FRIENDSHIP: A VIRTUE THAT NEVER FADES OUT
Olongapo City, Philippines
In line with the 150th birth anniversary of Dr Jose Rizal, the Greatest Filipino and National Hero let it be recalled that, Jose Rizal was noted for his undying friendship during his life time. Ferdinand Blumentritt was Rizal’s best European friend. Jose Rizal then, in Heidelberg, Germany and a student in Europe wrote his first letter to Ferdinand Blumentritt on July 31, 1886 and the last letter to his friend he wrote on December 29, 1896 from Forth Santiago then, a prisoner of Spain waiting for his execution.
It was a friendship bonded with correspondence that spanned about a ten (10) year period consisted of 211 letters written in the German language. Jose Rizal and Ferdinand Blumentritt addressed each other as “Mein Bruder” translated in English as “My Brother” describes the “closeness and true friendships that bonded them”. Being a friend, Blumentritt received and kept 123 letters from Jose Rizal.
Since his youthful years, Ferdinand Blumentritt had great interest on Spain and its colony, the Philippines. He learned Spanish language from his aunt from Ronda whom he had lived with between his fourth and thirteenth year of age hence, he became interested in Philippines.
Ferdinand Blumentritt was a degree holder of History and Geography. He was an accomplished writer as evidenced by his famous works like Die Chinesen auf den Philippines-(The Chinese in the Philippines) in 1879, Versuch einer Ethnographie der Philippinen (An Attempt of an Ethnography of the Philippines), published in Petermann's Mittheilungen in 1882. Being a geographer, he did sketches of maps of the Philippines in which he corrected some mistakes. He was a scientist as evidenced by 1,400 notes and sources which refer to his scientific works.
After the publication of Rizal’s first novel Noli Me Tangere, Maxcimo Viola and Rizal had initiated the one and only visit to Ferdinand Blumentritt on May 13-17, 1887 in Leitmeritz. Blumentritt was then, in poor health conditions that deprived him to visit the Philippines.
As a token of gratitude to the undying friendship between Jose Rizal and Ferdinand Blumentritt, a famous street, BLUMENTRITT STREET in Sta. Cruz, Manila was named after this great man and the best European friend of Rizal and the Philippines .