Jose Rizal: A Biographical Portrait
Father: Francisco Mercado Rizal Mother: Teodora Alonso Realonda Brother and Sisters: Saturnina, Paciano, Narcisa, Olympia, Lucia, Maria, Concepcion, Josefa, Trinidad, Soledad Date of Birth: June 19, 1861 Date of Demise: December 30, 1896 Notes on Rizal’s Family
The father of Jose Rizal --- Francisco Mercado Rizal --- was a descendant of Domingo Lamco, a Chinese who immigrated to the Philippines. It was Domingo Lamco who adopted the surname "Mercado" while the second surname "Rizal" was given by a Spanish provincial governor who was a family friend. The mother of Jose Rizal --- Teodora Alonso Realonda --- had a mixed ancestry, which was quite typical of Filipinos. Francisco Mercado Rizal was born in 1818 in Binan, Laguna, while his mother was born in 1827 in Sta. Cruz, Manila. The Rizal family belonged to the middle class of the society and it was one of the most respected families during its time. Francisco and Teodora had 11 children: 2 boys and 9 girls. Jose was one of the two boys. The other boy was Paciano, Rizal's only brother who was to become a general in the Philippine revolutionary forces. Jose was born on June 19, 1861 in the town of Calamba in Laguna province. The oldest child was Saturnina while the youngest child was Soledad. The eighth child of the family was Concepcion who died at the age of three. The death of Concepcion caused young Jose to experience his first sorrow.
Early Education: Tutorial at Home Elementary Education: Binan School (1869-1870) High School Education: Ateneo - Bachelors of Arts Degree with highest honor (1872-1877) College Education: University of Santo Tomas - Medical Course (1877-1882) Post-Graduate Education: Universidad Central de Madrid - Licentiate in Medicine (18821884) and Licentiate in Philosophy and Letters (1882-1885); University of Heidelberg Specialization in Ophthalmology - (1886) Notes on Rizal’s Education
The first teacher of Rizal was his mother. It was from her that Rizal learned the alphabet. Early in life, young Jose exhibited the characteristics of a gifted child. He was a fast learner with an intense curiosity. He learned the alphabet at the age of three, he was able to use the pencil as a tool for sketching and he showed much appreciation to his countryside environment. At the age of eight, Rizal wrote his first poem, entitled: "Sa Aking mga Kababata" ("To My Fellow Children"). The poem contained a line which was to become a famous saying. Wrote Rizal:
"Whoever knows not how to love his native tongue is worse that any beast or evil smelling fish." (Zaide, 1997)
Tutors were hired by the Rizal family in order to stimulate the mind of young Jose and to enrich his early education. Young Jose entered school in 1869. The school was a private one and it was located in Binan which was another town in Laguna. Young Jose was the best student of the school. In 1872, Jose Rizal enrolled in Ateneo and spent his next five years studying in this private institution. In 1877, he graduated with a Bachelors of Arts degree with the highest honor. During his stay in Ateneo, Rizal was able to write many poems. One of these poems was dedicated to her mother and the poem's title was "Mi Primera Inspiracion" ("My First Inspiration"). Two of the poems dealt with education and these were "Por la Educacion Recibe Lustre la Patria" ("Through Education the Country
Receives Light") and "Alianza Intima Entre la Religion y la Buena Educacion" ("Intimate Alliance between Religion and Good Education"). In 1877, Rizal enrolled in the University of Santo Tomas and took up a medical course which he completed in 1882. While pursuing his medical course, Rizal joined a literary contest which he won. His prize-winning poem was entitled "A La Juventud Filipina" (To the Filipino Youth"). In this poem, Rizal urged his fellow youth to use their...