Summary of Rizal's Life

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SUMMARY:
Who is Jose Rizal? On June 19, 1861, the Mercado Family from the town of Calamba in the province of Laguna in the Philippines, happily greeted the birth of their newest member — a baby boy born as the seventh child to proud parents Francisco Rizal Mercado y Alejandro and Teodora Alonza y Quintos. They named the bouncing baby boy Jose Protacio Rizal Mercado. Being the seventh of a brood of eleven, Jose Rizal Mercado demonstrated an astounding intelligence and aptitude for learning at a very young age when he learned his letters from his mother and could read and write at the age of five. Education was a priority for the Mercado family and young Jose Protacio was sent to learn from Justiniano Aquino Cruz, a tutor from nearby Binan, Laguna. But the education of a small town and a tutor did not sufficiently quench the young man’s thirst for knowledge and soon, the family began to make preparations for his admission to the Ateneo Municipal de Manila, in the capital of the Philippines. The school was run by the Jesuit Order and was one of the most prominent and academic institutions in the country which catered to the rich, the powerful and most intelligent students that country had, certainly a place for a young man like Jose Protacio Mercado. Prior to his enrollment in this prominent learning institution, his older brother Paciano Rizal Mercado, insisted that Jose drop the surname “Mercado”.Because during that time Mercado is under the suspicion of Spaniards. Jose Rizal decided to study for a degree in Land Surveying and Assessment at the Ateneo de Municipal de Manila where he graduated on March 14, 1877, with honors or sobrasaliente. He took and passed the licensure exam for land surveying and assessment in 1878 but was not given a license until 1881 when he turned 21. After his completion of his degree from Ateneo Municipal de Manila, he pursued, his passion for the arts as he enrolled at the Faculty of Arts and Letters for a degree in Philosophy at the University of Santo Tomas. Although he excelled at philosophy, the news of his mother’s impending blindness convinced him to study Medicine, and he enrolled in the Faculty of Medical Sciences at University of Santo Tomas to specialize in ophthalmology. Citing discrimination against Filipino students by the Dominican professors in Medicine, Rizal left the medical program in 1882. Believing that education in the country is limited boarded a ship to Spain with the support of his older brother Paciano but without informing his parents. The 10 years he would spend on the European continent would leave an indelible mark on his personality and open his eyes to the world, develop his natural talents and strengthen his devotion to his fatherland. In Spain, he continued the studies that were stalled in the Philippines and enrolled at the Universidad Central de Madrid where he graduated in 1884 with a degree in Medicine, and a year later with a degree in Philosophy and letters from the same institution. Even after the completion of these two degrees, he still was not satisfied and traveled to France and studied at the University of Paris. In his pursuit to further increase his knowledge in his chosen field of specialization — ophthalmology — he studied at the University of Heidelberg under the distinguished eye specialist, Professor Otto Becker. Even closer to home, Rizal saw the treatment accorded to his beloved mother by the Spanish authorities who accused her of attempting to poison her cousin and sent her to jail in Santa Cruz, Laguna. Teodora Mercado was made to walk sixteen kilometers from their home to the prison and was incarcerated for 2 and a half years until a successful appeal at the highest court of the Spanish government cleared her of the charges. During his stay in first stay in Europe, Rizal wrote his novel, Noli Me Tangere. The book was written in Spanish and first published in Berlin, Germany in 1887. The Noli, as it is more commonly known, tells the story...
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