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LOOK: The preserved fragments of Jose Rizal's brain in a bottle

By NICK GARCIA Published Jul 04, 2023 10:09 am

Did you know that fragments of Jose Rizal's brain have been preserved?

Historian Ambeth Ocampo in a Facebook post on July 3 said he "recently" learned that Rizal's eldest sister Saturnina kept fragments of his brain in a bottle.

"I presume the fragments were formerly preserved in alcohol that has since dried up," Ocampo said, adding that he's still researching the story and context of the relic.

Ocampo also noted that while most of Rizal's mortal remains are buried under the monument in Luneta, a bit of his backbone was preserved in Fort Santiago.

The chipped bone, the historian noted, is believed to be the spot where the bullet hit him on Dec 30, 1896.

Ocampo thanked Britz Hamoy, Balay Hamon Museum curator, for the lead, as well as Francis Navarro, Ateneo de Manila University Archives director, for showing the item to him.

His post has over 36,000 reactions (most of which are "Wow" reactions), 700 comments, and 6,800 shares.

Rizal is widely considered as the country's national hero. An ophthalmologist by profession, he wrote the novels Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, which according to the National Historical Commission of the Philippines “were viewed as the guiding force for other patriots to rally for the country’s cause” in the revolution against Spain in 1896.

He was executed via firing squad on Dec. 30, 1986, for the crime of rebellion after the Philippine Revolution broke out.

Ocampo is known for his writings on Rizal, including Rizal Without the Overcoat, Makamisa: The Search for Rizal's Third Novel, and Meaning and History. He also annotated the second edition of Nick Joaquin's Rizal in Saga: A Life for Student Fans.

He also writes for Philippine Daily Inquirer the column "Looking Back," where he popularizes Philippine history.