It started with Dr. Jose Rizal’s monument (built in 1996) in Avenida de las Islas Filipinas. Then a friend reminded me of Viva Madrid, the national hero’s favorite restaurant while he was still in university here. Finally, my search for πŸ‘¨ Juan Luna’s award-winning paintings led me to Hotel Ingles where Filipino patriots met to celebrate his and Felix Resurrecion Hidalgo’s winning the gold and silver medals for their obra maestros.







It was a good walk πŸ‘£ from Puerto del Sol, away from Calle Mayor and along Carrera de San Jeronimo. The Net πŸ“² came in so handy with this guide on which metro line πŸš‰ to use, where to get off and πŸ‘£ walking instructions on how to reach Viva Madrid 🍴Calle Francisco Fernandez y Gonzalez, 7. Love it! My very own GPS. πŸ‘ŒπŸ‘







Soon, I found Viva Madrid. Right behind Teatro EspaΓ±ol. I checked out the menu and was secretly hoping there is a “Rizal’s Favorite” or something. A drink? Or a dessert? I found none. 😞 But I found a marker.







Just off the corner from Viva Madrid is Los Gabrielles, a music bar then where Filipino propagandists met regularly. I think this venue, described by Rizal in a letter to one of his sisters as having beautiful murals made of ceramic tiles, now hosts flamenco dance performances. πŸ’ƒπŸ‘―πŸ’ƒ






A few steps more, on the same Calle Echegaray, is Hotel Ingles, 🏫 venue for the banquet tendered in honor of Juan Luna and Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo when they won in the Madrid Exposition of Fine Arts in 1884 with their masterpieces “Spoliarium” (now at the National Art Gallery in Manila) and “Las Virgenes Cristianas Expuestas Al Populacho (Christian Virgins Exposed to the Populace, now at the Metropolitan Museum of Manila). In this banquet, our national hero — who’s said not to have eaten the whole day for lack of funds — gave more than a toast to honor Luna and Hidalgo. More like a speech. A speech so full of bravado and spunk, where Rizal frontally attacked the religious establishment. Perhaps a preview of the Padre Damasos and Padre Silvas in his Noli Me Tangere.







This same hotel is also where our Filipino patriots met for πŸŽ‡ πŸŽ‰ πŸŽ†New Year celebrations, or where they usually had their cenas or late dinners. For sure, they didn’t venture far. You see, Hotel Ingles and Los Gabrielles are just likely 30 steps away from each other, and Viva Madrid is just off the corner — perhaps another 30 steps. All in the same neighborhood! And all behind the lovely Teatro EspaΓ±ol 🏒πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Έ…. Errrr, another 30 steps.






Part 2 of Rizal’s Favorite Haunts πŸƒπŸ‘£πŸšΆin the making. Watch this site!