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Personal Background of Jose Rizal Essay Sample

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Personal Background of Jose Rizal Essay Sample

This module is about the biography of Jose Rizal. The discussion focuses on the family background of Jose Rizal and his life and experiences as a young boy and as a student. The personal background of Jose Rizal reflects the social, educational and cultural milieu of his time. In order to humanize him, it is significant to have a glimpse of his life and experiences at home and at school which had shaped his development as person as well as his ideals and principles in life. LEARNING OUTCOMES

At the end of the module/lesson the student must be able to: Understand the life and background of Jose Rizal
Describe the family of Jose Rizal
Describe the childhood of Rizal
Explain Jose Rizal‟s intellectual development
Relate Jose Rizal‟s family and childhood experiences to the present social issues and problems Analyze how the economic and socio-political milieu influenced/affected Jose Rizal and his family Compare and contrast the educational system during Rizal‟s time to the present

I. Personal Background of Jose Rizal
Full name: Jose Protacio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda. Protacio is a patron saint of children and is a martyr. Born in June 19, 1961 in Calamba, Laguna
Father: Francisco Mercado, a descendant of Domingo Lamco, a Chinese from Amoy, China and was baptized or Christianized in Manila. He became a farmer and a tenant in the hacienda owned by Dominican friars in Calamba, Laguna. Mother: Teodora Alonso y Quintus, from a family whose members were lawyers, priests, government officials and merchants. The surname Rizal was adopted by the Mercado family 1850 to abide by the royal decree that sought to remedy the confusion resulting from many unrelated Filipinos having the same and a still greater number having no last names at all. „Rizal‟ was not taken from the government lists but appears to have been selectedbecause of its appropriateness to the family‟s source of living. Various meaning of Rizal: (1) shortened form of the Spanish word for “second crop”; (2) green fields or green fields ready for harvesting The Rizal family was a large one.

Jose was the seventh of the eleven children and the younger of two boys. See Illustration 1 for the family tree of Jose Rizal. Among the Rizal children, Jose‟s birth was the hardest for he has an irregularly large head. As a child Jose was not physically strong andwas sickly. His big head was not proportionate to his frail body.Conscious of his physical features, Jose became interested in the stories of power especially the stories of great and strong men and giants. Jose‟s childhood diaries reflected that at young age he already acquired curiosity and interest in nature particularly in botany and zoology. This was shaped by the geographic features of his surroundings. (See Illustration 2)

There‟s a scenic view of Mt. Makiling from their house, the Laguna de Bay is located at the end part of Calamba (where Rizal used to go and wander) and there were different kinds of fruit- bearing trees at the back of their house. It is believed that Jose‟s interest in folklores was also influenced by his surroundings and his „aya‟ or nanny who told Jose stories about folk myths and legends. Most of the time Jose was quiet and a thinker, and liked to spectate. Jose liked drawing and was always creating things like statues made from wax and clay. He usually surprised the people around him through his pencil drawing and sketches and figures molded by clay or wax. (See Illustration 3 for some of Jose Rizal‟s sketches) II. Intellectual development

Young boy in Calamba
At a young age, Jose showed his eagerness to learn how to read and write. He was taught by his family members. His mother taught him how to read, write and do basic arithmetic. His brother Paciano guided him and taught him patriotism. His eagerness to learn was furthered by the „huge‟ collection of books by his father in their library. One of the books the he read was “Children’s Friend” by Abbé Sabatier. The story of the moth or the “Foolish Butterfly” had left an impact to him. Jose was also taught by three of his uncles (brothers of his mother). His Uncle Manuel taught him physical exercises, riding a horse and swimming and in time he became strong and healthy. At age three he learned his alphabet from his mother.  His father hired a private tutor who also taught Rizal reading, writing, and the rudiments of Latin. At age seven he was sent to a private school in Calamba to be educated but was sent home after a few weeks for he had already learned everything that the teacher has to teach. Jose was eight years old when he wrote the poem “Sa Aking Mga Kabata”. A poem which promotes the love for one‟s language. Young boy in Biñan

Jose was nine years old when he was sent study in Biñan under Justiniano Aquino- Cruz, who was a strict disciplinarian. After a few months, Jose was sent home because he has already learned as much as his teacher. A Student in Ateneo

He entered Ateneo Municipal when he was eleven years old (See Illustration 4). It was the start of Jose‟s formal education. In 1872, Ateneo Municipal is the only modern school in Manila and was known for its equal treatment to Filipino and Spanish students. Rizal earned excellent marks in his subjects. (See Illustration 5) He wrote the award-winning poetry “Junto Al Pasig” in Ateneo Municipal. He practiced drawing, painting and clay modeling In a class of 12 students, he was one of the nine students who graduated as „sobresaliente‟ [excellent]. In March 14, 1877 he received his bachelor‟s degree in art with the highest honors. A Student in UST

After he graduated from Ateneo, he entered the University of Sto. Tomas and took up Philosophy and Letters. (See Illustration 6). He earned his land surveyor‟s and assessor‟s degree from Ateneo while he was studying in UST. Upon learning that his mother was going blind Jose opted to study ophthalmology atthe UST Faculty of Medicine and Surgery. He was not able to complete the course when he became politically isolated by adversaries among the faculty and clergy who demanded that he should be assimilated to their system. It is also because of this that his academic performance was not as excellent as he had in Ateneo Municipal as reflected by his report card. (See Illustration 7) In UST, he excelled in poetry and won in literary contests. In 1879, his poem “A La Juventud Filipina” won first prize. In the following year his prose “Consejo de los dioses” won against Spanish peninsulars who wrote in their own language. In the latter part of his stay in UST, he was in confidential consultation with Paciano. In May 03, 1887e Rizal boarded a Spanish ship that took him to Singapore and Europe.

Jose Rizal’s Life, Works and Studies in Europe (Part 1)
This module is about the life and experiences of Jose Rizal in Europe. It deals with the reason/s of Rizal‟s travel to Europe. It also discusses his experiences in Europe and how these influenced and shaped his ideals and philosophies in life. LEARNING OUTCOMES

At the end of the module/lesson the student must be able to: Understand the life and experiences of Jose Rizal in Europe Discuss the reasons of Jose Rizal‟s travel to Europe Describe the experiences and activities of Jose Rizal in Europe Describe how Rizal lived in Europe Identify the works done by Jose Rizal during his stay in Europe Infer from Rizal‟s works about his life in Europe and the social milieu of Europe during that time I. Events before Jose Rizal’s departure to Europe

Jose Rizal was a victim of a brutal assault. He was wounded in his back by a lieutenant of the Civil Guards whom he did not notice and pay attention to when he passed their barracks. His complaint about the incident has fallen into deaf ears. Jose Rizal was disgusted with the method of instruction in the Dominican-owned University (UST) and the racial prejudice of Dominican professors against Filipino students – who were regarded as second- class citizens. II. Reasons of Jose Rizal’s travel to Europe

Since no written document was left to state the real motive of Jose Rizal‟s travel to Europe, historians and scholars could only infer from the context and accounts of eyewitnesses. According to NiloOcampo (1995:81-89) Jose Rizal, his brother Paciano and their uncle Antonio Rivera agreed to send Jose to Europe for a mission – to acquire knowledge by observing keenly the life and culture, languages and customs, industries and commerce, and government and laws of the European nations. The knowledge he had acquired will be used for demanding reforms from Spain and to end Spanish tyranny, oppression and injustice to the Filipinos in the Philippines. This could also be inferred from Paciano‟s letter to Jose, telling their parents‟ reaction to Jose‟s departure. He also told Jose that to the people‟s knowledge Jose was going to Europe to further his studies and become a doctor. III. Jose Rizal in Europe

Jose Rizal identified himself asJose Mercado, a native of Sta. Cruz in his passport when he boarded the steamer „Salvadora‟ bound for Singapore. On May 03, 1882, Jose Rizal left with seven hundred pesos from Paciano and a diamond ring given by his sister Saturnina which he could use in times of emergency. Rizal observed the people and the things on the ship. Among the sixteen passengers, he was the only „indio‟ and the rest were Spaniards, Englishmen and Indian negroes. Rizal noted the low standards of the ship and how the Spanish passengers narrated their experiences and criticisms of the Philippines especially the way it was governed. After reaching and visiting Singapore, he boarded the French mail steamer Djemnah to continue his trip to Spain.

On June 12, 1883, Jose Rizal reached Marseilles, France. While in Barcelona, Spain he wrote the ‘El Amor Patrio’under the pseudo name „Laong-laan.’ The essay is about love for one‟s country. It contains “political ideas and patriotic sentiments which had been percolating in the young Rizal while still on Philippine soil”. Rizal was able to explain his views through this essay indicating that the Philippines is the country for Filipinos not for Spain. His essay was sent to the Philippines and was translated to Tagalog by Marcelo H. Del Pilar to be published in the local newspaper of Manila calledDiariong Tagalogwhich was published by BasilioTeodoro in August 20, 1882. It was reprinted in La Solidaridadin October 31, 1890. Full text with English Translation could be accessed

Rizal continued writing articles for this magazine during the short time it lived. From Barcelona, he went to Madrid and enrolled at Universidad Central de Madrid in Spain and for a course leading to a licentiate in medicine and he also took up the course in Philosophy and Letters. He also studied painting and sculpture in the Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando and took lessons in French, German, and English under private instructors. Jose became a member of Circulo Hispano-Filipino. It is an organization of Filipino students in Madrid which aims to expose the conditions in the Philippines under the Spanish rule. The Circulo was short- lived and Jose Rizal in his diaries noted the reasons for this – lack of funds to continue publication, too much individualism and lack of unity in purpose. The Filipino students in Spain knew Rizal by reputation, many of them had been his schoolmates, and they enthusiastically welcomed him, but in their gaiety he took no part. The affectation and love of display of some of his countrymen disgusted him.

Rizal was actively involved in the Propaganda movement (Read Learning Module 2), composed of Filipinos in Spain who sought to direct the attention of Spaniards to the concerns of the Spanish colony in the Philippines. He wrote articles for publications in Manila and abroad; convened with overseas Filipinos to discuss their duty to the country; and called on Spanish authorities to institute reforms in the Philippines, such as granting freedom of the press and Filipino representation in the Spanish Cortes. In a year or two, Rizal‟s money dwindled, for his father was having a hard time sending him money for the fear of being questioned by the Dominican friars. Jose struggled to make both ends meet by cutting expenses in food and daily needs. Jose Rizal devoted his time in reading and studying as a way of relieving himself from homesickness. While studying, he encountered books that had left deep imprint on his philosophies and ideals : – Uncle Tom‟s Cabin by Harriet Beecher‟s Stowe

– The Wandering Jew by Eugene Sue
– The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas
– Other stories were”Picturesque America”, “Lives of the Presidents of the United States”, “The Anglo-Saxons”, “The English Revolution” which were stories of „free people‟ that interested him. In 1884, he received the degree of Licenciate in Medicine and in 1885, on his twenty-fourth birthday, he finished his degree in Philosophy and Letters, and with highest honors. Also in 1884, Juan Luna‟s Spoliarium and Felix Resurrection Hidalgo‟s Las VirgenesCristianasExpuestas al Populacho (The Christian Virgins Exposed to the Populace) won in the prestigious ExposiciónNacional de BellasArtes de Madrid (Madrid Art Exposition, May 1884). Jose Rizal was asked to give a congratulatory toast (brindis) for the two artists. This speech reached Manila and was interpreted as an open challenge to the Spanish regime in the Philippines Other studies:

June, 1885: He went to Paris to study under Dr. Louis de Wecker and mastered the technique of eye operations. February 1886: he went to Germany to attend lectures at the University of Heidelberg. April 22, 1886: Jose Rizal wrote the poem “A Las Flores de Heidelberg” which shows his feeling of nostalgia for his parents and his country. Full text of this poem could be accessed in He completed the writing of the Noli Me Tangere on February 22, 1887 in Berlin, Germany. Because of lack of funds, he was disheartened and discouraged to publish the book. However, his friend Maximo Viola, a Filipino doctor from a wealthy family in Bulacan lent money to Rizal in order to publish the book. Bound copies were sent to Barcelona and Madrid Jose Rizal andMaximo Viola went on trips to Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy before he went back to the Philippines. He arrived in Manila in August,1887.

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