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Rizal's First Christmas in Dapitan
After a short time, Jose Rizal began to enjoy the simple life of Dapitan.

Rizal became prosperous. Aside from his lottery prize, Rizal earned more money by practicing medicine. Some rich patients paid him well for curing their eye ailments. He began to buy agricultural lands in Talisay, a barrio near Dapitan. He planned to build his house in this scenic barrio by the seashore.

As Christmas came nearer, Rizal became more cheerful. His savings increased, for the cost of living in Dapitan was cheaper than in Calamba. His health improved. Many Dapitan folks, who were formerly indifferent to him, became his friends.

No wonder, Rizal enjoyed his first Christmas in Dapitan. He was one of the guests of Captain Carnicero at a Christmas Eve dinner in the comandancia (house of the commandant). The other guests were three Spaniards from the neighboring town of Dipolog and a Frenchman named Jean Lardet. It was a merry feast. The guests enjoyed the delicious dishes prepared by the commandantís native cook. With the exception of Rizal, they drank beer, for he disliked hard liquor. At midnight, Captain Carnicero, Rizal, and other guests went to church to hear the Mass of the Noche Buena.

In a letter to his mother, dated January 5, 1893, Rizal described how he enjoyed his first Christmas in Dapitan. He said:

"I spent a merry Christmas here. It could not have been merrier. I had a happy dinner on Christmas eve, together with my host (the commandant), three Spaniards from a neighboring town, and a Frenchman. We heard Mass at 12:00 midnight, for you know I go to Mass here every Sunday."

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