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  • Topic: Philippines, José Rizal, Laguna
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  • Published : April 25, 2011
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Aira Angeli G. Maranan

The Mercado - Rizal Family
The seventh of the eleven children of Francisco Mercado and Teodora Alonzo. José Rizal was born into a prosperous middle class Filipino family in the town of Calamba in the Province of Laguna. Dominican friars granted the family the privilege of the lease of a hacienda and an accompanying rice farm, but contentious litigation followed; later, Valeriano Weyler y Nicolau had the buildings destroyed. Rizal is the descendant of Domingo Lam-co, a Chinese immigrant who sailed to the Philippines from Amoy, China in the mid 17th century (see Chinese Filipino). Lam-co married Inez de la Rosa, a Sangley native of Luzon. To free his descendants from the racist anti-Chinese policies of the Spanish authorities, Lam-co changed the family surname to the Spanish surname "Mercado" (market) so that they would not forget their Chinese merchant roots. As José became more embroiled in controversy, his elder brother and mentor Paciano advised him to change his name to protect the Mercados from Spanish authority. José changed his surname from Mercado to his middle name, "Rizal." The name is derived from Spanish "rizal" or "ricial," meaning "verdant" or "green" (as ricestalk), the main agricultural crop of their family industry. Aside from his indigenous Malay and Chinese ancestry, recent genealogical research has found that José had traces of Spanish, Japanese and Negrito ancestry. His maternal great-great-grandfather (Teodora's great-grandfather) is Eugenio Ursua, a descendant of Japanese settlers, who married a Filipina named Benigna (surname unknown). These two gave birth to Regina Ursua who married a Sangley mestizo from Pangasinán named Atty. Manuel de Quintos, Teodora's grandfather. Their daughter Brígida de Quintos married a mestizo (half-caste Spaniard) named Lorenzo Alberto Alonzo, the father of Teodora. |

The Rizals is considered one of the biggest families during their time. Domingo Lam-co, the family's...
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