Birth and Family Life
Jose Rizal was born on June 19, 1861. It was a Wednesday evening in Calamba, Laguna, and his mother nearly died in the process. He was baptized three days later, on June 22, by the parish priest of the Catholic church in his town, Fr. Rufino Collantes from Batangas. His godfather, Fr. Pedro Casanas, was a close family friend. Rizal's mother named him after St. Joseph, to whom she was ardently devoted. He was born in Calamba, Laguna (a few kilometers south of Manila) on June 19, 1861 and spent most of his childhood days in Calamba. At the age of 8 in 1869 he wrote his first known poem “To my Fellow Children” (in Tagalog) where he encourages the love for one’s native language. On June 10, 1872 he started his secondary education in Manila at the Ateneo de Letran. On November 14, 1874 he wrote a poem titled “Felicitation” as a birthday greeting to the husband of his sister Narcisa. On December 5, 1875 he wrote 3 more poems for which at the end of the school year in March 1876 won him five medals for his talent in poetry. On April 1, 1876 (age 15) he writes 2 more poems namely “Intimate Alliance of Religion and good Education” and “Education gives Luster to the Country”. During the summer months while on vacation he wrote a poem called “San Eustaquio, a Martyr”. On December 3, 1876 he writes 3 more poems “El cautiverio y el triunfo” or "The Captivity and the Triumph", “Entrada triunfal de los Reyes Catolicos en Granada” or "The Triumphant entrance of the Catholic Kings in Granada", and “La Conquista de Granada” or " The Conquest of Granada". On March 14, 1877 he received his Bachelor of Arts degree.
On November 22, 1879 his poem “A la Juventud Filipino” (“To the Filipino Youth”) won first prize in a poetry contest and an honorable mention from the organization loosely translated “Association of the Friends of the Fatherland”. Notably also he wrote an essay or prose entitled “The Council of Gods” which was about the Greek/Roman...
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