|José Protasio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda|
A photo of José Rizal, National hero of the Philippines.
|Date of birth:||June 19, 1861|
|Place of birth:||Calamba, Laguna, Philippines|
|Date of death:||December 30, 1896 (aged 35)|
|Place of death:||Bagumbayan (now Rizal Park), Manila, Philippines|
|Major organizations:||Propagandistas, La Liga Filipina|
|Major monuments:||Rizal Park, Manila|
|Alma mater:||Ateneo Municipal de Manila, University of Santo Tomas, Universidad Central de Madrid, University of Paris, Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg|
Dr. José Protasio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda (June 19, 1861 – December 30, 1896, Bagumbayan), 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.
The seventh of eleven children born to a wealthy family in the town of Calamba, Laguna, Rizal attended the Ateneo Municipal de Manila, earning a Bachelor of Arts. He enrolled in Medicine and Philosophy and Letters at the University of Santo Tomas and then traveled alone to Madrid, Spain, where he continued his studies at the Universidad Central de Madrid, earning the degree of Licentiate in Medicine. He attended the University of Paris and earned a second doctorate at the University of Heidelberg. Rizal was a polyglot conversant in at least ten languages. He was a prolific poet, essayist, diarist, correspondent, and novelist whose most famous works were his two novels, Noli me Tangere and El filibusterismo. These are social commentaries on the Philippines that formed the nucleus of literature that inspired dissent among peaceful reformists and spurred the militancy of armed revolutionaries against the Spanish colonial authorities.
As a political figure, Jose Rizal was the founder of La Liga Filipina, a civic organization that subsequently gave birth to the Katipunan led by Andrés Bonifacio and Emilio Aguinaldo. He was a proponent of institutional reforms by peaceful means rather than by violent revolution. The general consensus among Rizal scholars, however, attributed his martyred death as the catalyst that precipitated the Philippine Revolution.
José Rizal's parents, Francisco Engracio Rizal Mercado y Alejandro(1818–1898) and Teodora Alonso y Quintos(1826–1911), 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), María (1859–1945), José Protacio (1861–1896), Concepcion (1862–1865), Josefa (1865–1945), Trinidad (1868–1951) and Soledad (1870–1929).
Rizal was a 9th-generation patrilineal descendant of Domingo Lam-co (Chinese: 柯仪南; pinyin: Ke Yinan), 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 native families in the Philippines to choose new surnames from a list of Spanish family names. José'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 José 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, José 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 "José Protacio 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 native priests who were sentenced to death as subversives. From early childhood, José and Paciano were already advancing unheard-of political ideas of freedom and individual rights which infuriated the authorities. Despite the name change, José, as "Rizal" soon distinguishes himself in poetry writing contests, impressing his professors with his facility with Castilian and other foreign languages, and later, in writing essays that are critical of the Spanish historical accounts of the pre-colonial Philippine societies. Indeed, by 1891, the year he finished his sunset, 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..." José 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 José 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 Pangasinán named Manuel de Quintos, Teodora's grandfather. Their daughter Brígida 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, also as an ancestor.
Rizal first studied under the tutelage of Justiniano Aquino Cruz in Biñan, 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 Faculty of Arts and Letters 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 native students.
Without his parents' knowledge and consent, but secretly supported by his brother Paciano, he traveled alone to Europe: 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 professor, Otto Becker. There he used the newly invented ophthalmoscope (invented by Hermann von 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 Karlstraße boarding house then moved to Ludwigsplatz. There, he met Reverend Karl Ullmer and stayed with them in Wilhelmsfeld, 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 Ullmer’s house garden where Rizal lived in Wilhelmsfeld, 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 and becoming a Master Mason in 1884.
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 material 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. Historians write of Rizal's "dozen women", even if only nine were identified. They were Gertrude Becket of Chalcot Crescent (London), wealthy and highminded 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. The others were: Leonor Valenzuela (Filipina), Consuelo Ortiga (Spanish), Suzanna Jacoby (Belgian),and Josephine Bracken (Irish).
His European friends kept almost everything he gave them, including doodlings on pieces of paper. In the home of a Spanish liberal, Pedro Ortiga y Pérez, he left an impression that was to be remembered by his daughter, Consuelo. In her diary, she wrote of a day Rizal spent there and 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.
In 1890, Rizal, 29, left Paris for Brussels as he was preparing for the publication of his annotations of Antonio de Morga’s “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 a romance with the niece, Suzanna Thill, in 1890. Rizal's Brussels' stay was short-lived, as he moved to Madrid, leaving the young Suzanna a box of chocolates. Suzanne replied in French: “After your departure, I did not take the chocolate. The box is still intact as on the day of your parting. Don’t 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 in 2007 unveiled a historical marker commemorating Rizal’s stay in Brusells in 1890.
José 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 insulting symbolism. He made the Triumph of science over death and give the sculpture to Ferdinand Blumentritt. He made this sculpture for sake of Filipino women. He gave this sculpture to Blumentritt to show how Filipino women were abused by the spaniards. 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 former 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 is battling, in Rizal's own words, "a double-faced Goliath"--corrupt friars and bad government. His commentaries reiterate the following agenda:
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.
Wenceslao Retana, a political commentator in Spain, had slighted Rizal by 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. The painful memories of his mother's treatment (when he was ten) at the hands of the civil authorities 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. With the approval of the Church prelates, and without a hearing, she was ordered to prison in Santa Cruz in 1871. She was 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 Rizal wrote a petition on behalf of the tenants of Calamba, and later that year led them to speak out against the friars' 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.
Rizal was implicated in the activities of the nascent rebellion and in July 1892, was deported to Dapitan in the province of Zamboanga, a peninsula of Mindanao. There he built a school, a hospital and a water supply system, and taught and engaged in farming and horticulture. Abaca, then the vital raw material for cordage and which Rizal and his students planted in the thousands, was a memorial.
The boys' school, in which they learned English, considered a prescient if weird option then, was conceived by Rizal and antedated Gordonstoun with its aims of inculcating resourcefulness and self sufficiency in young men. They would later enjoy successful lives as farmers and honest government officials. One, a Muslim, became a datu, and another, José Aseniero, who was with Rizal throughout the life of the school, became Governor of Zamboanga.
In Dapitan, the Jesuits mounted a great effort to secure his return to the fold led by Fray Sánchez, his former professor, who failed in his mission. The task was resumed by Fray Pastells, a prominent member of the Order. In a letter to Pastells, Rizal sails close to the ecumenism familiar to us today.
"We are entirely in accord in admitting the existence of God. How can I doubt his when I am convinced of mine. Who so recognizes the effect recognizes the cause. To doubt God is to doubt one's own conscience, and in consequence, it would be to doubt everything; and then what is life for? Now then, my faith in God, if the result of a ratiocination may be called faith, is blind, blind in the sense of knowing nothing. I neither believe nor disbelieve the qualities which many attribute to him; before theologians' and philosophers' definitions and lucubrations of this ineffable and inscrutable being I find myself smiling. Faced with the conviction of seeing myself confronting the supreme Problem, which confused voices seek to explain to me, I cannot but reply: 'It could be; but the God that I foreknow is far more grand, far more good: Plus Supra!...I believe in (revelation); but not in revelation or revelations which each religion or religions claim to possess. Examining them impartially, comparing them and scrutinizing them, one cannot avoid discerning the human 'fingernail' and the stamp of the time in which they were written... No, let us not make God in our image, poor inhabitants that we are of a distant planet lost in infinite space. However, brilliant and sublime our intelligence may be, it is scarcely more than a small spark which shines and in an instant is extinguished, and it alone can give us no idea of that blaze, that conflagration, that ocean of light. I believe in revelation, but in that living revelation which surrounds us on every side, in that voice, mighty, eternal, unceasing, incorruptible, clear, distinct, universal as is the being from whom it proceeds, in that revelation which speaks to us and penetrates us from the moment we are born until we die. What books can better reveal to us the goodness of God, his love, his providence, his eternity, his glory, his wisdom? 'The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handiwork'."
As a gift to his mother on her birth anniversary he wrote the other of his poems of maturity, "Mi Retiro," with a description of a calm night overlaid with a million stars. The poem, with its concept of a spontaneous creation and speaking of God as Plus Supra, is considered his accommodation of evolution.
...the breeze idly cools, the firmament glows,
the waves tell in sighs to the docile wind
timeless stories beneath the shroud of night.
Say that they tell of the world, the first dawn
of the sun, the first kiss that his bosom inflamed,
when thousands of beings surged out of nothing,
and peopled the depths, and to the heights mounted,
to wherever his fecund kiss was implanted.
His best friend, professor Ferdinand Blumentritt, kept him in touch with European friends and fellow-scientists who wrote a stream of letters which arrived in Dutch, French, German and English and which baffled the censors, delaying their transmittal. Those four years of his exile coincided with the development of the Philippine Revolution from inception and to its final breakout, which, from the viewpoint of the court which was to try him, suggested his complicity in it. He condemned the uprising, although all the members of the Katipunan had made him their honorary president and had used his name as a cry for war, unity, and liberty.
Near the end of his exile he met and courted the stepdaughter of a patient, an Irishwoman named Josephine Bracken. He was unable to obtain an ecclesiastical marriage because he would not return to Catholicism and was not known to be clearly against revolution. He nonetheless considered Josephine to be his wife and the only person mentioned in the poem, Farewell, sweet stranger, my friend, my joy...
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, Ramón 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 Litoměřice (Leitmeritz) he broke down and wept.
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 Pacò 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, she made a gift to the caretaker to mark the site "RPJ", Rizal's initials in reverse.
A national monument
A monument, with his remains, now stands near the place where he fell, designed by the Swiss Richard Kissling of the famed William Tell sculpture. The statue carries the inscription "I want to show to those who deprive people the right to love of country, that when we know how to sacrifice ourselves for our duties and convictions, death does not matter if one dies for those one loves – for his country and for others dear to him."
There is controversy on whether Rizal actually wrote a document of retraction which stated: "I retract with all my heart whatever in my words, writings, publications and conduct have been contrary to my character as a son of the Catholic Church." That his burial was not on holy ground led to doubts about his retraction. Then there is no certificate of Rizal's marriage to Josephine Bracken. Anti-retractionists also point to "Adiós": "I go where there are no slaves, no hangmen or oppressors, where faith does not kill," which they refer to the Catholic religion. Also there is an allegation that the retraction document was a forgery. After analyzing 6 major documents of Rizal, Ricardo Pascual concluded that the retraction document, said to have been discovered in 1935, was not in Rizal's handwriting. Senator Rafael Palma, a former President of the University of the Philippines and a prominent Mason, argued that a retraction is not in keeping with Rizal's character and mature beliefs. He called the retraction story a "pious fraud." Others who deny the retraction are Frank Laubach, a Protestant minister, Austin Coates, a British writer, and Ricardo Manapat, director of the National Archives.
On the other side of the debate are Catholic church leaders, and historians such as Austin Craig, Gregorio Zaide, Ambeth Ocampo, Nick Joaquin, and Nicolas Zafra of UP. They state that the retraction document was deemed authentic by Rizal expert, Teodoro Kalaw (a 33rd degree Mason) and "handwriting experts...known and recognized in our courts of justice," H. Otley Beyer and Dr. José I. Del Rosario, both of UP. They also refer to the 11 eyewitnesses present when Rizal wrote his retraction, signed a Catholic prayer book, and recited Catholic prayers, and the multitude who saw him kiss the crucifix before his execution. A great grand nephew of Rizal, Marciano Guzman, cites that Rizal's 4 confessions were certified by 5 eyewitnesses, 10 qualified witnesses, 7 newspapers, and 12 historians and writers including Aglipayan bishops, Masons and anti-clericals. One witness was the head of the Spanish Supreme Court at the time of his notarized declaration and was highly esteemed by Rizal for his integrity. Because of what he sees as the strength these direct evidence have in the light of the historical method, in contrast with merely circumstantial evidence, UP professor emeritus of history Nicolas Zafra called the retraction "a plain unadorned fact of history."
Supporters see in it Rizal's "moral courage...to recognize his mistakes," his reversion to the "true faith," and thus his "unfading glory," and a return to the "ideals of his fathers" which brings his stature as a patriot to the level of greatness. On the other hand, senator Jose Diokno stated: "Surely whether Rizal died as a Catholic or an apostate adds or detracts nothing from his greatness as a Filipino... Catholic or Mason, Rizal is still Rizal: the hero who courted death 'to prove to those who deny our patriotism that we know how to die for our duty and our beliefs'." 
The poem is more aptly titled, "Adiós, Patria Adorada" (literally "Farewell, Beloved Fatherland"), by virtue of logic and literary tradition, the words coming from the first line of the poem itself. It first appeared in print not in Manila but in Hong Kong in 1897, when a copy of the poem and an accompanying photograph came to J. P. Braga who decided to publish it in a monthly journal he edited. There was a delay when Braga, who greatly admired Rizal, wanted a good job of the photograph and sent it to be engraved in London, a process taking well over two months. It finally appeared under 'Mi último pensamiento,' a title he supplied and by which it was known for a few years. Thus, when the Jesuit Father Balaguer's anonymous account of the retraction and the marriage to Josephine was appearing in Barcelona, no word of the poem's existence reached him in time to revise what he had written. His account was too elaborate that Rizal would have had no time to write "Adiós."
Six years after his death, when the Philippine Organic Act of 1902 was being debated in the United States Congress, Representative Henry Cooper of Wisconsin rendered an English translation of Rizal's valedictory poem capped by the peroration, "Under what clime or what skies has tyranny claimed a nobler victim?" The Americans, however, would not sign the bill into law until 1916 and did not grant full autonomy until 1946—fifty years after Rizal's death.
Josephine Bracken promptly joined the revolutionary forces in Cavite province, making her way through thicket and mud, and helped operate a reloading jig for Mauser cartridges at the arsenal at Imus. The short-lived arsenal under the Revolutionary General Pantaleón García had been reloading spent cartridges again and again and the reloading jig was in continuous use, but Imus was under threat of recapture that the operation had to move, with Josephine, to Maragondon, the mountain redoubt in Cavite. She witnessed the Tejeros Convention prior to returning to Manila and was summoned by the Governor-General, but owing to her stepfather's American citizenship she could not be forcibly deported. She left voluntarily, returning to Hong Kong. She later married another Filipino, Vicente Abad, a mestizo acting as agent for the Philippine firm of Tabacalera. She died in Hong Kong in 1902, a pauper's death, buried in an unknown grave, and never knew how a line of verse had rendered her immortal.
Polavieja faced condemnation by his countrymen after his return to Spain. While visiting Giron, in Cataluña, circulars were distributed among the crowd bearing Rizal's last verses, his portrait, and the charge that Polavieja was responsible for the loss of the Philippines to Spain.
Attempts to debunk legends surrounding Rizal, and the tug of war between free thinker and Catholic, have served to keep him a living issue. While some leaders, Gandhi for one, have been elevated to high pedestals and even deified, Rizal has remained a controversial figure. In one recorded fall from grace he succumbed to the temptation of a 'lady of the camellias.' The writer, Maximo Viola, a friend of Rizal's, was alluding to Dumas's 1848 novel, La dame aux camelias, about a man who fell in love with a courtesan. While the affair was on record, there was no account in Viola's letter whether it was more than a one-night event and if it was more of a business transaction than an amorous affair
Others present him as a man of contradictions. Miguel de Unamuno in "Rizal: the Tagalog Hamlet", said of him, "a soul that dreads the revolution although deep down desires it. He pivots between fear and hope, between faith and despair." His critics assert this character flaw is translated into his two novels where he opposes violence in Noli and appears to advocate it in Fili, contrasting Ibarra's idealism to Simoun's cynicism. His defenders insist this ambivalence is trounced when Simoun is struck down in the sequel's final chapters, reaffirming the author's resolute stance, Pure and spotless must the victim be if the sacrifice is to be acceptable. In the same tenor, Rizal condemned the uprising when Bonifacio asked for his support. Bonifacio, in turn, openly denounced him as a coward for his refusal. Rizal believed that an armed struggle for independence was premature and ill-conceived. Here Rizal is speaking through Father Florentino: ...our liberty will (not) be secured at the sword's point...we must secure it by making ourselves worthy of it. And when a people reaches that height God will provide a weapon, the idols will be shattered, tyranny will crumble like a house of cards and liberty will shine out like the first dawn.
The fact that Rizal never fought in the battlefield leads some to question his ranking as the nation's premier hero, with a few who believe in the beatification of Bonifacio in his stead. In his defense, the historian, Rafael Palma, contends that the revolution of Bonifacio is a consequence wrought by the writings of Rizal and that although the Bonifacio's revolver produced an immediate outcome, the pen of Rizal generated a more lasting achievement.
Rizal's advocacy of institutional reforms by peaceful means rather than by violent revolution makes him Asia's first modern non-violent proponent of political reforms. Forerunner of Gandhi and contemporary of Tagore and Sun Yat Sen, all four created a new climate of thought throughout Asia, leading to the attrition of colonialism and the emergence of new Asiatic nations by the end of World War II. Rizal's appearance on the scene came at a time when European colonial power had been growing and spreading, mostly motivated by trade, some for the purpose of bringing Western forms of government and education to peoples regarded as backward. Coinciding with the appearance of those other leaders, Rizal from an early age had been enunciating in poems, tracts and plays, ideas all his own of modern nationhood as a practical possibility in Asia. In the Noli he stated that if European civilization had nothing better to offer, colonialism in Asia was doomed. Such was recognized by Gandhi who regarded him as a forerunner in the cause of freedom. Jawaharlal Nehru, in his prison letters to his daughter Indira, acknowledged Rizal's significant contributions in the Asian freedom movement. These leaders regarded these contributions as keystones and acknowledged Rizal's role in the movement as foundation layer.
Rizal, through his reading of Morga and other western historians, knew of the genial image of Spain's early relations with his people. In his writings, he showed the disparity between the early colonialists and those of his day, with the latter's atrocities giving rise to Gomburza and the Philippine Revolution of 1896. His biographer, Austin Coates, and writer, Benedict Anderson, believe that Rizal gave the Philippine revolution a genuinely national character; and that Rizal's patriotism and his standing as one of Asia's first intellectuals have inspired others of the importance of a national identity to nation-building.
Although his field of action lay in politics, Rizal's real interests lay in the arts and sciences, in literature and in his profession as an ophthalmologist. Shortly after his death, the Anthropological Society of Berlin met to honor him with a reading of a German translation of his farewell poem and Dr. Rudolf Virchow delivering the eulogy.
The Taft Commission in June 1901 approved AcT 137 renaming the District of Morong into the Province of Rizal, and Act 346 authorizing a government subscription for the erection of a national monument in Rizal's honor. Republic Act 1425 was passed in 1956 by the Philippine legislature that would include in all high school and college curricula a course in the study of his life, works and writings. The wide acceptance of Rizal is partly evidenced by the countless towns, streets, and numerous parks in the Philippines named in his honor. Monuments in his honor were erected in Madrid  Wilhelmsfeld, Germany, Jinjiang, Fujian, China,
Chicago, Cherry Hill Township, New Jersey, San Diego, Seattle, U.S.A., Mexico City, Mexico, Lima, Peru, and Litomerice, Czech Republic. Several titles were bestowed on him: "Pride of the Malay Race," "the First Filipino", "Greatest Man of the Brown Race," among others. The Order of the Knights of Rizal, a civic and patriotic organization, boasts of dozens of chapters all over the globe  . There are some remote-area religious sects who claim him as a sublimation of Christ.
A two-sided marker bearing a painting of Rizal by Fabian de la Rosa on one side and a bronze bust relief of him by Philippine artist Guillermo Tolentino stands at the Asian Civilisations Museum Green. This marks his visits to Singapore (1882, 1887, 1891,1896).
A Rizal bronze bust was erected at La Molina district, Lima, Peru, designed by Czech sculptor Hanstroff, mounted atop a pedestal base with 4 inaugural plaque markers with the following inscription on one: “Dr. José P. Rizal, Héroe Nacional de Filipinas, Nacionalista, Reformador Political, Escritor, Lingüistica y Poeta, 1861-1896.”
The cinematic depiction of Rizal's literary works won two film industry awards more than a century after his birth. In the 10th FAMAS Awards, he was honored in the Best Story category for Gerardo de León's adaptation of his book Noli me Tangere. The recognition was repeated the following year with his movie version of El Filibusterismo, making him the only person to win back-to-back FAMAS Awards posthumously.
Both novels were translated into opera by the composer-librettist Felipe Padilla de León: Noli me tangere in 1957 and El filibusterismo in 1970; and his 1939 overture, Mariang Makiling, was inspired by Rizal's tale of the same name.
Several films were produced narrating Rizal's life. The most successful was Jose Rizal, produced by GMA Films and released in 1998. Cesar Montano played the title role.. A year before it was shown another movie was made portraying his life while in exile in the island of Dapitan. Titled "Rizal sa Dapitan" it stars Albert Martínez as Rizal and Amanda Page as Josephine Bracken. The film was the top grosser of the 1997 Manila Film Festival and won the best actor and actress trophies.. A documentary called "Bayaning Third World" directed by Mike de Leon and starring Joel Torre was released in 2000.
Dr. Jose Rizal is the first Filipino to be on any game system. On the Sony Playstation, he is a playable character on the multiplayer mode for Medal of Honor.
In recognition of the aspirations of the Filipino nation and in proclaiming its noble and patriotic sentiments, I hereby decree.
Article 1. In memory of the Filipino patriots, Dr. Jose Rizal and the other victims of the past Spanish domination, I declare the 30th of December as a national day of mourning.
Article 2. On account of this, all national flags shall be hoisted at half-mast from 12:00 noon on December 29, as a sign of mourning.
Article 3. All offices of the Revolutionary Government shall be closed during the whole day of December 30.
Given in Malolos, December 20,1898 (Signed) EMILIO AGUINALDO
He was the seventh child in a family of 11 children (2 boys and 9 girls). His parents went to school and were well known. His father, Francisco Rizal Mercado, worked hard as a farmer in Biñan, Laguna. Rizal looked up to him. His mother, Teodora Alonso Realonda y Quintos, was born in Meisic, Sta. Cruz, Manila. She read a lot and knew about art and many other things. Rizal said she was loving and very smart. He learned the alphabet from his mother at the age of three. At age five, while learning to read and write, he also showed that he could draw and paint. He surprised his family and relatives with his pencil drawings and sketches and with his moldings of clay. At the age 8, he wrote a Tagalog poem, Sa Aking Mga Kabata. It is about the love of one’s language.
In 1877, at the age of 16, he finished school (Bachelor of Arts) from the Ateneo Municipal de Manila. In the same year, he went to another school to study Philosophy and Letters at the University of Santo Tomas. At the same time, he took classes to become a surveyor and assessor at the Ateneo. In 1878, he went to the University of Santo Tomas to become a doctor. He stopped in his studies when he felt that the Filipino students were not being treated right by the priests who were also their teachers. On May 3, 1882, he went by boat to Spain. In Spain, he continued his studies at the Universidad Central de Madrid. On June 21, 1884, at the age of 23, he got his degree and became a doctor. On June 19,1885, at the age of 24, he got another degree in Philosophy and Letters.
A very smart man, he was good at many other jobs besides being a doctor:
He hoped to make changes in his country and to make the Filipinos go to school. Rizal wrote many poems and books that show his love for his country. In March 1887, his book, Noli Me Tangere was published. It shows the bad habits of the Spanish priests. El Filibusterismo, his second novel was published on September 18, 1891. It is sadder than his first book.
Rizal was not liked by those in power. He showed the bad things done by the priests and the people in the government and this led him and his relatives into trouble. Because of this, he and those who he knew were being watched by the government. They were making up bad things against him. He was put to jail in Fort Santiago from July 6, 1892 to July 15, 1892. They said that papers with words he wrote against priests were found in the luggage of his sister Lucia who arrive with him from Hong Kong. He was made to stay in Dapitan and there he did farming, fishing and business. He also operated and worked in a hospital. He taught the English and Spanish languages and the arts.
When the Philippine Revolution (the war of Filipinos against the Spaniards) started on August 26, 1896, his enemies went after him fast. They were able to get people to say bad things against him and linked him with the war. He was never allowed to talk to these people. From November 3, 1896, to the date of his death, he was again held at Fort Santiago. In prison, he wrote a poem with no title. It is now called Ultimo Adios. It is very well written and became a famous poem. It expresses the hero’s great love of country as well as that of all Filipinos. After a false trial, he was convicted of rebellion (going against the government), sedition (making trouble) and of forming illegal association (meeting not allowed by the government). He was killed by guns fired by soldiers on December 30, 1896 at Bagumbayan Field. He was 35 years old at the time of his death.
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