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...
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