On Rizal Day, Malacanang tries to put color into hero’s photographs

As the nation celebrates the centennial of the re-interment of Jose Rizal’s remains in Rizal Park, the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO) has embarked on a new project to digitally colorize archival photos of Philippine history, among them pictures of the national hero.

“Momentous occasions caught in iconic black and white photographs are now made even more remarkable, rendered in color; yet faithful to the integrity of the original,” the PCDSPO said in the gov.ph website.

One photo of Rizal, which has been “enhanced”, is shown above. This was taken in Paris during his visit to National Artist Juan Luna and the Pardo de Taveras.

Another is Rizal’s iconic photograph (below) circa 1890, which was taken in Spain.

But, some Pinoy netizens said they preferred the unadulterated photos, saying they would rather see the original black-and-white copies and for the government to just focus on restoring them.

“… I agree with most of the people here: colorizing these important photos is a waste of money. We should focus on restoration, preservation and making them readily available to students and researchers,” said one comment.

To commemorate Rizal’s re-interment, the PCDSPO has also put up a special webpage that chronicles the last days of Rizal.

“A hundred years ago, on December 30, 1912, Jose Rizal’s remains were transferred from his family’s custody to the base of the monument during which, a ceremony was conducted. A year after the transfer, Rizal’s monument was unveiled. This was the 17th anniversary of his death,” the site read.

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