As we celebrate Philippine Independence Day, it is impossible not to be reminded of our national hero…Dr. Jose Rizal, who recently just turned 150 years old.
Have you forgotten his heroic achievements? Do you know his contributions in our country?
Clearly, most of us know that his literary works particularly the 2 famous novels Noli Me Tangere and El fili awakened the national and political minds of our people. He wrote these in the hope of securing political and social reforms for his country and at the same time educate his countrymen. Besides that, let us know more about jose rizal.
Did you know that Jose “Pepe” Rizal was bullied as a kid? As a kid. Rizal was too small for his age and made him a target of Pedro’s bullying, insulting Pepe in front of the other students at the school of Maestro Justiniano Cruz. Equipped with his Uncle Miguel’s teachings about the art of wrestling, Rizal challenged Pedro to a fistfight. Rizal won and became popular as he proved himself a worthy opponent.
Rizal was a Hyperpolyglot. He mastered 22 languages: Filipino, Ilokano, Bisayan, Subanon, Latin, Spanish, Greek, English, French, German, Arabic, Malay, Sanskrit, Hebrew, Dutch, Catalan, Japanese, Italian, Chinese, Portugese, Swedish and Russian.
Rizal was addressed by his European lover as the “little bad boy”. It is not a secret that Jose Rizal had his way with women. And on the series of letters that were discovered to be love messages for Rizal, a Belgian woman named Suzanne wrote : “There will never be any home in which you are so loved as that in Brussels. So, you little bad boy, hurry back.”
He was accepted as one of the few Renaissance man in the world. A man who had broad intellectual interest. He was an anthropologist, ethnologist, ophthalmologist, novelist, sociologist, educator, economist, architect, engineer, sculptor, painter, playwright, historian, journalist, farmer, dramatist, martial artist, and a cartographer, among other things.
Rizal liked playing the lottery. And he won one-third of the grand prize of Php 18,000.00 with ticket number 9736. He gave a portion to his father, a friend in Hong Kong and he spent the rest buying agricultural lands in Talisay.
Rizal jovially pinched his students who can’t answer his queries. During his exile in Dapitan, he was able to establish a school, he had 21 pupils who were never asked to pay for tuition but was required by Rizal to work for the community.
Rizal is believed to be the reincarnation of Jesus Christ. There is a religious sect in Calamba Laguna, “Rizalista”, used to be known as “Iglesia ng Watawat ng Lahi” [Banner of the Race Church]. They combine religion and patriotism and believe that the execution in Bagumbayan was just a phase that he had to endure to be in the presence of God. They also believe that Rizal is still alive and lives deep in the forest of Mount Makiling.
Rizal was rumored to be the father of Adolf Hitler. Because of his famed reputation as a Casanova, it was believed that he was involved with a beautiful woman living somewhere in the border of Germany and Austria.
Moments before his death, Rizal was reported to remain in a tranquil state. Before his execution, Dr. Felipe Ruiz Castillo took his vital signs and was surprised to confirm that his pulse rate was normal. Rizal was indeed ready and unafraid of his fate.
Rizal had psychic tendencies.
There were many instances when Rizal’s dreams mirrored the future. One such dream was the one he had on Dec. 30, 1882. According to Rizal Without the Overcoat, Rizal wrote in an entry in his journal dated Jan. 1, 1883: "(Two nights ago) I had a frightful nightmare when I almost died. I dreamed I was imitating an actor in a scene in which he dies, I felt vividly that my breath was failing and I was rapidly losing strength. Then my vision became dim and dense darkness like that of nothingness overpowered me: the anguish of death…"Disturbingly, Rizal was executed on the same day 13 years later
Rizal was sometimes too proud. When Rizal was in Europe, his allowance sometimes took too long to arrive from the Philippines that he would run out of food funds, narrated Ocampo. Too proud to let his landlady learn he had no money, Rizal would go out during mealtimes, walk around town cursing his misfortunes, then return home with a straight face. Everyone assumed that he had eaten .
Rizal was a gym buff. Contrary to popular opinion, Andres Bonifacio, the leader of Katipunan was not at all brawny, says Ocampo. The paper fan vendor was, in fact, a bit scrawny. Ironically, scholarly Rizal, who wanted to compensate for his 5’3" stature (contested, others claim he was 4’11" based on his clothing), turned to weight-lifting to amp up his physique. His waist, measuring 25"-26" had a 12-inch difference from his chest, 37." Cement barbells were discovered in his Dapitan home .
Although, he is not as perfect as he seems to be, Jose Rizal will always be remembered throughout the Philippines for his brilliance, his courage, his peaceful resistance to tyranny, and his compassion.