Francisco Engracio Rizal Mercado y Alejandra II (11 May 1818 to 5 January, 1898), was the youngest of the 13 children of Cirila Alejandro and Juan Mercado. He was born in Biñan, Laguna. He belonged to the fourth generation of Domingo Lam-co, a Chinese immigrant in the late 1600s. He married Teodora Alonso Realonda de Quintos, a Manileña who came from a well-known family. They were gifted with eleven children and one of them was José Rizal.
Early life and family
In 1690, Lam-co migrated to the Philippines. He is the son of Siang-co and Zun-nio, which were from the village of Sionque in the Chin-Chew district in Fujian, China. When he was 35 years old, Lam-co was baptized to the Catholic Church thus acquiring “Domingo” as his first name. The baptism was held in the San Gabriel Church in Binondo, Manila.
Domingo Lam-co married a Chinese mestiza, Ines de la Rosa, who came from a consumerist family. Ines was half of Lam-co’s age then. Furthermore, Lam-co had a very close relationship with two Spanish friars, namely, Fr. Francisco Marquez and Fr. Juan Caballero. These two friars encouraged him to reside in the Dominican estate of San Isidro Labrador in Biñan, Laguna. Lam-co was very helpful to the development of water irrigation in their area, thus making it one of the wealthiest parts of the estate.
In 1731, de la Rosa gave birth to a son whose name was Francisco Mercado. The name Francisco was derived from a friar’s name while Mercado is a Spanish word which means “market.” He also resided in Biñan, Laguna. He married Bernarda Monica in 1771. The latter was a native of a hacienda (estate) in San Pedro Tunasan which is near Biñan. The couple had two sons, Juan and Clemente. Mercado decided to move his family in Calamba but Chinese immigrants were not well accepted during that time. With this, Mercado’s family was forced to move back to Biñan. At around 1783, Francisco Mercado was elected as gobernadorcillo (municipal mayor) of the town. He was popular in town that he often acted as the godfather when there’s a baptism or wedding.
Juan Mercado (Jose Rizal’s grandfather) was also elected as capitan del pueblo of the town in 1808, 1813, and 1823. His wife was also a Chinese mestiza named Cirila Alejandro. They had 13 children and lived in a large stone house in Biñan. He and his wife lived in a humble way. But Juan Mercado died when his son, Francisco Engracio Mercado, was eight years old. Since Francisco Engracio Mercado lost his father, his mother took care of him. Francisco helped his widowed mother in running their business. He studied Latin and philosophy at the Colegio de San Jose in Manila. This was where he met his wife, Teodora Alonso Realonda, who was studying in Colegio de Santa Rosa.
He raised his family by rented lands from the Dominican Order. From that land, they produced rice, corns, and sugarcane. They even had poultry in their backyard. Jose Rizal coined him as a model of fathers. He passed away in Manila on 5 January 1898.
- Reyno, Ma. Cielita G. Rizal’s Paternal Lineage. National Historical Institute. (Accessed on 17 June 2011)
- Gregorio Zaide and Sonia Zaide. Jose Rizal : Life, Works and Writings of a Genius, Writer, Scientist and National Hero. All Nations Publishing Co., Inc. Alforque Bldg., Quezon City, Philippines 1102. 1999
- Sir Jean Paul Verstraeten, KGOR. Growing Up Like Rizal : Values, Ideals and Teachings of a National Hero. National Historical Institute. Philippines. 2010.
- To access full-text of José Rizal's literary works and correspondence, visit The Complete José Rizal collection at Filipiniana.net.