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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 sprawling Italian city of Naples, disembarked at the French port city of Marseille, 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.

Ask Mindy


"Hi, Mindy! I really admire Jose Rizal. Apart from being a symbol and an epitome of Filipinos' strength and patriotism, I marvel at his hunger for knowledge and curiosity to do different things. He was into science, literature, politics, medicine, visual arts, and even sports—talk about being a polymath! But for you, what do you think is the most interesting field that Rizal was into? - David"


Hi, David! That is a fascinating question. He did a lot of interesting things, including inventing a board game. But for me, we should also celebrate Rizal as the "Father of Filipino Komiks”. Among his sketches were “The Monkey and the Turtle” (Paris, 1885), “The Baptism of R. Pfeiffer at Holy Cross Steinach” (Wilhelmsfeld, 1886), and “The Cure of the Bewitched” (Dapitan, 1895). His works showed the lighter side of Rizal—that he was not just a martyr or a reformist—but also a “komikero” or comedian. Check out the trilingual interactive e-book of one of his works, Ang Pagong at ang Matsing, which was released by Vibal Group. It showed that Rizal’s reach was wide even now in the Digital Age. -Mindy

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During the 19th century, Asia, Europe and in America lived in turmoil caused by events in history. Filipinos who were under the control of the Spanish colonialists suffered from corruption, failure of human rights, racial discrimination, forced labor, and power drifting of the friars and the guardia civil. On June 19, 1861, Wednesday night, the seventh child and second son of Doña Teodora and Francisco Mercado, Jose Rizal was born in the town of Calamba, Laguna. During delivery, Doña Teodora almost died because of Jose's big head.

Pinoy Flashback


  • June 19, 1943 - The KALIBAPI elected twenty members of the Preparatory Commission for Philippine independence.
  • June 19, 1965 – By virtue of Republic Act No. 4221, Samar Province was divided into 3 provinces: Northern Samar with Catarman as its capital; Eastern Samar, Borongan as capital; and Western Samar with Catbalogan as its capital.

To learn more about Philippine history and literature, visit

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Jose rizal 01.jpg

José Protasio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda (June 19, 1861 – December 30, 1896), 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.

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