A recent trip to Laguna provided a brief visit at the Rizal Shrine in Calamba which stirred a flak almost a year ago when National Historical Institute boss Ambeth Ocampo decided to retouch its exterior colors from the original antique hue to a hilariously offbeat – mint green, as shown below.
The “effeminate” color, as what Frank Hilario nailed, was of course, defended by the NHI chair through a length of a flowery article posted in his Philippine Daily Inquirer column. Getting across Mr. Ocampo’s number of reasons: limited choice of color available during the Spanish era; GREEN in honor of the Rizal family’s way of life; GREEN being the meaning of their surname and – get ready for this – GREEN representing the green fields READY FOR HARVEST. Imagine reaping those green palays!
Through all his justifications, Mr. Ocampo but failed to mention the only reason why the Rizal Shrine’s cosmetic was refashioned into what seemed like a one big men’s room: to suit his “effeminate” taste.
(But as of this writing, word has it that Chairman Ocampo is about to be axed from his post. So there.)
That’s the trouble with these government officials. Once you place them in office they take delight in painting the town with their own flying colors regardless of what’s proper or not. Take for instance Bayani Fernando’s Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) that washed every urban installations from urinals to footbridges with his beloved color (pink) only to be re-coated when a new administrator with different color desire comes along.
This brings me to some WHAT IFS that will give us a look at what the Rizal Shrine could become when bureaucrats get their hands on the historical establishment: