Mga Lihim ng Pamilya ni Rizal

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Mga Lihim Ng Pamilya ni Rizal (The Secrets of Rizal’s Family) is an I-Witness documentary film which attempts to explain the growing controversies surrounding the 200-year old mansion in Biñan, Laguna, which belonged to the family of Teodora Alonso, mother of Philippine national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. It was aired on January 30, 2011 in GMA 7.


Plot Summary

The documentary focuses on two issues: the demolition of the 200-year old mansion owned by Teodora Alonso’s family, and her illegitimacy.

The ‘family’ in this documentary pertains wholly to Jose Rizal’s mother’s side. In 1896, Rizal drew a family tree which noticeably omitted the branches intended to show forth the names of his relatives from his mother’s side. This influenced the curiosity of the people about the ‘secrets’ of Rizal’s family. Rizal also wrote things which support the notion of having scandals and conflict within their family. Upon these sprang the idea that maybe Rizal is hiding something that he definitely does not want the other generations to know about.

In 1872, Jose Maria Alonso, brother of Teodora Alonso, came home from his trip to Europe and found their house empty and deserted. It turned out that his wife, Teodora Formoso ran away with another man. Out of rage, Jose Maria locked Teodora Formoso in a room. Because Jose Maria was said to be her favorite brother, she sided with him in this husband-and-wife conflict. Jose Maria asked Teodora to watch over his wife.

One day, Teodora, along with Saturnina, went to Teodora Formoso’s room to give her some food. Formoso refused to eat the food, instead she called her dog and let it eat the food. The dog eventually died. She started accusing Teodora of having the intention of poisoning her. Teodora was sent in prison and stayed there for more than two years.

The imprisonment of Rizal’s mother made the people get more curious about her relationship with her family. The people believed that behind this incident lies an untold story about the disagreement within the family. Even the 200-year-old mansion in Biñan, Laguna was said to have nothing to do with Teodora because she was just the ‘half-sister’ of Jose Maria, the owner of the mansion.

The documentary includes an interview with Dr. Bimbo Sta. Maria and president of United Artists for Cultural Conservation and Development (UACCD) who had been researching about Rizal’s family for several years. Barbara Gonzales, great granddaughter of Maria Rizal, BJ Borja, Artist Director of UACCD, Gerry Alberto, great grandson of Jose Maria, Mayor Marlyn Alonte-Naguiat of Biñan, Laguna were also interviewed in attempt to further explain the ‘secrets’ of Rizal’s family.

In the end, it reveals that Rizal did not hide his true roots. A separate document situated in Ateneo de Manila University Rizal Library shows that Teodora and Jose Maria Alberto are of the same parents.

The Mansion

In an interview, Gerry Alberto (Great grandson of Jose Maria Alonzo and the then-owner of the 200-year-old mansion in Biñan, Laguna) claimed that Teodora Alonso was not born there. He said that Alonso’s birth certificate states that she was born in Sta. Cruz, Laguna.

According to him, the mansion is a property of Jose Maria Alonso, Teodora's ‘half brother’. It is, therefore, a private property of the Albertos.

There are also issues about the NHI not recognizing the mansion as a landmark. The mansion, however, was now demolished and all the materials were brought to Bataan.

Teodora Alonso’s illegitimacy

Asuncion Lopez Bantug and Austin Craig mentioned in their books about Teodora Alonso’s illegitimacy. Dr. Bimbo Sta. Maria explained that Lorenzo Alonso de Alberto, father of Alonso, married a 12-year-old girl from Vigan named Paula Florentino. It was a fixed marriage, but this still makes Paula Florentino his legitimate wife. They, however, never had a child.

In 1824, ten years after their marriage, Lorenzo was found living with another woman, Brijida Quintos (the mother of Teodora Alonso). Their relationship was not honoured by the law and that makes Alonso and all her siblings (including Jose Maria Alberto) illegitimate.

Lorenzo Alberto, having helped by the Dominicans in their missions in Indo-China, was conferred the title “Knight of the Order of Queen Isabella the Catholic“, a title transferrable to one of his children after his death. Dr. Bimbo Sta. Maria’s theory was when Lorenzo died, his children — illegitimate in papers — devised a plan to keep the title and their strong ties with the Spanish government. Jose Maria Alonso de Alberto disowned his real mother, Brijida Quintos, and declared himself (with the approval of his siblings) the legitimate son of Lorenzo Alberto and Paula Florentino. And thus the half-brother issue began.

Other Secrets

Barbara Gonzales, great granddaughter of Maria Rizal, said that Jose Maria Alonso de Alberto allegedly had an affair with his niece Saturnina (eldest daughter of Teodora Alonso) and that Soledad was the fruit of this love affair. In order to hide this shameful act, Saturnina went out on a vacation with her mother Teodora, only to come back later with a newborn child. Teodora claimed that the child was hers. Soledad was the most beautiful among the Rizal sisters, having a mestizo father. If this story was indeed true, this may be the reason behind the conflict between the Alonso and the Alberto clan.


  • Marissa L. Flores – Executive-in-charge of Production
  • Clyde Rolando A. Mercado – AVP for Public Affairs
  • Angeli Guidaya-Atienza – Program Manager
  • Howie Severino – Host
  • Lea Llamoso-Compendio – Executive Producer/Director/Writer
  • Cris Sto. Domingo – Editing Supervisor/Field Producer/Head Researcher
  • Kris Rajani Nagera, Mean de Chavez – Researchers
  • Fredie Abril, Josue Penilla, Mark Antonio, Anna Isabelle Matutina - Editors

External Links

  • Mga Lihim Ng Pamilya ni Rizal Part 1: [1] (Accessed 28 February 2012)
  • Mga Lihim Ng Pamilya ni Rizal Part 2: [2] (Accessed 28 February 2012)
  • Mga Lihim Ng Pamilya ni Rizal Part 3: [3] (Accessed 28 February 2012)
  • Mga Lihim Ng Pamilya ni Rizal Part 4: [4] (Accessed 28 February 2012)



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