Dr. Jose Rizal 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. He was an excellent student, starting with formal schooling in Biñan then, attending the Ateneo Municipal de Manila later, the University of Sto. Tomas.
He continued his studies at the Universidad Central de Madrid, Spain, where he earned the degree of Licientiate in Medicine. He also attended the University of Paris in France and earned second doctorate at the University of Heidelberg in Germany.
Having travelled the world extensively, Rizal became conversant in at least twenty-two languages.
He was a prolific poet, essayist, diarist, correspondent, and novelist whose most famous works were his two novels, Noli me Tangere and El Filibusterismo. These works fearlessly exposed the injustices committed by the Spanish civil and clerical officials in the Philippines amd spurred the militancy of armed revolutionaries and reformist against more than 300 years of Spanish rule.
Rizal was proponent of institutional reforms by peaceful means rather than violence revolution. But he was associated with the growing insurgency movement and declared an enemy of the state by the Spanish authorities particularly because of the publication of his novels. He was deported to Dapitan in Zamboanga then incarcerated at Fort Santiago. When the Katipunan exploded into the full-blown revolution, the authorities were quick to incriminate him.
After a mock trial, Rizal was convicted and sentence to die by firing squad at Bagubayan on December 30, 1896.
Eventually, his martyred death proved to be the catalyst that precipitated the Philippine revolution and the downfall of the Spanish colonial rule.