Rizal in Ateneo

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I. Etymology

* The word “Ateneo” came from the Spanish word “Athenaeum” which was described by the Dictionary of Classical Antiquities as: II.
* The name of the first educational institution at Rome, built by Hadrian about 135 A.D. There rhetoricians and poets held their recitations, and salaried professors gave their lectures in the various branches of general liberal education, philosophy and rhetoric, as well as grammar and jurisprudence.

* The word “academy” would be the best English substitute for "Athenaeum" were it not for the fact that in Philippine and American usage "academy" connotes an institution   merely for secondary education, a High School. 

* But so well known in the Philippines "Ateneo" as the official title of Jesuit institutions of learning, that it needs no further translation. It is reminiscent of Graeco-Roman civilization, of Spanish culture, of the traditions of liberal education, of men devoted to Divine Wisdom.

III. Establishment

* The Ateneo de Manila University began in 1859 when Spanish Jesuits established the Escuela Municipal de Manila, a public primary school established in Intramuros for the city of Manila. However, the educational tradition of the Ateneo embraces the much older history of the Jesuits as a teaching order in the Philippines.

* On October 1, 1859, under the Jesuits, the Escuela eventually became the Ateneo Municipal de Manila in 1865 when it was elevated to an institution of secondary education. The Ateneo Municipal offered the bachillerato as well as technical courses leading to certificates in agriculture, surveying, and business.

* Ateneo was a bitter rival of the Dominican-owned College of San Juan de Letran.

IV. Rizal in Ateneo

A. Rizal’s Enter the Ateneo

* June 10, 1872 Jose, accompanied by Paciano, went to Manila to take the entrance examination on Christian doctrine, arithmetic, and reading at the College of San Juan de Letran and passed them.

* His father changed his mind when he went home and decided to let him study in Ateneo instead of Letran.

* He was a late enrollee in Ateneo and was first refused by the college registrar, Father Magin Ferrando for the following reasons: 1. He was late for registration.
2. He was sickly and undersized for his age. (Rizal was then 11 years old)

* Manuel Xeres Burgos- the nephew of Father Burgos reluctantly helped Rizal to admit at the Ateneo.

* At the time of Rizal, Ateneo was located in Intramuros within the walls of Manila. He went to boarding house on Caraballo Street, 25 minutes walk from the college. It was owned by a spinster named Titay who owe Rizal’s family 300 pesos.

B. Jesuit System of Education

* Ateneo was more advanced than that of other colleges in that period. It trained the character of the student by rigid discipline and religious instruction. It promoted physical culture, humanities, and scientific studies.

* Aside from academic courses leading to the degree of Bachelor of Arts, it offered vocational courses in Agriculture, Commerce, Mechanics, and Surveying.

* Students heard mass in the morning before the beginning of the class. Classes in every subject’s were opened and close with prayers.

* Students were grouped into two:
1. Roman Empire- consisting of the ionternos (boarders)
2. Carthaginian Empire- composed of the externos (non-boarders)

* Ranks of Empire:
1. Emperor- the best students in the empire.
2. Tribune- the second best.
3. Decurion- the third best.
4. Centurion- the fourth best.
5. Standard-bearer- the fifth best.

* They wore uniform consisted of “hemp-fabric trousers” and “striped cotton coat.” The coat material was called rayadillo.

C. Rizal’s First Year in Ateneo

* Fr. Jose Bech- first professor of Rizal. Rizal described him as a tall, thin man, with a body slightly bent...
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