The Life and Works of
Dr. Jose P. Rizal
Jose Rizal Page
Why is Dr. Jose P. Rizal considered the National hero of the Philippines?
There were many brave and gallant heroes of his time who was advocating the same thing he was, namely to remove the injustices being done and the oppression of the Filipinos by the local government. Dr. Rizal was never against Spain, nor did he advocate secession from Spain.
Philippines was of no great strategic nor economic importance to Spain. Most of the “Administrators” tasked with the running of the local government in the Philippines were Spaniards who were loyal to the powers at that time. As a reward for their political loyalties rather than for their administrative abilities, they were given political appointments and sent to the Philippines as administrators. This was compounded by both the desire to convert the Filipinos to the Catholic faith and the none-separation of state and church at that time where in many instances the church was more powerful than the state in the territories.
Some of the administrators were sometimes uneducated and had only personal selfish goals, some spent only a short time in the Philippines and hastily replaced because of the uncertain and unstable condition prevailing then at that time in Spain.
Dr. Jose Rizal was a man of many talents. In addition to being an ophthalmologist, he was also a linguist who knew many languages including Filipino, Spanish, German, and French among several. He was also a celebrated writer and poet, agriculturist, animal lover, anthropologist, botanist, businessman, commentator, educator, ethnologist, swordsman, historian, humorist, journalist, plant lover, propagandist, reformer, revolutionist, sculptor, sharp shooter, sportsman, traveler, and a chess player.
He was born in Calamba, Laguna (a few kilometers south of Manila) on June 19, 1861 and spent most of his childhood days in Calamba.
At the age of 8 in 1869 he wrote his first known poem “To my Fellow Children” (in Tagalog) where he encourages the love for one’s native language. On June 10, 1872 he started his secondary education in Manila at the Ateneo de Letran.
On November 14, 1874 he wrote a poem titled “Felicitation” as a birthday greeting to the husband of his sister Narcisa. On December 5, 1875 he wrote 3 more poems for which at the end of the school year in March 1876 won him five medals for his talent in poetry.
On April 1, 1876 (age 15) he writes 2 more poems namely “Intimate Alliance of Religion and good Education” and “Education gives Luster to the Country”. During the summer months while on vacation he wrote a poem called “San Eustaquio, a Martyr”.
On December 3, 1876 he writes 3 more poems “El cautiverio y el triunfo” or "The Captivity and the Triumph", “Entrada triunfal de los Reyes Catolicos en Granada” or "The Triumphant entrance of the Catholic Kings in Granada", and “La Conquista de Granada” or " The Conquest of Granada".
On March 14, 1877 he received his Bachelor of Arts degree.
On November 22, 1879 his poem “A la Juventud Filipino” (“To the Filipino Youth”) won first prize in a poetry contest and an honorable mention from the organization loosely translated “Association of the Friends of the Fatherland”.
Notably also he wrote an essay or prose entitled “The Council of Gods” which was about the Greek/Roman mythological “gods and goddesses” which showed his deep knowledge of the subject.
He started his medical studies at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila (the oldest university in the Far East) but stopped because of the unfair treatment by the Dominican Friars of Filipino students.
On May 3, 1882 he left the Philippines for Spain where he studied to be a doctor at the Universidad de Madrid. While in Europe he lived in Spain, France, Germany, Belgium, and Austria until July 3, 1887 when he returned to the Philippines for a brief period.
It was during this period between 1882 and 1887 while in Europe that he started to clamor for reforms together with other Filipino “illustrados” or “Elites”.
He wanted only to make his homeland a real "home" for his countrymen where they can enjoy freedom of speech and religion, the right to choose their own leaders, and the pursuit of happiness with the equal protection of the government.
The focus of his writings was the liberal and progressive ideas of individual rights and freedom and rights for the Filipino people. He shared the same sentiments as the leaders and members of the revolutionary movement in battling the corrupt friars and bad government. He was not against Spain itself but rather the local Spanish administration in the Philippines. He supported revolution through further education of the Filipinos in self-governance and political self-determination and not through armed conflict. One of his famous sayings amplifies this most, “The slaves of today will be the tyrants of tomorrow”.
He is considered to be the forerunner to advocate “non-violent” disobedience as practiced by Mahatma Gandhi in India and Nelson Mandela in South Aftica. Keeping in mind the “people’s power” overthrow of Marcos in the Philippines in the 1970’s, and recent “peaceful non-violent” revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and other Middle Eastern countries, vindicates and proves that his concept of “non-violence” is the right way to achieve reforms in Asia as it was possible in France and other European countries.
Rizal advocated the following:
1. That the Philippines be a province of Spain
2. That the Philippines be given Representation in the Spanish Cortes (legistative body)
3. That there should be more Filipino priests instead of Spanish friars (Augustinians, Dominicans, and Franciscans) in parishes and remote barrios
4. That there should be freedom of assembly and speech
5. That there should be equal rights before the law for both Filipino and Spanish plaintiffs
The colonial authorities in the Philippines did not favor these reforms even if they were more openly endorsed by Spanish intellectuals like Morayta, Unamuno, Pi y Margall, and others in Spain.
Rizal maintained that a conquered country should be developed, civilized, educated, and trained in self-governance instead of being exploited and taken advantage of.
He asserted that the way the Spaniards ruled and governed in the Philippines resulted in:
1. The bondage and slavery of the Filipino people
2. The Spanish government’s requirement of forced labor and forced military service upon the natives
3. The abuse of power by means of exploitation
4 . The government ruling that any complaint against the authorities was criminal
5 . Making the people ignorant, destitute and fanatic therefore discouraging the formation of a national sentiment
Rizal’s guiding political philosophy was the study and application of reforms, the extension of human rights, the training for self government and the arousing of spirit of discontent over oppression, brutality, inhumanity, sensitiveness and self love.
A brief summary of his life:
Calamba and Manila, Philippines - June 19, 1861 to May, 1882 -childhood days
Europe - first time May 3, 1882 to July 3, 1887 - pursuit of education and studying to be a doctor and becoming an active reformist
Philippines - August 5, 1887 – February 3, 1888 - a brief vacation to see his family again
Hong Kong Feb 8, 1888 to Feb 22, 1888 - brief side trip on his way back to Europe
Japan Feb 28, 1888 to April 13, 1888 - brief side trip on his way back to Europe
USA - April 28, 1888 to May 16, 1888 - brief side trip on his way back to Europe
Europe from June 2, 1888 to Oct 17, 1891 - more reformist activites and literary works
Hong Kong Nov 19, 1891 to June 21, 1892 - permanently leaving Europe and becoming a doctor in Hong Kong
Philippines Manila June 26, 1892 to July 15, 1892 - return to the Philippines where he thought he should continue his clamor for reform
Philippines Dapitan July 17, 1892 to July 31, 1896 - hi unjust exile due to his political work
To Cuba and Bagumbayan - August 1, 1896 to December 30, 1896 - volunteered to serve as a Doctor for the Spanish army in Cuba but on his way
to Cuba was re-arrested, sent back, tried by court martial and executed by firing squad in Bagumbayan, now Luneta.
The following is an excert from Wikipidea
Legacy of Dr. Jose P. Rizal
Rizal's advocacy of institutional reforms by peaceful means rather than by violent revolution makes him Asia's first modern non-violent proponent of political reforms. Forerunner of Gandhi and contemporary of Tagore and Sun Yat Sen, all four created a new climate of thought throughout Asia, leading to the attrition of colonialism and the emergence of new Asiatic nations by the end of World War II.
Rizal's appearance on the scene came at a time when European colonial power had been growing and spreading, mostly motivated by trade, some for the purpose of bringing Western forms of government and education to peoples regarded as backward. Coinciding with the appearance of those other leaders, Rizal from an early age had been enunciating in poems, tracts and plays, ideas all his own of modern nationhood as a practical possibility in Asia. In the Noli he stated that if European civilization had nothing better to offer, colonialism in Asia was doomed.
Such was recognized by Gandhi who regarded him as a forerunner in the cause of freedom. Jawaharlal Nehru, in his prison letters to his daughter Indira, acknowledged Rizal's significant contributions in the Asian freedom movement. These leaders regarded these contributions as keystones and acknowledged Rizal's role in the movement as foundation layer.
Rizal, through his reading of Morga and other western historians, knew of the genial(favorable) image of Spain's early relations with his people. In his writings, he showed the disparity between the early colonialists and those of his day, with the latter's atrocities giving rise to Gomburza and the Philippine Revolution of 1896. His biographer, Austin Coates, and writer, Benedict Anderson, believe that Rizal gave the Philippine revolution a genuinely national character; and that Rizal's patriotism and his standing as one of Asia's first intellectuals have inspired others of the importance of a national identity to nation-building.
Although his field of action lay in politics, Rizal's real interests lay in the arts and sciences, in literature and in his profession as an ophthalmologist.
Shortly after his death, the Anthropological Society of Berlin met to honor him with a reading of a German translation of his farewell poem and
Dr. Rudolf Virchow delivering the eulogy.
THE MERCADO (RIZAL) FAMILY
Source of the document
The Rizals is considered as one of the biggest families during their time. Domingo Lam-co, the family's paternal ascendant was a full-blooded Chinese who came to the Philippines from Amoy, China in the closing years of the 17th century and married a Chinese half-breed by the name of Ines de la Rosa.
Researchers revealed that the Mercado-Rizal family had also traces of Japanese, Spanish, Malay and Even Negrito blood aside from Chinese.
Jose Rizal came from a 13-member family consisting of his parents, Francisco Mercado II and Teodora Alonso Realonda, and nine sisters and one brother.
FRANCISCO MERCADO (1818-1898)
Father of Jose Rizal who was the youngest of 13 offsprings of Juan and Cirila Mercado. Born in Biñan, Laguna on April 18, 1818; studied in San Jose College, Manila; and died in Manila.
TEODORA ALONSO (1827-1913)
Mother of Jose Rizal who was the second child of Lorenzo Alonso and Brijida de Quintos. She studied at the Colegio de Santa Rosa. She was a business-minded woman, courteous, religious, hard-working and well-read. She was born in Santa Cruz, Manila on November 14, 1827 and died in 1913 in Manila.
SATURNINA RIZAL (1850-1913)
Eldest child of the Rizal-Alonzo marriage. Married Manuel Timoteo Hidalgo of Tanauan, Batangas .
PACIANO RIZAL (1851-1930)
Only brother of Jose Rizal and the second child. Studied at San Jose College in Manila; became a farmer and later a general of the Philippine Revolution.
NARCISA RIZAL (1852-1939)
The third child. married Antonio Lopez at Morong, Rizal; a teacher and musician.
OLIMPIA RIZAL (1855-1887)
The fourth child. Married Silvestre Ubaldo; died in 1887 from childbirth.
LUCIA RIZAL (1857-1919)
The fifth child. Married Mariano Herbosa.
MARIA RIZAL (1859-1945)
The sixth child. Married Daniel Faustino Cruz of Biñan, Laguna.
JOSE RIZAL (1861-1896)
The second son and the seventh child. He was executed by the Spaniards on December 30,1896.
CONCEPCION RIZAL (1862-1865)
The eight child. Died at the age of three.
JOSEFA RIZAL (1865-1945)
The ninth child. An epileptic, died a spinster.
TRINIDAD RIZAL (1868-1951)
The tenth child. Died a spinster and the last of the family to die.
SOLEDAD RIZAL (1870-1929)
The youngest child married Pantaleon Quintero.
Some of the most important writings of Dr. Jose Rizal:
"Mi Ultimo Adios" or "My Last Farewell" or "Pahimakas" or "Letztes Lebewohl" in Spanish, English, Tagalog, and Deutsch - This was written by the national hero the night before he was executed by firing squad.
"Noli Me Tangere" or "The Social Cancer" - a satirical novel exposing the arrogance and despotism of the Spanish clergy.
"El Filibusterismo" or "The Reign of Greed" which is a sequel to the "Noli" which is more revolutionary than the Noli.