José Rizal



José Protasio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realondo (b. 19 June 1861, Calamba, Luzon, Philippinesd. 30 December 1896, Manila, Philippines), popularly known as José Rizal, was a doctor, intellectual and patriot.1 He helped to inspire the Philippine Revolution from 1896 to 1898, which ended over two centuries of Spanish rule.2 Rizal made four visits to Singapore during his lifetime,3 and passed through again shortly before his execution.

Early life
Of Chinese-Filipino ancestry, Rizal was the seventh child of sugar planter and landowner Francisco Mercado Rizal and Teodora Alonso y Quintos, who had 11 children.4

Rizal was partly educated at home before entering Ateneo Municipal de Manila, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1877.5 To save his mother’s failing eyesight, he went on to study medicine at the University of Santo Tomas.6 A winner of literary prizes at the university, Rizal was, however, disillusioned by the faculty’s and Spanish students’ attitudes towards Filipinos.7 In 1882, he travelled to Madrid to complete his studies, and was conferred a Licentiate in Medicine two years later.8 Rizal’s first job was with a leading oculist in Paris, France.9

Travel, writings and reform activities
Rizal travelled extensively. He stayed in cities such as Heidelberg and Leipzig in Germany, and learned many languages.10 He had a wide range of interests, including science, and was also a poet, artist and sculptor.11

In 1887, Rizal published his novel Noli Me Tangere ( “touch Me Not” in Latin) in Berlin, Germany, which satirises the corruption of the Spanish clergy.12 The book was a sensation before it was banned by furious church officials in the Philippines.13 Rizal returned home later that year, but the controversy forced him to abandon his newly established clinic in Calamba and return to Europe via Japan and America.14

Between 1889 and 1891, Rizal regularly contributed articles advocating political, religious and social reform to La Solidaridad, a newspaper published by Filipinos in Barcelona, Spain.15 In 1890, Rizal also annotated and republished a 1609 book written by Antonio Morga titled Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas (“Events in the Philippine Islands” in Spanish), which describes the achievements of precolonial Philippines.16 Through his annotation, Rizal showed that the Filipinos had developed culture even before the arrival of the Spanish.17 The following year, he published El Filibusterismo in Ghent, Belgium. It was a sequel to Noli Me Tangere, dedicated to three Filipino priests executed by the Spanish.18 He then spent several months practising medicine in Hong Kong.19

Rizal’s family endured official harassment as a result of his writings. Despite warnings, he returned home in 1892 with hopes to form a Filipino colony in North Borneo and to introduce the statutes for La Liga Filipina, a mutual-aid association he had founded.20

Conflict with the authorities and martyrdom
The governor-general of the Philippines had Rizal arrested, and deported him to Dapitan in 1892 after purportedly finding subversive leaflets in his luggage.21 Consequently, La Liga Filipina became inactive and subsequently split up.22


During his island exile, Rizal established a school and a hospital.23 In 1896, he received permission to travel to Cuba as an army doctor to fight against yellow fever.24 Shortly after his departure, the Katipunan, a successor to La Liga Filipina and whose methods Rizal rejected, launched an insurrection. The Spanish government falsely blamed Rizal for the insurgence and ordered his arrest.25

Following Rizal’s return to Manila, he was charged with rebellion and starting an illegal society.26 Witnesses testified to his involvement with the rebels and he was convicted by a military court.27

Rizal composed a patriotic valedictory poem before he was executed in Manila’s Bagumbayan Field on 30 December 1896.28

Lasting significance
The struggle continued, and in 1898 the First Republic of the Philippines was proclaimed. Rizal was quickly acclaimed as a national hero.29 His life and work have been commemorated with countless memorials worldwide, including a national holiday and a province in the Philippines.30


Visits to Singapore
The first of Rizal’s many visits to foreign lands was a two-day stopover in Singapore in 1882.31 He toured the island by carriage, visiting sites such as the Raffles statue, the Botanical Gardens, temples, markets, and a school.32 He was impressed by the city’s greenery and noted that its population seemed assured of their rights.33 However, he found the city less attractive in 1887, and observed in 1891 and 1896 how much it had changed.34

In 1896, Rizal’s friend urged him to save himself by remaining in Singapore, but Rizal chose to trust that the Philippine governor-general would not arrest him and was determined not to be a fugitive.35 He was subsequently arrested and put on a ship bound for Manila. On that final voyage home, Rizal was shackled and not allowed to leave the ship.36 While the ship was docked in Singapore, his supporters, including Charles Burton Buckley, attempted to secure his release at the Supreme Court but were unsuccessful.37

Memorial in Singapore
In 2008, then Singapore President S. R. Nathan and the Philippine Education Minister Jasli Lapus unveiled a memorial near the Asian Civilisations Museum, featuring a bronze bust relief of Rizal. The bust relief was created by Filipino artists Fabian de la Rosa and Guillermo Tolentino.38

Marriage
In 1891, Rizal proposed unsuccessfully to Nellie Boustead, whose grandfather founded Boustead and Company in Singapore.39 He took Josephine Bracken as his common-law wife in 1895, after the church refused to solemnise their marriage.40 Their son Francisco died shortly after birth.41

Selected publications

Miscellaneous correspondence (Vol. 2, book 4). (1963). Manila: National Heroes Commission.

(Call no.: RSEA 959.902 RIZ)

Miscellaneous writings of Dr José Rizal. (1964). Manila: National Heroes Commission.
(Call no.: RSEA 868.208 RIZ)

Noli me tangere – Touch me not. (1997; originally published 1887). Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.
(Call no.: RSEA 893 RIZ)

Rizal’s poems: 1869–1896. (1990). Manila: National Historical Institute.

(Call no.: RSEA 861.2 RIZ)

Rizal’s prose. (1990). Manila: National Historical Institute.
(Call no.: RSEA 899.210808 RIZ)

The Rizal-Blumentritt correspondence (2 vols.). (1961). Manila: José Rizal National Centennial Commission.
(Call no.: RSEA 959.902 RIZ)



Author

Duncan Sutherland




References
1. Craig, A. (2011). Lineage, life and labors of Jose Rizal: Philippine patriot. Manila, Philippines: Tulay Foundation, p. 64. (Call no.: RSEA 959.902092 CRA); Yabes, C. (2002). A journey of friendship: The Philippines-Singapore relations. Singapore: Philippine Embassy, p. 12. (Call no.: RSING q327.59905957 YAB); Baratham, D. (1962, February 4). Death of a patriot. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. Row over plague for Philippine hero. (1996, December 28). The Straits Times, p. 9; National heroes. (1984, September 23). The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. Philippine Information Agency. (2008, July 9). Singapore honors Rizal [Press release]. Retrieved 2017, February 3 from Philippine Information Agency website: http://archives.pia.gov.ph/?m=12&sec=reader&rp=6&fi=p080709.htm&no=52&date=07/09/2008
4. Rajaretnam, M. (1996). A legacy of sensibility and dignity. In M. Rajaretnam (Ed.), Jose Rizal and the Asian renaissance (pp. 3–29). Kuala Lumpur: Institut Kajian Dasar, p. 4. (Call no.: RSEA 959.902 JOS); Jose Rizal University. (2004). In Calamba, Laguna. Retrieved 2017, February 3 from JoseRizal.ph website: http://www.joserizal.ph/ec01.html
5. Jose Rizal University. (2004). In Calamba, Laguna. Retrieved 2017, February 3 from JoseRizal.ph website: http://www.joserizal.ph/ec01.html; Montemayor, T. H. (n.d.). Jose Rizal: A biographical sketch. Retrieved 2017, February 3 from JoseRizal.ph website: http://www.joserizal.ph/bg01.html
6. Montemayor, T. H. (n.d.). Jose Rizal: A biographical sketch. Retrieved 2017, February 3 from JoseRizal.ph website: http://www.joserizal.ph/bg01.html; Gagelonia, P. A. (1964). Man of the century: Biography of Jose Rizal. Manila: Villanueva Pub., p. 39. (Call no.: RSEA 959.902 RIZ.G)
7. Rajaretnam, M. (1996). A legacy of sensibility and dignity. In M. Rajaretnam (Ed.), Jose Rizal and the Asian renaissance (pp. 3–29). Kuala Lumpur: Institut Kajian Dasar, p. 8. (Call no.: RSEA 959.902 JOS); Gagelonia, P. A. (1964). Man of the century: Biography of Jose Rizal. Manila: Villanueva Pub., pp. 45–46. (Call no.: RSEA 959.902 RIZ.G)
8. Montemayor, T. H. (n.d.). Jose Rizal: A biographical sketch. Retrieved 2017, February 3 from JoseRizal.ph website: http://www.joserizal.ph/bg01.html
9. Baratham, D. (1962, February 4). Death of a patriot. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. Rajaretnam, M. (1996). A legacy of sensibility and dignity. In M. Rajaretnam (Ed.), Jose Rizal and the Asian renaissance (pp. 3–29). Kuala Lumpur: Institut Kajian Dasar, pp. 11–12. (Call no.: RSEA 959.902 JOS); Montemayor, T. H. (n.d.). Jose Rizal: A biographical sketch. Retrieved 2017, February 3 from JoseRizal.ph website: http://www.joserizal.ph/bg01.html
11. Patriot, martyr and scholar. (1930, January 20). The Straits Times, p. 15. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
12. Baratham, D. (1962, February 4). Death of a patriot. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Montemayor, T. H. (n.d.). Jose Rizal: A biographical sketch. Retrieved 2017, February 3 from JoseRizal.ph website: http://www.joserizal.ph/bg01.html
13. Jose Rizal University. (2004). Noli me tangere. Retrieved 2017, February 3 from JoseRizal.ph website: http://www.joserizal.ph/no01.html
14. Rajaretnam, M. (1996). A legacy of sensibility and dignity. In M. Rajaretnam (Ed.), Jose Rizal and the Asian renaissance (pp. 3–29). Kuala Lumpur: Institut Kajian Dasar, pp. 14–16. (Call no.: RSEA 959.902 JOS)
15. Jose Rizal University. (2004). Rizal’s articles in La Solidaridad. Retrieved 2017, February 3 from JoseRizal.ph website: http://www.joserizal.ph/pr02.html; Rizal, J. (1961). Reminiscences and travels of Jose Rizal. Manila: Jose Rizal National Centennial Commission, p. xxi. (Call no.: RSEA 959.902 RIZ); Yabes, C. (2002). A journey of friendship: The Philippines-Singapore relations. Singapore: Philippine Embassy, p. 2. (Call no.: RSING q327.59905957 YAB)
16. Rajaretnam, M. (1996). A legacy of sensibility and dignity. In M. Rajaretnam (Ed.), Jose Rizal and the Asian renaissance (pp. 3–29). Kuala Lumpur: Institut Kajian Dasar, pp. 16–18. (Call no.: RSEA 959.902 JOS); Baratham, D. (1962, February 4). Death of a patriot. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
17. Jose Rizal University. (2004). Rizal and the propaganda movement. Retrieved 2017, February 3 from JoseRizal.ph website: http://www.joserizal.ph/pr01.html
18. Montemayor, T. H. (n.d.). Jose Rizal: A biographical sketch. Retrieved 2017, February 3 from JoseRizal.ph website: http://www.joserizal.ph/bg01.html; Jose Rizal University. (2004). El filibusterismo. Retrieved 2017, February 3 from JoseRizal.ph website: http://www.joserizal.ph/fi01.html
19. Rajaretnam, M. (1996). A legacy of sensibility and dignity. In M. Rajaretnam (Ed.), Jose Rizal and the Asian renaissance (pp. 3–29). Kuala Lumpur: Institut Kajian Dasar, p. 21. (Call no.: RSEA 959.902 JOS)
20. Yabes, C. (2002). A journey of friendship: The Philippines-Singapore relations. Singapore: Philippine Embassy, p. 22. (Call no.: RSING q327.59905957 YAB); Jose Rizal University. (2004). Rizal in Hong Kong. Retrieved 2017, February 3 from JoseRizal.ph website: http://www.joserizal.ph/tr48.html; Corpus, O. D. (1996). Dr. Jose Rizal: The first Filipino. In M. Rajaretnam (Ed.), Jose Rizal and the Asian renaissance (pp. 63–74). Kuala Lumpur: Institut Kajian Dasar, p. 72. (Call no.: RSEA 959.902 JOS)
21. Rajaretnam, M. (1996). A legacy of sensibility and dignity. In M. Rajaretnam (Ed.), Jose Rizal and the Asian renaissance (pp. 3–29). Kuala Lumpur: Institut Kajian Dasar, pp. 22–23. (Call no.: RSEA 959.902 JOS)
22. Gagelonia, P. A. (1964). Man of the century: Biography of Jose Rizal. Manila: Villanueva Pub., p. 412. (Call no.: RSEA 959.902 RIZ.G)
23. Baratham, D. (1962, February 4). Death of a patriot. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Montemayor, T. H. (n.d.). Jose Rizal: A biographical sketch. Retrieved 2017, February 3 from JoseRizal.ph website: http://www.joserizal.ph/bg01.html
24. Rajaretnam, M. (1996). A legacy of sensibility and dignity. In M. Rajaretnam (Ed.), Jose Rizal and the Asian renaissance (pp. 3–29). Kuala Lumpur: Institut Kajian Dasar, p. 25. (Call no.: RSEA 959.902 JOS); Baratham, D. (1962, February 4). Death of a patriot. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
25. Corpus, O. D. (1996). Dr. Jose Rizal: The first Filipino. In M. Rajaretnam (Ed.), Jose Rizal and the Asian renaissance (pp. 63–74). Kuala Lumpur: Institut Kajian Dasar, p. 73. (Call no.: RSEA 959.902 JOS); Baratham, D. (1962, February 4). Death of a patriot. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
26. Baratham, D. (1962, February 4). Death of a patriot. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
27. Montemayor, T. H. (n.d.). Jose Rizal: A biographical sketch. Retrieved 2017, February 3 from JoseRizal.ph website: http://www.joserizal.ph/bg01.html; Zaide, G. F., & Zaide, S. M. (1999). Jose Rizal: Life, works, and writings of a genius, writer, scientist, and national hero. Quezon City: All-Nations, p. 259. (Call no.: RSEA 959.902 ZAI)
28. Montemayor, T. H. (n.d.). Jose Rizal: A biographical sketch. Retrieved 2017, February 3 from JoseRizal.ph website: http://www.joserizal.ph/bg01.html
29. Rizal, J. (1961). Reminiscences and travels of Jose Rizal. Manila: Jose Rizal National Centennial Commission, pp. xiii, xxxiii. (Call no.: RSEA 959.902 RIZ)
30. Philippines observes hero’s death anniversary. (1942, December 31). Syonan Shimbun, p. 2; National heroes. (1984, September 23). The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
31. Jose Rizal University (2004). Rizal’s first trip abroad. Retrieved 2017, February 3 from JoseRizal.ph website: http://www.joserizal.ph/tr01.html
32. Zaide, G. F., & Zaide, S. M. (1999). Jose Rizal: Life, works, and writings of a genius, writer, scientist, and national hero. Quezon City: All-Nations, p. 59. (Call no.: RSEA 959.902 ZAI); Yabes, C. (2002). A journey of friendship: The Philippines-Singapore relations. Singapore: Philippine Embassy, pp. 18–19, 23. (Call no.: RSING q327.59905957 YAB); Rizal, J. (1961). Reminiscences and travels of Jose Rizal. Manila: Jose Rizal National Centennial Commission, p. 54. (Call no.: RSEA 959.902 RIZ)
33. Rizal, J. (1961). Reminiscences and travels of Jose Rizal. Manila: Jose Rizal National Centennial Commission, p. 53. (Call no.: RSEA 959.902 RIZ); Bantug, A. L. (2008). Lolo Jose: An intimate and illustrated portrait of Jose Rizal. Manila: Vibal Foundation: Intramuros Administration, p. 58. (Call no.: RSEA 959.902092 BAN)
34. Rizal, J. (1961). Reminiscences and travels of Jose Rizal. Manila: Jose Rizal National Centennial Commission, pp. 130, 179, 200. (Call no.: RSEA 959.902 RIZ)
35. Baratham, D. (1962, February 4). Death of a patriot. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
36. Yabes, C. (2002). A journey of friendship: The Philippines-Singapore relations. Singapore: Philippine Embassy, p. 13. (Call no.: RSING q327.59905957 YAB)
37. Baratham, D. (1962, February 4). Death of a patriot. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
38. Philippine Information Agency. (2008, July 9). Singapore honors Rizal [Press release]. Retrieved 2017, February 3 from Philippine Information Agency website: http://archives.pia.gov.ph/?m=12&sec=reader&rp=6&fi=p080709.htm&no=52&date=07/09/2008
39. Zaide, G. F., & Zaide, S. M. (1999). Jose Rizal: Life, works, and writings of a genius, writer, scientist, and national hero. Quezon City: All-Nations, pp. 184–185. (Call no.: RSEA 959.902 ZAI); Chew, M. (2008). Boustead 1828. Singapore: Boustead Singapore, p. 39. (Call no.: RSING 338.76095957 CHE)
40. Rajaretnam, M. (1996). A legacy of sensibility and dignity. In M. Rajaretnam (Ed.), Jose Rizal and the Asian renaissance (pp. 3–29). Kuala Lumpur: Institut Kajian Dasar, pp. 24–25. (Call no.: RSEA 959.902 JOS)
41. Jose Rizal University (2004). Rizal’s son dies. Retrieved 2017, February 3 from JoseRizal.ph website: http://www.joserizal.ph/dp05.html



Further resources
Arcilla, J. S. (1991). Rizal and the emergence of the Philippine nation. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University.

(Call no.: RSEA 959.902 ARC)

De la Costa, H. (1996). The trial of Rizal: W.E. Retana’s transcription of the official Spanish documents. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University.
(Call no.: RSEA 959.9020924 TRI)

Gagelonia, P. A. (1968). Rizal: Our noble heritage. Manila: Cruz Bookstore, pp. 35–37, 190–191, 213–216.
(Call no.: RSEA 959.902092 GAG)

Ocampo, E. A. (1993). Why is Rizal the greatest Filipino hero? Manila: National Historical Institute, pp. 4, 7.
(Call no.: RSEA 959.902 DEO)

Quibuyen, F. C. (2008). A nation aborted: Rizal, American hegemony and Philippine nationalism. Manila: Ateneo de Manila University Press, pp. 135–136.
(Call no.: RSEA 959.902 QUI)

Sta Maria, F. P. (1996). In excelsis: The mission of José P. Rizal, humanist and Philippine national hero. Makati City: Studio Five Designs.
(Call no.: RSEA q959.902092 STA)



The information in this article is valid as at 2010 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

 

Subject
Politicians
Rizal, José, 1861-1896
Pioneers
Personalities>>Biographies>>Pioneers
Law and government>>Political ideologies>>Nationalism
Nationalists--Philippines--Biography
Personalities>>Biographies>>Political Leaders