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Chapter 3 As Jose grew older, his parents employed private tutors to give

Early Education him lessons at home. The first was Maestro Celestino and the second,
In Calamba and Biñan Maestro Lucas Padua. Later, an old man named Leon Monroy, a former
classmate of Rizal’s father, became the boy’s tutor. This old teacher
Rizal had his early education in Calamba and Biñan. It was a lived at the Rizal home and instructed Jose in Spanish and Latin.
typical schooling that a son of an ilustrado family received during his Unfortunately, he did not live long. He died five months later.
time, characterized by the four R’s – reading, writing, arithmetic, and
religion. Instruction was rigid and strict. Knowledge was forced into the Jose Goes to Biñan
minds of the pupils by means of the tedious memory method aided by
the teacher’s whip. Despite the defect of the Spanish system of One Sunday afternoon in June, 1869, Jose, after kissing the
elementary education, Rizal was able to acquire the necessary hands of his parents and a tearful parting from his sisters, left Calamba
instruction preparatory for college work in Manila and abroad. It may be for Biñan. He was accompanied by Paciano, who acted as his second
said that Rizal, who was born a physical weakling, rose to become an father. The two brothers rode in a carromata, reaching their destination
intellectual giant not because of, but rather in spite of, the outmoded after one and one-half hours’ drive. They proceeded to their aunt’s
and backward system of instruction obtaining in the Philippines during house, where Jose was to lodge. It was almost night when they arrived,
the last decades of Spanish regime. and the moon was about to rise.

The Hero’s First Teacher That same night, Jose, with his cousin named Leandro, went
sightseeing in the town. Instead of enjoying the sights, Jose became
The first teacher of Rizal was his mother, who was a remarkable depressed because of homesickness. “In the moonlight,” he recounted,
woman of good character and fine culture. On her lap, he learned at “I remembered my home town, my idolized mother, and my solicitous
the age of three the alphabet and the prayers. “My mother,” wrote sisters. Ah, how sweet to me was Calamba, my own town, in spite of the
Rizal in his student memoirs, “taught me how to read and to say act, that it was not as wealthy as Biñan.”
haltingly the humble prayers which I raised fervently to God.”
First Day in Biñan School
As a tutor, Doña Teodora was patient, conscientious, and
understanding. It was she who first discovered that her son had a talent The next morning (Monday) Paciano brought his younger brother
for poetry. Accordingly, she encouraged him to write poems. To lighten to the school of Maestro Justiniano Aquino Cruz.
the monotony of memorizing the ABCs and to stimulate her son’s
imagination, she related many stories. The school was in the house of the teacher, which was a small
nipa hut about 30 meters from the home of Jose’s aunt.
his athletic Tio Manuel, defeated the bigger boy. For this feat, he
Paciano knew the teacher quite well because he had been a pupil became popular among his classmates.
under him before. He introduced Jose to the teacher, after which he
departed to return to Calamba. After the class in the afternoon, a classmate named Andres
Salandanan challenge him to arm-wrestling match. They went to a
Immediately, Jose was assigned his seat in the class. The teacher sidewalk of a house and wrestled with their arms, Jose, having the
asked him: weaker arm, lost and nearly cracked his head on the sidewalk.

“Do you know Spanish?” In succeeding days he had other fights with the boys of Biñan. He
“A little, sir,” replied the Calamba lad. was not quarrelsome by nature, but he never ran away from a fight.
“Do you know Latin?”
“A little, sir.” Painting Lessons in Biñan

The boys in the class, especially Pedro, the teacher’s son, laughed Near the school was the house of an old painter, called Juancho,
at Jose’s answers. who was the father-in-law of the school teacher. Jose, lured by his love
for painting, spent many leisure hours at the painter’s studio. Old
The teacher sharply stopped all noise and began the lessons of Juancho freely gave him lessons in drawing and painting. He was
the day. impressed by the artistic talent of the Calamba lad.

First School Brawl Jose and his classmate, Jose Guevarra, who also love painting,
became apprentices of the old painter. They improved their art, so that
In the afternoon of his day in school, when the teacher was having in due time they became “the favorite painters of the class”.
his siesta, Jose met the bully, Pedro. He was angry at this bully making
fun of him during his conversation with the teacher in the morning. Best Student in School
Jose challenged Pedro to a fight. The latter readily accepted,
In academic studies, Jose beat all Biñan boys. He surpassed them
thinking that he could easily beat the Calamba boy who was smaller and
all in Spanish, Latin, and other subjects.
younger.
Some of his older classmates were jealous of his intellectual
The two boys wrestled furiously in the classroom, much to the
superiority. They wickedly squealed to the teacher whenever Jose had
glee of their classmates. Jose, having learned the art of wrestling from
a fight outside the school, and even told lies to discredit him before the
teacher’s eyes. Consequently the teacher had to punish Jose. Thus Rizal leaders of the secular movement to Filipinize the Philippine parishes,
said that “in spite of the reputation I had of being a good boy, the day and their supporters (Jose Ma. Basa, Attorneys Joaquin Pardo de Tavera
was unusual when I was not laid out on a bench and given five or six and Antonio Ma. Regidor, etc.) magnified the failed mutiny into a
blows.” “revolt” for Philippine independence.

End of Biñan Schooling Accordingly, Gom-Bur-Za (Gomez, Burgos, and Zamora), despite
the archbishop’s plea for clemency because of their innocence, were
Before the Christmas season in 1870, Jose received a letter from executed at sunrise, February 17, 1872, by order of Governor General
his sister Saturnina, informing him of the arrival of the steamer Talim Izquierdo. Their martyrdom was deeply mourned by the Rizal family and
which would take him from Biñan to Calamba. Upon reading the letter, many other patriotic families in the Philippines.
he had a premonition that he would not return to Biñan, so that he
became sad. He prayed in the town church, collected pebbles in the Paciano, enraged by the execution of Burgos, his beloved friend,
river for souvenirs, and regretfully bade farewell to his teacher and teacher, and housemate, quit his studies at the College of San Jose and
classmates. returned to Calamba, where he told the heroic story of Burgos to his
younger brother Jose, who was then nearly eleven years old.
He left Biñan on Saturday afternoon, December 17, 1870, after
one year and a half of schooling in that town. He was thrilled to take The martyrdom of Gom-Bur-Za in 1872 truly inspired Rizal to
passage on the steamer Talim, for it was the first time he ever rode on a fight the evils of Spanish tyranny and redeem his oppressed people.
steamer. On board was a Frenchman named Arturo Camps, a friend of And later, in 1891, he dedicated his second novel, El Filibusterismo, to
his father, who took care of him. Gom-Bur-Za.

Martyrdom of Gom-Bur-Za Injustice to Hero’s Mother

On the night of January 20, 1872, about 200 Filipino soldiers and Before June of 1872, tragedy struck the Rizal family. Doña
workmen of the Cavite arsenal under the leadership of Lamadrid, Teodora was suddenly arrested on a malicious charge that she and her
Filipino sergeant, rose in violent mutiny because of the abolition of their brother, Jose Alberto, tried to poison the latter’s perfidious wife. Jose
usual privileges, including exemption from tribute and polo (force d Alberto, a rich Biñan ilustrado, had just returned from a business trip in
labor) by the reactionary Governor Rafael de Izquierdo. Unfortunately, Europe. During his absence his wife abandoned their home and children.
this Cavite Mutiny was suppressed two days later by troop When he arrived in Biñan, he found her living with another man.
reinforcements from Manila. The Spanish authorities, in order to Infuriated by her infidelity, he planned to divorce her. Doña Teodora, to
liquidate Fathers Mariano Gomez, Jose Burgos and Jacinto Zamora, avert family scandal, persuaded him to forgive his wife. The family
trouble was amicably settled, and Jose Alberto lived again with his
wife. However, the evil wife, with the connivance of the Spanish
lieutenant of the Guardia Civil, filed a case in court accusing her
husband and Doña Teodora of attempting to poison her.

This lieutenant happened to have an ax to grind against the


Rizal family, because at one time Don Francisco (Rizal’s father) refused
to give him fodder for his horse. Taking the opportunity to avenge
himself, he arrested Doña Teodora, with the help of Calamba’s
gobenadorcillo, Antonio Vivencio del Rosario, a menial of the friars.
These two ungrateful men had been frequent guests at the Rizal home.

After arresting Doña Teodora, the sadistic Spanish lieutenant


forced her to walk from Calamba to Santa Cruz (capital of Laguna
Province), a distance of 50 kilometers. Upon arrival in Santa Cruz , she
was incarcerated at the provincial prison, where she languished for
two years and a half until the Manila Royal Audiencia (Supreme Court)
acquitte her of the alleged crime.

Recounting this incidence of his mother’s imprisonment, Rizal said


in his student memoirs: “Our mother was unjustly snatched away from
us and by whom? By some men who had been our friends and whom we
treated as honored guests. We learned later that our mother got sick,
far from us and at an advanced age. My mother was defended by
Messrs. Francisco de Marcaida and Manuel Marzan, the most famous
lawyers of Manila. She finally succeeded to acquitted and vindicated in
the eyes of her judges, accusers, and even her enemies, but after how
long? After two and a half years.”