Life and Works of Jose Rizal – A brief story

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Near Midnight of Wednesday, June 19, 1861, a boy who later dare, fought and challenge an empire was born in Calamba, Laguna. His mother Doña Teodora Alonzo experiences extremely difficult and seems almost died to deliver him because his head is literally big. He is seventh from eleven children’s of Doña Teododa and Don Francisco. He was given a name Jose in honor to saint Joseph which feast is during his birth date. His full name was Jose Protasio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda. Alonso is her mother’s family name while Realonda was a name given by general at that time. Meanwhile, Mercado was given to his father’s family names which means “merchant.” In addition, his father given their own family name “Protacio” which nearly means “protesto” or “Protest” in English. The name “Racial” spelled as “Rizal” which means greenfield since their family is farmer was added in their family name.

Paciano, second from oldest of Rizal’s child’s, was the most possible links to his family and his bestfriend since childhood. As early as 2 years old, Pepe was interested in painting, curving, and sculpting. In addition, Jose’s father which studied Latin and Philosophy “Francisco Mercado” books which about 1,000 directly influences Jose in reading and writing. At that age, Joses’ most favorite book is “El Amigo Delos Niños” or “The friends of the children” in English. The said library of his father is the most possible reason why Jose, at very young age learns reading and writing.

Indio, a name called by the Spaniards to the uneducated people. There were no Mother and Father in the family who is educated at that time except the Family Mercado. Doña Teodora was able to studied in college and an expert mathematician, which teaches Jose at very young age. There were no measurements for being gifted at that time but because of the differences between Mercado’s Family compare to other “indios” the discrepancies exist.

For the record, Rizal was able to wrote his first poem entitled “Sa Aking mga Kabata” or “To my fellow youth” when he is 8 years old.


Sa Aking Mga Kabata

Kapagka ang baya’y sadyang umiibig
Sa kanyang salitang kaloob ng langit,
Sanlang kalayaan nasa ring masapit
Katulad ng ibong nasa himpapawid.

Pagka’t ang salita’y isang kahatulan
Sa bayan, sa nayo’t mga kaharian,
At ang isang tao’y katulad, kabagay
Ng alin mang likha noong kalayaan.

Ang hindi magmahal sa kanyang salita
Mahigit sa hayop at malansang isda,
Kaya ang marapat pagyamaning kusa
Na tulad sa inang tunay na nagpala.

Ang wikang Tagalog tulad din sa Latin
Sa Ingles, Kastila at salitang anghel,
Sapagka’t ang Poong maalam tumingin
Ang siyang naggawad, nagbigay sa atin.

Ang salita nati’y huwad din sa iba
Na may alfabeto at sariling letra,
Na kaya nawala’y dinatnan ng sigwa
Ang lunday sa lawa noong dakong una.

Because of his extraordinary capabilities, his family sent him in Biñan, a much bigger and progressive town in Laguna at that time. He meets his teacher “Maestro Justiniano Aquino Cruz” which is their relatives and a teacher of Paciano in his old days. But Jose finished his study for very short time because according to Maestro Justiciano, “Pepe learned everything so what else did he missed?”

A big controversy was shocked the family and their relatives when Doña Teodora was jailed because of accusation that she poisoned her sister in law which has no valid evidences. Pepe is 11 when her mother was jailed and this happening in his life were one of the reasons for being nationalist. In fact, the story of “Sisa” and other related “Manangs” in Noli Me Tangere and el Felibusterismo were adopted from this happenings in his life.

Another happening were the execution of the martyr friars “GomBurZa.” On January 1872, nearly two hundred Filipinos employed at Cavite Arsenal staged a revolt against the Spanish government’s voiding of their exemption from the payment of tributes. The three friars were identified as the immediate adviser of Cavite Mutiny. On February 17, 1872, the martyrs were publicly executed at Bagumbayan. Paciano witness the cruelty of the Spanish government when the three friars were executed. Paciano is known as companion and sexton (sacristan) of Padre Jose Burgos. After the execution, Paciano reported to his family the happenings and they decided to change their family name to “Rizal” to prevent the authority to caught Paciano.

At the same year, Jose were sent in Ateneo de Municipal in Manila to continue his study and he is enrolled using the name “Jose Protacio Rizal.” In 1876, he finished his study in Ateneo with Highest Grade among all at age of 15.

At age of 16, Jose fell his first love to 14 years old Batangeña Segunda Kaitgbak but she is already engaged in Manuel Luz.

At that time, his mother’s vision started to worsen that’s why he decided to transfer in University of Sto. Tomas to study medicine. During his study, Pepe still possess dedication in writings. He wrote a story in Spanish language entitled “El Consejo de los Dioses” or “The Council of God” in English. At the recognition day of the contest, his name announced as winner. He steps up at the stage and when everybody saw that the winner is an “Indio” no body applaud him. This another dark happening in his life triggered him to stop studying.

During his days in University, he met and courted “Leonor Orang Valenzuela”, his neighbor. At that time, he is currently linked to another Leonor, his considered as first and great love, his childhood friend “Leonor Rivera.”

A liberal governor Jose Maria Dela Tore awarded a scholarship abroad to the indios in favor for the petitions of the Filipinos against the manipulations of Spaniards in education system and called this as “No Education Freedom.” Through the said scholarship, Paciano convinced Jose to go in Madrid Spain and continue his study in medicine letting Paciano itself sacrifices for the sake of their parents and family. Another thing Paciano told to Jose is the pride of being a holder of License in Medicine that Pepe will able to help Filipino Citizens as long as to prevent the discriminations for their family. At the end, Jose Decided to go in Spain without the permission and knowledge of his parents. The secret was fell only to him and his brother Paciano.

In Barcelona, Jose wrote his first propaganda essay and sent to published in newspapers in Manila, entitled “el amor patrio” or “ang pagibig sa tinubuang lupa” in Filipino. During that time, the “illustrado’s” or the educated Indios may only choose in three professions; Doctor, Lawyer and Priest. Most of Jose’s friends are Lawyer because they seen the same idea and fact that cruelty ruins the Filipino people. Even there is a presence of strong discriminations, most of the Illustrado’s shows their talents outside the country. In Madrid, Juan Luna won gold medal for his painting “spolliarium” while Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo won Silver medal for his work “Las Virgenes Cristianas Expuestas al Populacho.”

For the record, Filipinos prove that we have the same quality of talents as what Spanish has.

In 1884, in a celebration to Juan Luna and Felix Hidalgo for their success, Jose offers “Brindis” speech which would later sent him in controversy.

According to the speech, Jose said that “Genius knows no country, genius sprouts anywhere, genius is like light, air. the patrimony of everybody, cosmopolitan like space, like life, like God.”

The said speech that shows Filipino were becoming like Spaniard was admired by the liberals from Spain not by the Spaniards in the Philippines.

At the same year, Jose finished his study and granted a title of Medicine and Philosophy.

From Spain, Jose went to France to follow the famous ophthalmologist Dr. Luis De Wecker. During this time, Jose started to wrote a famous novel “Noli Me Tangere.” After hi finished the novel, Jose struggled to publish the book because the publishing house aks Jose to pay 500 pesos instead of 200 pesos for 1,500 copies. At that time, Jose was only relying on the monetary support from his family in Philippines so he has no other source of income to pa such cost. Because of the donation from his brother Paciano and his friend Maximo Viola, Jose was able to published at least 2000 copies of his novel and to cut the cost, there were chapters removed. The novel wrote in Spanish language spread in the Philippines strategically target the Spaniards readers because the indio’s were unable to read Spanish. In response, the government ordered the prohibition to read and own the book.

During his days in Europe, Jose was link to many girls such as Spanish girl Consuelo Ortiga, a one-month love affairs with Japanese O Sei San, and a British Gertrude Beckett. Another girl link to Jose is Nellie Boustead which also courted by Antonio Luna. Another girl was Suzanne Jacoby.

In 1886, after he spent 4 years in Europe, Jose decided to return in the Philippines. In few days, many of his towns man complaints to him against the cruelty and harassment of the friars. The people pleased Jose to write a petition to resist increase in rents and cut the taxes imposed by the Dominican friars in Calamba. The said petition was contested in Manila and won with synchronous order by the Governor General to cut the taxes and not to increase the rents.

But because of his novel which triggered the friars to hunt Jose, Paciano advised Jose to go back in Europe in order to get him away from dangers. In addition, for the security of Jose’s life, Paciano ask their inmates, relatives and friends to use their family name Rizal.

In Europe, Jose started and finished his second novel “El Filibusterismo.” During this time, the Friars appeal to the Governor General against to the petition of Jose and later, the Friars won the case. As a result, his family were evicted in their own house, his brother in law were jailed and later will thrown in distance places, their house was burned and their family property were confiscated by the friars.

In 1889, because of hatred in heart of Jose, he used the newspaper founded by Graciano Lopez Jaena as propaganda. He wrote articles against the cruelty of Spaniards in the Philippines under the pen name “Laong Laan.

The most controversial articles that Jose wrote is “Sobre la indolencia de los filipinos.” In this article, Jose said that there is a Spanish Writer who said that the Filipino is extremely Lazy. Jose argues with the statement of the Spanish Writer and said that maybe the Filipino were lazy but its because the temperature in our country is quite hotter than Europe. Another clarification from this statement, Jose said quoted an idea that who is much lazier? The Filipino or the Spanish? Because the Spanish cannot live without their slave. The Spanish cannot even wear their shoe without the slave and cannot walk under the sun without again the help of their slave.

Because of worsened cruelty and harassments, Jose Discussed to Marcelo H. Del Pilar the Idea of colonialism. He pointed out that the Spaniards treat will no longer change whatever efforts they may exert so the real problem of them is the colonialism. He also asks Marcelo to go home because the fight is not in the Europe, but in their home land.

In 1891, Jose announced his return in the Philippines but his family never allowed him to step back in Manila so they secretly meet in Hongkong. During this time, he planned to established a secret civic association “La Liga Filipina” aimed to get along all the Filipino, signed with a pact to protect each other against cruelty and harassment.

At the current year, Leonor Rivera contacted Jose to let him know that she married an English Railway Engineer “Charles henry Kipping.”

In July 3, 1892 at Tondo Manila, Jose established the La Liga Filipina (The Philippine League) and one of many Filipino enjoined is Andres Bonifacio. Lately the Spaniards discovered the secret movements, and decided to arrest Jose Rizal.

When Jose arrested, Andres Bonifacio realizes that the situation cannot solve through peaceful steps and later established the KKK (Katastaasang Kagalanggalangang Katipuanan ng mga Anak ng Bayan) on July 7, 1892. The more on Physical and Military based movement aimed the following;

1. The political goal was to completely separate the Philippines from Spain after declaring the country’s independence.
2. The moral goal was to teach the Filipinos good manners, cleanliness, hygiene, fine morals, and how to guard themselves against religious fanaticism.
3. The civic goal was to encourage Filipinos to help themselves and to defend the poor oppressed.

Jose was arrested and exile in Dapitan, a far province and covered by forest lands in Mindanao at that time. In Dapitan, he is able to established his own Hospital, School, and other facilities that the locals will benefit. But no one outside from the town allowed to visit him excepts for medical treatments purposes. But over this extreme security method imposed by the authority, Katipunan still have access to Jose by means of Pio Valenzuela. Pio, a physician, is able to meet Jose for the reason of Medical treatment for his friend Roberto Mata supposed to be a blind.

During his days in Dapitan, he met an Irish girl Josephine Bracken because of his god father George Taufer who visits Jose for Medical Reason.

In 1895, Jose voluntarily offer himself as a Doctor to go into Cuba to serve Spaniards and Locals. In this year, the Cubans occurring a revolution against the Spaniards and governor general Ramón Blanco allowed him.

While Jose is on his way to Cuba, the Philippine revolution begins. He was jailed in Spain and after a few days returns in the Philippines and jailed again in Fort Santiago.

In December 27 1896, Jose’s rebellion case trials started and condemned penalty of death. Paciano’s Company expressed their determination to death in exchange of Jose’s scape but Paciano never allowed this plan. He believes that if the government executed Jose, more and more people will have enjoined themselves in revolution.

In December 30, 1896, as early before the sun rises, Jose and Josephine married. Jose Rizal were publicly executed in Bagumbayan through firing squad.

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