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JOSE RIZAL, the national hero of the Philippines and pride of the Malayan race, was born on June

19, 1861, in the town of Calamba, Laguna. 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 one s 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 Surveyor s 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, opthalmic 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, Morga s 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 arrive 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 hero s 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.

Named in honor of the Philippines national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, the province has gained a reputation as the "cradle of Philippine art". Known for its artists communities and folk festivals, Rizal also offers diverse natural and man-made attractions. The province is blessed with breathtaking views of Laguna de Bay, the rugged Sierra Madre mountains, swimming spots, and picnic grounds that stand side by side with burgeoning industrial parks, convention halls, and commercial centers. In the midst of a rich agricultural region in Laguna, the lake province of Luzon, famed for coconuts on the hillsides and sugar cane in the valleys, lies the town of Calamba. Here Jos Rizal, the apostle of Filipino freedom, was born on June 19, 1861. As each member of his unusually affectionate family will appear in this story, it is well to make their acquaintance now. Panciano, the only brother, Saturnina, Narcissa, Olimpia, Lucia, and Maria were all older than he; the younger sisters were Josefa, Trinidad, and Soledad. Jos drew a family tree showing the dates of birth of the children and grandchildren. His full name was Jos Protasio Mercado y Alonzo Realonda. (01) At a glance at the ancestral tree, which Professor Austin Craig (02) has traced for us, showed where Baby Jos came by all but two of his names. If the usual custom had been followed, the babe, when he became a man would have signed his name Jos Mercado". The name "Mercado" had been given to Jos's great-grandfather by their Chinese great-great-grandfather Lam-co in 1731, and again in 1850 the Spanish Governor General Claveria had decreed that "Mercado" should be the family name. His Excellency the Governor General had, indeed, been pleased to grant names, new and old, to a vast number of families. For example, he had added the name "Realonda" to the family of Jos's mother. But it happened that Jos's father was a man of independent thought. To be called "Mercado", which means "market", struck him as inappropriate for a farmer. He might never have thought about it if the Governor General had not called his attention to this incongruity. But now that orders had come saying that he should be named "Mercado", Francisco decided that he should not! He adopted the word "racial", which means "green field", changed the spelling to "Rizal", and gave his children that name, just for the sake of his independent soul and his sense of fitness. Perhaps, too, Jos's second name "Protasio" was as near to "protesto" as he thought wise to spell it. Francisco's independent spirit, which his sons and daughters inherited, did not get him into trouble that time, but it did later. If Jos Rizal inherited his free soul from his father, he inherited his genius largely from his mother. Doa Teodora Alonzo Realonda had ancestors and uncles by the dozen who had distinguished themselves as leaders and thinkers. Her brothers, Gregorio, Manual, and Jos Alberto were all unusual men. Her father Lorenzo Alberto Alonzo was a distinguished engineer, who had received the title of "Knight of the Grand Order of Isabel the Catholic". One grandfather was attorney Manuel de Quntos; the other grandfather was Captain Cipriano Alonzo. At least three of her great-grandfathers were captains, and one of these came of the "famous Florentino family." (03) Joses mother Teodora was herself unusually accomplished. She had graduated from the Santa Rosa College for Girls. Very devout, fond of poetry, and an excellent teacher, she was well qualified to give Jos encouragement in the direction of art and classics. So well did she and Saturnina teach little brother that by the age of three he knew his alphabet. From that point he began to educate himself! In the Tagalog language and Spanish this is possible for a precocious child because every word is spelled phonetically. He took his older sister's story book, compared each syllable with the book of syllables he had propped up in front of him, and slowly pieced out each word. (04) Within two years he was reading the Spanish family Bible. No other Filipino writer of the Spanish period referred to the Bible as much as Rizal did later in his many writings. Stimulated by his mother's enthusiasm for poetry he began writing verses at a surprisingly early period. Before he was eight years old he had composed a drama, which was performed at a local festival. To the child's delight, the municipal captain rewarded the young author with two pesos.

Saturnina Rizal (1850 1913), also known as Neneng, was the eldest of the Rizal children. She married Manuel T. Hidalgo, affectionately called "Maneng" by Rizal, who was a native of Tanauan, Batangas. Paciano Rizal (b. March 7, 1851 d. 1930) was the elder and only brother of Jose Rizal. Being a decade older than Rizal, Paciano became a second father to his sibling. He succeeded in sending the young Jose (Pepe) to Europe to study, giving the latter 700 pesos upon departure. During the younger years Paciano would continue supporting his brother financially. After the death of Jose, Paciano joined the Revolution and was later appointed general of the revolutionary forces in Laguna. His common-law wife was Severina Decena. He died in Los Baos, Laguna on April 13, 1930. Their only child Emiliana Rizal married her first cousin Antonio Rizal Lopez Jr., the son of Narcisa Rizal with Antonio Lopez Sr. Narcisa Rizal (1852 1939) was the third child of Francisco and Teodora. She was a teacher and a musician by profession, and married Antonino Lopez who was a school teacher in Morong, Rizal. Olympia Rizal (1855 1887) was the fourth child of the brood who married Silvestre Ubaldo, a telegraph operator from Manila. Lucia Rizal (1857 1919) was the fifth child of the Rizal family who was married to Mariano Herbosa of Calamba. She died in 1887. Maria Rizal (1859 1945) was the sixth of the eleven children who married Daniel Faustino Cruz of Bian, Laguna. Concepcion Rizal (1862 1865), also known as Concha, was the eight child of the Rizals, who died at the age of three. Josefa Rizal (1865 1945) was the ninth child and affectionately called Panggoy. She remained a spinster throughout her life. Jose Rizal (June 19, 1861- December 30, 1896), later to become the Philippine national hero, was the second son and seventh child. Trinidad Rizal (1868 1951) was the tenth child who, like Josefa, died without a husband. Soledad Rizal (1870 1929) was the youngest of the brood who later married Pantaleon Quintero, a native of Calamba.

 

Dr. - his profession (ophthalmologist) Jose - its San Jose's festival season when he was born (it came from San Jose) Protacio - It came from their calendar (also a saint) Rizal - means "Ricial" Mercado - means "market" Alonzo - came from his mother Realonda - came from his auntie (ninang)

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