FIRST HOMECOMING, 1887-88
FIRST HOMECOMING, 1887-88
All the alluring beauties of foreign countries and all the beautiful memories of his sojourn in alien lands could neither make Rizal forget his fatherland nor turn his back to his own nationality. True that he studied abroad, acquired the lore and languages of foreign nations, and enjoyed the friendship of many great men of the Western world; but he remained at heart a true Filipino with an unquenchable love for the Philippines and an unshakable determination to die in the land of his birth. Thus, after five years of memorable sojourn in Europe, he returned to the Philippines in August 1887 and practiced medicine in Calamba. He lived the quiet life of a country doctor. But his enemies, who resented his Noli, persecuted him, even threatening to kill him.
Decision to Return Home
Because of the publication of the Noli Me Tangere and the uproar it caused among the friars. He was determined to return to the Philippines for the following reasons: (1) to operate on his mother’s eyes; (2) to serve his people who had long been oppressed by Spanish tyrants; (3) to find out for himself how the Noli and his other writings were affecting Filipinos and Spaniards in the Philippines; and (4) to inquire why Leonor Revira remained silent. June 29, 1887- In Rome, Rizal wrote to his father announcing his homecoming.
Delightful Trip to Manila
Rizal left Rome by train for Marseilles, a French port. July 3, 1887 – He boarded the streamer Djemnah, the same streamer which brought him to Europe five years ago. Rizal was the only one among the passengers who could speak many languages, so that he acted as interpreter for his companions. On board, he played chess with fellow passengers and engaged in lively conversation in many languages. July 30, 1887 – At Saigon, he transferred to another streamer Haiphong which was Manila-bound. On August 2, this streamer left Saigon for Manila.
Arrival in Manila
Rizal’s voyage from Saigon to Manila was pleasant. Near midnight of August 5, the Haiphong arrived in Manila; Rizal went ashore with a happy heart for he once more trod his beloved native soil. He found Manila the same as when he left five years ago.
August 8, 1887 – Rizal returned to Calamba. His family welcomed him affectionately, with plentiful tears of joy. In Calamba, Rizal established a medical clinic. His first patient was his mother, who was almost blind. Rizal, who came to be called “Doctor Uliman” because he came from Germany, treated their ailments and soon he acquired a lucrative medical practice. Unlike many successful medical practitioners, Rizal did not selfishly devote all his time to enriching himself. He opened a gymnasium for young folks, where he introduced European sports. He tried to interest his town mates in gymnastics, fencing and shooting so as to discourage the cockfights and gambling. Rizal suffered one failure during his six months sojourn in Calamba – his failure to see Leonor Revira.
Storm over the Noli
Rizal was peacefully living in Calamba, his enemies plotted his doom. Aside from practicing medicine, attending to his gymansium, which he established, and taking part in the town’s civic affairs, he painted several beautiful landscapes and translated the German poems of Von Wildernath into tagalong. A few weeks after his arrival, a storm broke over his novel. Rizal received a letter from Governor General Emilio Terrero (1885-88) requesting him to come to Malacañang Palace. Somebody had whispered the Governor that the Noli contained subversive ideas.
Attackers of the Noli
The battle over the Noli took the form of a virulent war of words. Father Font printed his report and distributed copies of it in order...