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BIOGRAPHY OF PHILIPPINE HEROES JOSE RIZAL (1861-1896)

Jos Protasio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda (June 19, 1861 - December 30, 1896) Born in the town of Calamba, Laguna, was a Filipino polymath, nationalist and the most prominent advocate for reforms in the Philippines during the Spanish colonial era. He is considered the Philippines' national hero and the anniversary of Rizal's death is commemorated as a Philippine holiday called Rizal Day. Rizal's 1896 military trial and execution made him a martyr of the Philippine Revolution. He was the seventh

child in a family of 11 children (2 boys and 9 girls). Both his parents were educated and belonged to distinguished families. His father, Francisco Mercado Rizal, an industrious farmer whom Rizal called "a model of fathers," came from Bian, Laguna; while his mother, Teodora Alonzo y Quintos, a highly cultured and accomplished woman whom Rizal called "loving and prudent mother," was born in Meisic, Sta. Cruz, Manila. At the age of 3, he learned the alphabet from his mother; at 5, while learning to read and write, he already showed inclinations to be an artist. He astounded his family and relatives by his pencil drawings and sketches and by his moldings of clay. At the age 8, he wrote a Tagalog poem, "Sa Aking Mga Kabata," the theme of which revolves on the love of ones language. In 1877, at the age of 16, he obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree with an average of "excellent" from the Ateneo Municipal de Manila. In the same year, he enrolled in Philosophy and Letters at the University of Santo Tomas, while at the same time took courses leading to the degree of surveyor and expert assessor at the Ateneo. He finished the latter course on March 21, 1877 and passed the Surveyors examination on May 21, 1878; but because of his age, 17, he was not granted license to practice the profession until December 30, 1881. In 1878, he enrolled in medicine at the University of Santo Tomas but had to stop in his studies when he felt that the Filipino students were being discriminated upon by their Dominican tutors. On May 3, 1882, he sailed for Spain where he continued his studies at the Universidad Central de Madrid. On June 21, 1884, at the age of 23, he was conferred the degree of Licentiate in Medicine and on June 19, 1885, at the age of 24, he finished his course in Philosophy and Letters with a grade of "excellent." Having traveled extensively in Europe, America and Asia, he mastered 22 languages. These include Arabic, Catalan, Chinese, English, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Malayan, Portuguese, Russian, Sanskrit, Spanish, Tagalog, and other native dialects. A versatile genius, he was an architect, artists, businessman, cartoonist, educator, economist, ethnologist, scientific farmer, historian, inventor, journalist, linguist, musician, mythologist, nationalist, naturalist, novelist, ophthalmic surgeon, poet, propagandist, psychologist, scientist, sculptor, sociologist, and theologian. He was an expert swordsman and a good shot. In the hope of securing political and social reforms for his country and at the same time educate his countrymen, Rizal, the greatest apostle of Filipino nationalism, published, while in Europe, several works with highly nationalistic and revolutionary tendencies. In March 1887, his daring book, NOLI ME TANGERE, a satirical

novel exposing the arrogance and despotism of the Spanish clergy, was published in Berlin; in 1890 he reprinted in Paris, Morgas SUCCESSOS DE LAS ISLAS FILIPINAS with his annotations to prove that the Filipinos had a civilization worthy to be proud of even long before the Spaniards set foot on Philippine soil; on September 18, 1891, EL FILIBUSTERISMO, his second novel and a sequel to the NOLI and more revolutionary and tragic than the latter, was printed in Ghent. Because of his fearless exposures of the injustices committed by the civil and clerical officials, Rizal provoked the animosity of those in power. This led himself, his relatives and countrymen into trouble with the Spanish officials of the country. As a consequence, he and those who had contacts with him were shadowed; the authorities were not only finding faults but even fabricating charges to pin him down. Thus, he was imprisoned in Fort Santiago from July 6, 1892 to July 15, 1892 on a charge that anti-friar pamphlets were found in the luggage of his sister Lucia who arrives with him from Hong Kong. While a political exile in Dapitan, he engaged in agriculture, fishing and business; he maintained and operated a hospital; he conducted classes- taught his pupils the English and Spanish languages, the arts. The sciences, vocational courses including agriculture, surveying, sculpturing, and painting, as well as the art of self defense; he did some researches and collected specimens; he entered into correspondence with renowned men of letters and sciences abroad; and with the help of his pupils, he constructed water dam and a relief map of Mindanao - both considered remarkable engineering feats. His sincerity and friendliness won for him the trust and confidence of even those assigned to guard him; his good manners and warm personality were found irresistible by women of all races with whom he had personal contacts; his intelligence and humility gained for him the respect and admiration of prominent men of other nations; while his undaunted courage and determination to uplift the welfare of his people were feared by his enemies. When the Philippine Revolution started on August 26, 1896, his enemies lost no time in pressing him down. They were able to enlist witnesses that linked him with the revolt and these were never allowed to be confronted by him. Thus, from November 3, 1986, to the date of his execution, he was again committed to Fort Santiago. In his prison cell, he wrote an untitled poem, now known as "Ultimo Adios" which is considered a masterpiece and a living document expressing not only the heros great love of country but also that of all Filipinos. After a mock trial, he was convicted of rebellion, sedition and of forming illegal association. In the cold morning of December 30, 1896, Rizal, a man whose 35 years of life had been packed with varied activities which proved that the Filipino has capacity to equal if not excel even those who treat him as a slave, was shot at Bagumbayan Field. Jos Rizal's parents, Francisco Engracio Rizal Mercado y Alejandra II (1818-1898) and Teodora Morales Alonso Realonda y Quintos (1827-1911), were prosperous farmers who were granted lease of a hacienda and an accompanying rice farm by the Dominicans. Rizal was the seventh child of their eleven children namely: Saturnina (1850-1913), Paciano (1851-1930), Narcisa (1852-1939), Olympia (1855-1887), Lucia (1857-1919), Maria (1859-1945), Jos Protasio (1861-1896), Concepcion (1862-1865), Josefa (1865-1945), Trinidad (1868-1951) and Soledad (1870-1929). Rizal was a 6th-generation patrilineal descendant of Domingo Lam-co, a Chinese immigrant entrepreneur who sailed to the Philippines from Jinjiang, Quanzhou in the mid-17th century.

Lam-co married Inez de la Rosa, a Sangley native of Luzon. To free his descendants from the Sinophobic animosity of the Spanish authorities, Lam-co changed the surname to the Spanish "Mercado" ("market") to indicate their Chinese merchant roots. In 1849, Governor-General Narciso Claveria ordered all Filipino families to choose new surnames from a list of Spanish family names. Jos's father Francisco adopted the surname "Rizal" (originally Ricial, "the green of young growth" or "green fields"), which was suggested to him by a provincial governor, or as Jos had described him, "a friend of the family". However, the name change caused confusion in the business affairs of Francisco, most of which were begun under the old name. After a few years, he settled on the name "Rizal Mercado" as a compromise, but usually just used the original surname "Mercado". Upon enrolling at the Ateneo Municipal de Manila, Jos dropped the last three names that make up his full name, at the advice of his brother, Paciano Rizal Mercado, and the Rizal Mercado family, thus rendering his name as "Jos Protasio Rizal". Of this, Rizal writes: "My family never paid much attention [to our second surname Rizal], but now I had to use it, thus giving me the appearance of an illegitimate child!" This was to enable him to travel freely and disassociate him from his brother, who had gained notoriety with his earlier links with Filipino priests who were sentenced to death as subversives. From early childhood, Jos and Paciano were already advancing unheard-of political ideas of freedom and individual rights which infuriated the authorities. Despite the name change, Jose, as "Rizal," soon distinguished himself in poetry writing contests, impressing his professors with his facility with Castilian and other foreign languages, and later, in writing essays critical of the Spanish historical accounts of pre-colonial Philippine societies. Indeed, by 1891, the year he finished his El filibusterismo, this second surname had become so well known that, as he writes to another friend, "All my family now carry the name Rizal instead of Mercado because the name Rizal means persecution! Good! I too want to join them and be worthy of this family name..." Jos became the focal point by which the family became known, at least from the point of view of colonial authorities. Aside from Chinese ancestry, recent genealogical research has found that Jos had traces of Spanish and Japanese ancestry. His maternal great-great-grandfather (Teodora's great-grandfather) was Eugenio Ursua, a descendant of Japanese settlers, who married a Filipina named Benigna (surname unknown). They gave birth to Regina Ursua who married a Tagalog Sangley mestizo from Pangasinn named Atty. Manuel de Quintos, Teodora's grandfather. Their daughter Brgida de Quintos married a Spanish mestizo named Lorenzo Alberto Alonso, the father of Teodora. Austin Craig mentions Lakandula, Rajah of Tondo at the time of the Spanish incursion, as another ancestor. Education
Rizal first studied under the tutelage of Justiniano Aquino Cruz in Bian, Laguna. He was sent to Manila and enrolled at the Ateneo Municipal de Manila. He graduated as one of the nine students in his class declared sobresaliente or outstanding. He continued his education at the Ateneo Municipal de Manila to obtain a land surveyor and assessor's degree and at the same time at the University of Santo Tomas where he studied Philosophy and Letters. Upon learning that his mother was going blind, he decided to study medicine specializing in ophthalmology at the University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Medicine and Surgery but did not complete the program claiming discrimination made by the Spanish Dominican friars against the Filipino students. Without his parents' knowledge and consent, but secretly supported by his brother Paciano, he traveled alone to Madrid in May 1882 and studied medicine at the Universidad Central de Madrid where he earned

the degree, Licentiate in Medicine. His education continued at the University of Paris and the University of Heidelberg where he earned a second doctorate. In Berlin he was inducted as a member of the Berlin Ethnological Society and the Berlin Anthropological Society under the patronage of the famous pathologist Rudolf Virchow. Following custom, he delivered an address in German in April 1887 before the anthropological society on the orthography and structure of the Tagalog language. He left Heidelberg a poem, "A las flores del Heidelberg," which was both an evocation and a prayer for the welfare of his native land and the unification of common values between East and West. At Heidelberg, the 25-year-old Rizal completed in 1887 his eye specialization under the renowned Prof. Otto Becker. There he used the newly invented opthalmoscope (invented by the famous Professor Helmholtz) to later operate on his own mother's eye. From Heidelberg, Rizal wrote his parents: I spend half of the day in the study of German and the other half, in the diseases of the eye. Twice a week, I go to the bierbrauerie, or beerhall, to speak German with my student friends. He lived in a Karlstrae boarding house then moved to Ludwigsplatz. There, he met Reverend Karl Ullmer and stayed with them in Wilhemsfeld, where he wrote the last few chapters of "Noli Me Tangere". A plaque marks the Heidelberg building where he trained with Professor Becker, while in Wilhemsfeld, a smaller version of the Rizal Park with his bronze statue stands and the street where he lived was also renamed after him. A sandstone fountain in Pastor Ullmers house garden where Rizal lived in Wilhemsfeld, stands. Rizal's multifacetedness was described by his German friend, Dr. Adolf Meyer, as "stupendous." Documented studies show him to be a polymath with the ability to master various skills and subjects. He was an ophthalmologist, sculptor, painter, educator, farmer, historian, playwright and journalist. Besides poetry and creative writing, he dabbled, with varying degrees of expertise, in architecture, cartography, economics, ethnology, anthropology, sociology, dramatics, martial arts, fencing and pistol shooting. He was also a Freemason, joining Acacia Lodge No. 9 during his time in Spain. He became a Master Mason in 1884.

Rizal's romantic attachments Rizal's life is one of the most documented of the 19th century due to the vast and extensive records written by and about him. Most everything in his short life is recorded somewhere, being himself a regular diarist and prolific letter writer, much of these materials having survived. His biographers, however, have faced the difficulty of translating his writings because of Rizal's habit of switching from one language to another. They drew largely from his travel diaries with their insights of a young Asian encountering the West for the first time. They included his later trips, home and back again to Europe through Japan and the United States, and, finally, through his self-imposed exile in Hong Kong. This period of his education and his frenetic pursuit of life included his recorded affections. Among them were Gertrude Becket of Chalcot Crescent (London); wealthy and high-minded Nelly Boustead of the English and Iberian merchant family; last descendant of a noble Japanese family Usui Seiko; his earlier friendship with Segunda Katigbak; and eight-year romantic relationship with his first cousin, Leonor Rivera. His European friends kept almost everything he gave them, including doodles on pieces of paper. In the home of a Spanish liberal, Pedro Ortiga y Perez, he left an impression on Ortiga's daughter, Consuelo. In her diary, she wrote of a day Rizal spent there when he regaled them with his wit, social graces, and sleight-of-hand tricks. In London, during his research on Morga's

writings, he became a regular guest in the home of Dr. Reinhold Rost of the British Museum who referred to him as "a gem of a man." The family of Karl Ullmer, pastor of Wilhelmsfeld, and the Blumentritts saved even buttonholes and napkins with sketches and notes. They were ultimately bequeathed to the Rizal family to form a treasure trove of memorabilia. Wherever Rizal traveled, his romance with women is legendary. Historians write of Rizal's dozen women, even if only nine were identified: Segunda Katigbak, Leonor Valenzuela, Leonor Rivera, Filipinas; and Consuelo Ortiga, Spanish; O-Sei-san, Japanese; Gertrude Beckett, English; Nellie Boustead, French; Suzanna Jacoby, Belgian; and Josephine Bracken, Irish. In 1890, Rizal, 29, left Paris for Brussels as he was preparing for the publication of his annotations of Antonio de Morgas Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas. There, he lived in the boarding house of the two Jacoby sisters, Catherina and Suzanna who had a niece also named Suzanna (Thill), 16. Historian Gregorio F. Zaide states that Rizal had his romance with Suzanne Jacoby, 45, the petite niece of his landladies. Belgian Pros Slachmuylders, however, believed that Rizal had romance with the niece Suzanna Thill, 16, in 1890. Rizal's Brussels stay was short, as he moved to Madrid, leaving the young Suzanna a box of chocolates. She replied in French: After your departure, I did not take the chocolate. The box is still intact as on the day of your parting. Dont delay too long writing us because I wear out the soles of my shoes for running to the mailbox to see if there is a letter from you. There will never be any home in which you are so loved as in that in Brussels, so, you little bad boy, hurry up and come back (Oct. 1, 1890 letter). Slachmuylders group on 2007 unveiled a historical marker commemorating Rizals stay in Brusells in 1890. Writings of Rizal
Jos Rizal's most famous works were his two novels, Noli me Tangere and El filibusterismo. These writings angered both the Spaniards and the hispanicized Filipinos due to their symbolism. They are highly critical of Spanish friars and the atrocities committed in the name of the Church. Rizal's first critic was Ferdinand Blumentritt, a Czech professor and historian whose first reaction was of misgiving. Blumentritt was the grandson of the Imperial Treasurer at Vienna in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and a staunch defender of the Catholic faith. This did not dissuade him, however, from writing the preface of El filibusterismo after he had translated Noli me Tangere into German. Noli was published in Berlin (1887) and Fili in Ghent (1891), with funds borrowed largely from Rizal's friends. As Blumentritt had warned, these led to Rizal's prosecution as the inciter of revolution and eventually, to a military trial and execution. The intended consequence of teaching the natives where they stood brought about an adverse reaction, as the Philippine Revolution of 1896 took off virulently thereafter. As leader of the reform movement of Filipino students in Spain, he contributed essays, allegories, poems, and editorials to the Spanish newspaper La Solidaridad in Barcelona. The core of his writings centers on liberal and progressive ideas of individual rights and freedom; specifically, rights for the Filipino people. He shared the same sentiments with members of the movement: that the Philippines were battling, in Rizal's own words, "a double-faced Goliath" -- corrupt friars and bad government. His commentaries reiterate the following agenda: thumb|Leaders of the reform movement in Spain: L-R: Rizal, Del Pilar, and Ponce

That the Philippines be a province of Spain Representation in the Cortes

Filipino priests instead of Spanish friars--Augustinians, Dominicans, and Franciscans--in parishes and remote sitios Freedom of assembly and speech 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, Margall and others. Upon his return to Manila in 1892, he formed a civic movement called La Liga Filipina. The league advocated these moderate social reforms through legal means, but was disbanded by the governor. At that time, he had already been declared an enemy of the state by the Spanish authorities because of the publication of his novels.

Persecutions Wenceslao Retana, a political commentator in Spain, had slighted Rizal with a reference to his parents and promptly apologized after being challenged to a duel. Aware that Rizal was a better swordsman, he issued an apology, became an admirer, and wrote Rizal's first European biography. Memory as a ten-year old of his mother's treatment at the hands of the civil authorities, with the approval of the Church prelates, hurt so much as to explain his reaction to Retana. The incident stemmed from an accusation that Rizal's mother, Teodora, tried to poison the wife of a cousin when she claimed she only intervened to help. Without a hearing she was ordered to prison in Santa Cruz in 1871, and made to walk the ten miles (16 km) from Calamba. She was released after two and a half years of appeals to the highest court. In 1887 he wrote a petition on behalf of the tenants of Calamba and later that year led them to speak out against friar attempts to raise rent. They initiated a litigation which resulted in the Dominicans evicting them from their homes, including the Rizal family. General Valeriano Weyler had the buildings on the farm torn down. In 1896 while Rizal was in prison in Fort Santiago, his brother Paciano was tortured by Spaniards trying to extract evidence of Jose's complicity in the revolution. Two officers took turns applying pins under Paciano's fingernails; with his hands bound behind him and raised several feet, he was dropped repeatedly until he lost consciousness.

In 1892 when Rizal returned to the Philippines, he formed La Liga Filipina , an non violent reform society of patriotic citizen and a forum for Filipinos to express their hopes for reform, to promote progress through commerce, industry and agriculture and freedom from the oppressive Spanish colonial administration. On July 6, 1892, he was imprisoned in Fort Santiago, on the charge of fomenting unrest against Spain; he was exiled to Dapitan, in northwestern Mindanao. He remained in exile for four years, while he was in politcal exile in Dapitan, he practice medicine, he established a school for boys, promoted community development projects, he applied his knowledge in engineering by constructing a system of waterworks in order to furnish clean water to the towns people. In Dapitan he also met, fell in love and lived with Josephine Bracken.

In 1896, the Katipunan, a nationalist secret society launched a revolt against the Spaniards, although Jose Rizal had no connection with the organization, his enemies were able to linked him with the revolt. To avoid being involved in the move to start a revolution, he asked Governor Ramon Blanco to send him to Cuba but instead he was brought back to Manila and jailed for the second time in Fort Santiago.

On December 26, 1896, after a trial, Rizal was sentenced to die; he was convicted of rebellion, sedition, and of forming illegal association. On the eve of his execution while confined in Fort Santiago, Rizal wrote a poem Mi Ultimo Adios (My Last Farewell) and hid it inside the gas burner and gave the gas burner to his sister Trinidad and his wife Josephine. He was executed on December 30, 1896 at the age of 35 by a firing squad at Bagumbayan, now known as Luneta Park in Manila. Jose Rizal was a man of many accomplishments - a linguist, a novelist, a poet, a scientist, a doctor, a painter, an educator, a reformer and a visionary; he left his people his greatest patriotic poem, Mi Ultimo Adios to serve as an inspiration for the next generations. Rizal Monument at Luneta Park

The Rizal monument was created by a Swiss sculptor named Richard Kissling. The site is guarded 24 hours a day 7 days a week by ceremonial soldiers known as Kabalyeros de Rizal.

Interesting Trivia about Dr Jose Rizal Rizal's Contribution to Science

Rizal found Mindanao a rich virgin field for collecting specimens. With his baroto (sailboat) and accompanied by his pupils, he explored the jungles and coasts seeking specimens of insects, birds, snakes lizards frogs shells and plants. He sent these specimens to the museum of Europe especially the Dresden Museum. In payment for these valuable specimens, the European scientists sent him scientific books and surgical instruments. Rizal discovered rare specimens For four years during his exile in Dapitan, Rizal discovered some rare specimens which were named in his honor by the scientists. Among these were:

Draco Rizalia flying dragon Apogonia Rizali -a small beetle Rhacophorus Rizalia rare frog

Manila Lottery Winner On September 21, 1892 the mail boat Butuan arrived in Dapitan carrying lottery Ticket No. 9736 jointly owned by Captain Carnicero, Dr Jose Rizal and Francisco Equilior won the second prize of P20,000 in the government-owned Manila Lottery. Rizals share of the winning loterry was P6, 200. He gave P2,000 to his father and P200 to his friend Basa in Hongkong and the rest he invested well by purchasing agricultural lands along the coast of Talisay about one kilometer away from Dapitan.
By 1896, the rebellion fomented by the Katipunan, a militant secret society, had become a full blown revolution, proving to be a nationwide uprising and leading to the first proclamation of a democratic republic in Asia. To dissociate himself, Rizal volunteered and was given leave by the Governor-General, Ramn Blanco, to serve in Cuba to minister to victims of yellow fever. Blanco later was to present his sash and sword to the Rizal family as an apology. Before he left Dapitan, he issued a manifesto disavowing the revolution and declaring that the education of Filipinos and their achievement of a national identity were prerequisites to freedom. Rizal was arrested en route, imprisoned in Barcelona, and sent back to Manila to stand trial. He was implicated in the revolution through his association with members of the Katipunan and was to be tried before a court-martial for rebellion, sedition, and conspiracy. During the entire passage, he was unchained; no Spaniard laid a hand on him, and had many opportunities to escape but refused to do so. Rizal was convicted on all three charges and sentenced to death. Blanco, who was sympathetic to Rizal, had been forced out of office, and the friars had intercalated Camilo de Polavieja in his stead, sealing Rizal's fate. His poem, undated and believed to be written on the day before his execution, was hidden in an alcohol stove and later handed to his family with his few remaining possessions, including the final letters and his

last bequests. Within hearing of the Spanish guards he reminded his sisters in English, "There is something inside it," referring to the alcohol stove given by the Pardo de Taveras which was to be returned after his execution, thereby emphasizing the importance of the poem. This instruction was followed by another, "Look in my shoes," in which another item was secreted. Exhumation of his remains in August, 1898, under American rule, revealed he had been uncoffined, his burial not on sanctified ground granted the 'confessed' faithful, and whatever was in his shoes had disintegrated. In his letter to his family he wrote: "Treat our aged parents as you would wish to be treated...Love them greatly in memory of me...December 30, 1896." In his final letter, to Blumentritt - Tomorrow at 7, I shall be shot; but I am innocent of the crime of rebellion. I am going to die with a tranquil conscience. He had to reassure him that he had not turned revolutionary as he once considered being, and that he shared his ideals to the very end. He also bequeathed a book personally bound by him in Dapitan to his 'best and dearest friend.' When Blumentritt received it in his hometown Litomice (Leitmeritz) he broke down and wept.

Execution
Moments before his execution by a firing squad of native infantry of the Spanish Army, backed by an insurance force of Spanish troops, the Spanish surgeon general requested to take his pulse; it was normal. Aware of this, the Spanish sergeant in charge of the backup force hushed his men to silence when they began raising 'vivas!' with the partisan crowd. His last words were those of Jesus Christ: "consummatum est",--it is finished. He was secretly buried in Pac Cemetery in Manila with no identification on his grave. His sister Narcisa toured all possible gravesites and found freshly turned earth at the cemetery with guards posted at the gate. Assuming this could be the most likely spot, there never having any ground burials, and she made a gift to the caretaker to mark the site "RPJ", Rizal's initials in reverse.