Who is José Rizal?

Josè Protacio Rizal Mercado Y Alonso Realonda was born in the town of Calamba, Laguna, Philippines on June 19, 1861 and died at age 35 on December 30, 1896 in Manila, Philippines.

He was the seventh of eleven 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, which revolves on the theme of love of one’s language.


Rizal at 13

In 1887, at age 16, he earned 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.

At 17, Rizal learned that his mother was going blind, so 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.”  At age 25 he completed his eye specialization and used the newly invented ophthalmoscope to operate on his mother’s eye.

Rizal traveled throughout Europe, America and Asia. He proved to be a versatile genius mastering 22 languages (a polyglot) and a multitude of occupations. He was an architect, artist, businessman, cartoonist, educator, economist, ethnologist, scientific farmer, historian, inventor, journalist, linguist, musician, mythologist, nationalist, naturalist, novelist, ophthalmologist, poet, propagandist, psychologist, scientist, sculptor, sociologist, and theologian during his short life. He was also proficient in martial arts, fencing and pistol shooting.
While in Europe, Rizal published several books with nationalistic and revolutionary tendencies including his two famous novels Noli Me Tangere and

El Filibusterismo. His literary works became an inspiration for Philippine nationalism and his writings exposed the corruption and injustice of the civil and clerical officials, which provoked those in power. Upon his return to the Philippines, he formed a nonviolent society called La Liga Filipina, which sought government reforms.

The goals he sought were:

  • The Philippines to become a province of Spain with representation in the Spanish Government.
  • Filipino priests in their parishes instead of Spanish friars.
  • Freedom of speech and assembly.
  • Equal rights for Filipinos

Rizal incensed the government and was exiled to Mindanao for four years. His writings and actions became the catalyst for the Philippine Revolution, which began in 1896.

Rizal denounced the violence that was taking place, but the government still linked him to it and arrested him. After a mock trial, he was convicted of rebellion, sedition and of forming illegal associations.

From November 3, 1896, to the date of his execution, he was committed to Fort Santiago. In his prison cell, he wrote an untitled poem, now known as Mi 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.

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 the capacity to equal if not excel even those who treat him as a slave, was publicly executed by firing squad at Bagumbayan Field, now known as Luneta Park, Manila.

He became a martyr of the Philippine Revolution and his nonviolent actions led to Philippine independence from Spain ultimately by violent revolution.

Josè Rizal is the Philippine’s national hero and the anniversary of his death is commemorated as a Philippine holiday called Rizal Day.

Rizal-Book-El-Filibusterismo2Rizal’s vision broadened while he was in Spain to the point of awakening in him an understanding of human nature, sparking in him the realization that his people needed him.

In March 1887, Rizal published in Berlin, Germany his daring novel written in Spanish, NOLI ME TANGERE, a satirical novel exposing the arrogance and despotism of the Spanish clergy, the ills of Philippine society, the way Filipino culture was backward, anti-progress, anti-intellectual, and not conducive to the ideals of the Age of Enlightenment.

Early English translations used titles like An Eagle Flight (1900) and The Social Cancer (1912), but more recent translations have been published using the original Latin title meaning “touch me not”

Fittingly, Rizal found it a timely and effective gesture to dedicate his novel to the country of his people whose experiences and sufferings he wrote about, sufferings which he brought to light in an effort to awaken his countrymen to the truths that had long remained unspoken, although not totally unheard of. In writing the Noli, Rizal signed his own death warrant.

After the fate of the Noli was sealed by the Spanish authorities, Rizal was prompted to write the continuation of his first novel.

Inspired by what the word filibustero connoted in relation to the circumstances during his time, and his spirits dampened by the tragic execution of the three martyred priests, Rizal aptly titled his second novel El Filibusterismo (also known in English as The Reign of Greed) published in Ghent, Belgium on September 18, 1891. His second novel and a sequel to the NOLI was more revolutionary and tragic than the latter.

The book was dedicated to the memory of the three priests; Fr. Mariano Gomez, Fr. Jose Burgos, Fr. Jacinto Zamora (Gomburza) who were accused of being seditious and were executed in Bagumbayan Field on the 28th of February, 1872.

In his dedication, Rizal audaciously expressed his conviction that their treatment at the hands of the Spanish authorities was unjust.



Rizal Family Sisters

There are nine (9) recorded women in Rizal’s life, however some historians suggest that there have been more. Below are brief accounts of Jose Rizal’s romances:

Rizal at 35

José Rizal
José RizalNational Hero
Josè Protacio Rizal Mercado Y Alonso Realonda was born in the town of Calamba, Laguna, Philippines on June 19, 1861 and died at age 35 on December 30, 1896 in Manila, Philippines.

Some of my highlights

  • Noli Me Tángere, novel, 1887 (literally Latin for ‘touch me not’, from John 20:17)
  • El Filibusterismo, (novel, 1891), sequel to Noli Me Tángere
  • Mi Último Adiós, poem, 1896 (literally “My Last Farewell” )
  • Alin Mang Lahi” (“Whate’er the Race”), a Kundiman attributed to Dr. José Rizal
  • The Friars and the Filipinos (Unfinished)
  • Toast to Juan Luna and Felix Hidalgo (Speech, 1884), given at Restaurante Ingles, Madrid
  • The Diaries of José Rizal
  • Rizal’s Letters is a compendium of Dr. Jose Rizal’s letters to his family members, Blumentritt, Fr. Pablo Pastells and other reformers
  • “Come se gobiernan las Filipinas” (Governing the Philippine islands)
  • Filipinas dentro de cien años essay, 1889-90 (The Philippines a Century Hence)
  • La Indolencia de los Filipinos, essay, 1890 (The indolence of Filipinos)
  • Makamisa unfinished novel
  • Sa Mga Kababaihang Taga Malolos, essay, 1889, To the Young Women of Malolos
  • Annotations to Antonio de Moragas, Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas (essay, 1889, Events in the Philippine Islands)
  • A La Juventud Filipina
  • El Canto Del Viajero
  • Briayle Crismarl
  • Canto Del Viajero
  • Canto de María Clara
  • Dalit sa Paggawa
  • Felictación
  • Kundiman (Tagalog)
  • Me Piden Versos
  • Mi primera inspiracion
  • Mi Retiro
  • Mi Ultimo Adiós
  • Por La Educación (Recibe Lustre La Patria)
  • Sa Sanggol na si Jesus
  • To My Muse (A Mi Musa)
  • Un Recuerdo A Mi Pueblo
  • A Man in Dapitan
  • El Consejo de los Dioses (The council of Gods)
  • Junto Al Pasig (Along the Pasig)
  • San Euistaquio, Mártyr (Saint Eustache, the martyr)

Rizal also tried his hand at painting and sculpture. His most famous sculptural work was “The Triumph of Science over Death“, a clay sculpture of a naked young woman with overflowing hair, standing on a skull while bearing a torch held high. The woman symbolized the ignorance of humankind during the Dark Ages, while the torch she bore symbolized the enlightenment science brings over the whole world. He sent the sculpture as a gift to his dear friend Ferdinand Blumentritt, together with another one named “The Triumph of Death over Life”.

The woman is shown trampling the skull, a symbol of death, to signify the victory the humankind achieved by conquering the bane of death through their scientific advancements. The original sculpture is now displayed at the Rizal Shrine Museum at Fort Santiago in Intramuros, Manila. A large replica, made of concrete, stands in front of Fernando Calderón Hall, the building which houses the College of Medicine of the University of the Philippines Manila along Pedro Gil Street in Ermita, Manila.

Mi Ultimo Adios

by Jose Rizal

Farewell, dear Fatherland, clime of the sun caress’d
Pearl of the Orient seas, our Eden lost!,
Gladly now I go to give thee this faded life’s best,
And were it brighter, fresher, or more blest
Still would I give it thee, nor count the cost.

On the field of battle, ‘mid the frenzy of fight,
Others have given their lives, without doubt or heed;
The place matters not-cypress or laurel or lily white,
Scaffold or open plain, combat or martyrdom’s plight,
T is ever the same, to serve our home and country’s need.

I die just when I see the dawn break,
Through the gloom of night, to herald the day;
And if color is lacking my blood thou shalt take,
Pour’d out at need for thy dear sake
To dye with its crimson the waking ray.

My dreams, when life first opened to me,
My dreams, when the hopes of youth beat high,
Were to see thy lov’d face, O gem of the Orient sea
From gloom and grief, from care and sorrow free;
No blush on thy brow, no tear in thine eye.

Dream of my life, my living and burning desire,
All hail ! cries the soul that is now to take flight;
All hail ! And sweet it is for thee to expire ;
To die for thy sake, that thou mayst aspire;
And sleep in thy bosom eternity’s long night.

If over my grave some day thou seest grow,
In the grassy sod, a humble flower,
Draw it to thy lips and kiss my soul so,
While I may feel on my brow in the cold tomb below
The touch of thy tenderness, thy breath’s warm power.

Let the moon beam over me soft and serene,
Let the dawn shed over me its radiant flashes,
Let the wind with sad lament over me keen ;
And if on my cross a bird should be seen,
Let it trill there its hymn of peace to my ashes.
Let the sun draw the vapors up to the sky,
And heavenward in purity bear my tardy protest
Let some kind soul o ‘er my untimely fate sigh,
And in the still evening a prayer be lifted on high
From thee, 0 my country, that in God I may rest.

Pray for all those that hapless have died,
For all who have suffered the unmeasur’d pain;
For our mothers that bitterly their woes have cried,
For widows and orphans, for captives by torture tried
And then for thyself that redemption thou mayst gain.

And when the dark night wraps the graveyard around
With only the dead in their vigil to see
Break not my repose or the mystery profound
And perchance thou mayst hear a sad hymn resound
‘T is I, O my country, raising a song unto thee.

And even my grave is remembered no more
Unmark’d by never a cross nor a stone
Let the plow sweep through it, the spade turn it o’er
That my ashes may carpet earthly floor,
Before into nothingness at last they are blown.

Then will oblivion bring to me no care
As over thy vales and plains I sweep;
Throbbing and cleansed in thy space and air
With color and light, with song and lament I fare,
Ever repeating the faith that I keep.

My Fatherland ador’d, that sadness to my sorrow lends
Beloved Filipinas, hear now my last good-by!
I give thee all: parents and kindred and friends
For I go where no slave before the oppressor bends,
Where faith can never kill, and God reigns e’er on high!

Farewell to you all, from my soul torn away,
Friends of my childhood in the home dispossessed !
Give thanks that I rest from the wearisome day !
Farewell to thee, too, sweet friend that lightened my way;
Beloved creatures all, farewell! In death there is rest !

Translated by Charles Derbyshire (1911)

Mi Ultimo Adiós

Adios, Patria adorada, region del sol querida,
Perla del Mar de Oriente, nuestro perdido Eden!
A darte voy alegre la triste mustia vida,
Y fuera más brillante más fresca, más florida,
Tambien por tí la diera, la diera por tu bien.

En campos de batalla, luchando con delirio
Otros te dan sus vidas sin dudas, sin pesar;
El sitio nada importa, ciprés, laurel ó lirio,
Cadalso ó campo abierto, combate ó cruel martirio,
Lo mismo es si lo piden la patria y el hogar.

Yo muero cuando veo que el cielo se colora
Y al fin anuncia el día trás lóbrego capuz;
Si grana necesitas para teñir tu aurora,
Vierte la sangre mía, derrámala en buen hora
Y dórela un reflejo de su naciente luz.

Mis sueños cuando apenas muchacho adolescente,
Mis sueños cuando joven ya lleno de vigor,
Fueron el verte un día, joya del mar de oriente
Secos los negros ojos, alta la tersa frente,
Sin ceño, sin arrugas, sin manchas de rubor.

Ensueño de mi vida, mi ardiente vivo anhelo,
Salud te grita el alma que pronto va á partir!
Salud! ah que es hermoso caer por darte vuelo,
Morir por darte vida, morir bajo tu cielo,
Y en tu encantada tierra la eternidad dormir.

Si sobre mi sepulcro vieres brotar un dia
Entre la espesa yerba sencilla, humilde flor,
Acércala a tus labios y besa al alma mía,
Y sienta yo en mi frente bajo la tumba fría
De tu ternura el soplo, de tu hálito el calor.

Deja á la luna verme con luz tranquila y suave;
Deja que el alba envíe su resplandor fugaz,
Deja gemir al viento con su murmullo grave,
Y si desciende y posa sobre mi cruz un ave
Deja que el ave entone su cantico de paz.

Deja que el sol ardiendo las lluvias evapore
Y al cielo tornen puras con mi clamor en pos,
Deja que un sér amigo mi fin temprano llore
Y en las serenas tardes cuando por mi alguien ore
Ora tambien, Oh Patria, por mi descanso á Dios!

Ora por todos cuantos murieron sin ventura,
Por cuantos padecieron tormentos sin igual,
Por nuestras pobres madres que gimen su amargura;
Por huérfanos y viudas, por presos en tortura
Y ora por tí que veas tu redencion final.

Y cuando en noche oscura se envuelva el cementerio
Y solos sólo muertos queden velando allí,
No turbes su reposo, no turbes el misterio
Tal vez acordes oigas de citara ó salterio,
Soy yo, querida Patria, yo que te canto á ti.

Y cuando ya mi tumba de todos olvidada
No tenga cruz ni piedra que marquen su lugar,
Deja que la are el hombre, la esparza con la azada,
Y mis cenizas antes que vuelvan á la nada,
El polvo de tu alfombra que vayan á formar.

Entonces nada importa me pongas en olvido,
Tu atmósfera, tu espacio, tus valles cruzaré,
Vibrante y limpia nota seré para tu oido,
Aroma, luz, colores, rumor, canto, gemido
Constante repitiendo la esencia de mi fé.

Mi Patria idolatrada, dolor de mis dolores,
Querida Filipinas, oye el postrer adios.
Ahi te dejo todo, mis padres, mis amores.
Voy donde no hay esclavos, verdugos ni opresores,
Donde la fé no mata, donde el que reyna es Dios.

Adios, padres y hermanos, trozos del alma mía,
Amigos de la infancia en el perdido hogar,
Dad gracias que descanso del fatigoso día;
Adios, dulce extrangera, mi amiga, mi alegria,
Adios, queridos séres morir es descansar

Poem written by Philippine national hero Dr. Jose Rizal on the eve of his execution on December 30, 1896

ni Jose Rizal

Paalam na, sintang lupang tinubuan,
Bayang masagana sa init ng araw,
Edeng maligaya sa ami’y pumanaw
At perlas ng dagat sa dakong Silangan.

Inihahandog ko ng ganap na tuwa
Sa iyo yaring buhay na lanta na’t aba;
Naging dakila ma’y iaalay rin nga
Kung dahil sa iyong ikatitimawa.

Ang nanga sa digmaan dumog sa paglaban
Handog din sa iyo ang kanilang buhay,
Hirap ay di pansin at di gunamgunam
Ang pagkaparool o pagtagumpay.

Bibitaya’t madlang mabangis na sakit
O pakikibakang lubhang mapanganib,
Pawang titiisin kung ito ang nais
Ng baya’t tahanang pinakaiibig.

Ako’y mamamatay ngayong minamalas
Ang kulay ng langit na nanganganinag
Ibinababalang araw ay sisikat
Sa kabila niyang mapanglaw na ulap.

Kung dugo ang iyong kinakailangan
Sa ikadidilag ng iyong pagsilang,
Dugo ko’y ibubo’t sa isa man lamang
Nang gumigiti mong sinag ay kuminang.

Ang mga nasa ko, mulang magkaisip,
Magpahanggang ngayon maganap ang bait,
Ang ikaw’y makitnag hiyas na marikit
Ng dagat Silangan na nakaliligid.

Noo mo’y maningning at sa mga mata
Mapait na luha bakas ma’y wala na,
Wala ka ng poot, wala ng balisa,
Walang kadungua’t munti mang pangamba,

Sa sandaling buhay maalab kong nais
Ang kagalingan mo’t ang paiwang sulit
Ng kaluluwa king gayak ng aalis:
Ginhawa’y kamtan mo! Anong pagkarikit!

Nang maaba’t ikaw’y mapataas lamang,
Mamatay at upang mabigyan kang buihay,
Malibing sa lupang puspos ng karika’t
Sa silong ng iyong langit ay mahimlay.

Kung sa ibang araw ikaw’y may mapansin
Nipot na bulaklak sa aba kong libing,
Sa gitna ng mga damong masisinsin,
Hagka’t ang halik mo’y itaos sa akin.

Sa samyo ng iyong pagsuyong matamis,
Mataos na taghoy ng may sintang sibsib,
Bayang tumaggap noo ko ng init,
Na natatabunan ng lupang malamig.

Bayan mong ako’y malasin ng buwan
Sa liwang niyang hilano’t malamlam;
Bayan ihatid sa aking liwayway
Ang banaang niyang dagling napaparam.

Bayaang humalik ang simoy ng hangin;
Bayaang sa huning masaya’y awitin
Ng darapong ibon sa kurus ng libing
Ang buhay payapang ikinaaaliw.

Bayaang ang araw na lubhang maningas
Pawiin ang ulan, gawing pawang ulap,
Maging panganuring sa langit umakyat,
At ang aking daing ay mapakilangkap.

Bayaang ang aking maagang pagpanw,
Itangis ng isnag lubos na nagmamahal;
Kung may umalala sa akin ng dasal,
Ako’y iyo sanang idalangin naman.

Idalangin mo rin ang di nagkapalad,
Na nangamatay na’t yaong nanganhirap
sa daming pasakit, at ang lumalangap
naming mga ina luhang masaklap.

Idalangin sampo ng bawa’t ulila
at nangapipiit na tigib ng dusa;
idalangin mo ring ikaw’y matubos na
sa pagkaaping laong binata.

Kung nababalot na ang mga libingan
Ng sapot na itim ng gabing mapanglaw,
at wala ng tanod kundi pawing patay,
huwang gambalain ang katahimikan.

Pagpitagan mo ang hiwagang lihim,
at mapapakinggan ang tinig marahil,
ng isang saltero: Ito nga’y ako ring
inaawitanka ng aking paggiliw.

Kung ang libingan kong limot na ang madla
ay wala nang kurus at bato mang tanda
sa nangangabubukid ay ipaubayang
bungkali’t isabog ang natipong lupa.

Ang mga abo ko’y bago pailanglang
mauwi sa wala na pinaggalingan,
ay makalt munag parang kapupunanng
iyong alabok sa lupang tuntungan.

Sa gayo’y walaa ng anoman sa akin,
na limutin mo ma’t aking lilibutin
ang himpapawid mo kaparanga’t hangin
at ako sa iyo’y magiging taginting.

Bango, tinig, higing, awit na masaya
liwanag aat kulay na lugod ng mata’t
uulit-ulitin sa tuwi-tuwina.

Ako’y yayao na sa bayang payapa,
na walang alipi’t punoing mapang-aba,
doo’y di nanatay ang paniniwala
at ang naghahari Diyos na dakila.

Paalam anak, magulang, kapatid,
bahagi ng puso’t unang nakaniig,
ipagpasalamat ang aking pag-alis
sa buhay na itong lagi ng ligalig.

Paalam na liyag, tanging kaulayaw,
taga ibang lupang aking katuwaan,
paaalam sa inyo, mga minamahal;
mamatay ay ganap na katahimikan

Isinalin sa wikang Pilipino ni Jose Gatmaitan

Martyrdom of Rizal Mural

The Martyrdom of Rizal Mural, done in 1960 is one of the best known work of Carlos “Botong” V. Francisco, Philippine National Artist for Visual Arts in 1973. Francisco is best known for his landmark murals depicting some of the Philippine historical events. The mural depicts the execution of Philippine National Hero Dr. Jose Rizal at Bagong Bayan (now Rizal Park) on December 30, 1896. The mural was commissioned by Fort Santiago as part of the Rizal Shrine.

The painting is a Photo on Canvas by Photographer David Fabros based on the original Martyrdom of Rizal Mural.