Rizal first studied under Justiniano Aquino Cruz in Binan, 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. He 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 law.
Upon learning that his mother was going blind, he decided to switch to medicine at the medical school of Santo Tomas specializing later in ophthalmology. 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 beer hall, to speak German with my student friends. ” He lived in a Karlstra?e 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 Tangere”. 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. Early relationships and ventures Jose Rizal’s life is one of the most documented of the 19th century due to the vast and extensive records written by and about him. Almost everything in his short life is recorded somewhere, being himself a regular diarist and prolific letter writer, much of the material having survived.
His biographers, however, have faced difficulty in translating his writings because of Rizal’s habit of switching from one language to another.They drew largely from his travel diaries with their insights of a young Asian encountering the West for the first time. They included his later trips, home and back again to Europe through Japan and the United States, and, finally, through his self-imposed exile in Hong Kong. During December 1891 to June 1892, Rizal lived with his family in Number 2 of Rednaxela Terrace, Mid-levels, Hong Kong Island. Rizal used 5 D’Aguilar Street, Central district, Hong Kong Island as his ophthalmologist clinic from 2 pm to 6 pm.
This period of his education and his frenetic pursuit of life included his recorded affections of which nine were identified.They were Gertrude Becket of Chalcot Crescent (London), wealthy and high-minded Nelly Boustead of the English and Iberian merchant family, last descendant of a noble Japanese family Seiko Usui (affectionately called O-Sei-san), his earlier friendship with Segunda Katigbak, Leonor Valenzuela, and eight-year romantic relationship with a distant cousin, Leonor Rivera. Shortly after he graduated from the Ateneo Municipal de Manila (now Ateneo de Manila University), Rizal (who was then 16 years old) and a friend, Mariano Katigbak, came to visit Rizal’s maternal grandmother in Tondo, Manila.
Mariano brought along his sister, Segunda Katigbak, a 14-year old Batanguena from Lipa, Batangas. It was the first time they met and Rizal described Segunda as “rather short, with eyes that were eloquent and ardent at times and languid at others, rosy–cheeked, with an enchanting and provocative smile that revealed very beautiful teeth, and the air of a sylph; her entire self diffused a mysterious charm. ” His grandmother’s guests were mostly college students and they knew that Rizal had skills in painting. They suggested that Rizal should make a portrait of Segunda.
He complied reluctantly and made a pencil sketch of her.Unfortunately, Katigbak was engaged to Manuel Luz. Leonor Rivera Leonor Rivera is thought to be the inspiration for the character of Maria Clara in Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo. Rivera and Rizal first met in Manila when Rivera was only 14 years old. When Rizal left for Europe on May 3, 1882, Rivera was 16 years of age.
Their correspondence began when Rizal left a poem for Rivera saying farewell. [ The correspondence between Rivera and Rizal kept Rizal focused on his studies in Europe. They employed codes in their letters because Rivera’s mother did not favor Rizal.A letter from Mariano Katigbak dated June 27, 1884 referred to Rivera as Rizal’s “betrothed”. Katigbak described Rivera as having been greatly affected by Rizal’s departure, frequently sick because of insomnia.
When Rizal returned to the Philippines on August 5, 1887, Rivera and her family had moved back to Dagupan, Pangasinan. Rizal was forbidden by his father Francisco Mercado to see Rivera in order to avoid putting the Rivera family in danger because at the time Rizal was already labeled by the Spaniards as a filibustero orsubversive because his novel Noli Me Tangere.Rizal wanted to marry Rivera while he was still in the Philippines because of Rivera’s uncomplaining fidelity. Rizal asked permission from his father one more time before his second departure from the Philippines. The meeting never happened.
In 1888, Rizal stopped receiving letters from Rivera for a year, although Rizal kept sending letters to Rivera. The reason for Rivera’s year of silence was the connivance between Rivera’s mother and the Englishman named Henry Kipping, a railway engineer who fell in love with Rivera and was favored by Rivera’s mother.The news of Leonor Rivera’s marriage to Kipping devastated Rizal. His European friends kept almost everything he gave them, including doodlings on pieces of paper.
In the home of a Spanish liberal, Pedro Ortiga y Perez, he left an impression that was to be remembered by his daughter, Consuelo. In her diary, she wrote of a day Rizal spent there and regaled them with his wit, social graces, and sleight-of-hand tricks. In London, during his research on Morga’s writings, he became a regular guest in the home of Dr.
Reinhold Rost of the British Museum who referred to him as “a gem of a man. The family of Karl Ullmer, pastor of Wilhelmsfeld, and the Blumentritts saved even buttonholes and napkins with sketches and notes. They were ultimately bequeathed to the Rizal family to form a treasure trove of memorabilia.
In 1890, Rizal, 29, left Paris for Brussels as he was preparing for the publication of his annotations of Antonio de Morga’s “Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas. ” There, he lived in the boarding house of the two Jacoby sisters, Catherina and Suzanna who had a niece also named Suzanna (“Thil”), 16. Historian Gregorio F.Zaide states that Rizal had “his romance with Suzanne Jacoby, 45, the petite niece of his landladies.
” Belgian Pros Slachmuylders, however, believed that Rizal had a romance with the niece, Suzanna Thil, in 1890. Rizal’s Brussels stay was short-lived, as he moved to Madrid, leaving the young Suzanna a box of chocolates. Suzanna replied in French: “After your departure, I did not take the chocolate. The box is still intact as on the day of your parting.
Don’t delay too long writing us because I wear out the soles of my for running to the mailbox to see if there is a letter from you.There will never be any home in which you are so loved as in that in Brussels, so, you little bad boy, hurry up and come back…” (Oct. 1, 1890 letter). Slachmuylders’ group in 2007 unveiled a historical marker commemorating Rizal’s stay in Brussels in 1890. The content of Rizal’s writings changed considerably in his two most famous novels, Noli me Tangere, published in Berlin in 1887, and El Filibusterismo, published in Ghent in 1891 with funds borrowed largely from Rizal’s friends.
These writings angered both the Spanish colonial elite and many educated Filipinos due to their insulting symbolism.They are critical of Spanish friars and the power of the Church. Rizal’s friend Ferdinand Blumentritt, an Austria-Hungary born professor and historian wrote that the novel’s characters were drawn from real life and that every episode can be repeated on any day in the Philippines. Blumentritt was the grandson of the Imperial Treasurer at Vienna in the former Austro-Hungarian Empire and a staunch defender of the Catholic faith. This did not dissuade him however from writing the preface of El filibusterismo after he had translated Noli me Tangere into German.As Blumentritt had warned, these led to Rizal’s prosecution as the inciter of revolution and eventually, to a military trial and execution.
The intended consequence of teaching the natives where they stood brought about an adverse reaction, as the Philippine Revolution of 1896 took off virulently thereafter. As leader of the reform movement of Filipino students in Spain, he contributed essays, allegories, poems, and editorials to the Spanish newspaper La Solidaridad in Barcelona (in this case Rizal used a pen name, Dimasalang).The core of his writings centers on liberal and progressive ideas of individual rights and freedom; specifically, rights for the Filipino people. He shared the same sentiments with members of the movement: that the Philippines is battling, in Rizal’s own words, “a double-faced Goliath”—corrupt friars and bad government. His commentaries reiterate the following agenda. * That the Philippines be a province of Spain * Representation in the Cortes * Filipino priests instead of Spanish friars–Augustinians, Dominicans, and Franciscans—in parishes and remote sitios * Freedom of assembly and speech Equal rights before the law (for both Filipino and Spanish plaintiffs) The colonial authorities in the Philippines did not favor these reforms even if they were more openly endorsed by Spanish intellectuals like Morayta, Unamuno,Pi y Margall, and others. Wenceslao Retana, a political commentator in Spain, had slighted Rizal by writing an insulting article in “La Epoca”, a newspaper in Madrid, in which he insinuated that the family and friends of Rizal were ejected from their lands in Calamba for not having paid their due rents.The incident (when Rizal was ten) stemmed from an accusation that Rizal’s mother, Teodora, tried to poison the wife of a cousin when she claimed she only intervened to help.
With the approval of the Church prelates, and without a hearing, she was ordered to prison in Santa Cruz in 1871. She was made to walk the ten miles (16 km) from Calamba. She was released after two-and-a-half years of appeals to the highest court. In 1887, Rizal wrote a petition on behalf of the tenants of Calamba, and later that year led them to speak out against the friars’ attempts to raise rent.They initiated a litigation which resulted in the Dominicans evicting them from their homes, including the Rizal family. General Valeriano Weyler had the buildings on the farm torn down. Upon reading the article, Rizal sent immediately a representative to challenge Retana to a duel.
The painful memories of his mother’s treatment at the hands of the civil authorities explain his reaction. Retana published a public apology and later became one of Rizal’s biggest admirers, writing Rizal’s most important biography – Vida y Escritos del Jose Rizal.