Rizal, the Filipino-A A +A
By Ver Pacete
As I See It
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
JOSE Rizal. Born June 19, 1861. Died December 30, 1896. Rizal was not born to a family of sacadas. He belonged to a “buena familia”. His padre, Don Francisco, owned a sugar plantation. His madre, Doña Teodora, was well-educated and a very respected woman in the community.
Rizal’s family lived in “bahay na bato” (just like one of the heritage houses in Silay or like the Tana Dikang house in Talisay). At a young age, Jose was already reading books from the family library. A “yaya” was assigned to him as a personal caretaker. He was provided a tutor to develop his skills in reading, writing, music, visual art and even in learning basic Latin.
He was not athletic as a boy. He was not obliged to chop wood, fetch water from the well, plow the field or cut sugarcane like the hacienda boys of Negros. He was brought to Biñan to study in a school of a strict maestro. He was whacked for not knowing his lesson. That was discipline by the stick.
This event in his life was included in the colorful chapter of Noli Me Tangere. He stated clearly, “A school should not be a torture chamber but a playground of the mind.” We also hope that it is made clear in the K-12 Curriculum. He wanted the primer not to be a black book bathed in tears of childhood, but a friendly guide to marvelous secrets.
For his Artium Baccalaureus degree, he enrolled at the Ateneo Municipal (1872). In there, he learned the values of studying very hard under personal discipline. The class was divided into two, the Romans and the Carthaginians. He was a tail ender but managed to be on top of his class. He became emperor and was awarded an estampita. He got excellent rating in most of his subjects.
Later on, he studied medicine at the University of Sto. Tomas. He was just a teen when he sailed from Spain to enroll at the Universidad Central de Madrid where he graduated in 1885 finishing medicine and philosophy. Rizal’s hunger for education and freedom was affected by the liberal ideas in Europe. He became interested in so many things.
He became a linguist, went to other countries to know more about culture and to meet young, beautiful women. He had encounters with patriots and propagandists. In between hectic schedules, he wrote another novel, El Filibusterismo and annotated Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas. He was firm when he made corrections in Philippine history. He made punches on the abuses of the Spaniards in his country. He contributed articles in La Solidaridad, the newspaper edited by Graciano Lopez Jaena. (Jaena had a Silaynon girlfriend once when he stayed in Silay.)
Jose was so vocal about the abuses of the Spaniards. When he returned to the Philippines in 1892, he was apprehended and the planted subversive materials in his possession were enough evidence for his exile to Dapitan. He was on his way to Cuba as a volunteer doctor when revolution sparked in the Philippines. He was arrested and charged with the high crimes of rebellion and sedition.
He was imprisoned at Intramuros. His being a Catholic was questioned. His marriage to Josephine Bracken was controversial. His Mi Ultimo Adios was polemical as a masterpiece in literature. The Spaniards decided to shoot him at the back as a traitor. Rizal argued. He wanted to be shot facing the firing squad. Request was not granted.
As shown in the original picture (with a dog), Rizal’s hands are tied at his back. He was turning his back at the firing squad but when he heard the shots, he twisted his body to the right. The hero was fallen with his face upward, facing the sun breaking at the east. That was romantic! He deserves to be a national hero for great deeds and fine acting before the close curtain of his life.
Just like in James Bond movies, series of events are expected to happen in the near future . . . the revolution of Bonifacio, the dictatorship of Aguinaldo, the Philippine Independence, the entrance of Uncle Sam, the Samar Massacre, the Philippine Republic and many more. All those happened because of Rizal.
I asked my high school son, a computer bug, “Who is Rizal?” His answer was brief: “He is a national hero who could have been impeached if he became president.”
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on June 19, 2012.