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 11children (2 boys and 9 girls). Both his parents were educated and belonged to distinguishedfamilies.His father, Francisco Mercado Rizal, an industrious farmer whom Rizal called "a model of fathers," came from Biñan, Laguna; while his mother, Teodora Alonzo y Quintos, a highlycultured and accomplished woman whom Rizal called "loving and prudent mother," was bornin Meisic, Sta. Cruz, Manila. At the age of 3, he learned the alphabet from his mother; at 5,while learning to read and write, he already showed inclinations to be an artist. Heastounded his family and relatives by his pencil drawings and sketches and by his moldingsof clay. At the age 8, he wrote a Tagalog poem, "Sa Aking Mga Kabata," the theme of whichrevolves on the love of one’s language. In 1877, at the age of 16, he obtained his Bachelorof Arts degree with an average of "excellent" from the Ateneo Municipal de Manila. In thesame year, he enrolled in Philosophy and Letters at the University of Santo Tomas, while atthe same time took courses leading to the degree of surveyor and expert assessor at theAteneo. He finished the latter course on March 21, 1877 and passed the Surveyor’sexamination on May 21, 1878; but because of his age, 17, he was not granted license topractice the profession until December 30, 1881. In 1878, he enrolled in medicine at theUniversity of Santo Tomas but had to stop in his studies when he felt that the Filipinostudents were being discriminated upon by their Dominican tutors. On May 3, 1882, hesailed for Spain where he continued his studies at the Universidad Central de Madrid. On June 21, 1884, at the age of 23, he was conferred the degree of Licentiate in Medicine andon June 19,1885, at the age of 24, he finished his course in Philosophy and Letters with agrade of "excellent."Having traveled... [continues]
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