine Educational Theatre Association (PETA).
Two of Rizal’s living descendants joined the inauguration. Lisa Tinio Bayot, great granddaughter of Saturnina Rizal Hidalgo , Jose’s eldest sister, who co-organized the family-run MyRizal150.com website to inspire Filipinos to emulate Rizal. Bayot addressed the audience as a family member who keeps Rizal’s legacy alive and relevant in these modern times.
Another , Alexandra Jacinto, whose grandfather Francisco Lopez, is the grandson of Paciano Rizal, Jose’s brother, joined the inauguration. She fondly recalled, “My Lolo Fran extensively studied and analyzed in Spanish the last poem written at his cell, Mi Ultimo Adios. To him this poem represented very profoundly Rizal’s expression of his true love for country, family, and foremost, God. My Lolo Fran would then recite this with all his heartfelt love up to the last days of his 100th year.”
Consul General Elmer Cato announced a future collaboration with National Commission on Cuture and the Arts to bring Philippine talents to New York City to reach Filipino Americans and their American-born children.