Rizal: Life and Philosophies
Jose Rizal was a man of incredible intellectual power, with amazing artistic talent as well. He excelled at anything that he put his mind to – medicine, poetry, sketching, architecture, sociology… the list seems nearly endless.
Thus, Rizal’s martyrdom by the Spanish colonial authorities while he was still quite young was a huge loss to the Philippines, and to the world at large.
Today, the people of the Philippines honor him as their national hero.
CHAPTER I: RIZAL’S BIRTH AND HIS SCHOOLING IN BINAN
On June 19, 1861, Francisco Rizal Mercado and Teodora Alonzo y Quintos welcomed their seventh child into the world at Calamba, Laguna. They named the boy Jose Protasio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda. Rizal then grew up in an environment conducive for learning and proper upbringing.
The Mercado family was wealthy farmers who rented land from the Dominican religious order. Descendants of a Chinese immigrant named Domingo Lam-co, they changed their name to Mercado (“market”) under the pressure of anti-Chinese feeling amongst the Spanish colonizers.
Dr. Jose Rizal from his humble origin to his studies at his native land Laguna is a boy of creativity, passion for knowledge, education, and religion.
From an early age, Jose Rizal Mercado showed a precocious intellect. 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.
His first teacher, his mother together with his uncles, and brother first molded him to become the person he is known today.
With his father, Rizal made a pilgrimage to Antipolo to fulfill the vow made by his mother to take the child to the Shrine of the Virgin of Antipolo should she and her child survive the ordeal of delivery which nearly caused his mother’s life.
From there they proceeded to Manila and visited his sister Saturnina who was at the time studying in the La Concordia College in Sta. Ana.
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.
As there was no formal schooling for primary education, his mentors was able to instill in him physical education, life values, and the morals of a true Christian.
His early education was the same as the other children from an Ilustrado family which was rigid and strict.
But Rizal grew up to be religious, prayerful, and god-fearing. His love for arts and literature also started sparks in his childhood.
He learned to express himself in the medium of poetry and arts at an early age and developed this gift subsequently, proof of this is the Mi Primera Inspiracion, a poem that shows his love for his mother.
Rizal at an early age saw the injustices through the malevolent case against his mother and the execution of the three famous martyr father Gomez, Burgos, and Zamora collectively known as GOMBURZA.
At this stage of Rizal’s life, Rizal acquired his inspirations: his love for country, God, family, justice, freedom, education and language. These were the foundations in his childhood that strengthened him and guided him.
CHAPTER II: RIZAL IN ATENEO
On June 10, 1872, Jose together with his brother went to Manila to grant his wish of enrolling Jose in San Juan de Letran. Jose Rizal took the entrance examination and passed them with flying colors, then he went back to Calamba to stay for a while with his family and attend their town fiesta only to find out that his father’s wish changed instead of enrolling him to San Juan de Letran he wished to enroll him to Ateneo de Manila.
Although José Rizal, now eleven years old, had passed a good entrance examination in Manila, he nearly failed to matriculate in the Ateneo in July, because his mother’s arrest had made him a month late, and because he looked so little, so slender, so young. He would not have been admitted at all but for the intercession of Dr. Manuel Burgos, a nephew of the recently executed Dr. José Burgos.
Thus, being an obedient child, upon his return to Manila accompanied again by his brother Paciano, they proceeded to Ateneo Municipal. At first Father Magin Fernando, who was the college registrar, denied them of admittance for two reasons: 1.) he was late for registration and 2.) he was sickly and undersize for his age. Jose Rizal was then eleven years old. However, they sought the intercession of Manual Xerez Burgos, nephew of Father Burgos. As a result, he was reluctantly admitted at the Ateneo.
Ateneo Municipal home to the Jesuits priests which was considered the best educators in Spain proved their worth in providing the best education system for both Filipinos and Spaniards.
In Ateneo, every student is treated equally. Everyone is playing on the equal field.
Jose Rizal belonged to the class composed of Spaniards, mestizos and Filipinos. His first teacher was Fr. Jose Bech. As a newcomer and knowing little Spanish, he was considered as inferior and placed at the bottom of the class. He was an externo hence he was assigned to the Carthaginians, an occupant of the end of the line.
Classes are divided into two sectors: the group representing the Roman Empire and Carthaginian Empire based on the students residency.
In the two empires student are classified into five: Emperor, Tribune, Decurion, Centurion, and Standard Bearer.
Having these divisions and competition in class, Rizal was more inspired to achieve and excel to represent the might of the Filipino race.
He proved he was no inferior for at the end of the month he became the emperor and received a prize, a religious picture.
He exerted more effort to learn ahead and he then took the extra effort to stand out and maintain the academic supremacy.
To improve his Spanish, Jose Rizal took private lesson in Santa Isabel College during the noon recess while students were playing and doing leisure activities.
He placed second at the end of the year although his grades were marked excellent. According to Ambeth Ocampo there were only twelve students in a class, nine of which, including Jose Rizal, graduated sobresaliente with the same excellent mark in all their subjects in school year 1876-77.
He studied harder this year and regained his leadership composure and became an emperor again.
Jose Rizal returned to Ateneo shortly before the classes began to start his junior year. He met his mother and informed him that she was finally released from prison, just as he predicted when he visited her to her prison cell in Santa Cruz, Laguna.
On June 16, 1875, he became a boarder in Ateneo. He befriended his professor Fr. Francisco de Paula Sanchez, whom he regarded as great educator and scholar. He inspired him to write poetry and to study harder. Fr. Sanchez recognized his God-given talents. Because of the inspiration and recognition given, he regarded the Jesuit professor as “model of uprightness, earnestness, and love” for the advancement of his students.
The Jesuits didn’t fail to impress Jose Rizal and evoke him to venerate the Spanish culture and Catholicism.
Consequently, he resumed his studies with vigor and dedication and topped all his classmates in all subjects and won five medals at the end of the school term.
Rizal was captivated and astonished of the Spanish culture and believes that the Spanish way of life is supreme, and every Filipino must strive to be of the kind.
He now believes that Filipinos must study, hone skills and abilities, and exhibit the Spanish culture to be successful.
Jose Rizal Mercado graduated at the age of 16 with highest honors. He took a post-graduate course there in land surveying.
Rizal Mercado completed his surveyor’s training in 1877, and passed the licensing exam in May 1878, but could not receive a license to practice because he was only 17 years old. (He was granted a license in 1881, when he reached the age of majority.)
At this stage of Rizal’s Life, Rizal was Hispanized. The Jesuits’ way of teaching, of enforcing discipline as well as promoting a culture of learning inspired Rizal to great heights of achievement. Since the Jesuits also teach foreign literature, Rizal eventually became fascinated by stories and ideas from abroad, leading to a widening of perspectives and also an appreciation of foreign culture.
CHAPTER III: RIZAL IN UST
After finishing his studies at Ateneo Municipal with flying colors, Rizal prepared to pursue further studies on Medicine at the University of Sto. Thomas, which were ran by Dominican priests.
In Ateneo, Rizal was treated as an equal by the Jesuits, no discrimination nor racism. In the University of Sto. Thomas However, Rizal experienced first hand the racism and discrimination from the hands of the Dominican priests and his fellow classmates. Proof of this is Rizal’s statement that: “The Lyceum held another poetry contest for Filipinos, Mestizos, and Spaniards. The competitors entered with assumed names. The first prize was awarded to a beautiful allegory called “The Council of the Gods”. But when the Spanish judges learned that its author was a Filipino they reversed the decision, an experience which cut very deep into José’s soul.” -Laubach, F. (1909). Rizal: Man and Martyr. Community Publishers.
It was also during this time that Rizal wrote A La Juventud Filipina, a poem for his fellow Filipino youth. He expressed here his views that Filipinos are not inferior to any race especially to the Spaniards, and that they should hone their skills and talents, for God, for the Philippines and for Spain.
Rizal also revealed the flaws in the educational system of the Dominicans, for instance, the would not let the students use the laboratory equipments unless there are important visitors in the institution. The Professors were hostile and their method of teaching in a repressive manner was obsolete.
Rizal accused the Dominicans of having a unilateral grading scheme that if one is a Filipino, he/she will receive a lower grade. Through these experiences it is inevitable that Rizal would become one who is against the friars.
At this stage of Rizal’s life, Rizal started to become an anti-friar. Rizal’s experienced injustices made him think ill of the friars. Due to Rizal’s “race jealousy” caused by the friar’s favoritism towards Spanish students, Rizal was more than ever intent to prove that Filipinos are equal or even greater than any foreign race.
CHAPTER IV: RIZAL’S FIRST VOYAGE IN EUROPE
Rizal traveled to different parts of Europe, namely, Berlin and Madrid. When Rizal set foot on those countries he was amazed by the liberty, equality and freedom that the residents of those countries were experiencing. People had the right to speak their minds and express themselves without any restrictions from the Church or Government. Rizal was able to compare the state of his own country to the state of the countries he had been to, and he noted the significant difference between the Philippines from Madrid and Berlin, specifically differences regarding rights and freedom of speech.
In Madrid, Rizal became a pioneer member of the Kilusang Repormista, alongside Marcelo del Pilar, Mariano Ponce, Graciano Lopez Jaena, Juan and Antonio Luna and amongst other Filipinos. These gentlemen originating from different provinces and cities where friar abuse were rampant, joined together and came to a resolve to ask for reforms to alleviate the condition of the Philippines and to weaken the hold of the friars.
Rizal also joined the Masonic Order, an organization composed of numerous liberal minded men. These people were against oppression and the restriction of various human rights, and like Rizal, the members of the Masonic Order are in approval of proposing for reforms for the Philippines. It was also in this Order that Rizal relinquished his Catholic Faith.
In Germany, he met the pastor Karl Urllmer, and the ophthalmologist Dr. Luis de Wecker. Both Germans became friends of Rizal. Rizal was very content when he stayed in Germany, since he noted the Germans’ good qualities of industriousness and liberalism.
After a lot of hard work and advocacies for Philippine freedom, Rizal finished one of his immortal novels, the Noli Me Tangere.
The Noli Me Tangere is Rizal’s first novel, in this novel, he stated his idea that reforms are greater than any revolution, expressed by the immense character of Ibarra overshadowing that of Elias’. Rizal also expressed in this novel his anti-friar sentiments and reasoned through many passages in the novel that they are a hindrance to progress. The Noli Me Tangere is also a window through which people can have a glimpse of Filipino society under the Spaniards, and it is very accurate. The characters are representatives of people living in the Philippines in the Spanish Era.
At this stage of Rizal’s life, Rizal with Del Pilar and other Filipinos, resolved that what he began to believe in UST was true that the friars indeed are the ones oppressing the Filipino people, that it is true that the Friars are the obstacle to progress, prosperity and freedom. Rizal had high hopes for his plans of reform, and abhorred the thought of any revolution. Rizal believed that reforms, once the friars have been weakened, will be undertaken by the Spanish Government.
CHAPTER V: RIZAL’S FIRST RETURN TO THE PHILIPPINES
All Filipinos exhibit a sense of longingness for their own respective families when they are travelling abroad for whatever purpose. Rizal was no different, he longed for his mother, his father, his brother, and his relatives. When Rizal was abroad, in Madrid, in Berlin, he was constantly thinking about home. He longed for his beloved Philippines, because he was very lonely and is also worried about the condition of his relatives back home.
Proof of his worrying about his relatives is expressed in a letter to his family written on June 1886, where in Rizal states that: “It seems to me that I’m causing you too many expenses and I want to help the family in all that I can. I am tired of Europe”. Rizal was also homesick, and while he was strolling the parks of Heidelberg, he confided in his journal: “In two days I shall perhaps leave this cheerful city and go anew to distant lands in search of I know not what. Always roving and wandering alone, leaving friendships when they had scarcely been made, parting, nevermore to meet again, from so many people I cherished… Ah, now I sigh for my distant country… I have loved but I have smothered my heart’s desires, I have overruled them. If life goes on like this, my heart will end by dying.” Rizal’s friends and relatives back in Manila and Calamba warned Rizal not to go back to the Philippines for fear of his safety, one friend even told Rizal to become a citizen of Germany for him not to get arrested once complications arise. But Rizal’s attachment to the Philippines was great, and it overruled any other precaution. Rizal finally went back to the Philippines, and set foot once again in his beloved homeland in 1887.
Rizal by now is very popular in the Philippines for his book, Noli Me Tangere, - his friends and family wanted to praise him for it, and on the other hand, the friars were raging about Rizal and the statements he expressed in his novel.
He first visited Manila, where he met the Governor General Emilio Terrero, and they had a dialogue regarding Rizal’s novel, Rizal promised to give him a copy. It is unfortunate that this Governor General will fail Rizal in his hour of need, which will be expressed later.
Rizal then went to Calamba to finally visit his relatives and family, where he noted their concerns about the Dominican friars. The main problem was that the Dominican friars have been increasing the cost of their rents without much regard to the well-being of the people of Calamba. The Dominican friars weren’t also issuing receipts as proof of the land tenant’s payment. For all these problems, Rizal was the man whom the inhabitants of Calamba could look up to.
Rizal, who was putting into practice his beliefs contained in Noli Me Tangere, beliefs about idealism and reform as well as hope for the Spanish government to give aid to the Philippines, filed two reports for the Spanish government to consider, as a response to the investigation with which the Spanish government had made regarding the taxation made by the Dominican friars. The reports contained information on the problems of the Calambenos, regarding the taxation of the friars, but the abuses were not showed, only the taxation measures which were deemed faulty. Unfortunately, the reports were not heard and were mostly ignored by the acting governor general at that time, Emilio Terrero. The second report was filed when the first one failed. This report now contained the abuses and retaliations of the friars done against the Calambenos because of the first report.
Unfortunately, even the second report was left ignored by the governor general. Rizal’s disappointment and lack of faith for reform by the Spanish government for the Philippines started because of this incident. The Calambenos were left to continually suffer the retaliations of the Friars for even reporting their troubles, and the Calambenos were getting evicted from their homes.
It was evident during this time that the Spanish government did not care about the well-being of the Indios, and Rizal was deeply affected by it.
At this stage of Rizal’s life, Rizal started getting subversive ideas, ideas about splitting away from the rule of Spain. Rizal’s disappointment with the Spanish government caused him to think that maybe, the salvation of the Philippines lie in Independence, and not in reforms.
CHAPTER VI: RIZAL’S SECOND VOYAGE TO EUROPE
Rizal’s hope for reforms faded when he went back in the Philippines. Now, most of Rizal’s relatives wanted to send him again abroad for his safety as well as their own since the friars have been continually complaining about Rizal’s actions. Also, even the archbishop participated in the complaints, signaling that Rizal’s well being is at risk and he might be deported in some island, or thrown into a dark cold dungeon. Fortunately, Taviel de Andrade, Rizal’s friend, was there to help him.
Rizal said his farewells to his family and friends at the year 1888, where he departed for Europe once again. Along the route to Europe, he stopped by at Japan to live at the Spanish Legation. There, he met O Sei San, a Japanese woman whom he had expressed his interest.
But Rizal was headed for Europe, and so he said sayonara to his Japanese lover.
Another stop along the way to Europe was America, the land of opportunity, where he noted its characteristics, “raw, grasping, and restless with growing pains”. America could not give Rizal any form of inspiration or leisure. He once again departed, now aboard the ship City of Rome, headed directly to London, in Europe.
In London, he stayed with an English family. There he met Gertrude Beckett, yet another woman who grew fond of Rizal.
Rizal’s primary goal in London was to write an annotated version of Morga’s Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas, inorder to prove to the Spaniards, that the Filipinos, even before the Spaniards came, have a rich, and vibrant civilization, full of intelligent people. It was meant to boost the Filipinos’ pride, to set themselves apart from their Spaniard conquerors. It was also meant as an attack on Spanish beliefs regarding ancient Filipinos, who were thought of as savages and cavemen. The events depicted in Rizal’s annotated history, full of abuses by the Spanish conquistadores, was meant to remind the Filipinos, who were the target readers of his book, that they are the descendants of the victims of harsh colonialism.
After Rizal finished his annotated history of the Philippines, a new organization formed, the La Solidaridad, founded by Mr. Graciano Lopez Jaena.
In the La Solidaridad, Rizal found his medium for expressing his hatred to the friars and the Spanish government in the Philippines. He wrote the The Indolence of the Filipinos, expressing that the Indios had, at one time, a rich civilization with various international relations, rich culture and diverse knowledge of crafts. He once again noted that the indolence of the Filipinos were caused by Spanish colonialism, mainly due to the abuses of the encomenderos.
Another article by Rizal, To The Young Women of Malolos, is also written for the La Solidaridad. In this article Rizal expresses his thoughts regarding Filipino women, that they should not always be under the beck and call of the friars, and that they should inculcate to their sons the notions of national pride and courage.
The last of the three well known articles in the La Solidaridad is the Philippines a Century Hence, where in Rizal tried to predict the future of the Philippines. He noted that eventually, the Philippines would separate itself from Spain, an event that will become inevitable if the Philippines were not assimilated and made as a Spanish province.
While Rizal was in Europe, the attacks of the Friars intensified, more and more Filipinos were evicted from their homes in Calamba. The Rizal family also lost their case in the Supreme Court and they were evicted from their homes. Rizal by now felt great hatred towards Spain, and independence seemed to be the only option.
The foremost work of Rizal in his second voyage of Europe is his highly controversial novel, El Filibusterismo. He had been working on this sequel of Noli Me Tangere after its publication, and after the troubles that he experienced regarding the leadership of Filipino expatriates, he devoted more time to writing and revising the El Fili. Rizal had gone through many difficulties in its publication, but still he was determined to see it finished. To Rizal’s relief, his friend Valentin Ventura, helped him with funds to continue the printing of the novel.
In the El Fili, he attacked not only the Spanish friars, but the Spanish government officials as well. The characters depicted are bitter, the farmer Kabesang Tales evolved into a revolutionary, and the protagonist, Ibarra, has transformed into Simoun, the anarchist/revolutionist, who aimed for the independence of the Philippines through bloody violence and killing. Proof of Rizal’s intent to separate the Philippines from Spain is written in this passage of El Filibusterismo: “If they refuse to teach you their language, then cultivate your own, make it more widely known, keep alive our native culture for our people and , instread of aspiring to be a mere province, aspire to be a nation , develop an independent, not a colonial mentaility so that in neither rights nor customs nor language the Spaniard may ever feel at home here, or ever be looked upon by your people as a fellow citizen, but rather always, as an invader, a foreigner, and sooner or later you shall be free”.
At this stage of Rizal life, he was sure that for the Philippines to prosper and gain relief, the Philippines must endeavour to separate itself from Spain. The articles that he wrote for the La Solidaridad, his literary works, and his second novel were all aimed towards the uplifting of Filipino nationalism and the awakening of ideals that are deemed to be against colonialism and foreign domination. Rizal, at this stage of his life, now holds the title of a revolutionary, and he will not not shrink from the idea of independence, unlike before.
Although as for when, and how the revolution will be done, the details will be discussed in the next 2 chapters of the stages of Rizal’s life.
CHAPTER VII: THE LA LIGA FILIPINA AND RIZAL’S EXILE
Before Rizal left Hong Kong for Manila, on June 20, 1892, Rizal wrote 2 letters; one for his relatives and one for his country. He left both letters to his friend Dr. Lorenzo Marques of Macao and asked that those letters be published after his death.
The two letters spoke of his love for his family and for the Philippines, that his death was a way to liberate them from their miseries. His family will be liberated from the burden that his actions have put upon them. And that his country will be liberated from the oppressors that have stayed in his country for much too long. Though every part of the letter was striking, perhaps the summarizing parts were placed on the last lines: “If fortune should go against me, they will all know that I die happy, thinking that with my death I have secured for them the end of all their misery. They will then be able to return to our country and be happy in it.” “Until the last instant of my life I will be thinking of you and will be hoping that you may have all good fortune and happiness.” This was taken from his letter to his relatives. “I have always loved my poor motherland, and am sure I shall love her to the last moment, even though perhaps men are unjust to me; and my future, my life, my joys, all have been sacrificed for my love of her. Whatever my fate may be, I shall die blessing her and longing for the dawn of her redemption.” Through his actions and these letters Rizal showed that he is now a revolutionist, a revolutionist that is ready to die for his county, a revolutionist that acts primarily with his mind and not with his heart, a revolutionist Jose Rizal indeed.
Rizal, in his novel El Filibusterismo, expressed his views on how the Revolution should take place, in the immortal words of Padre Florentino: “I do not mean to say, that our freedom must be won at the point of the sword, the sword now counts for very little in the destinies of our times, but I do say that we must win our freedom by deserving it, by improving the mind and enhancing the dignity of the individual, loving what is just, what is good, what is great to the point of dying for it. When a people reach these heights, God provides the weapon, and the tyrants will fall… What is the use of independence if slaves today will be the tyrants of tomorrow.” In this passage, Rizal stresses the importance of enlightenment and education before undertaking independence from Spain. The revolutionaries, as Rizal as stated, must have a clear goal that encompasses future generations, and this goal must be the thrust of the revolution. A revolution out of spite and anger will not be successful, and even if it succeeds, “the slaves of today will be the tyrants of tomorrow.”
Rizal set foot in Manila in the 26th of June, 1892, he was accompanied by his sister Lucia. Rizal and Lucia went to the customs house, after which they settled down for a while in the Hotel de Oriente.
Rizal met with his contemporaries in Doroteo Ongjunco’s house to discuss the Liga Filipina. It’s interesting to note that Andres Bonifacio, another esteemed hero of the Philippines, attended the Liga Filipina. It was also believed that Andres Bonifacio is a great admirer of Rizal. In D. Ongjunco’s house, Rizal discussed the statutes of the La Liga Filipina, and he was met with applause and favoured by the Filipinos who heard his speech.
Sometime after Rizal conducted his meeting for the Liga Filipina, Rizal was arrested for possession of subversive documents. The documents were found in Rizal’s sister Lucia’s luggage, but nevertheless, the papers were attributed to him. The authorities then planned to exile Rizal in Dapitan, an island in the northernmost parts of Mindanao.
Rizal reached Dapitan on July 1892, as a prisoner, he found it a sleepy town and he wanted to wake it up, with the help of his friend Father Sanchez.
In Dapitan, Rizal wanted to practice the statutes of La Liga Filipina; a group that he formed. The statutes stated that: Union of the archipelago into a compact, vigorous, homogenous body. mutual protection in every need, defence against all violence and injustice, development of education, agriculture and commerce, study and application of reforms. He especially wanted to practice in Dapitan, the 4th and 5th statutes of La Liga Filipina. In one of his letters to Father Pastells he said: “I want to do all I can for this town.” Rizal established a school, waterworks, even street lamps, all for the improvement of Dapitan and to apply what he has been preaching in his La Liga Filipina.
During his stay in Dapitan, he was visited by Dr. Pio Valenzuela; Dr. Pio was ordered by Andres Bonifacio to invite Rizal in leading the Revolution. Rizal declined for he knows that the Filipinos are not yet ready for such a revolution. He showed his adherence for his principles and convictions. He told Dr. Pio that a country should be ready before it begins to strive for its own independence. “The heroes of today will be the tyrants of tomorrow” the way Rizal sees it. And for a country to be ready to have independence, education is necessary. The leaders should know what they really want to be sure that if one of them gets corrupted, they will be the ones to kick him out. He showed this in his novel El Filibusterismo, when he failed the revolution of Simon. But showed that there is still hope if the Filipinos can just like be Padre Florentino. He was an educated man; a man who knows how to use wealth and knowledge to his advantage. Rizal wanted Filipinos to fight with their minds not with their hearts.
And as a last note to Dr. Pio Valenzuela, he told him that if the Revolution cannot be stopped, the Katipuneros should fulfill requirements first. The first step is to make Antonio Luna the leader of the Revolution; Rizal chose Luna because Luna possessed military experience. Rizal saw Luna as a very suitable man to lead a revolution. The next step is to get the support of the upper echelons of the society. They should use the money of the rich to supply them with food, medicine and weaponry. And the revolutionists did not have any weapons for that matter; it will be suicidal to go on a war without firearms.
At this stage of his life, Rizal believes that the Filipinos, in order to achieve Independence from Spain, must ready themselves through education, agriculture, commerce and reforms. Rizal’s goals were reflected in the constitution of the Liga Filipina. Rizal despised the idea of undertaking a revolution if it was destined to be a failure, and he even stated requirements before a revolution is to be undertaken. In this stage of his life, Rizal also sought to test his ideologies in Dapitan, and he succeeded in the process.Rizal gave improvement upon Dapitan and in doing so, won the hearts of many as well as his Spanish Jailor.
CHAPTER VIII: RIZAL’S DEATH
Blumentritt wrote Rizal a letter informing him of an epidemic in Cuba,in 1896. Rizal then wanted to go to Cuba and requested for it to the Governor General which was then held by Ramon Blanco. It may seem that Rizal is helping the Spanish government in their war against its colonized nations but there was a hidden agenda on why Rizal wanted to be a volunteer doctor in Cuba.
Rizal wanted to learn from the revolution in Cuba of techniques and strategies on how to win a war. Since he will be sent to the field, he will learn of Spanish war tactics first hand while still practicing his craft. He wanted to know such things to be able to be of help to a Philippine Revolution. He wanted to learn every bit of detail that he can get in order for the Philippines to be ready for war.Unfortunately, Rizal was caught before going to Cuba becuase he was implicated in the Philippine Revolution led by Andres Bonifacio.
Rizal was pointed to as the leader of the Revolution because his pictures are present during meetings of the Katipuneros. To elaborate more, Katipuneros wore bags in their heads to avoid identification, this was a way to protect the members of the organization if in any case one gets caught. Even Andres Bonifacio was not known as the leader. They used the triangle system when recruiting members; a member can only recruit 2 members, and the 2 should not know each other. This was a way to again protect the Katipuneros from getting caught. Another pre-caution of the Katipuneros was to use passwords when gathering meetings, they used Rizal’s pen names. These pre-cautions though led to the pointing of Rizal as the leader of the Revolution. The masses who got caught by Spanish soldiers; who did not know who the true leader was, pointed Rizal because his picture was present in every meeting and they use his pen names as passwords. This ‘false’ evidences and accusations led to the captivity of Rizal and imprisonment in Fort Santiago.
During Rizal’s trial he was still a man ready to die but refused to acknowledge what he does not have done anything into. In his “additions to my defense” he said that: “Regarding the rebellion. From July 6th, 1892, I had absolutely no connection with politics until July 1st of this year when, advised by Don Pio Valenzuela that an uprising was proposed, I counseled against it, trying to convince him with arguments “
Rizal believed in a fair trial and that the Philippines will be free nonetheless. The Philippines should pursue to separate itself from Spain but only at the right time. In his “Manifesto to certain Filipinos” he noted that: “I have always wanted democratic rights for the Philippines and I have always expressed myself in this sense, thus I have also believed that little by little, autonomy would be achieved, and then independence in the course of time is true..With a prosperous and educated people, democratic rights would not be long in coming, That these things may pave the way for a revolution, I do not deny.”
In his “Mi Ultimo Adios” he was firm in his stand to die for the sake of the country, and in it he said:
“Others are giving their lives on battlefields, without regrets or doubts; (it is not too late to join them), gibbet, or open field, combat or cruel sacrifice, place matters not, nor does it matter if the end by victory, defeat, or martyrdom…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… To die for thy sake, that thou mayst aspire; And sleep in thy bosom eternity’s long night. “
He was shot December 30, 1896 in Bagumbayan Field.
At this final stage of Rizal’s life, he sought freedom and independence for the Philippines. Rizal expressed that he is ready to die for his country, as a sign of his patriotism