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'Proud na proud pa siya': Jose Rizal's blood in hanky probably mistakenly washed by helper – Ambeth Ocampo |

Arts and Culture

'Proud na proud pa siya': Jose Rizal's blood in hanky probably mistakenly washed by helper – Ambeth Ocampo

Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo -

MANILA, Philippines — An important historical artifact could be lost forever — all because someone presumably innocently washed it like regular laundry.

Historian and former National Historical Commission chair Ambeth Ocampo shared to a funny story about National Hero Jose Rizal.

In an exclusive interview last Friday at the Ayala Museum where he had a talk, Ocampo revealed that he learned about Rizal’s brain fragments from the descendants of his sister Saturnina.

Related: Ambeth Ocampo shows Jose Rizal's brain fragments kept in a bottle

He, however, paid Rizal’s relatives a visit to verify if they had a handkerchief that contained the National Hero’s blood.

“Saturnina’s relatives, the ones who gave the fragments, many years ago, I visited them because the story in the Rizal family is after he died, after he was shot, one of the sisters went to Luneta with 10 or 12 hankies. And then they went there and they dipped (the hankies) in the blood. And according to family lore, each member of the family was given a family souvenir,” Ocampo recalled.

“No one knows where these things are, so when I went to this Saturnina house, I asked them, ‘Do you have a stained hanky?’ ‘Ay, meron kami n’yan! Nand’un sa kuwarto.’ Sabi ko, ‘Patingin nga’.”

The relatives were confident that the handkerchief was just in a room, but it was nowhere to be found.

“Hindi makita, then tinawag ‘yung mayordoma nila,” Ocampo continued.

But when the house help arrived with the handkerchief in question, the historian thinks he had been a day too late because the helper already washed the hanky believed to have Rizal’s blood on it.

“Ito o, may dumi ‘yan kahapon, nilabhan ko at kinuskos ko nang husto. Proud na proud pa s’ya…” Ocampo narrated.

“And then, I couldn’t tell them, ‘Alam n’yo, baka dugo ni Rizal ‘yung tinapon ninyo’.”

Despite what happened, Ocampo is hopeful that one day, one of the supposed hankies with the National Hero’s blood could still emerge for DNA testing, which could help Filipinos to know more about Rizal and the country’s culture and heritage.

“As a historian, I’m just waiting. If there were 10, there’s nine more somewhere that we don’t know (where). Ayun nga, the family doesn’t know.”

He has been visiting the National Heroes’ descendants since the ‘80s, and was able to interview one of Rizal’s relatives who lived while the National Hero was still alive, so Ocampo knows that the stories he was told were close to the era of Rizal.

Recently, Ocampo went viral for showing a photo of Rizal’s supposed brain fragments. — Photo by Deni Bernardo, Video by EC Toledo

RELATED: Ambeth Ocampo reveals doctors’ plan to study Jose Rizal’s brain size

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