Rizalista Community in Laguna

Reflection Paper by Clyde Marc Garcia 

  1. The Rizalista community is a good site for conducting sociological research. As a whole, they have a unique religion and beliefs which are very far and different from the doctrine of Roman Catholic. Although they have evidences of their beliefs which they follow, they still believe in the existence of God as a savior and redeemer. The difference is that they proclaimed that Jose Rizal, to whom their community was named, and Jesus Christ are one and the same. In this regard, I may consider that their culture is really relevant and interesting by nature. By conducting actual field works and disregarding ethnocentrism one could really find their culture as very meaningful. Sometimes people reacted first against other culture without sufficient facts or ideas about that culture and this leads one to confusion about other culture. At this moment, the importance of Sociology as a discipline comes to mind to help one in understanding different societies. 
  2. According to them, Jose Rizal has the capability to transform a bunch of banana into an exact copy of him. It was believed that the one shot in Bagumbayan is not the original Jose Rizal but only a replicate of him. The true Jose Rizal escaped and lived in China. Residents of Rizalista community are believers of Dr. Jose Rizal. The leadership of the Rizalistas is in the hand of Aling Gloria. For them Jose Rizal and Jesus Christ are one and the same. It has been a long story from the past experience of its founder who happened to be the brother of Aling Gloria. Until now, they still are enhancing their faith through values and trust in God. Every year, in this community, they celebrate Rizal’s day through mass and procession. It is the day wherein the origin of their religion and the story of Rizal are being shared to the followers in their small but appealing church near the shoreline of Laguna Lake. 
  3. People of Rizalista Community have a simple lifestyle yet they still quest for such improvements in their lives. Since their community is located near the shorelines of the Laguna Lake, people there engaged in fishing as a source of living. Some of the fishes that they managed to catch in the lake are being sold to the neighboring towns in exchange for profit. Sometimes they are not lucky to catch fishes from the lake and because of this problem some of them cross the lake and seek for jobs in other communities. According to Manong Jolly, our interviewee, not all of them engaged in fishing; there are also some who have their own source of income like piggery. A piggery is a place where pigs are being bred and raised, and when the pigs grew enough they sell it to the market to earn money. Another source of living for the residents of Rizalista are the kangkong that grows in the shorelines of the lake; residents there get kangkong and bundle it to sell in other neighboring communities. 
  4. When we first arrived in that community, children are glad to meet us near their church and while waiting for the other members of the group we played with the rugby ball. In this regard, we have seen their hospitality. In comparison with other children from different communities, children of Ronggot are friendlier to visitors and they never depict anxiety against our visiting. These children of Ronggot are eager in schooling; they have their school inside of their community and have only two sessions. One session include grades one to three and the other session includes grades four to 6. I ask one of them about their schooling and this is what he replied to me, “Sa skul lang kami nag-aaral; pagkatapos nun uwian na at maglalaro na kami, kung minsan umaakyat kami ng puno o kaya man ganito namamangka”. Mang Jolly said that they lacked teachers and they don’t have enough books. This is one of the problems that their community is facing. Another is infrastructure, they don’t have decent path. In order to reach their community, one needs to ride a boat. Although it is exciting, it can cause accident especially when the water current immediately change and become unstable. The pathway that mang Jolly is pointing has only a little bit cemented part and according to him it’s due to the shady doings of their high officials. In my point of view, with respect to their statements, transportation is a major hindrance on why Ronggot lacked books and teachers. Another hindrance is corruptions. Instead of using the fund for the betterment of the community, officials take it for themselves. 
  5. Life in Rizalista community is peaceful; there are no gangs doing rumbles and intimidation to the residents. As we go around looking for interviewees, we heard music and peeped TV shows. In my observation, listening to music and watching televisions are pastimes of the residents of this community. However, they still cannot escape calamities like typhoons. At first, Rizalista community is not that elevated as we have seen right now that is why they get easily flooded in times of heavy rain. Even now that it is more elevated, still the lake goes beyond its shorelines and flood the community for several days. Changing weather condition triggers illnesses like flu, colds, and the like to attack children. If the sick is not severe, they will just go to health centers near their community. They only go to hospital when the sickness is severe and require immediate medication. But for a long time of staying in the community, these kinds of predicaments became normal to them. 
  6. As a student of Sociology at DLSU, I ought to be open-minded to broaden my understanding about different societies within the city living or outside of it. It is not enough to have understanding of what we encounter everyday in our own society; it’s better if we can also have understanding of what is going on outside the realm of one’s society. Sociology as a discipline has contributed a lot in my understanding about the lives of the Rizalistas. Since the study of Sociology includes culture, I was able to see the differences of their culture from our culture here in DLSU. Studying Sociology shapes my personality in dealing and interacting with other culture; it is not morally correct and acceptable if I’m going to laugh at their belief that Rizal and God are the same since it is their belief and part of their heritage as Rizalistas. As a human being, I have to respect this belief even their evidences may or may not be true. I learned from Sociology that culture is built on symbols and its symbolic system is language through which culture is being transmitted from generation to generation. This might be the best explanation on why the residents of the Rizalista community continue their beliefs and practices. Rizalistas clearly had their own ideas about religion. For them Rizal and God are one but for us Roman Catholic and LaSallians Rizal is just an exceptional intelligent human being. As a generalization, human beings are the same biologically and naturally but we have the expression of human culture to consider what is rude, necessary, morally wrong or correct, beautiful and ugly(Macionis, 1995).

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