José Protacio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda (1861–1896), was a Filipino nationalist, writer] and reformist. He is widely considered the greatest national hero of the Philippines. He was the author of Noli Me Tángere, El Filibusterismo and a number of poems and essays. He was executed on December 30, 1896. José Rizal also had Spanish and Japanese ancestors. His grandfather and father of Teodora was a half Spaniard engineer named Lorenzo Alberto Alonzo. His maternal great-great-grandfather was Eugenio Ursua, a descendant of Japanese settlers. In 1849, then Governor-General of the Philippines Narciso Clavería, issued a Decree by which native Filipino and immigrant families were to adopt Spanish surnames from a list of Spanish family names. Although the Chino Mestizos were allowed to hold on to their Chinese surnames, Lam-co changed his surname to the Spanish "Mercado" (market), possibly to indicate their Chinese merchant roots. José's father Francisco adopted the surname "Rizal" (originally Ricial, the green of young growth or green fields), which was suggested to him by a provincial governor, or as José had described him, "a friend of the family". However, the name change caused confusion in the business affairs of Francisco, most of which were begun under the old name. After a few years, he settled on the name "Rizal Mercado" as a compromise, but usually just used the original surname "Mercado". Jose Rizal was born to a wealthy family in Calamba, Lagunaand was the seventh of eleven children. He was born on June 19, 1861 to Francisco Engracio Rizal Mercado y Alejandro (1818–1897) and Teodora Morales Alonso y Quintos (1827-1911); whose family later changed their surname to "Realonda" His parents were prosperous farmers who were granted lease of a hacienda and an accompanying rice farm by the Dominicans. Rizal was the seventh child of their eleven children namely: Saturina (Neneng) (1850–1913), Paciano (1851–1930), Narcisa (Sisa) (1852–1939), Olympia (1855–1887), Lucia (1857–1919), María (Biang) (1859–1945), José Protasio (1861–1896), Concepción (Concha) (1862–1865), Josefa (Panggoy) (1865–1945), Trinidad (Trining) (1868–1951) and Soledad (Choleng) (1870–1929). Upon enrolling at the Ateneo Municipal de Manila, José dropped the last three names that make up his full name, on the advice of his brother, Paciano Rizal, and the Rizal Mercado family, thus rendering his name as "José Protasio Rizal". Of this, Rizal writes: "My family never paid much attention [to our second surname Rizal], but now I had to use it, thus giving me the appearance of an illegitimate child!" This was to enable him to travel freely and disassociate him from his brother, who had gained notoriety with his earlier links to Gomburza. From early childhood, José and Paciano were already advancing unheard-of political ideas of freedom and individual rights which infuriated the authorities. Despite the name change, José, as "Rizal" soon distinguished himself in poetry writing contests, impressing his professors with his facility with Castilian and other foreign languages, and later, in writing essays that were critical of the Spanish historical accounts of the pre-colonial Philippine societies. Indeed, by 1891, the year he finished his El filibusterismo, this second surname had become so well known that, as he writes to another friend, "All my family now carry the name Rizal instead of Mercado because the name Rizal means persecution! Good! I too want to join them and be worthy of this family name..." Rizal first studied under Justiniano Aquino Cruz in Biñan, Laguna before he was sent to Manila. As to his father's request, he took the entrance examination in Colegio de San Juan de Letran and studied there for almost three months. The Dominican friars asked him to transfer to another school due to his radical and bold questions. Then enrolled at the Ateneo Municipal de Manila and graduated as one of the nine students in his class declared sobresaliente or outstanding. He continued his education at the Ateneo Municipal de Manila to obtain a land surveyor and assessor's degree, and at the same time at the University of Santo Tomas where he did take up a preparatory course in law. Upon learning that his mother was going blind, he decided to switch to medicine at the medical school of Santo Tomas specializing later inophthalmology. Without his parents' knowledge and consent, but secretly supported by his brother Paciano, he traveled alone to Madrid, Spain in May 1882 and studied medicine at the Universidad Central de Madrid where he earned the degree, Licentiate in Medicine. Also, he also attended medical lectures at the University of Paris and the University of Heidelberg. In Berlin he was inducted as a member of the Berlin Ethnological Society and the Berlin Anthropological Society under the patronage of the famous pathologist Rudolf Virchow. Following custom, he delivered an address in German in April 1887 before the Anthropological Society on the orthography and structure of the Tagalog language. He left Heidelberg a poem, "A las flores del Heidelberg", which was both an evocation and a prayer for the welfare of his native land and the unification of common values between East and West. At Heidelberg, the 25-year-old Rizal, completed in 1887 his eye specialization under the renowned professor, Otto Becker. There he used the newly invented ophthalmoscope (invented by Hermann von Helmholtz) to later operate on his own mother's eye. From Heidelberg, Rizal wrote his parents: "I spend half of the day in the study of German and the other half, in the diseases of the eye. Twice a week, I go to the bierbrauerie, or beerhall, to speak German with my student friends." He lived in a Karlstraße boarding house then moved to Ludwigsplatz. There, he met Reverend Karl Ullmer and stayed with them in Wilhelmsfeld, where he wrote the last few chapters of Noli Me Tángere. Rizal was a polymath; besides medicine, he was also an artist who dabbled in painting, sketching, sculpting and woodcarving. He was a prolific poet, essayist, and novelist whose most famous works were his two novels, Noli Me Tángere and its sequel, El filibusterismo. These social commentaries during the Spanish colonization of the country formed the nucleus of literature that inspired peaceful reformists and armed revolutionaries alike. Rizal was also a polyglot, conversant in twenty-two languages. Rizal's multifacetedness was described by his German friend, Dr. Adolf Meyer, as "stupendous." Documented studies show him to be a polymath with the ability to master various skills and subjects. He was an ophthalmologist, sculptor, painter, educator, farmer, historian, playwright and journalist. Besides poetry and creative writing, he dabbled, with varying degrees of expertise, in architecture, cartography, economics, ethnology, anthropology, sociology, dramatics, martial arts, fencing and pistol shooting. He was also a Freemason, joining Acacia Lodge No. 9 during his time in Spain and becoming a Master Mason in 1884. Relationship with Josephine Bracken
In February 1895, Rizal, 33, became acquainted with an Irish woman from Hong Kong named Josephine when she accompanied her blind adoptive father, George Taufer, to have his eye checked by Rizal. After frequent visits, Rizal and Bracken soon fell in love with each other and later applied for marriage, but because of his bad reputation from his own writings and political stance, the local priest Father Obach, only agreed to the hold the ceremony if Rizal could get permission from the Bishop of Cebu. He was unable to obtain an ecclesiastical marriage because he would not return to Catholicism. After accompanying her father to Manila on her return to Hong Kong and before heading back to Dapitan to live with Rizal, she introduced herself to members of his family in Manila. His mother suggested a civil marriage who believed it as a lesser sacrament, and would be less sinful to Rizal's conscience than making any sort of political retraction in order to gain permission from the Bishop. He, nonetheless, considered Josephine to be his wife and the couple lived together in Talisay in Dapitan. Reportedly, the couple had a child, Francísco Rizal y Bracken, who was stillborn and only lived for a few hours.
Carlos Peña Rómulo
Carlos Peña Romulo, QSC, PLH (14 January 1899 – 15 December 1985) was a Filipino diplomat, statesman, soldier, journalist and author. He was a reporter at 16, a newspaper editor by the age of 20, and a publisher at 32. He was a co-founder of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines, a general in the US Army and the Philippine Army, university president, President of the UN General Assembly, and recipient of many honors and honorary degrees. Romulo served eight Philippine presidents, from Manuel L. Quezon to Ferdinand Marcos, as the Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines and as the country’s representative to the United States and to the United Nations. He also served as the Resident Commissioner to the U.S. House of Representatives during the Commonwealth era. In addition, he served also as the Secretary of Education in President Diosdado P. Macapagal’s and President Ferdinand E. Marcos’s Cabinet through 1962 to 1968. In his career in the United Nations, Rómulo was a strong advocate of human rights, freedom and decolonization.In 1948 in Paris, France, at the third UN General Assembly, he strongly disagreed with a proposal made by the Soviet delegation headed by Andrei Vishinsky, who challenged his credentials by insulting him with this quote: "You are just a little man from a little country." In return, Romulo replied, "It is the duty of the little Davids of this world to fling the pebbles of truth in the eyes of the blustering Goliaths and force them to behave!” leaving Vishinsky with nothing left to do but sit down. President of the UN General Assembly
He served as the President of the Fourth Session of United Nations General Assembly from 1949–1950, and chairman of the United Nations Security Council. He had served with General Douglas MacArthur in the Pacific, was Ambassador to the United States, and became the first non-American to win the Pulitzer Prize in Correspondence in 1942. The Pulitzer Prize website says Carlos P. Romulo of Philippine Herald was awarded "For his observations and forecasts of Far Eastern developments during a tour of the trouble centers from Hong Kong to Batavia." He was a candidate for the position of United Nations Secretary-General in 1953, but did not win. Philippine Presidential Aspiration
Instead, he returned to the Philippines and was a candidate for the nomination as the presidential candidate for the Liberal Party, but lost at the party convention to the incumbent Elpidio Quirino, who ran unsuccessfully for re-election against Ramon Magsaysay. Quirino had agreed to a secret ballot at the convention, but after the convention opened, the president demanded an open roll-call voting, leaving the delegates no choice but supporting Quirino, the candidate of the party machine. Feeling betrayed, Romulo left the Liberal Party and became national campaign manager of Magsaysay, the candidate of the opposing Nacionalista Partywho won the election. He served as Resident Commissioner of the Philippines to the United States Congress from 1944 to 1946. He was the signatory for the Philippines to the United Nations Charter when it was founded in 1946. He was the Philippines' Secretary (Minister from 1973 to 1984) of Foreign Affairs under President Elpidio Quirino from 1950 to 1952, under President Diosdado Macapagal from 1963 to 1964 and under President Ferdinand Marcos from 1968 to 1984. In April 1955 he led the Philippines' delegation to the Asian-African Conference at Bandung. Rómulo, in all, wrote and published 18 books, which included The United (novel), I Walked with Heroes (autobiography), I Saw the Fall of the Philippines, Mother America and I See the Philippines Rise (war-time memoirs). Death
He died, at 86, in Manila on 15 December 1985 and was buried in the Heroes’ Cemetery (Libingan ng mga Bayani). He was honored as the Philippines’ greatest diplomat in the 20th Century. In 1980, he was extolled by United Nations Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim as "Mr. United Nations" for his valuable services to the United Nations and his dedication to freedom and world peace.′
Jose Garcia Villa
Jose Garcia Villa (August 5, 1908 – February 7, 1997) was a Filipino poet, literary critic, short story writer, and painter. He was awarded the National Artist of the Philippines title for literature in 1973, as well as the Guggenheim Fellowship in creative writing by Conrad Aiken.He is known to have introduced the "reversed consonance rime scheme" in writing poetry, as well as the extensive use of punctuation marks especially commas, which made him known as the Comma Poet. He used the penname Doveglion (derived from "Dove, Eagle, Lion") based on the characters he derived from himself. These animals were also explored by another poet Cummings in Doveglion, Adventures in Value, a poem dedicated to Villa. Early life
Villa was born on August 5, 1908, in Manila's Singalong district. His parents were Simeon Villa (a personal physician of Emilio Aguinaldo, the founding President of the First Philippine Republic) and Guia Garcia (a wealthy landowner).He graduated from the University of the Philippines Integrated School and the University of the Philippines High School in 1925. Villa enrolled on a Pre-Medical course in the University of the Philippines, but then switched to Pre-Law course. However, he realized that his true passion was in the arts. Villa first tried painting, but then turned into creative writing after reading Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson. Writing career
Villa's tart poetic style was considered too aggressive at that time. In 1929 he published Man Songs, a series of erotic poems, which the administrators in UP found too bold and was even fined Philippine peso for obscenity by the Manila Court of First Instance. In that same year, Villa won Best Story of the Year from Philippine Free Press magazine for Mir-I-Nisa. He also received P1,000 prize money, which he used to migrate to the United States. He enrolled at the University of New Mexico, wherein he was one of the founders of Clay, a mimeograph literary magazine.He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree, and pursued post-graduate work at Columbia University.Villa had gradually caught the attention of the country's literary circles, one of the few Asians to do so at that time. After the publication of Footnote to Youth in 1933, Villa switched from writing prose to poetry, and published only a handful of works until 1942. During the release of Have Come, Am Here in 1942, he introduced a new rhyming scheme called "reversed consonance" wherein, according to Villa: "The last sounded consonants of the last syllable, or the last principal consonant of a word, are reversed for the corresponding rhyme. Thus, a rhyme for near would be run; or rain, green, reign." In 1949, Villa presented a poetic style he called "comma poems", wherein commas are placed after every word. In the preface ofVolume Two, he wrote: "The commas are an integral and essential part of the medium: regulating the poem's verbal density and time movement: enabling each word to attain a fuller tonal value, and the line movement to become more measures. Villa worked as an associate editor for New Directions Publishing in New York City between 1949 to 1951, and then became director of poetry workshop at City College of New York from 1952 to 1960. He then left the literary scene and concentrated on teaching, first lecturing in The New School|The New School for Social Research from 1964 to 1973, as well as conducting poetry workshops in his apartment. Villa was also a cultural attaché to the Philippine Mission to the United Nations from 1952 to 1963, and an adviser on cultural affairs to the President of the Philippines beginning 1968. Death
On February 5, 1997, at the age of 88, Jose was found in a coma in his New York apartment and was rushed to St. Vincent Hospital in the Greenwich area. His death two days later was attributed to "cerebral stroke and multilobar pneumonia". He was buried on February 10 in St. John's Cemetery in New York, wearing a Barong Tagalog. New York Centennial Celebration
On August 5 and 6, 2008, Villa's centennial celebration began with poem reading at the Jefferson Market Library, at 425 Avenue of the Americas (Sixth Avenue) at the corner of 10th St. In the launch of Doveglion, Collected Poems, Penguin Classics’ reissue of Jose Garcia Villa's poems, edited by John Edwin Cowen, Villa's literary trustee, will be read by book introducer Luis H. Francia. Then, the Leonard Lopate Show (on WNYC AM 820 and FM 93.9) will interview Edwin Cohen and Luis H. Francia on the "Pope of Greenwich Villages" life and work, followed by the Asia Pacific Forum show. Personal
In 1946 Villa married Rosemarie Lamb, with whom he has two sons, Randy and Lance. They annulled ten years later. He also has three grandchildren.
As an editor, Villa first published Philippine Short Stories: Best 25 Short Stories of 1928 in 1929, an anthology of Filipino short stories written in English literature English that were mostly published in the literary magazine Philippine Free Press for that year. It is the second anthology to have been published in the Philippines, after Philippine Love Stories by editor Paz Márquez-Benítez in 1927. His first collection of short stories that he has written were published under the title Footnote to Youth: Tales of the Philippines and Othersin 1933; while in 1939, Villa published Many Voices, his first collection poems, followed by Poems by Doveglion in 1941. Other collections of poems include Have Come, Am Here (1942), Volume Two (194 in that year when he edited The Doveglion Book of Philippine Poetry in English from 1910. Three years later, he released a follow-up for The Portable Villa entitled The Essential Villa.Villa, however, went under "self-exile" after the 1960s, even though he was nominated for several major literary awards including the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. This was perhaps because of oppositions between his formalism (literature)formalist style and the advocates of proletarian literature who misjudged him as a petty bourgeois. Villa only "resurfaced" in 1993 with an anthology entitled Charlie Chan Is Dead, which was edited by Jessica Hagedorn Several reprints of Villa's past works were done, including Appasionata: Poems in Praise of Love in 1979, A Parliament of Giraffes (a collection of Villa's poems for young readers, with Tagalog language Tagalog translation provided by Larry Francia), and The Anchored Angel: Selected Writings by Villa that was edited by Eileen Tabios with a foreword provided by Hagedorn (both in 1999). Among his popular poems include When I Was No Bigger than a Huge, an example of his "comma poems", and The Emperor's New Sonnet (a part of Have Come, Am Here) which is basically a blank sheet of paper.
Villa was considered as a powerful literary influence in the Philippines throughout much of the 20th century, although he had lived most of his life in the United States. His writing style, as well as his personality and staunch opinions on writing, has often made him considered as an eccentric. Francia explained in Asia week magazine, "In a world of English-language poetry dominated by British and Americans, Villa stood out for the ascetic brilliance of his poetry and for his national origin." Fellow Filipino writer Salvador P. Lópezdescribed Villa as "the one Filipino writer today who it would be futile to deride and impossible to ignore ... the pace-setter for an entire generation of young writers, the mentor laying down the law for the whole tribe, the patron-saint of a cult of rebellious moderns."However, Villa was accused of having little faith on the Filipinos' ability to write creatively in English, saying that "poetry in English has no prospects whatsoever in the Philippines. that it cannot be written by Filipino writers. An exception or two may arise after a long period of time, but these writers will remain exceptions. The reason why Filipino writers are at a disadvantage in the writing of English poetry is that they have no oneness with the English language." In a review to Footnote to Youth, The New York Times wrote, "For at least two years the name of Jose Garcia Villa has been familiar to the devotees of the experimental short story...They knew, too, that he was an extremely youthful Filipino who had somehow acquired the ability to write a remarkable English prose and who had come to America as a student in the summer of 1930." This comment brought out two opposing impressions of him: as a literary genius, and merely as a writer of English as a second language. During America's Formalist Period in literature, American writers admired Villa's work. Mark Van Doren wrote in reaction to Selected Poems and New as "...So natural yet in its daring so weird, a poet rich and surprising, and not to be ignored". Babette Deutsch wrote inThe New Republic that Have Come, Am Here reveals that Villa's concern for "ultimate things, the self and the universe. He is also on visiting terms with the world. He is more interested in himself than in the universe, and he greets the world with but a decent urbanity." Although she viewed Villa's range as somewhat narrow, he "soars high and plunges deep". British poet Edith Sitwell revealed in the preface of Villa's Selected Poems and New that she experienced "a shock" upon reading Have Come, Am Here, most notably the poem#57 as "a strange poem of ineffable beauty, springing straight from the depths of Being. I hold that this is one of the most wonderful short poems of our time, and reading it I knew that I was seeing for the first time the work of a poet with a great, even an astonishing, and perfectly original gift." Meanwhile, noted American poet Garret Hongo described Villas as "one of the greatest pioneers of Asian American literature...our bitter, narcissistic angel of both late Modernism and early post-colonialism." In his introduction to Footnote to Youth, American writer Edward J. O'Brien—who dedicated his collection Best American Short Stories of 1932 to Villa—hailed the poet as "one of a half-dozen American short-story writers who count".Meanwhile, in reaction to Villa's poems,cummings wrote, "and i am alive to see a man against the sky" Critics were divided about Villa's "comma poems". On one side, they were irritated by it, calling them "gimmicky". Leonard Casper wrote in New Writings from the Philippines that the technique of putting commas after every word "is as demonstrably malfunctional as a dragging foot". Ten years later, Casper continued to criticize Villa because he "still uses the 'commas' with inadequate understanding and skill". On the other hand, Sitwell wrote in The American Genius magazine that the comma poem "springs with a wild force, straight from the poet's being, from his blood, from his spirit, as a fire breaks from wood, or as a flower grows from its soil" Despite his success in the United States, Villa was largely dismissed in mainstream American literature and has been criticized by Asian American scholars for not being "ethnic" enough.
Jose P. Rizal
Carlos P. Garcia
Jose Garcia Villa