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  • Topic: José Rizal, Philippines, Philippine Revolution
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Rizal: Return to the Philippines


The stunning beauty of the European lands did not stop Rizal from continuously adoring his native land. After the Noli Me Tangere was published, he decided to return to Calamba despite the many warnings he received from friends and relatives alike. He had four reasons for returning to the Philippines:

1. to perform an operation on Doña Teodora's eyes;
2. to defend his oppressed countrymen more effectively than doing so in a foreign land; 3. to find out how his Noli was received by the Filipinos and Spaniards; and 4. to know the reason for Leonor Rivera's long silence.

Aboard the steamer Djemnah, Rizal sailed to the East via the Suez Canal on June 3, 1887 and reached Saigon on the 30th of July. From Saigon, he boarded the steamer Hayfong bound for Manila.

He arrived in Manila on August 5, 1887. Several days later, Rizal performed an operation on the eyes of her mother. Word spread about his expertise that patients started coming in but Rizal did not only concentrate in treating his patients. He initiated sports like sipa, arnis, and fencing in the hope of weaning his townspeople, who dubbed him as Dr. Uleman (German) since he came from Germany, from gambling and other vices. Used to having outdoor activities, he explored the fields, hills, and mountains. He hoisted a banner on Mt. Makiling.

Since the publication of his first novel, Rizal’s life in the Philippines became different. Regarding his novel Noli Me Tangere, Rizal met Governor General Emilio Terrero who informed him of the charges against him. As a defense, Rizal told Terrero that the Noli only exposes the reality, Not having read the book yet and out of curiosity, the governor general asked for a copy of the controversial novel, which he later confessed that he enjoyed reading. He saw no problem on the book, yet to protect Rizal's life which was then in danger, he assigned Jose Taviel de Andrade, a young Spanish lieutenant, as Rizal's personal bodyguard. Soon enough, the attackers and defenders of the novel resurfaced.

Realizing that his family's and friends' safety were at risked; and that his fight against the Spaniards have better chance of winning if he'd stay abroad, Rizal, six months after, finally decided to sail back to Europe. Before his departure, a friend from Lipa City, Batangas asked of him a poem dedicated to the industrious workers in their town. Privileged, Rizal wrote the Himno Al Trabajo (Hymn to Labor).

(Manila – East Asia)

On February 3, 1888, Rizal left Manila. He sailed to Hong Kong, where he met Jose Ma. Basa. From Macao, he sailed to Japan, the United States, and in England. In Japan, the Spanish government offered Rizal a job as interpreter but he chose to be on his own. After staying for almost two months in Japan where he learned about Japanese arts, language and culture, he sailed to America. He left Japan on February 28, 1888 aboard the SS Belgic. He arrived in San Francisco on April 18, 1888, lodged at the Palace Hotel and then took a transcontinental train to the US East Coast via Chicago and the Niagara Falls in Lake Ontario. He stayed at the Fifth Avenue Hotel in New York for a while and sailed for England aboard the SS City of Rome, arriving at the Liverpool on May 24, 1888.

During his travels in different countries, Rizal was romantically linked with different women. Among the first of these ladies were: O-sei-san, a beautiful Japanese girl of noble descent, who became his faithful guide and interpreter;

He Spoke Spanish, French, German, English, Dutch, Greek, Latin and Tagalog. He had knowledge of Ilocano, Visayan, Russian, Sanskrit, Arabic, Swedish, Hebrew, Malayan, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese and Italian.

(East Asia - Great Britain/England)

While in London, he chose to stay there to improve his English & Rizal copied Antonio Morga’s Sucesos de las Islas Filipina, published in 1609, which he planned to annotate. It was during...
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