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II. Rizal’s Life and His Writings

Jose Rizal, a hero of the Philippines who was a nationalist that strove for reform for his people during Spanish rule.   Rizal was born on June 19, 1861 in Calamba, Laguna to upper middle class parents Francisco Mercado Rizal and Teodora Alonzo both of which was educated and came from respected families. Rizal had six siblings ahead of him and two that followed. At the young age of five Rizal showed signs of his intelligence by already knowing the alphabet, and skill with artistry. True that he studied abroad, acquired the languages of foreign nations, and he enjoyed the friendship of many great men of the western world, but he remained at heart a true Filipino with love for the Philippines and determination to die in the land of his birth. He returned to the Philippines and practiced medicine. He lived the quiet life of a country doctor. When upon his return to the Philippines in July, 1892, Rizal organized the La Liga Filipina, this constituted a forward step in the reformist ideas of the times in the sense that the new group sought to involve the people directly in the reform movement. Many elements of society who were anxious for change were attracted to the Liga, among them, Andres Bonifacio who became one of the founders of the organization. Rizal lived in exile in far-away Dapitan, a remote town in Mindanao which under the missionary jurisdiction of the Jesuits, 1892 to 1896. This four-year was tediously unexciting, but was abundantly fruitful with varied achievements. Rizal’s homecoming in 1896, the last in his life, was his saddest return to his beloved native land. He knew he was facing the supreme test, which might mean the sacrifice of his life. The trial that was held shortly after his homecoming was one of history’s mockeries oh justice. After the court-martial, Rizal returned to Fort Santiago. During his last 24 hours on earth he was busy meeting visitors. As a Christian and a hero-martyr, he was serenely resigned...