BiographyJOSE 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 Biñan, 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, cartoonists, 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, 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, 1991, 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 contracted 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.
The Many-Sided Personality
Filipinos and foreigners alike have paid tribute to Jose Rizal claiming that his place of honor in history is secure. It was his Austrian bosom friend, Professor Ferdinand Blumentritt, rector of the Imperial Atheneum of Leitmeritz, who said "Rizal was the greatest product of the Philippines and his coming to the world was like the appearance of a rare comet, whose rare brilliance appears only every other century." Another German friend, Dr. Adolf B. Meyer, director of the Dresden Museum who admired his all around knowledge and ability, remarked "Rizal’s many-sidedness was stupendous." Our own Dr. Camilo Osias pointed to him as the "versatile genius."His precocity since early boyhood turned into versatility in later years. Being curious and inquisitive, he developed a rare facility of mastering varied subjects and occupations.ActorRizal acted as a character in one of Juan Luna’s paintings and acted in school dramas.AgriculturistRizal had farms in Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte (1892-1896) where he planted lanzones, coconuts and other fruit-bearing trees.Ambassador Of Good WillHis friendliness, goodwill and cultural associations with friends entitled him as one.Animal LoverAs a small boy, Rizal loved animals including birds, fish, insects, and other specimens of animal life. Fowls, rabbits, dogs, horses, and cats constituted his favorites. As much as possible, he did not wish fowls to be killed even for food, and showed displeasure in being asked to eat the cooked animal. The family garden in Calamba abounded with insects galore and birds native to the Calamba environs. He wrote about and sketched animals of the places he had toured.AnthropologistHe made researches on the physical and social make up of man.ArcheologistRizal studied monuments and antique currency everywhere he went. He drew most of the monuments he saw.AsceticRizal always practiced self-discipline wherever he went.Book loverHe had a big library and brought many books abroad.BotanistRizal maintained a garden in Dapitan where he planted and experimented on plants of all kindsBusinessmanHe had a partner in Dapitan in the Abaca business there (1892-1896).CartographerHe drew maps of Dapitan, The Philippines and other places he visited.Chess PlayerHe played chess and bear several Germans and European friends and acquaintances.Citizen of the worldHis extensive travels and multitude of friends in Europe, Middle East and Asia made him one.CommentatorRizal always expresses and published his personal opinion.ConchologistHe had a good shell collection in Dapitan. An American conchologist praised him.EducatorRizal taught in his special school in Dapitan.EthnologistIn his travels, Rizal was able to compare different races and he noted the differences.Father of community schoolHe proposed college in Hong Kong and his special school in Dapitan made him a father of community schools.FencerHe fenced with Europeans and Juan Luna and other friends in Europe.Freemason abroadHe was member of La Solidaridad Lodge in Spain.Horticulture and farmerHe experimented on and cultivated plants in Dapitan.HistorianHis annotation of Antonio de Morga’s Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas entitled him as one.HumoristThere are many humorous incidents in the Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo.IchthyologistHe collected 38 new varieties of fish in Dapitan.JapanophileHis admiration of Japanese traits and his knowledge of her language proved he was one.JournalistHe authored the published many articles in Spanish and English and London.Laboratory workerHe was employed in the clinic of Dr. L. Wecker in Paris.LinguistHe spoke over 20 foreign languages.Lover of truthHe chided Spanish writers for not writing the truth about the Filipinos. He was always truthful since boyhood.MusiciansHe played the flute and composed pieces of music and cultivated music appreciation.MythologistRizal used mythology in his Noli and Fili.NationalistHe gave full expression of the native spirit strengthened by world civilization and loved and defended everything Filipino.NewspapermanHe wrote and published articles in many publications and was one of the organizers of the La Solidaridad.OphthalmologistHe graduated in an ophthalmologic college in Spain.OrientalistRizal admired the special characteristic and beauties of Oriental countries peoples.PharmacologistRizal treasured and popularized the usefulness and preparation of cures for treatment of his patients.PhilologistRizal loved of learning and literature is unequalled.PhilosopherRizal not only loved wisdom but also regulated his life and enjoyed calmness of the life at all time Physical culturistRizal maintained a good health by exercising all parts of his body and eating proper foods PhysiciansHe treated several patients afflicted not only with eye diseases.Plant loverAs a child, Rizal spend most of his time in the family garden which was planted with fruit trees,Shrubs and decorative trees. His diaries contained detailed description and sketches of plants, flowers and fruits he saw in the places he visited. He wrote poems on flower he like very much as his poems To the Flowers of Heidelberg.PoetRizal wrote over 35 poems including his famous Ultimo Adios.PoliticianAlthough Rizal did not engage in Politics, he exposed the evils of the political activities of the Spaniards in the Philippines through his writing. PolyglotRizal spoke and wrote in 20 languages.ProofreaderIn Germany, He worked as a part-time proofreader of his livelihood.PropagandistAs a reformer, Rizal encourages the recommendation of improving the government entities and discourage abuses publishing articles.Public relation manHe worked for better cooperation of rulers and subjects in his country.ReformerHe published the modern methods of government administration, so changes could be made.ResearcherBeing a wide reader, he compared the old and new practices in life.RevolutionistRizal encouraged reforms, discouraged old, impractical usage, and desired new and useful laws to benefit his countrymen. He desired changes for the better.RhetoricianRizal has always practiced the art of persuasive and impressive speaking and writing.Rural reconstruction workerHe practiced rural reconstruction work in Dapitan in 1894 and succeeded.Sanitary engineerHis construction of a water system in Dapitan exemplified this practice by Rizal.ScientistRizal’s practice of many sciences here and abroad made him noted scientist.SculptorHis works of his father and of Father Guerrico, S. J. typified his sculptural ability.Sharp shooterHe could hit a target 20 meters away.SinologistRizal’s ancestry and his ability to speak Chinese made him one.SociologistIn Rizal’s study of Philippines social problems, he always encouraged and introduced solutions.SodalistHe always joined fraternities, associations and brotherhood, for self-improvement.SportsmanHe engaged from a surveying class at the Ateneo after passing his A. B. there.TouristHe was considered the foremost tourist due to his extensive travels.TravelerHe traveled around the world three times.Tuberculosis expertFor having cured himself of this disease, he became and was recognized as an expert.Youth leaderHe considered the youth as "the hope of his Fatherland."ZoologistHe was fond of pets. He researched later on their physiology, classification and habits.