Jose Protacio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda (June 19, 1861 – December 30, 1896), was a Filipino nationalist, novelist, poet, ophthalmologist, journalist, and revolutionary. He is widely considered the greatest national hero of the Philippines. He was the author of Noli Me Tangere, El Filibusterismo, and a number of poems and essays. He was executed on December 30, 1896 by a squad of Filipino soldiers of the Spanish Army. He returned to the Philippines in 1892, but was exiled due to his desire for reform.
Although he supported peaceful change, Rizal was convicted of sedition and executed on December 30, 1896, at age 35. On June 19, 1861, Jose Protasio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda was born in Calamba in the Philippines’ Laguna Province. A brilliant student who became proficient in multiple languages, Jose Rizal studied medicine in Manila. In 1882, he traveled to Spain to complete his medical degree. While in Europe, Jose Rizal became part of the Propaganda Movement, connecting with other Filipinos who wanted reform.
He also wrote his first novel, Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not/The Social Cancer), a work that detailed the dark aspects of Spain’s colonial rule in the Philippines, with particular focus on the role of Catholic friars. The book was banned in the Philippines, though copies were smuggled in. Because of this novel, Rizal’s return to the Philippines in 1887 was cut short when he was targeted by police. Rizal returned to Europe and continued to write, releasing his follow-up novel, El Filibusterismo (The Reign of Greed) in 1891.
He also published articles in La Solidaridad, a paper aligned with the Propaganda Movement. The reforms Rizal advocated for did not include independence—he called for equal treatment of Filipinos, limiting the power of Spanish friars and representation for the Philippines in the Spanish Cortes (Spain’s parliament). Rizal returned to the Philippines in 1892, feeling he needed to be in the country to effect change. Although the reform society he founded, the Liga Filipino (Philippine League), supported non-violent action, Rizal was still exiled to Dapitan, on the island of Mindanao.
During the four years Rizal was in exile, he practiced medicine and took on students. In 1895, Rizal asked for permission to travel to Cuba as an army doctor. His request was approved, but in August 1896, Katipunan, a nationalist Filipino society founded by Andres Bonifacio, revolted. Though he had no ties to the group, and disapproved of its violent methods, Rizal was arrested shortly thereafter. After a show trial, Rizal was convicted of sedition and sentenced to death by firing squad. Rizal’s public execution was carried out in Manila on December 30, 1896, when he was 35 years old.
His execution created more opposition to Spanish rule. Spain’s control of the Philippines ended in 1898, though the country did not gain lasting independence until after World War II. Rizal remains a nationalist icon in the Philippines for helping the country take its first steps toward independence. The greatest contribution of Dr. Jose rizal in our country is the two novel he written; the Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, by this many filipinos awaken by the slavery of Spaniards to the Filipinos. He used these two writings instead of holding a sword against the Spaniards.
He proved to everybody that pen is mightier than a sword. He also organized the first cooperative in the Philippines while in exile in Dapitan. The Rizal’s clay sculptures, including the one entitled Prometheus Bound, are very original. They are not only pleasing to look at, but also show social issues. Rizal used art as a medium to effect societal change. Rizal’s pencil sketches also show techniques that were later used in comic strips. For these, the historian Gregorio Zaide nicknamed Rizal as the “Leonardo da Vinci of the Philippines”. He was also an exemplary example of Filipino Values.
He also advocated a peaceful and a diplomatic way to speak out Spanish indifferences. Andres Bonifacio, on the other hand, advocated a bloody revolution, which is against the Filipino value of life. He also made anthropological researches on the physical and social make up man. He also experimented on various plants as he practiced horticulture. He also made researches on the physiology, classification and habits of animals. Aside from being an ophthalmologist, he practiced engineering and constructed a water system while in exile in Dapitan. His death gave new courage to the filipinos like emilio aguinaldo etc.
. to defend Filipino people from foreign accusations of foolishness and lack of knowledge; to show how the Filipino people lives during Spanish colonial period and the cries and woes of his countrymen against abusive officials; to discuss what religion and belief can really do to everyday lives; and to expose the cruelties, graft, and corruption of the false government at honestly show the wrongdoings of Filipinos that led to further failure. Dr. Jose Rizal Mercado y Alonso is by far, without a doubt, the greatest hero this nation can ever have.
Ever since the very foundation of our early education, we have been taught about a man to whom we owe the sweet taste of independence we now have the privilege to enjoy. Rafael Palma, a person of great significance once said, “The doctrines of Rizal are not for one epoch, but for all epochs. They are as valid today as they were yesterday and it will still be strongly valid in the future. This signifies the immortality of Rizal’s life, works, and genuine character. And as our beloved country’s National Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal will be remembered, forever.
That we can be sure of. However, the world will never run out of skeptics. Some have lead themselves to believe that Dr. Rizal was a made-to-order hero; one that personifies what we want to see in a person, or in a hero, for this matter. But we strongly believe, that these opinions hold no truth. Dr. Jose Rizal was a very real human being. One who had his share of mistakes, and heartaches, but nevertheless stood for what he believed in, and lead his nation to freedom. Who made Jose Rizal our foremost national hero, and why?
But before we can come up with a logical answer to that, we must first look into the character and works of Dr. Jose Rizal that made him our national hero. First and foremost, as stated by the authors Gregorio and Sonia Zaide in the book Jose Rizal, Dr. Rizal is our greatest hero because he took an “admirable part” in that movement which roughly covered the period from 1882-1896. His wondrous magic with words in his writings, had a tremendous contribution to the formation of Filipino nationality, lead his fellow men to assert their right to our nation.
Dr. Rizal’s works sparked a flame that set us free. The authors have previously stated, “…no Filipino has yet been born who could equal or surpass Rizal as “person of distinguished valor or enterprise in danger, or fortitude in suffering. ” This is the second point. We can all agree about the fact that not one citizen of the country had yet to show the same characteristics, or had done the bravest of acts for his country as Dr. Jose Rizal. Considering his natural endowments—intellegence, wealth, influence—Dr.
Jose Rizal could’ve chosen a life in prosperity, up, up and away in another island. But instead, he dedicated his life into writing for the sake of his love for public service to the Filipino people, and the Philippines. nd lastly, Jose Rizal is the greatest Filipino hero because he is “a man honored after death by public worship, because of exceptional service to mankind. ” (Gregorio and Sonia Zaide, Jose Rizal). Dr. Jose Rizal is not only highly acclaimed up to this very time because of the exemplary literature we still study to this day.
He is still very highly remembered and ever adored because of his conviction, service, and great love for the Filipino people, and the country. This is because he is still celebrated years after he left the face of the earth. He was a great leader, who offered exceptional service to mankind. Going back to our main question: Who made Dr. Jose Rizal our foremost national hero, and why? My answer is going to be brief, and simple. Not one person or organization can be held responsible for making Dr. Jose Rizal our national hero.
Rizal himself, his own people, and the foreigners all together contributed to make him the greatest hero and martyr of his people. This is because; Dr. Jose Rizal didn’t become our National Hero by way of traditional election. The fruits of his exceptional dedication and conviction to his life’s purpose are seen in our everyday lives. If he hadn’t, and among other note-worthy heroes of our history fought for our well-deserved freedom, maybe we’ll still be in the hands of our unjust captors. His “excellent qualities and merits” (Rafael Palma) made him Our Foremost National Hero.