Jose Rizal (1861 - 1896)

Jose Rizal is the National Hero of the Philippines. Born in Calamba Laguna, Phillipines, he left for Spain when he was 21. While in Europe, he joined the Propaganda Movement and became a vocal critic of Spanish colonialism and clerical rule in the Philippines.

He wrote two famous novels, the Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo. In these two novels, he exposed the abuses of the Spanish friars in the Philippines. These books inspired Andres Bonifactio to begin the Philippine Revolution.

His activites led to his arrest, exile, and eventual execution in Bagumbayan Field (now known as Luneta Park) in Manila.

Some trivia:

  • Aside from being a novelist and hero, Rizal was also a poet, linguist, and medical doctor.
  • The only member of the propaganda movement who did not regularly visit brothels, he was reputedly a playboy, and had a long string of girlfriends.
  • He also was short, had a big head, and did not often take baths (because he could not afford it).
  • There is a Rizalista cult in the Philippines who believe that Rizal is the second coming of Christ. They are now awaiting his third coming.
  • Rizal, Jose, a Filipino patriot; born in Catamba, Luzon, in 1861. He was the son of Tagal parents, who destined him for the Church; he was sent to Manila, where he entered the Ateneo Municipal, a school in charge of the Jesuits. In Manila Jose soon learned of the reproach attached to his Tagal origin. He was denied the honors due him as head of his class; and his patriotic poems and speeches met only the derision and hatred of the Spanish students. Though he had been destined for the Church, he studed for and took his medical degree at Manila. Then he went to Paris, Heidelberg, Leipsic, and in all these cities he continued his medical studies. He learned that Europe was almost ignorant of the Philippines, so he wrote a novel, portraying his birthland, which was published in Berlin in 1887. He wrote a sequel to it which was published at Ghent in 1891. In 1887 Rizal went to Hong Kong where he organized the famous Philippine League, which was the source of the "Revolutionary Society of the Sons of the Nation." During several years of travel he constantly agitated Filipino revolt, and then in May 1892, returned to Manila. He was arrested and exiled to Dopitan, in one of the S. islands. In 1895 he was permitted to return to Luzon. He was, however, arrested at Barcelona and transshipped to Manila, tried, and convicted to death. His last wishes, that he might be united by civil marriage with Miss Josephine Bracken, whom he first met in Hong Kong, and who had gone to Manila when his trial began; and the other that he should be shot through the breast, were granted. He was shot by a detail of native soldiers, Dec. 30, 1896.

    Entry from Everybody's Cyclopedia, 1912.

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