For at least 300 years, the Philippines had been controlled and restricted of freedom by her colonizers. It was also during these times of struggles, that great men, not essentially of action but of intelligence, rose up to fight for the freedom of an enslaved nation. Among the most greatest of Filipinos patriots is Jose Rizal – the fountainhead of Filipino Nationalism.
Rizal’s Significance Then
On the 19th day of June in the year 1861, in the second half of the 19th century, Jose Rizal was born into a Philippine society governed by a system that brutalized and degraded the inner beings of Filipinos all over the archipelago. Despite the discontenment it had caused, Filipino natives remained to be stagnant and full of ignorance towards a noble principle that of social welfare. “Historical development in the Philippines in the second half of the 19th century,” as stated by Leopoldo Yabes in Rizal, Intellectual and Moral Leader, “demanded an appearance of an intellectual and moral leader, and Rizal was the answer.”
True enough, even at an early age, Rizal had already discovered that ignorance was detrimental to a relationship between rulers and their subjects – it generates corruption which leads to fallacy, fantacism, intolerance, and greed. For him, education was the solution to the poisonous effects of such to the wellness of the country and its people. Being a man of knowledge, however, is not enough for one to be a substantial leader. Character is also needed in carrying out the moral responsibilities due to a leader. Fortunately, Rizal was both intellectually gifted, having mastered 22 languages and being a versatile genius in many fields; and strong in character, as he possessed oustanding traits like courage, devotion to truth, integrity, selflessness, and loyalty. Having realized the demands of leadership as a tool for social transformation, Rizal devoted his life in honing his skills and character so that, one day, he could “participate in the...
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Torres, Justo. “Rizal’s Continuing Dialogue.” Jose Rizal Annual Lectures 1977-1985.
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Yabes, Leopoldo. “Rizal, Intellectual and Moral Leader.” A Rizal Anthology. Manila:
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Yabes, Leopoldo. “Rizal, Nationalist and Internationalist.” Rizal as an Internationalist. Manila: National Historical Institute, 1980.
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