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Date Submitted: 02/23/2011 05:56 AM

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Dr. Jose P. Rizal (1861-1896) is one of the greatest Filipinos who ever lived. At a time when the Philippine Islands was under the oppressive rule of the Spaniards, his brilliance and dedication to his country served as inspiration for the discontent masses to fight for their homeland's independence. As a young child, he studied with high honors at the Ateneo Municipal, a school run by Jesuits, and in college went to Unibersidad de Santo Tomas, a Dominican-run university. He went on to Europe to study medicine, particularly ophthalmology, to be able to treat his mother, who had beginning cataracts. Dr. Rizal was only 26 when he wrote his first book, the Noli Me Tangere. The words "noli me tangere" mean "do not touch me," and are taken from the Book of Saint John. The book was immediately banned by the friars in the country at that time, for it sought to expose the latter's corruption and greed. Dr. Rizal's second novel was the El Filibusterismo, which was the sequel to Noli Me Tangere. In this book, Dr. Rizal clarified his political ideas. Rizal also wrote two essays, "Filipinas Dentro de Cien Años" ("The Philippines Within One Hundred Years") and "La Indolencia de los Filipinos" ("The Laziness of Filipinos"), which were actually eye-opening works using humor as a way to reveal the backward state of the Philippines.

Dr. Rizal was an academician, a linguist, historian, writer, a scientist, and of course, a doctor. He wrote the Sobre La Nueva Ortografia de la Lengua Tagala in 1889, a time when educational works in Tagalog, the Filipino language, was stringently suppressed. Dr. Rizal believed that the national language was the soul of the nation, and to have one would mean having something that could never be conquered.

The time when Dr. Rizal lived was a time when the religious orders that first arrived in the Philippines to proselytize the Filipinos had become corrupt, exacting heavy taxes on the populace, grabbing ancestral lands, and having their way with the...