Jose Rizal 'The Patriot'
Dr. José P. Rizal (full name: José Protasio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda) (June 19, 1861 – December 30, 1896) was a Filipino polymath, nationalist and the most prominent advocate for reforms in the Philippines during the Spanish colonial era. He is considered the Philippines' national hero and the anniversary of Rizal's death is commemorated as a Philippine holiday called Rizal Day. Rizal's 1896 military trial and execution made him a martyr of the Philippine Revolution.
Jose Rizal was a renaissance man. At a young age of 3, he had learned the alphabet with the help of his mother. At the age of 5, he already was an artist. He made pencil drawings and clay moldings that had shocked his family. “Sa Aking Mga Kabata” was a poem written by Jose Rizal at a young age of 8. He got his first degree, the Bachelor of Arts degree from Ateneo Municipal de Manila at the age of 16 and his grades were all excellent. At the same year, he had enrolled in University of Sto. Tomas for Philosophy and Letters but at the same time he was also taking courses for the degree of surveyor and expert assessor at Ateneo de Manila. In 1878, Rizal enrolled in the University of Sto. Tomas again for the course in medicine but he was not able to finish his studies as he had felt that there was an oppression of the Filipino students by the Dominican tutors. He then continued his studies in Universidad Central de Madrid and at the age of 23, got the degree of Licentiate in Medicine. At the age of 24, he had finished his course in Philosophy and Letters. Jose Rizal being a well-traveled man had mastered 22 different languages including Arabic, Catalan, Chinese, English, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Malayan, Portuguese, Russian, Sanskrit, Spanish, and some other dialect that are native to many of his traveled countries. Rizal was a genius and a true nationalist at heart.
As a political figure, Rizal was the founder of La Liga Filipina, a civic organization that subsequently gave birth to the Katipunan led by Andres Bonifacio and Emilio Aguinaldo. He was a proponent of institutional reforms by peaceful means rather than by violent revolution. The general consensus among Rizal scholars, however, attributed his martyred death as the catalyst that precipitated the Philippine Revolution.
Before he died Rizal wrote a poem which was his dying message to his native land. Can you listen to these words and not wish that all this horrid dream were over, and we were standing once more on the side of the oppressed? Can you listen to the lofty words of this gifted Tagal, and not blush for shame at our hypocritical doubts about the ability or the right of these men to govern themselves?
Farewell, adored Fatherland; our Eden lost, farewell;
Farewell, O Sun's loved region, pearl of the eastern sea;
Gladly I die for thy dear sake; yea, thou knowest well
Were my sad life more radiant far than mortal tongue could tell,
Yet would I give it gladly, joyously for thee.
On blood-stained fields of battle, fast locked in maddening strife,
Thy sons have dying blest thee, untouched by doubt or fear.
No matter wreaths of laurel; no matter where our life ebbs out
On scaffold or in combat, or under torturer's knife,
We welcome death, if for our hearths, or for our country dear.
Pray for those who died alone, betrayed, in wretchedness;
For those who suffered for thy sake torments and misery;
For broken hearts of mothers who weep in bitterness;
For widows, tortured captives, orphans in deep distress;
And pray for thy dear self, that thou may'st finally be free.
Farewell, adored country; I leave my all with thee,
Beloved Philippines, whose soil my feet have trod,
I leave with thee my life's love deep; I go where all are free;
I go where are no torturers, where the oppressor's power shall be
Destroyed, where faith kills not, where he who reigns is God.
Farewell, my parents, brothers, friends of my childhood days,
Dear fragments of my heart, once to my bosom pressed
Round our lost hearth. Give thanks to God in glad tranquillity,
That after day's long weary hours, I sleep eternally.
Farewell, beloved friends and stranger sweet; to die is but to rest.
After 300 years of oppressive rule by Spain and the Catholic Church, in 1896, the Filipinos began what became an all-out revolt against Spain and the church. (by: Herbert G. Gardiner, PGS, Grand Historian, Grand Lodge Free & Accepted Masons of Hawaii.) (htpp://calodges.org/ncrlRIZAL.html)
Rizal day is celebrated every December 30 in memory of Dr. Jose P. Rizal (National Hero of the Philippines).