|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:||La Solidaridad, La Liga Filipina|
|Major monuments:||Rizal Park|
José Protasio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda<ref name="rizalname">The Project Gutenburg eBook BUHAY AT MG̃A GINAWÂ NI DR. JOSÉ RIZAL</ref> (June 19, 1861 – December 30, 1896, ancestral home: Quanzhou, Fujian<Ref>"Lineage Life and Labors of Jose Rizal the Philppine Patriot": "Siong Que, Zeitung, City ofSpring, Fokent, Chinac"</Ref>), was a Filipino polymath, nationalist and the most prominent advocate for reforms in the Philippines during the Spanish colonial era. He is the country's 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. His height was only 4 feet and 11 inches.
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.<ref name = "Craig">Austin Craig, Lineage, Life and Labors of Rizal (Manila: Philippine Education Co., 1913). He was conversant in Spanish, French, Latin, Greek, German, Portuguese, Italian, English, Dutch, and Japanese. Rizal also made translations from Arabic, Swedish, Russian, Chinese, Greek, Hebrew, and Sanskrit. He translated the poetry of Friedrich Schiller into his native Tagalog. In addition he had at least some knowledge of Malay, Chavacano, Cebuano, Ilocano, and Subanun.(Read etext at Project Gutenberg:accessed 10 January 2007)</ref><ref name = "Laubach">Frank Laubach, Rizal: Man and Martyr (Manila: Community Publishers, 1936)</ref><ref>Rizal's annotations of Morga's Sucesos de las islas Filipinas (1609), which he copied word for word from the British Museum and had published, called attention to an antiquated book, a testimony to the well-advanced civilization in the Philippines during pre-Spanish era. In his essay "The Indolence of the Filipino" Rizal stated that three centuries of Spanish rule did not do much for the advancement of his countryman; in fact there was a 'retrogression', and the Spanish colonialists had transformed him into a 'half-way brute.' The absence of moral stimulus, the lack of material inducement, the demoralization ('the indio should not be separated from his carabao'), the endless wars, the lack of a national sentiment, the Chinese piracy -- all these factors, according to Rizal, helped the colonial rulers succeed in placing the indio 'on a level with the beast'. (read English translation by Charles Derbyshire at  accessed 10 January. 2007.</ref><ref>In his essay, "Reflections of a Filipino," (La Solidaridad, c.1888), he wrote: "Man is multiplied by the number of languages he possesses and speaks.'</ref> He was a prolific poet, essayist, diarist, correspondent, and novelist whose most famous works were his two novels, Noli me Tangere and El filibusterismo.<ref>His signature book Noli was one of the first novels in Asia written outside Japan and China and was one of the first novels of anti-colonial rebellion. Noli me Tangere, translated by Soledad Locsin (Manila: Ateneo de Manila, 1996) ISBN 9715691889. Read Benedict Anderson's commentary: . Accessed 10 January 2007.</ref> 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 from the Spanish colonial authorities.
As a political figure, Rizal was the founder of La Liga Filipina, a civic organization that subsequently gave birth to the Katipunan<ref>Bonifacio was a member of La Liga Filipina. After Rizal's arrest and exile, it was disbanded and the group splintered into two factions; the more radical group formed into the Katipunan, the militant arm of the insurrection..Accessed 10 January 2007.</ref> led by Andres 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, is that his death was the catalyst that precipitated the Philippine Revolution.
José Rizal's parents, Francisco Engracio Rizal Mercado y Alejandra II (1818-1898)<ref name="Rizalname">National Historical Institute"</ref> and Teodora Morales Alonso Realonda y Quintos (1827-1911),<ref name="Rizalname">National Historical Institute "...Francisco Engracio Mercado added added “Rizal” to the family surname..."</ref> 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), Maria (1859-1945), José Protasio (1861-1896), Concepcion (1862-1865), Josefa (1865-1945), Trinidad (1868-1951) and Soledad (1870-1929).
Rizal was a 6th-generation patrilineal descendant of Domingo Lam-co, a Chinese immigrant entrepreneur who sailed to the Philippines from Jinjiang, Quanzhou in the mid-17th century.<ref>Rizal's rags-to-riches ancestor from South China. Retrieved February 18 2007</ref> 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 Filipino families to choose new surnames from a list of Spanish family names. José's father Francisco<ref name="Rizalname"/> 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 Protasio 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!"<ref name="repositories.cdlib.org">Vicente L. Rafael — On Rizal's El Filibusterismo</ref> This was to enable him to travel freely and disassociate him from his brother, who had gained notoriety with his earlier links with Filipino 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.<ref>http://www.geocities.com/mcc_joserizal/life_lineage1.html When Jose was baptized, the record showed his parents as Francisco Rizal Mercado and Teodora Realonda.</ref><ref>At age 8 (in 1869) he wrote his first poem Sa aking mga Kabata and had for its theme the love of one's native language . Accessed 10 January 2007.</ref> Despite the name change, Jose, as "Rizal," soon distinguished himself in poetry writing contests, impressing his professors with his facility with Castilian and other foreign languages, and later, in writing essays critical of the Spanish historical accounts of pre-colonial Philippine societies. Indeed, by 1891, the year he finished his El filibusterismo, 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..."<ref name="repositories.cdlib.org"/> José became the focal point by which the family became known, at least from the point of view of colonial authorities.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 Atty. 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, as another ancestor.
Rizal's first teacher was his mother, and at the age of three he learned from her the alphabet and Christian prayers. Her mother held regular storytelling sessions with Rizal.
Aside from his mother, his three maternal uncles also became his earliest mentors. The youngest uncle, his namesake Jose, taught Rizal to paint, sketch, and sculpture. Uncle Gregorio further instilled in the young boy the love of reading, hard work, independence, and keen observation of his environment. Uncle Manuel was the equivalent of a physical education teacher, fitness trainer, and martial arts instructor who developed his frail nephew's physical fitness components and also taught him - among other sportive skills - wrestling , which the latter would later successfully use in his first school fight.
As Rizal grew older, his parents hired private tutors in succession to give him lessons at home. They were Maestro Celestino, Maestro Lucas Padra, and last was Leon Monroy, who taught the child in Spanish and Latin.
Afterwards, Rizal 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 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 Filipino students.<ref>. Accessed 10 January 2007.</ref>
Without his parents' knowledge and consent, but secretly supported by his brother Paciano, he traveled alone to 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 Prof. Otto Becker. There he used the newly invented opthalmoscope (invented by the famous Professor 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 Wilhemsfeld, 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 Wilhemsfeld, stands.<ref>inquirer.net, Medical Files, Dr. Jose Rizal in Heidelberg</ref>
Rizal's multifacetedness was described by his German friend, Dr. Adolf Meyer, as "stupendous."<ref> Accessed 10 January 2007.</ref><ref>Adolf Bernard Meyer (1840-1911) was a German ornithologist and anthropologist, and author of the book Philippinen-typen (Dresden, 1888)</ref> Documented studies show him to be a polymath with the ability to master various skills and subjects.<ref name = "Craig"/><ref name = "Laubach"/><ref>. Accessed 10 January 2007.</ref> 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. He became a Master Mason in 1884.<ref>http://www.phoenixmasonry.org/the_builder_1916_august.htm Accessed 10 January 2007. In short, his the best</ref>
Rizal's romantic attachments
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.<ref name = "Rizalino"> Epistolario Rizalino: 4 volumes, 1400 letters to and from Rizal, edited by Teodoro Kalaw (Manila: Bureau of Printing,193038)</ref> 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. Among them 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.
His European friends kept almost everything he gave them, including doodles on pieces of paper. In the home of a Spanish liberal, Pedro Ortiga y Perez, he left an impression on Ortiga's daughter, Consuelo. In her diary, she wrote of a day Rizal spent there when he 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."<ref>Dr. Reinhold Rost was the head of the India Office at the British Museum and a renowned 19th century philologist.</ref><ref name = "Rizalino"/> 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.
Wherever Rizal traveled, his romance with women is legendary. Historians write of Rizal's dozen women, even if only nine were identified: Segunda Katigbak, Leonor Valenzuela, Leonor Rivera, Filipinas; and Consuelo Ortiga, Spanish; O-Sei-san, Japanese; Gertrude Beckett, English; Nellie Boustead, French; Suzanna Jacoby, Belgian; and Josephine Bracken, Irish.
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 romance with the niece Suzanna Thill, 16, in 1890. Rizal's Brussels stay was short, as he moved to Madrid, leaving the young Suzanna a box of chocolates. She 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 on 2007 unveiled a historical marker commemorating Rizal’s stay in Brusells in 1890.<ref>inquirer.net, Rizal’s affair with ‘la petite’ Suzanne</ref>
Writings of Rizal
- That the Philippines be a province of Spain
- Representation in the Cortes
- Filipino priests instead of Spanish friars--Augustinians, Dominicans, and Franciscans--in parishes and remote sitios
- Freedom of assembly and speech
- Equal rights before the law (for both Filipino and Spanish plaintiffs)
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 with 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.<ref> Wenceslao Retana Vida y Escritos del Jose Rizal (Madrid: Libreria General de Victoriano Suarez, 1907). According to Laubach it was Retana more than any other who 'saved Rizal for posterity' (Laubach, op.cit., p. 383)</ref> Memory as a ten-year old of his mother's treatment at the hands of the civil authorities, with the approval of the Church prelates, hurt so much as to 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. Without a hearing she was ordered to prison in Santa Cruz in 1871, and 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.<ref name = "Craig"/>
In 1887 he wrote a petition on behalf of the tenants of Calamba and later that year led them to speak out against friar 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.
In 1896 while Rizal was in prison in Fort Santiago, his brother Paciano was tortured by Spaniards trying to extract evidence of Jose's complicity in the revolution. Two officers took turns applying pins under Paciano's fingernails; with his hands bound behind him and raised several feet, he was dropped repeatedly until he lost consciousness.
Exile in Dapitan
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.<ref>"Appendix II: Decree Banishing Rizal. Governor-General Eulogio Despujol, Manila, 7 July 1892." In Miscellaneous Correspondence of Dr. Jose Rizal / translated by Encarnacion Alzona. (Manila: National Historical Institute.)</ref> 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.
In school the boys learned English, considered an unusual option then, though prescient in retrospect. They would later enjoy successful lives as farmers and honest government officials. One, a Muslim, became a datu; and another, Jose 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 Rizal's return to the Catholic faith, led by his former professor Father Sanchez. When Sanchez failed the cause was taken up by Father Pastells, a prominent member of the Order. In a letter to Pastells, Rizal sails close to the ecumenism familiar to us today.<ref>Raul J. Bonoan, S.J., The Rizal-Pastells Correspondence (Manila: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 1996)</ref>
"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'."<ref name = "Rizalino"> Epistolario Rizalino: 4 volumes, 1400 letters to and from Rizal, edited by Teodoro Kalaw (Manila: Bureau of Printing,1930-38)</ref>
As a gift to his mother on her birthday 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.<ref>"Mi Retiro", stanzas 7 and 8 (Craig, op.cit., p. 207)</ref>
Near the end of his exile he met and courted an Irishwoman named Josephine Bracken, the stepdaughter of one of his patients. 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...<ref>Mi Ultimo Adios, stanza 14. (See original Spanish text at Project Gutenberg.)</ref>
By 1896, the rebellion fomented by the Katipunan 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 Spanish governor-general Ramon Blanco to go to Cuba to minister to victims of yellow fever. Blanco would later 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.
Governor-General Blanco, who was sympathetic to Rizal, had been forced out of office, and the friars had intercalated Polavieja in his stead, sealing Rizal's fate. 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.
His few remaining possessions, including the final letters and his last bequests, were handed to his family. Within hearing of the Spanish guards he informed his sisters in English, "There is something inside it," referring to the alcohol stove given by the Pardo de Taveras. Inside it they found his final poem, undated but believed to have been written in the days before his execution. He also instructed them to "Look in my shoes." 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 hidden in his shoes had disintegrated.<ref name = "Craig"/>
In his last 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."<ref name = "Rizalino"/>
In his final letter, to Blumentritt - Tomorrow at 7, I shall be shot; but I am innocent of the crime of rebellion...<ref name = "Rizalino"/> He reassured his friend that he had not turned revolutionary as he had once considered, 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 Filipino native infantry, 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.<ref name = "Coates">Austin Coates, Rizal: Philippine Nationalist and Martyr (London: Oxford University Press, 1968) ISBN 019581519X</ref><ref name = "Laubach"/><ref>Rizal's trial was regarded a travesty even by prominent Spaniards of his day. Soon after his execution, the philosopher Miguel de Unamuno in an impassioned utterance recognized Rizal as a "Spaniard", "...profoundly and intimately Spanish, far more Spanish than those wretched men -- forgive them, Lord, for they knew not what they did -- those wretched men, who over his still warm body hurled like an insult heavenward that blasphemous cry, 'Viva Espana!' "Miguel de Unamuno, epilogue to Wenceslao Retana's Vida y Escritos del Dr. Jose Rizal (Retana, op. cit.)</ref>
He was secretly buried in Paco 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 civil guards posted at the gate. Assuming this could be the most likely spot, there being ever no ground burials there, 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.<ref>Interestingly, Rizal himself translated Schiller's William Tell into Tagalog in 1886. Accessed 10 January 2007.</ref> 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."<ref name = "Rizalino"/>
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."<ref>Me retracto de todo corazon de cuanto en mis palabras, escritos, impresos y conducta ha habido contrario á mi cualidad de hijo de la Iglesia Católica: Jesus Cavanna, Rizal's Unfading Glory: A Documentary History of the Conversion of Dr. Jose Rizal (Manila: 1983)</ref> That his burial was not on holy ground led to doubts about his retraction. Some believe that Rizal did not marry his sweetheart Josephine Bracken in Roman Catholic rites hours before his execution.<ref name="Pascual">Ricardo Roque Pascual, Jose Rizal Beyond the Grave (Manila: P. Ayuda & Co., 1962)</ref> Those who deny the retraction also point to this line in "Adiós": "I go where there are no slaves, no hangmen or oppressors, where faith does not kill".<ref>Mi Ultimo Adios, stanza 13</ref> Whether this stanza was his final comment on the Catholic Church is a subject of dispute. Also, there is an allegation that the retraction document was a forgery.<ref>Ildefonso T. Runes and Mameto R. Buenafe, The Forgery of the Rizal “Retraction” and Josephine’s “Autobiography” (Manila: BR Book Col, 1962)</ref> Ricardo Pascual analyzed Rizal's handwriting and concluded that the holograph was not in Rizal's handwriting. Some moreover argue that a retraction is not in keeping with Rizal's character and mature beliefs.<ref name=EH>Rizal's Retraction: A Note on the Debate, Silliman Journal (Vol. 12, No. 2, April, May, June, 1965), pages 168-183. Life and Writings of Jose Rizal. Retrieved on 2009-09-09.</ref> Senator Rafael Palma, a former President of the University of the Philippines and a prominent mason, called the retraction story a "pious fraud."<ref>Rafael Palma, Pride of the Malay Race (New York: Prentice Hall, 1949)</ref> Others who deny the retraction are Frank Laubach,<ref name="Laubach"/> a Protestant minister, and Austin Coates,<ref name="Coates"/> a British writer.
On the other side of the debate are historians such as Austin Craig,<ref name="Craig"/> Gregorio Zaide,<ref name=GZ>Gregorio Zaide (2003). Jose Rizal: Life, Works and Writings of a Genius, Writer, Scientist and National Hero. National Bookstore. </ref> Nick Joaquin,<ref>Joaquin, Nick (1977). A Question of Heroes: Essays and criticisms on ten key figures of Philippine History. Manila: Ayala Museum. </ref> and Nicolas Zafra of UP, who called the retraction "a plain unadorned fact of history."<ref name=NZ>Nicolas Zafra (1961). Historicity of Rizal's Retraction. Bookmark. </ref> They adduce the following: <ref name=EH/> <ref name=Cav>Jesus Cavanna (1983). Rizal's Unfading Glory: A Documentary History of the Conversion of Dr. Jose Rizal. </ref> (a) the "Retraction document" which was discovered in 1935 and which was deemed authentic by "handwriting experts...known and recognized in our courts of justice," namely H. Otley Beyer and Dr. José I. Del Rosario, both of UP,<ref name=NZ/> (b) 11 eyewitnesses were present when Rizal wrote his retraction, signed a Catholic prayer book, and recited Catholic prayers, (c) kissing the crucifix just before his execution in the presence of a multitude, (d) 4 confessions certified by 5 eyewitnesses, 10 qualified witnesses, 7 newspapers, and 12 historians and writers including Aglipayan bishops, Masons and anti-clericals, according to a priest descendant of Rizal, Fr. Marciano Guzman,<ref name=MG>Marciano Guzman (1988). The Hard Facts About Rizal's Conversion. Sinagtala Publishers. </ref> (e) Witnesses to Rizal's participation in Catholic marriage and communion, two sacraments for which faith is required.
Retraction supporters see in it Rizal's "moral courage...to recognize his mistakes,"<ref name=GZ/> his conversion, or more accurately reversion, to the "true faith," and thus his "unfading glory,"<ref name=Cav/> and a return to the "ideals of his fathers" which brings his stature as a patriot to the level of greatness.<ref>Joint Statement of the Catholic Hierarchy of the Philippines on the Book "The Pride of the Malay Race", 6 January 1950</ref> 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'." <ref>preface to The Great Debate: The Rizal Retraction, by Ricardo P. Garcia. Quezon City: R.P. Garcia Publishing Co., 1964</ref> The retraction controversy was documented in a film Bayaning Third World by Mike de Leon.
"Mi último adiós"
The poem is more aptly titled, "Adiós, Patria Adorada" (literally "Farewell, Beloved Country"). By virtue of logic and literary tradition, the words come 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?"<ref>Esteban de Ocampo, "Why is Rizal the Greatest Filipino Hero?" accessed 10 January 2007</ref> 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, 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 Pantaleon Garcia had been reloading spent cartridges again and again and the reloading jig was in continuous use. But Imus was under threat of recapture such 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<ref>Mi Ultimo Adios, stanza 14</ref>.
She bore a stillborn child with Rizal, Francisco Rizal y Bracken, who was buried in Dapitan, Mindanao. The child's birth is portrayed in the Marilou Diaz-Abaya film Jose Rizal.
Polavieja faced condemnation by his countrymen. Years 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 to Polavieja was due 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 camelias.' 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<ref>Ambeth Ocampo, Rizal without the Overcoat (Manila: Anvil Publishing Co., 1990) ISBN 9712700437. Rizal's third novel Makamisa was rescued from oblivion by Ocampo. See also  (Accessed 10 January 2007), and  (Accessed 10 January 2007).</ref>
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."<ref>Miguel de Unamuno, "The Tagalog Hamlet" in Rizal: Contrary Essays, edited by D. Feria and P. Daroy (Manila: National Book Store, 1968).</ref> 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."<ref name = "Fili">Jose Rizal, El Filibusterismo (Ghent: 1891) chap.39, translated by Andrea Tablan and Salud Enriquez (Manila: Marian Publishing House, 2001) ISBN 9716861540. (read online text at Project Gutenberg)</ref> 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.<ref>Bonifacio denounced him, at the same time, he mobilized his men to attempt to liberate Rizal while in Ft. Santiago (Laubach, op.cit., chap. 15)</ref> 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."<ref name = "Fili"/>
Rizal never held a gun or sword in the battlefield to fight for freedom. This fact 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 sword of Bonifacio produced an immediate outcome, the pen of Rizal generated a more lasting achievement.<ref>Rafael Palma, Pride of the Malay Race (New York: Prentice Hall, 1949) p. 367.</ref>
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 Rabindranath 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.<ref>Also stated in his essay, "The Philippines: A Century Hence": The batteries are gradually becoming charged and if the prudence of the government does not provide an outlet for the currents that are accumulating, someday the sparks will be generated. (read etext at Project Gutenberg)</ref> 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 Gandhi, 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.<ref>Jose Rizal, "Indolence of the Filipino" (read online English translation at Project Gutenberg ) Accessed 10 January 2007</ref> 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.<ref name = "Coates"/><ref>According to Anderson, Rizal is one of the best exemplars of nationalist thinking. Benedict Anderson, Under Three Flags: anarchism and the anti colonial imagination (London: Verso Publication, 2005)ISBN 1844670376. (See also )</ref>
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.<ref>Dr. Virchow's obituary on Rizal, 1897 </ref>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 (since Rizal's first desire was the annexion of the Philippines as a province of Spain, he is also considered a National hero of Spain by many circles of intellectuals), <ref>http://www.artehistoria.com/tienda/banco/cuadros/20647.htm Accessed 10 January 2007</ref> Wilhelmsfeld, Germany,<ref>http://www.geocities.com/ufreytag/page5.html Accessed 10 January 2007</ref> Jinjiang, Fujian, China,<ref>Article Index - INQUIRER.net</ref> http://www.Knightsofrizal.org/content/ Accessed 10 January 2007</ref> Cherry Hill Township, New Jersey, San Diego,<ref>http://byronik.com/ed010303.html Accessed 13 February 2007</ref> and Seattle, U.S.A.,<ref>http://www.cityofseattle.net/Seattle/parks/parkspaces/joserizal.htm Accessed 10 January 2007</ref> , Reforma Avenue in Mexico City, Mexico, La Molina in Lima, Peru<ref>http://www.andina.com.pe/ingles/Noticia.aspx?id=XNWYIuvHPCo=#</ref>, Litomerice, Czech Republic <ref>http://www.bootsr.blogspot.com/ Accessed 19 January 2009</ref>(formerly Leitmeritz of Prof. Ferdinand Blumentritt) and many poetic 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.
On June 19, 2008, a prominent bronze bust relief of Rizal, dubbed "the great Malayan," was unveiled by Singapore's President S.R. Nathan and the Philippine Education Secretary Jesli Lapus at the Asian Civilisations Museum Green. The historic occasion was witnessed by Philippine ambassador to Singapore Belen Fule-Anota, Chairman Ambeth Ocampo of the National Historical Institute, Singapore ambassador-at-large Prof. Tommy Koh and Michael Koh, chief executive officer of the National Heritage Board Singapore. Also present were members of the diplomatic corps, Singapore government officials and members of the Filipino community in Singapore. The two-sided marker bears a picture of a painting of Rizal by Fabian de la Rosa on one side. The other side was a bronze relief of Rizal by Philippine national artist Guillermo Tolentino, fabricated by Peter de Guzman. This artwork serves to mark the visits (1882, 1887, 1891,1896) of Rizal to Singapore.<ref>Template:Cite press release</ref>
Peruvians on November 22, 2008 erected a monument in the Rizal Park at La Molina district, Lima, Peru, to honor Rizal. A bronze bust, designed by Czech sculptor Hanstroff, is mounted atop a pedestal base where 4 inaugural plaque markers with the inscription on one marker: “Dr. Jose P. Rizal, Héroe Nacional de Filipinas, Nacionalista, Reformador Political, Escritor, Linguistica y Poeta, 1861-1896.”<ref></ref><ref>En route to APEC meet, First Gentleman rushed to hospital</ref><ref>Peru erects monument for Jose Rizal</ref>
Unbelievably, a hundred years after he was born, Jose Rizal won two film industry awards. In the 10th FAMAS Awards, he was honored with a Best Story FAMAS for Gerardo de Leon's adaptation of his novel Noli Me Tangere. He repeated the feat the next year, when Gerardo de Leon also adapted El Filibusterismo, making him the first and the only person so far in the history of FAMAS to win back-to-back FAMAS Awards posthumously.
Several films depicting the life of Rizal were also made. The most successful of those films is Jose Rizal, produced by GMA Films and released in 1998. Cesar Montano played the role of Rizal in the film.
A year before the Jose Rizal film was shown, another film was made depicting the life of Rizal while he was exiled on the island of Dapitan. The movie, titled Rizal sa Dapitan, stars Albert Martinez as Jose Rizal & Amanda Page as Josephine Bracken. The film was the top grosser of the 1997 Manila Film Festival & both lead stars won the best actor & actress trophies in said festival.
- Jose Rizal's Monument at Reforma Avenue, México City, México,
- Early Education in Calamba and Binan." Jose Rizal.ph. http://www.joserizl.ph/edOl.html (Accessed on January 18, 2011).
- "The childhood of Dr. Jose Rizal." Scribd.http://www.scribd.com/doc/8423992/Dr-Jose-Rizal-Childhood (Accessed on January 18, 2011).
- Mapa, Christian Angelo A.(1993) The Poem Of the Famous Young Elder Jose Rizal
- Catchillar, Chryzelle P. (1994) The Twilight in the Philippines
- Venzon, Jahleel Areli A. (1994) The Doorway to hell, Rizal's Biography
- Tomas, Jindřich (1998) Jose Rizal, Ferdinand Blumentritt and the Philippines in the New Age. The City of Litomerice: Czech Republic. Publishing House Oswald Praha (Prague).
- The Dapitan Correspondence of Dr.Jose Rizal and Dr. Ferdinand Blumentritt. Compiled by Romeo G. Jalosjos. The City Government Dapitan City: Philippines, 2007. ISBN 978-971-93553.
- Craig, Austin. (2004) Lineage, Life and Labors of Jose Rizal, Philippine Patriot. Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 1419130587
- Fadul, Jose (2002/2008). A Workbook for a Course in Rizal. Manila: De La Salle University Press. ISBN 9715554261 /C&E Publishing. ISBN 9789715846486
- Fadul, J. (ed.) (2008). Encyclopedia Rizaliana. Morrisville, NC: Lulu Press. ISBN 9781430311423
- Guerrero, Leon Ma. (2007) "The First Filipino."  Awarded First Prize in the Rizal Biography Contest under the Auspices of the Jose Rizal National Centennial Commission in 1961.) Published by the National Historical Institute of The Philippines (1962) and by Guerrero Publishing. ISBN 971-93418-2-3
- Joaquin, Nick (1977). A Question of Heroes: Essays and criticisms on ten key figures of Philippine History. Manila: Ayala Museum.
- Ocampo, Ambeth R.(2008)."Rizal without the overcoat". Pasig:Anvil Publishing.
- Ocampo, Ambeth R.(2001)."Meaning and history:The Rizal Lectures". Pasig: Anvil Publishing.
- Ocampo, Ambeth R.(1993). "Calendar of Rizaliana in the vault of the National Library".Pasig:Anvil Publishing.
- Ocampo, Ambeth R.(1992)."Makamisa: The Search for Rizal's Third Novel". Pasig:Anvil Publishing.
- Quirino, Carlos (1997). The Great Malayan. Makati City: Tahanan Books. ISBN 9716300859
- Medina, Elizabeth (1998). Rizal According to Retana: Portrait of a Hero and a Revolution. Santiago, Chile: Virtual Multimedia. ISBN 9567483094
- Rizal, Jose. (1889)."Sa mga Kababayang Dalaga ng Malolos" in Escritos Politicos y Historicos de Jose Rizal (1961). Manila: National Centennial Commission.
- Runes, Ildefonso (1962). The Forgery of the Rizal 'Retraction'. Manila: Community Publishing Co.
- Zaide, Gregorio F. (2003) Jose Rizal: Life, Works and Writings of a Genius, Writer, Scientist and National Hero. Manila: National Bookstore. ISBN 9710805207
- The Complete José Rizal collection at Filipiniana.net.
- Talambuhay ni Jose Rizal
- Statue of Jose Rizal in Texas
- More photos and information on José Rizal Park, Dapitan City
- The Life and Writings of Jose Rizal. Accessed January 10, 2007.
- Template:Gutenberg author Accessed 10 January 2007
- Jose Rizal Website Accessed 10 January 2007.
- Rizal's Little Odyssey. Accessed January 10, 2007.
- 22 languages at 3rd paragraph reference 3
- Review of Dimasalang: The Masonic Life Of Dr. Jose P. Rizal. Accessed January 10, 2007.
- Benedict Anderson Accessed 10 January 2007.
- Jose Rizal, a revolutionary friend of Don Quixote (French) Accessed January 10 2007.
- Comparison between Jose Rizal and Jose Marti (Spanish) Accessed January 10, 2007.
- Caiñgat Cayo! original image scans of the pamphlet written in 1889.
- Why is Rizal the greatest Filipino hero?. Accessed January 10 2007.
- Extensive annotated list of Rizaliana materials on the Internet
- (French) Chevaliers de Rizal
- Rizal's ‘rags-to-riches’ ancestor from South China By Wilson Lee Flores. INQUIRER.net 06/18/2008
- Hispanic Literature and José Rizal, articles by José Tlatelpas, Edmundo Farolán and others. Published in Spanish by La Guirnalda Polar, webzine, Canada, 1997.
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