Jose Rizal's Education

Jose Rizal's Education
THE FAMILIAR STATEMENT that Doña Teodora was Rizal’s first teacher is not just a sort of ‘venerating’ his mother who sacrificed a lot for our hero. It was a technical truth.
In his memoirs, Rizal wrote, “My mother taught me how to read and to say haltingly the humble prayers which I raised fervently to God.” (Read: Rizal Early Education (and Jose Rizal Educational Background))
Education in Calamba
In Rizal’s time, seldom would one see a highly educated woman of fine culture like Doña Teodora who had the capacity to teach Spanish, reading, poetry, and values through rare story books. Under her supervision, Rizal had thus learned the alphabet and the prayers at the age of three. (Read: The Life and Legacy of Jose Rizal: A Hero of the Philippines)
Aside from his mother, his sister Saturnina and three maternal uncles also mentored him. His uncle Jose Alberto taught him painting, sketching, and sculpture. Uncle Gregorio influenced him to further love reading. Uncle Manuel, for his part, developed Rizal’s physical skills in martial arts like wrestling.
To further enhance what Rizal had learned, private tutors were hired to give him lessons at home. Thus, Maestro Celestino tutored him and Maestro Lucas Padua later succeeded Celestino. Afterward, a former classmate of Don Francisco, Leon Monroy, lived at the Rizal home to become the boy’s tutor in Spanish and Latin. Sadly, Monroy died five months later. (Of course, there is no truth to some students’ comically malicious insinuation that Rizal had something to do with his death.)
Education in Biñan 
Rizal was subsequently sent to a private school in Biñan. In June 1869, his brother Paciano brought him to the school of Maestro Justiniano Aquino Cruz. The school was in the teacher’s house, a small nipa house near the home of Jose’s aunt where he stayed. In Rizal’s own words, his teacher “knew by the heart the grammars by Nebrija and Gainza.”
During Rizal’s first day in Biñan school, the teacher asked him:
“Do you know Spanish?”
”A little, sir,” replied Rizal.
”Do you know Latin?”
”A little, sir.”
Because of this, his classmates, especially the teacher’s son Pedro, laughed at the newcomer. So later in that day, Jose challenged the bully Pedro to a fight. Having learned wrestling from his Uncle Manuel, the younger and smaller Jose had defeated his tormenter. Compared to bullying victims today, we can say that Rizal did not wait for anyone to enact a law against bullying, but rather took matters into his own hands.
After the class however, he had an arm-wrestling match with his classmate Andres Salandanan in which Jose lost and even almost cracked his head on the sidewalk. That only proves that merely being a ‘desperado’ won’t make you win all your fights.
In the following days, Jose was said to have had other fights with Biñan boys. (If his average was two fights per day, as what happened during his first day in Biñan school, then he might have been more active than today’s MMA [mixed martial arts] fighters). For his scuffles, he nonetheless received many whippings and blows on the open palm from his disciplinarian teacher.
Rizal may have not won all his brawls but he nevertheless beat all Biñan boys academically in Spanish, Latin, and other subjects. 
Education in Manila
There’s a claim that from Biñan school, Rizal studied in Colegio de San Juan de Letran. The story states that after attending his classes for almost three months in Letran, Jose was asked by the Dominican friars to look for another school due to his radical and bold questions.
However, standard biographies agree that Rizal just took the entrance examination in that institution but Don Francisco sent him to enroll instead in Ateneo Municipal in June 1872. Run by the Jesuit congregation (Society of Jesus), Ateneo upheld religious instruction, advanced education, rigid discipline, physical culture, and cultivation of the arts, like music, drawing, and painting. Ironically, this school which is now the archrival of La Salle in being exclusively luxurious, among others, was formerly the ‘Escuela Pia’ (Charity School)—a school for poor boys in Manila established by the city government in 1817.
Paciano found Jose a boarding house in Intramuros but he later transferred to the house of a spinster situated on Calle Carballo in Santa Cruz area. There he became acquainted with various mestizos that were said to be begotten by friars. (Jose perhaps had not thought twice to befriend them, believing that they were probably nice people—for after all, they were ‘mga anak ng pari’ [children of priests]).
To encourage healthy competitions, classes in Ateneo were divided into two groups which constantly competed against each other. One group, named the Roman Empire, comprised the interns (boarders) while the other one, the Carthaginian Empire, consisted of the externs (non-boarders).
Within an empire, members were also in continuous competition as they vied for the top ranks called dignitaries— Emperor, being the highest position, followed by Tribune, Decurion, Centurion, and Standard-Bearer, respectively. Initially placed at the tail of the class as a newcomer, Jose was soon continually promoted—that just after a month, he had become an Emperor, receiving a religious picture as a prize.
When the term ended, he attained the mark of ‘excellent’ in all the subjects and in the examinations. The second year, Jose transferred residence to No. 6 Calle Magallanes and he obtained a medal at the end of that academic term. In the third year, he won prizes in the quarterly examinations.
The following year, his parents placed him as intern (boarding student) in the school and stayed there until his graduation. At the end of the school year, he garnered five medals, with which he said he could somewhat repay his father for his sacrifices. On March 23, 1877, he received the Bachelor of Arts degree, graduating as one of the nine students in his class declared ‘sobresaliente’ or outstanding.
Some of his priest-professors in Ateneo were Jose Bech, a man with mood swings and somewhat of a lunatic and of an uneven humor; Francisco de Paula Sanchez, an upright, earnest, and caring teacher whom Rizal considered his best professor; Jose Vilaclara; and a certain Mineves.
At the Ateneo, Rizal cultivated his talent in poetry, applied himself regularly to gymnastics, and devoted time to painting and sculpture. Don Augustin Saez, another professor, thoughtfully guided him in drawing and painting, and the Filipino Romualdo de Jesus lovingly instructed him in sculpture.
In 1877, Rizal enrolled in the University of Santo Tomas, taking the course on Philosophy in Letters. At the same time, he took in Ateneo a land surveyor and assessor's degree (expert surveyor), a vocational course. 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.
After a year in UST, Jose changed course and enrolled in medicine to be able to cure the deteriorating eyesight of his mother. But being tired of the discrimination by the Dominican professors to Filipino students, he stopped attending classes at UST in 1882.
It’s worthwhile to note that Rizal’s another reason for not completing medicine in UST was that the method of instruction was obsolete and repressive. Rizal’s observation perhaps had served as a challenge for UST to improve in its mode of instructions.
If records were accurate, Rizal had taken a total of 19 subjects in UST and finished them with varied grades, ranging from excellent to fair. Notably, he got ‘excellent’ in all his subjects in the Philosophy course.
Education in Europe
On May 3, 1882, he left for Spain and enrolled in Medicine and Philosophy and Letters at the Universidad Central de Madrid on November 3. In some days of November 1884, Rizal was involved in the chaotic student demonstrations by the Central University students in which many were wounded, hit by cane, arrested, and imprisoned.
The protest rallies started after Dr. Miguel Morayta had been excommunicated by bishops for delivering a liberal speech, proclaiming the freedom of science and the teacher, at the opening ceremony of the academic year. Incidentally, the street in Manila named after Morayta (Nicanor Reyes Street today) has always been affected by, if not itself the venue of, student demonstrations.

In June of 1884, Rizal received the degree of Licentiate in Medicine at the age of 23. His rating though was just ‘fair’ for it was affected by the ‘low’ grades he got from UST.
The next school year (1884-1885), he took and completed the three additional subjects leading to the Doctor of Medicine degree.  He was not awarded the Doctor’s diploma though for failing to pay the fee and the required thesis.
Exactly on his 24th birthday, the Madrid university awarded him the degree of Licentiate in Philosophy and Letters with the grade of excellent (‘sobresaliente’). We can thus argue that Rizal was better as a ‘philosopher’ than a physician.
Wanting to cure his mother's advancing blindness, Rizal went to Paris. He was said to have attended medical lectures at the University of Paris. From November 1885 to February 1886, he worked as an assistant to Dr. Louis de Weckert. Through this leading French ophthalmologist, Rizal was thankful that he learned how to perform all the ophthalmological operations.
In February 3, 1886, Rizal arrived in Heidelberg, Germany. He attended the lectures of Dr. Otto Becker and Prof. Wilhelm Kuehne at the University of Heidelberg. He also worked at the University Eye Hospital under the guidance of Dr. Becker.
Under the direction of this renowned German ophthalmologist, Rizal had learned to use the then newly invented ophthalmoscope (invented by Hermann von Helmholtz) which he later used to operate on his mother’s eye. In Heidelberg, the 25-year-old Rizal completed his eye specialization.
Afterward, Rizal spent three months in the nearby village, Wilhemsfeld where he wrote the last few chapters of ‘Noli Me Tangere’. He stayed at the pastoral house of a kind Protestant pastor, Dr. Karl Ullmer, the whole family of whom became Rizal’s good friends. In August 1886, he attended lectures on history and psychology at the University of Leipzig. In November 1886, he reached Berlin, the famous city where he worked as an assistant in Dr. Schweigger’s clinic and attended lectures in the University of Berlin. 
In Berlin, he was inducted as a member of the Berlin’s ‘Ethnological Society’, ‘Anthropological Society’, and ‘Geographical Society’. In April 1887, he was invited to deliver an address in German before the ‘Ethnographic Society’ of Berlin on the orthography and structure of the Tagalog language. 
In Germany, Rizal met and befriended the famous academicians and scholars at the time. Among them were Prof. Friedrich Ratzel, German historian; Dr. Hanz Meyer, German Anthropologist; Dr. Feodor Jagor, the author of ‘Travels in the Philippines’ which Rizal had read as a student in Manila; Dr. Rudolf Virchow, German anthropologist; and Rudolf’s son, Dr. Hans Virchow, Descriptive Anatomy professor.
Especially after the hero’s martyrdom, these people who were the renowned personalities in the academe not only in Germany but also in Europe were so proud that once in their life they had known the educated and great Filipino named Jose Rizal.
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 e-books on Rizal (available online)  comprehensively tackle, among others, the respective life of Rizal’s siblings and girlfriends. (e-mail:
In the comment section here, write your short comment on Rizal’s advice to his sister Trinidad: “Now that you are still young and you have time to learn, it is necessary that you study by reading and reading attentively… It is enough to form only the habit of study and later everything goes by itself.”
Invite at least three college graduate friends or relatives to leave in the comment section an advice about finishing a course. Print your comment and your friends/relatives’ advices. Submit the print out to your professor.
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TAG: Jose Rizal's Education


my advice to you nerlyn: first i know how much you prioritize your studies and as what i always telling you continue to love your course amd never compare your self to your kuya we all know your brainy too.

Rizal is really a man of fortitude and excellence. He is a responsible brother and never let her siblings be miserable. Rizal believed that Education is really an important aspect in life. He wanted Trinidad to gain some knowledge in order for her to be a dignified person.

Set you goal! Dont just study because you want to graduate with diploma. Study because you want to be an Accountant. Think like there is no box. You should always bear in mind that the no pain, no gain :)

Wag tamarin sa pag-aaral. Tandaan, what you give is what you get. Kung anong effort ang binuhos mo sa pag-aaral, ganun din ang makukuha mong reward. Good luck :)

Magpokus ka sa ginagawa mo. Wag unahin ang pag-ibig. May panahon para dyan. Basta nasa panahon ka ng pag-aaral. Wag din kalimutan mag-pray kay Lord :)

Enjoy your subjects..take it easy and relax..don't be too hard on yourself. but then, always know your priorities, Clarizza.

Try establishing a study routine and stick with it. its kinda me.and most importantly, always pray to God.

sino na ba ang taong malakas ang loob na mgsbing madali lng ang college?wala pa.basta lagi ka lng focus s lahat ng ginagawa mo. and NO boys, first.. ;)

wag masyado ma-pressure s college life.hinay-hinay lng..Focus lge at ano man ang ginagawa mo, always give your 100%...kaya mo yan. FIghting! :D

never give up.hindi madali ang college life.given na bgo ka magtagumpay kailangan k munang dumaan s butas ng karayom. Hindi mo mkukuha ang diploma ng isang buong gbi na wlalang tulog lang. kya mo yan. trust yourself, but trust God even more.

Education is the key to success!!

My advice to Ruby: Just give your best in everything you do, be it in life or in your studies or in whatever. Never settle for less than 100% of what you are, of what you can do. Maintain balance. While you have time to study wisely, spend also some of your time playing and hanging out with your friends and love ones. Have faith in your God.

ayusin mo pagaaral mo!! wag ttmadtamad..haha always pray and study well :)

You should realize by now that attending college and actually finishing your major is a huge privilege and honor. Always keep your head up high with your dreams, your feet on the ground and you will be good to go.

In Dr. Jose Rizal's advise to his sister, Trinidad we can say that our national hero wants his sister to develop her studying habits specially, reading books. I therefor conclude that for Dr. Jose Rizal education is very important for the near future.

wag tamarin sa pagaaral, laging magbasa ng magbasa.

my advice to ruby.. always value education..coz it is the only gift that you can call "MIND" very hard and just focused to wat u dream...and make everything possible..go girl...tomorrow s gonna be your...ahem... bow!

as long as you have a goal, and if you work hard to reach your goals, you will get there. its just a matter of time and sacrifice.

my advice to ruby: always value your education..coz it is the only gift that all you can called "MIND'" always look to a positive side of life and the beauty that it can bring to you..focused to what you dream.. and always follow wat your heart say... study very hard and make everything posible... go...for success!

Just give your best in everything you do, be it in life or in your studies or in whatever. Never settle for less than 100% of what you are, of what you can do. Maintain balance. While you have time to study wisely, spend also some of your time playing and hanging out with your friends and love ones. Have faith in your God.

Never give up, at first its hard but try establishing a study routine and stick with it. its very effective and most importantly, always pray.

just take it easy, i know college life is hard but just focus on your studies and always do your best in everything you do. and put your faith and trust to God.

Based on his advice, Jose Rizal is truly a man who have hope for the new generation. He also want young people to develop study habits by reading. Most of all, I can say that Rizal is truly a well educated person.

always think positive and don't be afraid to fail. because in that failure we can learn, and develop our self. tsaka wag kakalimutang magdasal palagi.

laging magpractice ng magpractice at magbasa ng magbasa, tsaka focus lang sa pagaaral, dont waste time. remember that merong oras para sa lahat ng bagay.


He shows how he really concern for his sister and he wants to help her for future. He does not only show that he is concern but he also shows how good brother he is.

Rizal is right about studying well while we are still young.Rizal wanted his sister Trinidad to have a better future.He didn't want his sister to waste her time and he wanted his sister to value education more. There are many people out there who regret those times they wasted. There's just one life to live, and there's no time to wait and to waste. So study well :)

Just keep studying, you know that this will help you in your future. You do what you have to so you can do what you want to. Strive hard on your studies.

based on the advise of rizal to his sister, we can tell that rizal trully love education and he gave importance to it.

Study hard. Alam ko naman na kaya mong maging CPA, basta focus lang at wag mong kakalimutan na magdasal kay God.

my advice to michael. always focus and give value to your education. Dont easily give up even when there are times that it is so hard. Just always remember that we are here to love you and support you.

Alam ko napakahirap ng Accountancy, pero alam ko na kaya mong maging CPA. Ang kailangan lang dyan ay sipag at tiyaga. Lahat naman kaya basta may tiyaga. Basta always pray and keep your faith and trust to God. Stay positive and you will achieve your goal.

ang advice ko kay michael magdaraog ay lagi nya lang pagbutihin ang kanyang pagaaral. Wag na wag syang makakalimot na humingi ng tulong kay God kapag nasa mahirap syang sitwasyon. Lagi mo lang alalahanin na nandito lang kami na lagi gagabay sayo.

ang maiaadvice ko lang sayo pinsan michael ay lagi ka lang magaral mabuti. umiwas ka sa mga bisyo at babae para makatapos ka ng pagaaral mo

It is really true that our National Hero really gives much importance on education. He wants he wants his sister Trinidad to be more serious and focus on her studies.

my advise to Pamela Erasquin. Always remember that in all the things that you will do, always give your 100%. Never give up in all problems that will come your way because the one who never give up is the one who become succesful.

My advise to Pamela Erasquin is to study hard. I know that being a college is hard but always think that you can do it. Never forget to pray because even if your intelligent if you don't have faith with the Almighty God, you are nothing.

Value education because that is the only key for you to become a successful individual someday. Focus on your studies. Don't let the problems you're facing now hinder you in achieving your goals in life. Study well. :)

Focus on your studies. Never let anything destruct your studies. Just trust in yourself, I know you can do it.

Reading is one of the most important thing in learning and I agree to Dr. Rizal that as we were young we should take learning as a habit, it is necessary for us to learn and know things around us because if learning is already our habit it is not hard for us to adjust in the future.

Reading is one of the most important thing in learning and I agree to Dr. Jose Rizal that while we were you we should take learning as a habit because if we grow up we will not need to adjust to much if we need to study everyday. Rizal's letter to his sister is very inspiring to all Filipino youth today

you just have to focus on your studies above all, if you would like to reach the summit of what you ought to aim. and if possible set aside relationship with the other sex, you gotta have it at the right time <just friendly advice..hehe> based on experience that was of great help :) mOst of all, PRAY hardest. . .

you just have to focus on your studies above all, if you would like to reach the summit of what you ought to aim. and if possible set aside relationship with the other sex, you gotta have it at the right time <just friendly advice..hehe> based on experience that was of great help :) mOst of all, PRAY hardest. . .

Study hard roselyn, mahirap ang course mo but I know you can do it because you are a strong person. pagtyagaan mo lahat ng problems na maeencounter mo. Godbless

Roselyn be grown up. you know the right and the wrong things. Magsipag at magtyaga ka sa pag aaral mo. yung mga problema, those are just tests kung you are really a strong person. Magpakatatag ka.

Jose's advice to his sister Trinidad is a remarkable one. It showed a very good example of being a role model to his sibling as well. He truly wants to encourage his younger sister to study as long as she can, as she is young as stated. Rizal really valued education. Education is a continuous process and reading is the beginning of it.

ang advice ko sayo tintin ay papatuloy ang iyong pag aaral at pagbutihin ito dahil balang araw malaki ang maitulong nito sayo. wag ka mag boyfriend tsaka na pag tapos kng. yung kaya muna tumayo sa sariling paa.

Never give up. college life is really a hard stage base on my experience. Give most of your time to study. be focused. you can do it. pray also to ask guidance from God.

Unlike highschool, college is really different. You should give a lot of time to study. Be hardworking! even though there is a lot of problem during that time don't let it to stop you from getting your dreams.


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