JOSE RIZAL, the national hero of the Philippines and pride of the Malayan race, was born on June 19, 1861, in the town of Calamba, Laguna. He was the seventh child in a family of 11 children (2 boys and 9 girls). Both his parents were educated and belonged to distinguished families.
The Mercado – Rizal Family
The Rizals is considered one of the biggest families during their time. Domingo Lam-co, the family’s paternal ascendant was a full-blooded Chinese who came to the Philippines from Amoy, China in the closing years of the 17th century and married a Chinese half-breed by the name of Ines de la Rosa.
Jose Rizal came from a 13-member family consisting of his parents, Francisco Mercado II and Teodora Alonso Realonda, and nine sisters and one brother.
FRANCISCO MERCADO (1818-1898)
Father of Jose Rizal who was the youngest of 13 offsprings of Juan and Cirila Mercado. Born in Biñan, Laguna on April 18, 1818; studied in San Jose College, Manila; and died in Manila.
TEODORA ALONSO (1827-1913)
Mother of Jose Rizal who was the second child of Lorenzo Alonso and Brijida de Quintos. She studied at the Colegio de Santa Rosa. She was a business-minded woman, courteous, religious, hard-working and well-read. She was born in Santa Cruz, Manila on November 14, 1827 and died in 1913 in Manila.
SATURNINA RIZAL (1850-1913)
Eldest child of the Rizal-Alonzo marriage. Married Manuel Timoteo Hidalgo of Tanauan, Batangas.
PACIANO RIZAL (1851-1930)
Only brother of Jose Rizal and the second child. Studied at San Jose College in Manila; became a farmer and later a general of the Philippine Revolution.
NARCISA RIZAL (1852-1939)
The third child. married Antonio Lopez at Morong, Rizal; a teacher and musician.
OLYMPIA RIZAL (1855-1887)
The fourth child. Married Silvestre Ubaldo; died in 1887 from childbirth.
LUCIA RIZAL (1857-1919)
The fifth child. Married Matriano Herbosa.
MARIA RIZAL (1859-1945)
The sixth child. Married Daniel Faustino Cruz of Biñan, Laguna.
JOSE RIZAL (1861-1896)
The second son and the seventh child. He was executed by the Spaniards on December 30,1896.
CONCEPCION RIZAL (1862-1865)
The eight child. Died at the age of three.
JOSEFA RIZAL (1865-1945)
The ninth child. An epileptic, died a spinster.
TRINIDAD RIZAL (1868-1951)
The tenth child. Died a spinster and the last of the family to die.
SOLEDAD RIZAL (1870-1929)
The youngest child married Pantaleon Quintero.
1848, June 28 — Rizal’s parents married in Kalamba, La Laguna: Francisco Rizal-Mercado y Alejandra (born in Biñan, April 18, 1818) and Teodora Morales Alonso-Realonda y Quintos (born in Sta. Cruz, Manila, Nov. 14, 1827).
1861, June 19 — Rizal born, their seventh child.
1861, June 22 — Christened as José Protasio Rizal-Mercado y Alonso-Realonda
1870, age 9 — In school at Biñan under Master Justiniano Aquin Cruz.
1871, age 10 — In Kalamba public school under Master Lucas Padua.
1872, June 10, age 11 — Examined in San Juan de Letran college, Manila, which, during the Spanish time, as part of Sto. Tomás University, controlled entrance to all higher institutions.
1872, June 26 — Entered the Ateneo Municipal de Manila, then a public school, as a day scholar.
1875, June 14, age 14 — Became a boarder in the Ateneo.
1876, March 23, age 15 — Received the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree, with highest honors, from Ateneo de Manila.
1876, June. — Entered Sto. Tomás University in the Philosophy course.
1877, June, age 16. — Matriculated in the medical course. Won Liceo Artistico-Literario prize, in poetical competition for “Indians and Mestizos”, with the poem “To the Philippine Youth”.
1877, Nov. 29 — Awarded diploma of honorable mention and merit by the Royal Economic Society of Friends of the Country, Amigos del País, for the prize poem.
1880, April 23, age 19. — Received Licco Artístico-Literario diploma of honorable mention for the allegory, “The Council of the Gods”, in competition open to “Spaniards, mestizos and Indians”. Unjustly deprived of the first prize.
1880, Dec. 8. — Operetta “On the Banks of the Pasig” produced.
1881, age 20. — Submitted winning wax model design for commemorative medal for the Royal Economic Society of Friends of the Country centennial.
Wounded in the back for not saluting a Guardia Civil lieutenant whom he had not seen. The authorities ignored his complaint.
1882, May 3, age 21. — Secretly left Manila with the passport of a cousin, taking at Singapore a French mail steamer for Marseilles and entering Spain at Port Bou by railroad. His brother, Paciano Mercado, furnished the money.
1882, June. — Absence noted at Sto. Tomás University, which owned the Kalamba estate. Rizal’s father was compelled to prove that he had no knowledge of his son’s plan in order to hold the land on which he was the University’s tenant.
1882, June 15. — Arrived in Barcelona.
1882, Nov. 3. — Began studies in Madrid.
1885, June 19, age 24. –Received degree of Licentiate in Medicine with honors from Central University of Madrid.
Clinical assistant to Dr. L. de Weckert, a Paris oculist.
Visited Universities of Heidelberg, Leipzig, and Berlin.
1887, Feb. 21, age 26. — Finished the novel Noli Me Tangere in Berlin.
Traveled in Austria, Switzerland and Italy.
1887, July 3. — Sailed from Marseilles.
1887, Aug. 5. — Arrived in Manila. Traveled in nearby provinces with a Spanish lieutenant, detailed by the Governor-General, as escort.
1888, Feb. — Sailed for Japan via Hong Kong.
1888, Feb. 28 to April 13, age 27. — A guest at the Spanish Legation, Tokyo, and traveling in Japan.
1888, April-May. — Traveling in the United States.
1888, May 24. — In London, studying in the British Museum to edit Morga’s 1609 Philippine History.
1889, March, age 28. — In Paris, publishing Morga’s History. Published “The Philippines A Century Hence” in La Solidaridad, a Filipino fortnightly review, first of Barcelona and later of Madrid.
1890, February to July, age 29. — In Belgium and Holland, finishing El Filibusterismo (The Reign of Greed), which is the sequel to Noli Me Tangere.
Published “The Indolence of the Filipino” in La Solidaridad.
1890, August 4. — Returned to Madrid to confer with his countrymen on the Philippine situation, then constantly growing worse.
1891, January 27. — Left Madrid for France.
1891, November, age 30. — Arranging for a Filipino agricultural colony in British North Borneo.
Practiced medicine in Hong Kong.
1892, June 26, age 31. — Returned to Manila under Governor-General Despujol’s safe conduct pass.
Organized a mutual aid economic society: La Liga Filipina.
1892, July 6. — Ordered deported to Dapitan, but the decree and charges were kept secret from him.
Taught school and conducted a hospital during his exile, patients coming from China coast ports for treatment. Fees thus earned were used to beautify the town. Arranged a water system and had the plaza lighted.
1896, August 1, age 35. — Left Dapitan en route to Spain as a volunteer surgeon for the Cuban yellow fever hospitals. Carried letters of recommendation from Governor-General Blanco.
1896, August 7 to September 3. — On Spanish cruiser Castilla in Manila Bay.
Sailed for Spain on Spanish mail steamer and just after leaving Port Said was confined to his cabin as a prisoner on cabled order from Manila. (Rizal’s enemies to secure the appointment of a governor-general subservient to them, the servile Polavieja had purchased Governor-General Blanco’s promotion.)
1896, October 5. — Placed in Montjuich Castle dungeon on his arrival in Barcelona and the same day re-embarked for Manila. Friends and countrymen in London by cable made an unsuccessful effort for a Habeas Corpus writ at Singapore. On arrival in Manila was placed in Fort Santiago dungeon.
1890, December 3. — Charged with treason, sedition and forming illegal societies, the prosecution arguing that he was responsible for the deeds of those who read his writings.
1896, December 12. — Wrote the poem “My Last Farewell” (later concealed in an alcohol cooking lamp) after appearing in a courtroom where the judges made no effort to check those who cried out for his death.
1896, December 15. — Wrote an address to insurgent Filipinos to lay down their arms because their insurrection was at that time hopeless. Address not made public but added to the charges against him.
1896, December 26. — Formally condemned to death by a Spanish court martial.
Pi y Margall, who had been president of the Spanish Republic, pleaded with the Prime Minister for Rizal’s life, but the Queen Regent could not forgive his having referred in one of his writings to the murder by, and suicide of, her relative, Crown Prince Rudolph of Austria.
1896, December 30, age 35 years, 6 months, 11 days. — Married in Fort Santiago death cell to Josephine Bracken, Irish, the adopted daughter of a blind American who came to Dapitan from Hong Kong for treatment.
Shot on the Luneta, Manila, at 7:03 a.m., and buried in a secret grave in Paco Cemetery. (Entry of his death was made in the Paco Church Register among suicides.)
1887, January. — Commemorated by Spanish Free-masons who dedicated a tablet to his memory, in their Grand Lodge hall in Madrid, as a martyr to Liberty.
1898, August. — Filipinos who placed over it in Paco cemetery, a cross inscribed simply “December 30,
1896”, sought his grave, immediately after the American capture of Manila. Since his death his countrymen had never spoken his name, but all references had been to “The Dead”.
1898, December 20. — President Aguinaldo, of the Philippine Revolutionary Government, proclaimed December 30th as a day of national mourning.
1898, December 30. — Filipinos held Memorial services at which time American soldiers on duty carried their arms reversed.
1911, June 19. — Birth semi-centennial observed in all public schools by an act of the Philippine Legislature.
1912, December 30. — Rizal’s ashes transferred to the Rizal Mausoleum on the Luneta with impressive public ceremonies.
Rizal’s First Trip Abroad 3 May 1882
Rizal left Philippines for the first time Spain. He boarded the Salvadora using a passport of Jose Mercado, which was procured for him by his uncle Antonio Rivera, father of Leonor Rivera. He was accompanied to the quay where the Salvadora was moored by his uncle Antonio, Vicente Gella, and Mateo Evangelista.
4 May 1882 He got seasick on board the boat.
5 May1882 He conversed with the passengers of the ship; he was still feeling sea-sick.
6 May 1882 He played chess with the passengers on board.
8 May 1882 He saw mountains and Islands.
9 May 1882 Rizal arrived at Singapore.
10 May 1882 He went around the town of Singapore and maid some observations.
11 May 1882 In Singapore, at 2 p.m., Rizal boarded the boat Djemnah to continue his trip to Spain. He found the boat clean and well kept.
12 May 1882 He had a conversation with the passengers of the boat.
13 May 1882 Rizal was seasick again.
14 May 1882 On his way to Marseilles, Rizal had a terrible dream. He dreamed he was traveling with Neneng (Saturnina) and their path was blocked by snakes.
May 15 1882 Rizal had another disheartening dream. He dreamed he returned to Calamba and after meeting his parents who did not talk to him because of not having consulted them about his first trip abroad, he returned traveling abroad with one hundred pesos he again borrowed. He was so sad and broken hearted. Soon he woke up and found himself inside his cabin.
17 May 1882 Rizal arrived at Punta de Gales.
18 May 1882 At 7:30 a.m., he left Punta de Gales for Colombo. In the afternoon, Rizal arrived at Colombo and in the evening the trip was resumed.
26 May 1882 Rizal was nearing the African coast
27 May 1882 He landed at Aden at about 8:30 a.m. He made observation at the time.
2 June 1882 He arrived at the Suez Canal en route to Marseilles.
3 June 1882 He was quarantined on board the Djemnah in the Suez Canal.
6 June 1882 It was the fourth day at Suez Canal and was still quarantined on board of the boat.
7 June 1882 Rizal arrived at Port Said. In a letter to his parents, He described his trip en route to Aden along the Suez Canal.
11 June 1882 Rizal disembarked and, accompanied by a guide, went around the City of Naples for one hour. This was the first European ground he set foot on.
12 June 1882 At ten o’clock in the evening, the boat anchored at Marseilles. He sleptn board.
13 June 1882 Early on the morning he landed at Marseilles and boarded at the Noalles Hotel. Later he around for observation.
14 June 1882 His second in Marseilles.
15 June 1882 He left Marseilles for Barcelona in an express train.
Rizal’s Love life
There were at least nine women linked with Rizal; namely Segunda Katigbak, Leonor Valenzuela, Leonor Rivera, Consuelo Ortiga, O-Sei San, Gertrude Beckette, Nelly Boustead, Suzanne Jacoby and Josephine Bracken. These women might have been beguiled by his intelligence, charm and wit.
Segunda Katigbak and Leonor Valenzuela
Segunda Katigbak was her puppy love. Unfortunately, his first love was engaged to be married to a town mate- Manuel Luz. After his admiration for a short girl in the person of Segunda, then came Leonor Valenzuela, a tall girl from Pagsanjan. Rizal send her love notes written in invisible ink, that could only be deciphered over the warmth of the lamp or candle. He visited her on the eve of his departure to Spain and bade her a last goodbye.
Leonor Rivera, his sweetheart for 11 years played the greatest influence in keeping him from falling in love with other women during his travel. Unfortunately, Leonor’s mother disapproved of her daughter’s relationship with Rizal, who was then a known filibustero. She hid from Leonor all letters sent to her sweetheart. Leonor believing that Rizal had already forgotten her, sadly consented her to marry the Englishman Henry Kipping, her mother’s choice.
Consuelo Ortiga y Rey, the prettier of Don Pablo Ortiga’s daughters, fell in love with him. He dedicated to her A la Senorita C.O. y R., which became one of his best poems. The Ortiga’s residence in Madrid was frequented by Rizal and his compatriots. He probably fell in love with her and Consuelo apparently asked him for romantic verses. He suddenly backed out before the relationship turned into a serious romance, because he wanted to remain loyal to Leonor Rivera and he did not want to destroy hid friendship with Eduardo de Lete who was madly in love with Consuelo.
O Sei San
O Sei San, a Japanese samurai’s daughter taught Rizal the Japanese art of painting known as su-mie. She also helped Rizal improve his knowledge of Japanese language. If Rizal was a man without a patriotic mission, he would have married this lovely and intelligent woman and lived a stable and happy life with her in Japan because Spanish legation there offered him a lucrative job.
While Rizal was in London annotating the Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas, he boarded in the house of the Beckett family, within walking distance of the British Museum. Gertrude, a blue-eyed and buxom girl was the oldest of the three Beckett daughters. She fell in love with Rizal. Tottie helped him in his painting and sculpture. But Rizal suddenly left London for Paris to avoid Gertrude, who was seriously in love with him. Before leaving London, he was able to finish the group carving of the Beckett sisters. He gave the group carving to Gertrude as a sign of their brief relationship.
Rizal having lost Leonor Rivera, entertained the thought of courting other ladies. While a guest of the Boustead family at their residence in the resort city of Biarritz, he had befriended the two pretty daughters of his host, Eduardo Boustead. Rizal used to fence with the sisters at the studio of Juan Luna. Antonio Luna, Juan’s brother and also a frequent visitor of the Bousteads, courted Nellie but she was deeply infatuated with Rizal. In a party held by Filipinos in Madrid, a drunken Antonio Luna uttered unsavory remarks against Nellie Boustead. This prompted Rizal to challenge Luna into a duel. Fortunately, Luna apologized to Rizal, thus averting tragedy for the compatriots.
Their love affair unfortunately did not end in marriage. It failed because Rizal refused to be converted to the Protestant faith, as Nellie demanded and Nellie’s mother did not like a physician without enough paying clientele to be a son-in-law. The lovers, however, parted as good friends when Rizal left Europe.
In 1890, Rizal moved to Brussels because of the high cost of living in Paris. In Brussels, he lived in the boarding house of the two Jacoby sisters. In time, they fell deeply in love with each other. Suzanne cried when Rizal left Brussels and wrote him when he was in Madrid.
In the last days of February 1895, while still in Dapitan, Rizal met an 18-year old petite Irish girl, with bold blue eyes, brown hair and a happy disposition. She was Josephine Bracken, the adopted daughter of George Taufer from Hong Kong, who came to Dapitan to seek Rizal for eye treatment. Rizal was physically attracted to her. His loneliness and boredom must have taken the measure of him and what could be a better diversion that to fall in love again. But the Rizal sisters suspected Josephine as an agent of the friars and they considered her as a threat to Rizal’s security.
Rizal asked Josephine to marry him, but she was not yet ready to make a decision due to her responsibility to the blind Taufer. Since Taufer’s blindness was untreatable, he left for Hon Kong on March 1895. Josephine stayed with Rizal’s family in Manila. Upon her return to Dapitan, Rizal tried to arrange with Father Antonio Obach for their marriage. However, the priest wanted a retraction as a precondition before marrying them. Rizal upon the advice of his family and friends and with Josephine’s consent took her as his wife even without the Church blessings. Josephine later give birth prematurely to a stillborn baby, a result of some incidence, which might have shocked or frightened her.
- Terry Lim