Monday, July 20, 2009


In the middle of 1995, when I called by long distance my brother Perfecto in Washington, D.C., telling him that I am doing a research about the Philippines, the life of our national hero Dr. Jose P. Rizal, the first Filipino and the Brussels history. I had a lengthy conversation touching on all the details pertinent to my works, including the manner in which the publication of the book could be expeditiously carried out.

My brother "Perfecto" admired my ideas, courage, and God given talents. Indeed he was so very supportive of my research and he even invites me to come to the US. In the same year I stayed 3-week in the United States, but most of my time were consumed visiting libraries in Washington D.C.

When I wrote "Born to be a Hero, the history of the Philippines, the national heroes, and the Brussels history. I had in mind the Filipinos in Europe. The Filipino organization leaders suggested to me that I write this book. They said many Filipino children born in Europe have never come to the Philippines and are studying the European history and the lives of European heroes but have no knowledge of the Philippine history and the Filipino heroes. Of course, I realize the great necessity of this, so I decided to write this book which would be beneficial not only to them, but also to our countrymen in the Philippines. I wrote this book in English and some introduction in French language so that the reader will find no difficulty in understanding it. It is my aim and hope that this will enlighten our people and foreigners as well.

This book was written from the point of view of the Filipinos and not of the Spaniards and the Americans. Even so, facts are not twisted to accommodate national prejudices. The facts are allowed to stand as facts, but their interpretations are my responsibility. Consequently, while l discussed the evils of the Spanish administration, I also discussed the good that Spain had done in the Philippines. The same may be said of my treatment of the American period: the good as well as the bad are placed side by side for all to see. This is the essence of impartiality in history. There is no deliberate twisting of facts in order to accommodate friends or to drag down enemies.

I am aware that some aspects of Rizal's biography will prove to be controversial; it is not a hagiography but the story of a human being who, being human, was afflicted with "the headache and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to". Rizal was not perfect, he was not always right, but I trust that those who read this story of his life will perceive that his humanity is precisely the secret of his greatness.

Sir Lino Wy Paras, KGO


This book is intended for the readers who treasures achievements, love of liberty and freedom. Why not? Born to be a Hero", the Philippines and Dr. Jos̩ Protacio Rizal. True he was not Napoleon, Stalin or Hitler, like those three brought death to so many, yet is glorified by an otherwise rational people. He was not Lincoln Рbut only in the sense that he acted on a much smaller stage, a country of little importance to the world because it does little harm. He, too, would set a people free Рby bringing light to them and their oppressors. (Lincoln was not too zealous about setting the Negro slaves free at the start.) Rizal faced the problem of human iniquities, injustices committed by the Dominicans and Governor General against his people. Whether he acted rightly or wrongly, his life illumines the problem and obtained respect of people everywhere.

Now comes this book "born to be a hero" by Sir Lino Paras a Belgian-Filipino in Brussels who revered Rizal a Universal man, whose life and death continue to haunt the minds and imaginations of foreigners as well as his countrymen. As tribute to the Philippine National Hero, the researcher-author-publisher mentioned extraordinary human courage, goodness and virtues that a man could have.

Hence, this work requires "enormous labor", as the author-researcher-publisher tediously followed up (for seven years) hundreds of bibliographical references for life, works and writings of Dr. Jose Rizal. The author almost abandoned making this book in 2001, due to the long period of sickness of his wife who died January 21, 2001. His devotion to his subject persists till he found out the unedited documents in archives of Belgium, France, Czech Republic and Spain about Rizal.

Who is this researcher-author-publisher?

He is a Rizalist, named Felino Wy Paras, born on March 15,1944, at the town of Cabiao, Province of Nueva Ecija. A naturalized Belgian with Filipino-Chinese blood born during the year (1944) that the first President of the Philippine Commonwealth, President Manuel L. Quezon, died. According to his father a priest in the town of Arayat, Pampanga, with Tata Ensiong Paras, his godfather, baptized him four months after his birth in complete catholic rites, at the foot of mount Arayat, Pampanga, and this was during the Philippine-Japanese war.

His father was Indolencio Parungao Paras, born May 15,1907 in Cabiao, Province of Nueva Ecija, and his mother was Escolastica Wy, Filipina-Chinese origin and a native of Rosales, Pangasinan, born August 15,1910. Sir Lino Paras has seven (7) brothers, Jose, Perfecto, Alipio, Zoilo, Leonardo, Godofredo, Juanito, and two (2) sisters Corazon and Angelina. He was married to Elsa Aloquina Castor, on September 21,1965 and his wife died after a long period fighting of cancer. They have two (2) sons Fernando and Alberto, both married and have nice family living in Brussels.

Sir Lino Paras immigrated in Belgium in the year 1965 one of the first Filipino established in the heart of Europe. He became the Filipino godfather in the area, not only giving shelter to new Filipino arrivals but extended financial assistance and helped secure job placement most especially for the unemployed Filipinos.

He followed courses at the University Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and Graduated in Master of Business Administration.

In 1977 he joined a company whose specialization was Studio-Radio Television lighting equipment. 1980, he was employed at the Bank Brussels Lambert (BBL) in Brussels, and in 1995, he setup his own businesses: The PhilAir Travel International Sprl, and Fibel Trading International LTD. 1979 he joined several Filipino organizations: The "Asbl" Philippine Sports Community of Brussels (PSC), Benelux Filipino Sports Federation (BFSF), The Alliance, Belga Cultura of Belgium, Belgian Chamber on Philippine Economic Relationship, The "Asbl" Philippine Chaplaincy, Belgian-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and The "Asbl" Philippine Tourism Promotion Office in the Benelux. Presently, a Radio Broadcaster of DZXL-RMN Belgium online "Bantay OCW" with Susan K. and Cesar Padilla.

He married Baniza Lasota Seit on January 30, 2002, a lovely young and talented lady of Negros Oriental, born on August 15, 1979 in Sta. Catalina, Dumaguete City. A Foreign Service Graduate at the Lyceum of the Philippines. She passed the civil Service Examination in 2001,with distinction. Decided to write books and look personally their lovely daughter Marie-Christine rather than joining the government service.

What one to say of the book? It is obviously, as the researcher-author-publisher says a labor of love, and this love makes Rizal come vividly to life. No detail of what controversial life is slurred that would provide insight into a reluctant hero - reluctant, but a hero notwithstanding. The highest moments come, of course, when Rizal himself speaks. What a true man, not a blank figure, is revealed! There is no posturing in his letters, only brilliant mind though "perplexed in the extreme" is exposed, and a beating heart. What he wrote as he await death in the morning would melt a heart of stone. There is no pity for him, only thought for others, for those he loved whom he brought so such suffering when he followed his conscience – a reflection of God's will on earth.

Sir Rudy Nollas, KCR

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