SOLEDAD RIZAL: The Hero's Controversial Sister
© 2013 by Jensen DG. Mañebog
Also called ‘Choleng,’ Soledad Rizal (1870-1929) was the youngest child of the Rizal family. Being a teacher, she was arguably the best educated among Rizal’s sisters.
In his long and meaty letter to Choleng dated June 6, 1890, Jose told her sister that he was proud of her for becoming a teacher. He thus counseled her to be a model of virtues and good qualities “for the one who should teach should be better than the persons who need her learning.”
Rizal nonetheless used the topic as leverage in somewhat rebuking her sister for getting married to Pantaleon Quintero of Calamba without their parents’ consent. “Because of you,” he wrote, “the peace of our family has been disturbed.”
Some timeless lessons in ethics and good manners can be learned from the letter. For instance, it reveals that Jose was very much against women who allow themselves to be courted outside their homes. He said to Choleng, “If you have a sweetheart, behave towards him nobly and with dignity, instead of resorting to secret meetings and conversations which do nothing but lower a woman's worth in the eyes of a man… You should value more, esteem more your honor and you will be more esteemed and valued.”