Jose Rizal: Travels and Adventures

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Before reaching Madrid to pursue his medical career in 1882, Jose Rizal had many stopovers. He visited the progressive English colony of Singapore, traversed the historic waterway of Suez Canal via the steamship Djemnah, reached the Italian city of Naples, disembarked at the French port of Marseilles, then took a train to the historic city of Barcelona. His Filipino schoolmates from the Ateneo Municipal threw a party as they welcomed his arrival. In Barcelona, Rizal wrote his first essay on a foreign soil – the “El Amor Patrio” (Love of Country) – which he sent to his friend, Basilio Teodora, an editorial staff member of the Diariong Tagalog. By the end of 1882, Rizal decided to leave Barcelona for Madrid.

Rizal lived a frugal life in Madrid, strictly budgeting both his (1) money for food, clothing and school materials; and (2)time for his studies and social life. He joined the Circulo Hispano Filipino and wrote the poem, Me Piden Versos (They Asked Me for Verses). In 1884, Rizal made a splendid speech which saluted two Filipino masters of painting, Juan Luna and Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo, in a banquet held at the National Exposition of Fine Arts. He met and almost fell in love with Consuelo Ortiga y Rey if not for his engagement with Leonor Rivera and his friendship with Eduardo de Lete who had a romantic feeling for Consuelo.

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Second Travel

Realizing that his family's and friends' safety were at risked; and that his fight against the Spaniards have better chance of winning if he'd stay abroad, Rizal, six months after, finally decided to sail back to Europe. Before his departure, a friend from Lipa City, Batangas asked of him a poem dedicated to the industrious workers in their town. Privileged, Rizal wrote the Himno Al Trabajo (Hymn to Labor).

A glance of East Asia

On February 3, 1888, for the second time, Rizal sailed to Hongkong as a frustrated being who wanted the utmost reform in his native land. Terrero’s former secretary, Jose Sainz de Varranda, followed Rizal in the said British colony, and was believed to be commissioned by the Spanish authorities to spy on the hero. After almost three weeks, on board the American steamer, Oceanic, he left Hongkong and sailed to Japan where he was invited by Secretary Juan Perez Caballero to live at the Spanish Legation. His instinct told him that it was a bait – a way for the Spanish officials to keep track of his activities. And since it was economical to stay at the legation and he believed that he had nothing to hide, he accepted it. Rizal was impressed by the scenic Japan and had keenly observed the life, customs and culture of the people. He had fallen in love not only with the view but more to its women, particularly with the 23-year old O-Sei-San (a.k.a. Usui Seiko).

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  • Ancheta, Celedonio A. Jose Rizal's Life and His Complete Works. Diliman, Quezon City: National Bookstore, Inc., 1977.
  • Bantug, Asuncion Lopez-Rizal. Indio Bravo: The Story of Jose Rizal. Manila: Tahanan Books, 1997.
  • Guerrero, Leon Ma. Rizal:The First Filipino. Manila: National Historical Institute, 1987.
  • Reminiscences and Travels of Jose Rizal. Manila: National Historical Institute, 1977.
  • Hernandez, Jose Ma. Rizal's Poetry and Drama. Rizal as an Internationalist. Papers read at a symposium sponsored by the UNESCO Commission on the Philippines. Manila: National Historical Institute, 1980.
  • Sta. Maria, Felice Prudente. In Excelsis: The Mission of Jose P. Rizal – Humanist and Philippine National Hero. Makati City: Studio Five Designs, Inc., 1996.
  • Zaide, Gregorio F. Jose Rizal: Life, Works and Writings. Reprint, Mandaluyong City: National Bookstore, Inc., 2005.
  • National Historical Institute. A Rizal Anthology – Trilingual Edition. Manila: National Historical Institute, 1994.
  • National Historical Institute. Writings of Jose Rizal: Rizal's Poem. Vol.III, Book 1. Manila: National Historical Institute, 2002.

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