Jose Rizal: A Biographical Outline

Jose Rizal: A Biographical Outline
THE MAN tied elbow to elbow refused the traditional blindfold and even requested to face the firing squad that would seal his fate on that day.
José Protasio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda was born on June 19, 1861, approximately 35 years before that fateful day. The seventh of the eleven children born to a relatively well-off family in a Dominican-ownedtenant land in Calamba, Laguna, Jose Rizal lived and died during the Spanish colonial era in the Philippines.

Jose’s father, Francisco Mercado Rizal, was a productive farmer  from Binan, Laguna, while his mother, Teodora Alonzo y Quintos, was an educated and highly cultured woman from Sta. Cruz, Manila.

In his early childhood, Jose had mastered the alphabet, learned to write and read books like the Spanish version of the Vulgate Bible. At young age, he already showed inclinations to arts. He amazed his family by his pencil drawings, sketches, and moldings of clay. Later in his childhood, he showed special talent in painting and sculpture, wrote a Tagalog play which was presented at a Calamba fiesta, and penned a short play in Spanish which was presented in school.
At the age of eleven, Rizal attended the Ateneo Municipal de Manila and obtained at the age of 16 his Bachelor of Arts degree with an average of "excellent". In the same year (1877), he took Philosophy and Letters at the University of Santo Tomas, while at the same time enrolled in a course in land surveying at the Ateneo. He finished his surveyor's training in 1877, passed the licensing exam in May 1878, though the license was granted to him only in 1881 when he reached the age of majority. He enrolled in medicine at the University of Santo Tomas in 1878. Sensing however that the Filipino students were being discriminated by the Dominican professors, he left UST without finishing his course.

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On May 3, 1882, he went to Spain and enrolled at the Universidad Central de Madrid. In June of 1884, he received the degree of Licentiate in Medicine at the age of 23. A year later, he completed his course in Philosophy and Letters with the grade of “excellent.” Wanting to cure his mother's advancing blindness, Rizal went to Paris, Heidelberg, and Berlin to get further knowledge and training in ophthalmology. In Heidelberg, he completed his eye specialization.
Being well-traveled, he is said to have learned 22 languages. He wrote extraordinary poems, contributed nationalistic essays to publications, religiously kept his diary, and corresponded to his friends and relatives. In March 1887, he published in Berlin his first controversial novel, the Noli Me Tangere, which revealed the tyranny and arrogance of the Spanish clergy and officials in the Philippines. To bring to light that the Filipinos had an impressive civilization even long before the Spanish colonization, he annotated and reprinted in Paris Morga’s Successos De Las Islas Filipinas. On September 18, 1891, Rizal’s more militant novel, El Filibusterismo was printed in Ghent.

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As leader of patriotic Filipinos, he became one of the leadersof the literary and cultural organization Propaganda Movement, the patriotic society Asociacion La Solidaridad (Solidaridad Association), the temporary social society Kidlat Club, the society of Filipino patriots in Paris Indio Bravo, the mysterious Redencion de los Malayos (Redemption of the Malays), and founded the La Liga Filipina, a civic organization that subsequently gave birth to the Katipunan. In various ways, Rizal asked for radical reforms in the Spanish colonial system and clerical powers in the Philippines and advocated equal rights before the law for Filipinos.
When Rizal returned to the Philippines in 1892 (his second homecoming), he was imprisoned in Fort Santiago from July 6 to July 15 on a trump-up charge that anti-priest leaflets were found in the pillow cases of his sister Lucia who arrived with him from Hong Kong. He was then exiled to Dapitan, an island in Mindanao. While an exile, he engaged in agriculture, fishing, and commerce while operating a hospital and maintaining a school for boys. Moreover, he did scientific researches, collected specimens of rare species, corresponded with scholars abroad, and led construction of water dam and a relief map of Mindanao.
Rizal fell in love with Josephine Bracken, a woman from Hong Kong who brought her stepfather to Dapitan for an eye operation. Josephine became Rizal’s ‘common-law wife’. The couple had a child who was born prematurely, Francísco Rizal y Bracken, who died a few hours after birth. Prior to his relationship with Josephine, Jose Rizal had become romantically involved with other women, the most notable of whom were Segunda Katigbak, his first love, and Leonor Rivera, his so called true love.

Available online: 
The Colorful Love Affairs of Dr. Jose Rizal 

In 1896, Rizal received a permission from the Governor General to become a volunteer military physician in the revolution in Cuba, which was at the time also raged by yellow fever. But the ‘Katipunan’ started the Philippine Revolution on August 26, 1896. The powerful people whose animosity Rizal had provoked took the opportunity to implicate him to the rebellion. After a trial in a kangaroo court, he was convicted of rebellion and sentenced to death by firing squad at Bagumbayan Field (now Luneta).
Dressed in a black coat and trousers and tied elbow to elbow, Rizal refused to kneel and declined the traditional blindfold. Placid and a bit pale, he even requested to face the firing squad, maintaining that he was not a traitor to his country and to Spain. After some sweet-talk, Rizal agreed to turn his back but requested that he be shot in the small of the back, for that would twist his body and cause him to fall face upward.
The night before his execution, Rizal perhaps had a mental flash back of the meaningful events in his 35-year existence we have outlined here. But more than anyone, he himself had known for long that his execution would certainly come to pass, and not even an Andres Bonifacio nor Emilio Aguinaldo would have saved him from the executioners’ Remingtons and Mausers.
Facing the sky, the man died in that serene morning of December 30, 1896. But since then, he has lived perpetually in the hearts and minds of true Filipinos.  (© 2013 by Jensen DG. Mañebog)
In the comment section below, write your two-sentence reaction on Rizal's life. Ask at least three friends to comment on your remark.
Jensen DG. Mañebog, the contributor, is a book author and professorial lecturer in the graduate school of a state university in Metro Manila. His unique book on Rizal comprehensively tackles, among others, the respective life of Rizal’s parents, siblings, co-heroes, and girlfriends. (e-mail:
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TAGS: Jose Rizal, A Biographical Outline/Sketh/Biography/Life, History, Philippine Studies, Filipino Heroes; Jose Rizal: A Biographical Outline



For me the national Hero is still Dr.Jose Rizal, he did a lot of things than Leonor and Binifacio.

tama lang nasya ang magimg pambansang bayani dahil hnd sya natutu kung saan lang talagang nag aaral sya

Curiosity got me, how many girlfriends do Rizal have back then?

well he got only 9. 1. Segunda Katigbak 2. Leonor Valenzuela 3. Leonor Rivera 4. Consuelo Ortega y Rey 5. O-Sei-San 6. Gertrude Beckett 7. Suzanne Jacoby 8. Adelene Bousteds 9. Josephine Bracken

Base on my research,and fast study. There's a lot of women's that's around of Rizal, then my answer is 14 relationship that have been by Rizal in different places and country...

ito ay sagot sa katanungan ni Junior daclan: i think jose rizal got 10 girlfrieds back then .. :)

ito ay sagot sa katanungan ni Junior daclan,there are least nine women linked with rizal

Ayon sa artikulong ito at maging sa iba pang sulatin si Rizal ay humiling na barilin sya sa kanyang likuran at hindi sa ulo, ngunit maaring hindi ito ang dahilan ng kanyang kamatayan. Sa inyong palagay ilan ang balang tumama sa katawan ni Rizal na naging hudyat ng kanyang kamatayan?

Jose Rizal is really a great man and a great hero how could you imagine that his life is like a script, he know when it will end and what could be possibly happen. One thing that really confused me, if he already predict that then why did he let that happen?

Maybe he just want to face on what God written to his story because Rizal is a brave man. In a story A character can not complain to his writer rather than to follow but a writer know what's the best for his character and that's what God plan for Rizal. :>

I think Rizal is not sure for that because it is only a dream and no one know's it will happen. Yes Rizal is an intelligent man but only god can know on what will happen to you.Just like Rizal who is a writer also, he is the one who know what will happen to his character.

As i read the article about Dr. Jose Rizal, i noticed that he is an extraordinary hero among other heroes of the Philippines because at the young age he can do awesome and incredible things like mastering the alphabet, writing and reading books etc.

After reading the article, I just realized that Jose Rizal's works are the most influential of all. Without him, Filipinos at that time will not realize the violence of the Spaniards.

For me, at his young age, Rizal was already destined to be a great Filipino. And for me, his execution awakens our heart and soul to fight for our independence.

Jose Rizal became the Philippine national hero because he fought for freedom in a silent but powerful way. He expressed his love for the Philippines through his novels, essays. Rizal fought the rights of the Filipino openly and Bonifacio fought by hiding like a rebel.

Jose Rizal was amazing, At the young age he can do awesome and incredible things. And also he make us realized that we need to fight for our independence to the Spaniards.
Sarrah Joy Yasay's picture

Rizal is a loving son to his mother. It good that he studied medicine for his mother's advancing blindness.

He deserves to be called a hero even other hero's considered him one from the first place. We read the journey of how a simple man would change the history of our life today.

Rizal is such a genius for learning 22 languages. He mesmerized me about his skills and knowledge.

Jose Rizal is a man of incredible intellectual power, he motivated Filipino people with his brilliant mind. His novel had not made him a national hero, it was his patriotism.

Sa kabila ng kamusmusan ni Rizal ay madali siyang natuto. Talagang kahanga hanga ang talino niyang taglay.

Jose Rizal was such a great man for achieving all of it in just 35 years. Such an incredible talent he had.

Dr. Jose Rizal was really a well-rounded man. For me, he really deserves to be honored, he did prove that we Filipinos were truly deserving to be treated equally by the Spaniards during those times because of the exceptional talents and abilities that we also possess.
Hanna Plaza's picture

Jose Rizal was a very intellectual and well-rounded person because he took many courses in his short period of life. With this whole knowledge he possessed, he was able to help his friends, family, and his beloved country.

DR.Jose Rizal is full of knowledge,he was an excellent student in his day one the admirable,and good influence nowadays he completed his course, learn 22 languages as a young age that would amazing for us because we know a few person only can do this.

As a child the young Rizal has seen with a lot of potential to be great that seperate him from the others. He died at a young age but up to his last breath he's a man of delicadeza and not afraid to take the bullet from that firing squad, because he know what he fight for is right.

Within 35 years of Jose Rizal's life, he was able to do many good things. Due to his heroic deeds, his name was established in the history and became the national hero of the Philippines.

Being a licensed doctor at such a young age and learned 22 languages is truly a remarkable talent.I admire his skills, and of course his leadership.

Sa nabasa ko na ito masasabi ko na si Rizal talaga ay isang napakatalinong tao dahil sa dami niyang pinag aralan. Isang napakagandang huwaran ang katulad ni Rizal sa panahon natin ngayon.

Within the 35 years of his life, Rizal proved and showed his talents and intelligence in many things. He is very admirable, because of this he became our great national hero.

At his young age,Dr. Jose P. Rizal was a excellent man who made things for his country.He became our National Hero not because of his novel,but because of his patriotism.

Rizal is one of those people who seldom appears in a century. He labored for the things he knew was right, even he was alone and if he was uncertain if he will see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Rizal lived a short but meaningful life. Yet he inspired others by her acts of patriotism and love for our country.

At 35 years of living,Dr. Jose Rizal was an excellent man who has genius mind that learned 22 languages .He is our national hero by his novels and for his patriotism to our motherland.

I admit that Rizal is the one of the best person in the world. At the very young age, he achieve so many things that normal people can't do.

Jose Rizal is truly a smart person,at young age he recieved many recognitions. 35 years of greatness he has in his whole life.

At an early age, Dr. Jose Rizal was very intelligent person to learned 22 languages. He was so studious he never stops until he completed his eye specialization.

Lalo pang napatunayan sa article na to ang kanyang kasabihan na "Ang kabataan ang pag-asa ng bayan",kasi tulad ni Jose Rizal nung bata palang sya nagsumikap na sya sa pag-aaral,nakapagtapos ng pag-aaral at naging bayani ng Pilipinas .Kaya dapat si Jose Rizal ang tularan ng bawat kabataan.

Dr. Jose Rizal is a pure genius. Even when he is just a kid he have shown his extraordinary talent in writing and in academics.

Hinahangaan ko si Dr. Jose Rizal sapagkat sa murang edad niya ay nakagagawa na siya ng mga bagay na kamangha-mangha katulad ng pagguhit, pagpinta at iba pa. Napakaraming bagay ang nagawa ni Rizal para sa ating bayan dahil sa taglay niyang katalinuhan , maging ang buhay niya ay ibinuwis niya, kaya nga lubos akong humanga sa tibay at lakas ng loob na ipinakita niya.

This article shows us how amazing and talented Rizal was during his time. Despite of being exiled in Dapitan, he still engaged himself in contributing important things for the sake of others.

Si Dr.Jose P. Rizal ay isang matalino at talentadong tao , dahil ginamit niya ang kanyang talino sa pagsusulat ng mga nobela para isiwalat ang ginagawang kalupitan sa atin ng mga espanyol.At dahil dito tayong mga filipino ay nabuhayan o namulat ang ating kaisipan para ipaglaban ang ating sariling bayan.

The story of Rizal was truly inspiring, especially to the youth, it tells us that we should not stop learning. His story made me realize that if we're aiming for something we should not wish for it,instead, work for it.

Ang istorya ni Dr. Jose Rizal ay pumukaw ng aking pansin lalo na sa mga naiambag niya sa ating bayan, patunay lang na dapat natin siyang kilalanin na isang magaling na bayani. Minulat niya ang ating mga isipan sa kanyang mga nailimbag na mga nobela upang tayo ay lumaban sa mga mapang-aping dayuhan.

The article relayed a very straightforward message to me, which is, to never give up hope and be successful despite your struggles. Just like Dr. Jose Rizal's determination to never back down in spite of all the hardships he had, I too, would never give up.

Dr. Jose Rizal is really awesome man because his life is like a script, he know when it will end and what could be possibly happen for his life. Our national hero deserve all its achievement and praises because he is genius.

Rizal was indeed a great men. He excel in different areas and he really deserve to be our national hero.

Dr. Jose Rizal's life is truly inspiring, especially to the youth like us who studying hard for our future. When I read his life story, I realized that "if you can't take a risk, you can't create a future".

Ang naging buhay ni Rizal dito sa ating mundo ay hnd naging madali maraming pagsubok ang kayang hinirap ngunit hnd siya nagpatinag sa mga pagsubok na ito, ginawa nya itong kalakasan upang makagawa pa lalo ng kabutihan sa kanyang kapwa,sa kapwa niya filipino . Napakasarap tularan ni Dr. Jose Rizal ang pagkakaroon niya ng dunung ay hnd nya ginamit sa kasamaan para mangalipusta ng tao, ginamit nya ito sa kabutihan para ipagtanggol ang kanyang mga kababayan laban sa mga mapangaping dayuhan.

In this article, it just shows that Jose Rizal is very educated and artistic person. I can say that he deserves to be called "The Philippines National Hero" because of his excellent works and patriotism to our country.


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