Little known aspects of Dr. Jose Rizal’s first trip to Europe are revealed in the new documentary, Finding Rizal in a Time of Barriers. The project began when former senator Loren Legarda toured the small German town of Wilhelmsfeld in 2019 together with Dr. Fritz Hack Ullmer. Dr Ullmer is the great grandson of Pastor Karl Ullmer who hosted Rizal for three months in Wilhelmsfeld in 1886. The memories of that stay, as well as Rizal’s correspondence and memorabilia have since become part of the Ullmer family’s legacy through three generations.
In the middle of production plans, the project came to a halt due to the global pandemic that changed the world in 2020. However, with the perseverance of the Philippine Embassy in Berlin led by Ambassador Theresa de Vega, the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila and the Office of Deputy Speaker Legarda, the documentary took shape and was finished in time for the celebration of our national hero’s 160th birthday this June 2021.
Amidst the challenging circumstances, Legarda, who is the visionary behind the project, was inspired and uplifted by Rizal’s life. “Rizal lived in a time of barriers created by skin color, religion, political ideologies, and colonialism. Yet he broke through these barriers to affirm his humanity and his genius. His trip to Germany was marked by the completion and publication of the Noli Me Tángere. It was also on that first trip that he wrote the immortal poem, A Las Flores De Heidelberg. He was studying ophthalmology and he was also being introduced to the academic circles of Berlin as a culture bearer for scientists and humanists like Blumentritt and Virchow. His time in Wilhelmsfeld, though short, was marked by the friendship and acceptance of the Ullmer family, who treated him as a friend. It was a challenging time for Rizal,but it was also a joyful and productive one.”
Floy Quintos who gave the creative direction for the project explains, “In a way, the process of completing this documentary was our own way of coming to terms with the barriers that the pandemic had imposed on all of us.”
Historians Ambeth Ocampo and Dr. Mila Guerrero annotated aspects of this significant journey of Rizal through Germany, giving context and meaning to the facts often regarded as mere trivia. But the documentary also becomes a more personal one through the voice of Dr. Fritz Hack Ullmer, who tenderly recounts the memories passed on to him by his grandfather, Friedrich, who was only fourteen at the time of Rizal’s stay in their home.
“Hopefully,” Legarda adds, “this documentary will open our own eyes to the admiration that other countries, like Germany, have for our national hero. There are markers everywhere that trace Rizal’s journey, streets named after him, plazas in Paris and Madrid and Germany which bear his name. As Filipinos, we should have that same appreciation for Rizal’s genius and contributions to world culture.”
“This story had to come home. It is so resonant for all of us whose lives have been changed by the pandemic. We draw inspiration from Rizal, a Filipino travelling through Europe in the late 19th century who overcame many obstacles. In this documentary, that first trip of Rizal through Europe shows that while these obstacles were not easy to overcome, he gained knowledge of his own humanity and his limitless possibilities. He grew—as an intellectual, a scientist and doctor, as a human being in the company of other human beings who valued his personhood and intellect more than they did his race or skin color. Hopefully, through Rizal’s story, we find the means to overcome the barriers that we face today.”
Finding Rizal in a Time of Barriers was conceptualized and envisioned by 3-term Senator, Deputy Speaker, and Antique Congresswoman Loren Legarda in collaboration with the Department of Foreign Affairs-Philippine Embassy in Berlin and produced by Light Vision Films. The documentary will air on the ABS-CBN News Channel on June 19, 2021, at 7:00 pm with a simultaneous broadcast on the ABS-CBN News YouTube channel. It will have a replay on (date) at (time).
Leonberg, 14 August 2021 – The Philippine Consulate General in Frankfurt resumed its mobile consular services with an outreach activity held at Amber Hotel Leonberg last August 14. Consul Rogelio Villanueva, Jr. led the outreach team in providing passport, authentication, civil registry and other consular services. Assistant Labor Attaché Delia Palomar from the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Berlin participated in the event to provide information and extend the services of POLO and OWWA. The consular event was made possible through assistance of Honorary Consul Axel Neumahr and Ms. Rhoda Steegmaier of the Philippine Consulate in Stuttgart.
Members of the Filipino-German community in Baden-Württemberg and nearby areas took advantage of the outreach mission in Leonberg to avail of consular services. A total of 111 consular services were rendered during the event while 36 applicants registered for the Overseas Voting. Based on the latest regional statistical reports, there are approximately 4,425 Filipinos living in Baden-Württemberg, the third largest number of Filipino residents in Germany. The Consulate General has scheduled a series of consular outreach missions until the end of 2021 to bring consular services closer to the members of the Filipino-German community. (END)
“ATING KALAYAAN” VIRTUAL INDEPENDENCE DAY CONCERT STIRS PATRIOTIC SENTIMENTS AMONG FILIPINOS IN GERMANY
12 June 2021- A flag-raising ceremony at the premises of the Consulate was held on 11 June 2021. During the ceremony, the video messages of Consul General Evelyn D. Austria-Garcia, Ambassador Ma. Theresa Dizon-de Vega and Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda were played. It was attended by the Consulate’s personnel as well as consular applicants who were present.
Serving as the highlight of its Independence Day activities this year, The Consulate produced and showed a virtual concert entitled, “Ating Kalayaan,” on 12 June 2021. The production featured MusicArtes’ classical singers and voice actors, who performed renditions highlighting the heroic spirit of Filipinos, their sense of aspiration and hope. It was combined with multi-media displays of Philippine culture, history, heritage and tourism, among others. The virtual concert also featured a piano piece of the Philippine National Anthem by Mr. Christian Joseph Dino, a Filipino music scholar in Germany.
Among the patriotic Filipino songs from different periods featured in the concert were Kayumangging Malaya, Jocelynang Baliwag, Mutya ng Pasig, and Pilipinas Kong Mahal. One of the highlights of the concert was the poetic interpretation of Andres Bonifacio’s Pag-ibig sa Tinubuang Lupa by Filipino actor Mr. John Arcilla.
In her message, the Consul General emphasized that the theme of this year’s celebration, “Diwa ng Kalayaan sa Pagkakaisa at Paghilom ng Bayan,” reminds us that freedom is something that we can achieve if we join hands together. She also underscored that “a different threat to our freedom has emerged, and that as our country and people struggle to overcome the onslaught of COVID-19 and strive to attain freedom – freedom from fear and the effects of this disease, we should overcome division and remain united so together we can continue toward the path of peace, progress and prosperity.”
As part of its pre-Independence Day activities, a virtual concert produced by the Department of Foreign Affairs was livestreamed on 11 June 2021 on the Consulate’s social media pages. The concert entitled, “Lessons for a Changed World: The Legacy of the Indigenous Peoples of the Philippines,” was a tribute to the independent spirit of our
country’s indigenous peoples. The special video production honored the traditional values that have allowed our indigenous peoples to survive, integrate with the bigger world, while remaining firmly rooted in their identities and collective memories. END