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Valentin Ventura (b. 1860 - d. 1935) was a reformist during the revolutionary period. He was known as the person who financed the publication of Philippine national hero Jose Rizal's novel El Filibusterismo.
He was born in Bacolor, Pampanga, son of Don Honorio Ventura, who was the Secretary of Interior. After finishing his studies he was encouraged by his brother Don Balbino to go to Spain and join the other Filipinos like Jose Rizal, Marcelo H. del Pilar, Graciano Lopez Jaena in their quest for peaceful reforms in the Philippines. He went to Spain and other European cities, primarily for further studies. He lived there for three decades, often visiting European cities and museums. During one such, visit he met Juan Luna. When the propaganda movement started, he helped fortify the cause of the movement.
Ventura and the Propaganda Movement
It was Ventura's brother who encouraged him to join other reformists like Juan Luna, Marcelo H. Del Pilar, Graciano Lopez Jaena and Jose Rizal in the reformist group named Propaganda Movement. The Propaganda Movement aimed to attain peaceful reforms in the Philippines. Ventura helped in strengthening the cause of the movement.
Rizal and Ventura
Ventura met Jose Rizal when the former stayed in Ventura’s home at No. 45 Rue Maubeuge in Paris. Ventura offered him a room in his house due to the expensive hotel accommodations in Paris.
Rizal spoke to Ventura about his works which the latter greatly admired. Ventura was so impressed by the ideas presented in Rizal’s two novels, the Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, which he had the chance to read. He was overwhelmed by the way Rizal wrote the El Filibusterismo, making him read it all over again. He described the novel as “perfect, correct, vigorous, poetic and deeply felt.”
Rizal suffered financial difficulties in publishing the Fili. He gave up breakfast to reduce rent expenses and limited himself to biscuits for more than 10 days. Ventura learned about Rizal’s miserable situation and offered a helping hand. He offered his money which was being sent to him by his brother Don Balbino for his studies and promised to give him more whenever he needed it. He gave Rizal P150 in aid of the Fili’s printing and told Rizal that he would seek the help of their other Filipino compatriots.
Rizal gave the Fili’s original manuscript to Ventura when the novel was published and distributed. He gave it as a token of gratitude for financially supporting the publishing of Rizal’s second novel. Ventura kept the manuscript as a souvenir for his family. When a Spanish-American Museum offered him an amount to buy the manuscript, he refused and told them that he is more willing to give it to the Philippine government as a donation. It was then acquired by the National Library through Dr. Trinidad H. Pardo de Tavera.
Life after Rizal’s Death
Ventura married a Spanish mestiza named Carmen Tobar. They had four children: Jose, Valentine, Carmen and Maria. In 1920, Ventura, together with his family, came back to the Philippines. There, they experienced the miserable conditions of the Philippines and decided to go back to Spain.
He died in 1930 in Barcelona, Spain.
- Quirino, Carlos. Who's Who in Philippine History. Manila: Tahanan Books, 1995.
- “Ventura, Valentin.” Filipiniana.net.  (Accessed August 17, 2011)
- Valentin Ventura Valentin Ventura (accessed on September 25, 2007)