Trinidad Rizal

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National Historical Commission of the Philippines marker honoring Trinidad Rizal, located in Los Baños, Laguna.

Trinidad Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda (June 6, 1868 – May 9, 1951), commonly known as Trinidad Rizal, was a Filipina feminist leader and co-founder of the Philippines' first feminist organization, the Asociacion Femenista Filipina. She was the younger sister of Philippine nationalist hero, physician and writer, Dr. Jose Rizal.

Life and work

Rizal was born in Calamba, Laguna on June 6, 1868. She was the tenth child of Francisco Rizal Mercado and Teodora Alonso Realonda.

Trinidad helped found the first Masonic lodge for women in the Philippines.[1] She was also a member of Walana, a Filipino masonry society, formed in Manila on July 18, 1893, closely allied with the masonic temples of the ilustrados.[2]

In 1905, Trinidad co-founded the first Filipina feminist organization, the Asociacion Feminista Filipina (AFF), along with Concepción Felix, Librada Avelino, Maria Paz Guanzon, and Luisa de Silyar, among others.[3] In addition to encouraging women to participate in politics and public service, the organization promoted women's health. Trinidad participated in a sub project of AFF, Gota de Leche (also called La Proteccion de la Infancia), which focused on improving reproductive and maternal, infant, and child health.[4]

Like her sister, Josefa Rizal, Trinidad never married.[5] She died in Manila on May 9, 1951. She was buried in Manila North Cemetery (Cemeterio del Norte) on May 11, 1951. Her remains were later exhumed, along with those of sister Narcisa, and relocated to the General Paciano Rizal shrine in Los Baños, Laguna.

Relationship with José Rizal

In a letter from Donnerstag, Germany, dated March 11, 1886, her brother Jose complained of not having heard from her. He went on to praise the intelligent simplicity of German women and urged Trinidad to take her studies seriously while still in her youth, lamenting that Trinidad was "dominated by indolence." The letter, written a couple months before her 18th birthday, revealed that José had not seen his sister since she was very young.[6]

Trinidad and her sisters sought information about birth control, breast feeding, and pain reduction during childbirth from their brother José while he studied in Europe to become a doctor.[1][5]

Trinidad visited José the day before his execution, accompanying their mother, Teodora Alonso, and sisters Lucia, Josefa, Maria, and Narcisa, to say goodbye and collect his belongings. Several historical accounts detail that José gave his stove (others call it a lamp) to Trinidad, telling her something important lay inside.[7] Legend has it that this important thing was José Rizal's last poem, "Mi último adiós."[8] Rizal had hidden the paper so well that his sisters had to use their hairpins to unfold it.[7]

Before his death, José wrote to Trinidad to express his wish that the Rizal family treat his common-law wife, Josephine Bracken, kindly for her devotion to him.[9] Following his execution, Trinidad accompanied Josephine and brother, Paciano, to Cavite, where they met revolutionary leader Andres Bonifacio and passed to him a copy of Jose Rizal's final poem.[10]

The U.S. government informed the Philippine government, in 1908, that an American collector owned the original manuscript of the poem, which had left the Philippines with Josephine Bracken in 1897. They now wanted to sell it to the Philippine government for $500. Trinidad Rizal was the one who verified the manuscript before it was purchased and placed in the Philippine National Library.[7]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Estrada-Claudio, S. (2006). If I were an ASEAN woman ... Talking Points. Talking Points, 3, 67-73.
  2. Teodoro, Noel V. (1999-03-01). "Rizal and the Ilustrados in Spain". Asian and Pacific Migration Journal. 8 (1–2): 65–82. doi:10.1177/011719689900800104. ISSN 0117-1968.
  3. Hega, M. D., Alporha, V. C., & Evangelista, M. S. (2017). Feminism and the Women's Movement in the Philippines. Friedrich Eberto Stiftung.
  4. McElhinny, B. (2007). Recontextualising the American Occupation of the Philippines: Erasure and Ventriloquism in Colonial Discourse Around Men, Medicine and Infant Mortality. Words, Worlds and Material Girls: Language, Gender, Globalization.
  5. 5.0 5.1 McELHINNY, BONNIE (2009). "Producing the A-1 Baby Puericulture Centers and the Birth of the Clinic in the U.S.-Occupied Philippines, 1906-1946". Philippine Studies. 57 (2): 219–260. ISSN 0031-7837.
  6. Capino, Diosdado G. (1961). "Jose Rizal and His Meaning for Germany". Internationales Jahrbuch für Geschichtsunterricht. 8: 183–194. ISSN 0179-4418.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Ocampo, Ambeth (2011-01-01). "Jose Rizal in Filipino Literature and History". Ateneo de Manila University History Department Faculty Publications.
  8. Escalante, R. (2019). Did Jose Rizal Die a Catholic? Revisiting Rizal’s Last 24 Hours Using Spy Reports. Southeast Asian Studies, 8(3), 369-386.
  9. San Juan, Jr., E. (2010). Sisa's Vengeance: Jose Rizal / Woman / Revolution. Philippine Cultural Studies Center: Storrs Mansfield, CT.
  10. de Viana, Augusto V. (September 18, 2012). A Glimpse into the Life of Josephine Bracken.

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