Idolizing Jose Rizal

In the early 1990’s a survey was held asking who should be the national hero: Dr. Jose Rizal or Andres Bonifacio? The survey was in relation to the moves not only to rename the Philippines but also to replace some important symbols of the country. The pro-Rizals won and the idea of renaming Philippines lost. For these, the proposals vanished even before a bill was submitted to the Congress.

My response then was in favor of Rizal as we share some common traits (or so I thought) and these included a broad forehead, a love for peace, a fondness for traveling, and an interest in learning more and more things. The only attributes I didn’t acquire are his genius, his being a linguist, and his charm for girls. But a few years later, this adulation for the national hero crumbled when I happened to read an intriguing passage in one of the editions of Gregorio Zaide’s books “Jose Rizal: His Life and Works”. The passage reads: Why is it that on June 19, 1861 there is only one Filipino who rose to become a hero in fighting against the Spaniards?

Whether Zaide was just emphatic or not, his statement lead to some reflections. First, what can be said then of the people in the Muslim Mindanao who sacrificed their lives just to drive away the colonizers? Surely, there must also be some individuals born on June 19, 1861 in that area only that they were unrecognized because almost of the Filipino historians are Catholics and are located either in Luzon or in Visayas. Well, that does not even include the other Filipinos who were also born on that date but also fought the Spaniards in their own might. The only difference is that like our Muslim brothers, their heroic acts were unrecorded because of historical bias. In the very first place, history is what the historians write of a given event in a given period.

Second, is Rizal a Filipino? Filipinos in those days were called as “indios”. If one belongs in the upper echelon of the society, he is an “illustrado” or a member of the “principalia” and not a Filipino. So simple logic says Rizal cannot be a Filipino unless the declaration calling the residents of the Philippines as Filipinos has a retroactive effect. But if that is the case, the title given to Rizal as “The First Filipino” is not applicable to him for Lapu-lapu could be a Filipino, or Princess Urduja, or Datu Sulayman.

But more than this, one can also probe into Rizal’s “Filipino citizenship” by reading his writings between the lines. Ironically, the national hero doesn’t want to be a Filipino but a Spaniard. Even pro-Rizal biographies will attest to this as Rizal’s advocacy is to make the Philippines a province of Spain and not an independent country run solely by the locals. This then leads us to the third question: Is Rizal fighting against the Spaniards?

While almost all Rizal biographies say the national hero is fighting against the Spaniards, the truth is otherwise. Why did Rizal wanted the Philippines to become a province of Spain? Or why did Rizal preferred to spend most of his life in Madrid studying rather than in America or in other countries of Europe? Though it may be true that Rizal also studied in Paris and Berlin but still, a greater portion of his education is under the Spanish system. And why did Rizal chose to have a relation with a lady Spaniard named Consuelo Perez? And why did he befriended a number of Spaniards including Consuelo’s family? These are all because Rizal is not fighting against the Spaniards but against tyranny and oppression.

Next, it should also be noted that most of the writings of the national hero is in Spanish. The reason for this, according to the experts in the life of Rizal, is that the national hero would just like to awaken or arouse the hearts of the Filipinos that they may unite in fighting against the Spaniards. However, if this is Rizal’s real intention, the national hero should have written in the vernacular – either in Tagalog, Bisaya or Bikol. In this way, he could have been easily understood. Besides, isn’t Rizal the one who authored the most used and abused line “Ang hindi marunong magmahal sa sariling wika ay higit pa ang amoy sa malansang isda”? Or is Rizal thinking then that Spanish is the “sariling wika” of the Philippine Islands? If so, then he is not a Filipino but a Spanish which is also consistent with his advocacy on the full recognition of the Philippines as a province of Spain.

These, however, does not diminish Rizal’s heroism. Actually, Rizal can even be considered not just as a Philippine hero but also the hero of the world. In the times when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was still non-existent, in the times when colonialism was a “fad”, there is this individual whose height may be short but had the courage to stand among the giants to cry against oppression, tyranny and in-equality – at least of the races. That is something the family of Rizal, his descendants, and the Filipinos should be proud of.

But in remembering him, in idolizing him, and even in worshiping him (as there are those who consider him as a prophet of God), one should be cautious not to put words in his mouth or go beyond his real intentions. That distorts reality and that changes Jose Protacio Mercado Rizal from what he really is and what he really wants.###

(This article also appears in the column The Sidelines in the newspaper Albay Journal.)

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59 thoughts on “Idolizing Jose Rizal

  1. maybe gregorio zaide was wrong in saying that “in June 19, 1861 there was only one Filipino who rose to become a hero in fighting against the Spaniards”, – that was JoseRizal.

    madami rin naman ang lumaban para sa bansa, pero hindi nabigyan ng pagpapahalaga sa aklat ng kaysaysan ng pilipinas.

    Hindi lahat ng totoo at aktwal na nangyari sa kasaysayan ng pilipinas ay naisulat o nailathala sa libro. Karamihan dito ay matatawag na “distorted facts” ng kasaysayan.

    … like questions, and facts that were not written in the books of history, such as the ff:

    1.) sino ba talaga ang taong pumatay kay magellan?
    2.) ano ang dahilan kung bakit pinatay si magellan ng grupong pinamumunuan ni lapu-lapu?
    3.) at bakit napatay o natalo ang grupo ni magellan nina lapu-lapu sa kabila ng galing at husay ng mga dayuhan na humawak ng sandatang pandigma?

    sagot 1 – hindi si lapu-lapu ang nakapatay kay magellan, kungdi isa sa mga bodyguards ni lapu-lapu gamit ang isang matulis na itak at tinaga si magellan ng patalikod dahil inabuso o ginahasa ni magellan ang ka tribu ni lapu-lapu.

    sagot 2 – pinatay si magellan hindi dahil sa sila ay isang mananakop o mga dayuhan sa ating bayan… pinatay si magellan sampu ng kanilang mga kasama dahil ginahasa ni magellan ang isa sa mga pinakamagandang babae sa tribu. kaya gumanti ang grupo ni lapu-lapu hanggang sa magkapatayan.

    sagot 3 – ang totoo kahit anong gawin ng grupo ni lapu-lapu sa larangan ng pakikidigma o laban ay hindi ito uubra sa galing at talino ng mga dayuhan sa husay sa paghawak ng armas. Kaya napatay si magellan sampu ng kaniyang mga kasama dahil ng mga oras na iyon ay lango o lasing na lasing sina magellan sa alak. papaano ka makakalaban ng mahusay kung ikaw ay lasing.

    ….ito yung mga katotoohanan na hindi mo mababasa sa kasaysayan.

    At hanggang sa kasalukuyang nangyayari rin ito maraming mali-mali na nakasulat sa kasaysayan…..

  2. Tama ka diyan Atty. Benjie. Actually me claims nga na ang kauna-unahang nakapag-travel around the world ay isang Bisaya. He was taken as a slave to Portugal and was given as a gift to Magellan and help in the latter’s travel. Kaya lang, hindi siya na-recognized. Si Magellan na namatay naman sa Mactan ang binigyang parangal. Maybe it’s time to correct history and give due recognition to whom it is due.

    If I am not mistaken, the man from Visayas was called as Enrique and this is written in the annals of the travels of Magellan.

    1. by the way i’m from visayas but i will contradict of what you stated above sir J.A. Carizo, kung sabihin nating si enrique nga ang unang nkapaglibot sa mundo, mag isa lng kaya siya?, if he is only a slave talagang hindi siya ma recognize. .kagaya ni bonifacio siya lang ba ang nakipaglababan sa mga dayuhan? kung e recognize natin na si enrique nga talaga ang unang nkapaglibot sa mundo paano nlang ang kanyang mga kasamahan na may mataas pa na rango kay sa kanya. sa tingin ko kung totoo nga na siya ang unang nkapaglibot siguro naman nkasakay siya sa isang galyon na gawa ng mga kastila.

      “para sa akin hindi lang iisang tao ang unang nkapaglibot sa mundo kundi sa pamumuno ng isang tao.”

      1. @ tata, thanks for visiting. first, i think nobody is saying that rizal is a traitor. meron po ba? ang pinagdedebatehan both here and in the emails is if rizal is really qualified as a national hero.

        second, according to the historians who are still digging evidences to further support the claims regarding enrique, pinagpasa-pasahan lang si enrique as he was sold from one buyer to another until he reached the hands of magellan. there are also a school of thought saying that enrique might not even be a slave. i think it was dr. gerona of ateneo de naga who said that there are entries in the journals of travel to the philippines showing that enrique has a salary — ibig sabihin, posibleng hindi siya slave. or, he could have been a slave but was given freedom as slaves are not given salary.

        on the idea that enrique does not deserve the credit for being the first person to sail around the world, i don’t think so. unless we think that slaves are lower in status than that of a dog. remember how laika, the russian dog-astronaut, was given honors for being the first living being to orbit around the earth through the spaceship Sputnik in 1957? if dogs can be honored, why not the human beings like your fellow visayan enrique?

        which brings me to another point: if enrique (slave or not) cannot be honored if ever na totoo ngang siya ang unang nakapaglibot sa mundo, what’s the use of idolizing jose rizal who has been championing equal rights for spaniards and filipinos alike?

  3. ja carizo: hindi lang naman sa pilipinas, ang mali-mali ang paglalahad sa totoong kasaysayan, kahit sa bansang America ganun din.

    some say that the Indians were the first to discover America.

    Others say that Americo Vesputchi was the first to discover america… kaya nga hango sa ngalan niya ang pangalan ng america… pero sa kasaysayan ng america, ang nakasulat na unang tao na naka-discover ng america ay si Christopher Columbus..

    The Truth: – Christopher Columbus didn’t even set foot on America. He was in Cuba when he ” thought he discovered new land”.

  4. Rizal did nothing. He was one of the “traitors” in history who did not even lift a finger to support the revolution. He was among those “educated middle class” who were so skeptical about the revolution, and therefore betrayed the country and the Republic (Agoncillo). I do not idolize nor venerate him.

    1. haha natatawa talaga ako ng nasabi mong traydor si rizal. . kung traydor pa si rizal bakit ang mga spanyol ang pumatay imbis na ang mga pilipino kY rizal?. yan lng po ang sagutin mo salamat

      1. pinatay siya dahil galit sa kanya ang mga prayle… if I recall it right, parang half-hearted ang colonial government na i-prosecute siya. pinayagan pa nga sana siyang pumunta sa Cuba kung hindi lamang siya inaresto ulit at in-execute (kasi nangibabaw ang kapangyarihan ng simbahan, at bago ang governor-general nung panahon na iyon).

        gusto nya ang mamumuno ng revolution ay yung mga nasa middle class (tulad nya, yung mga landed elite na nakapag-aral sa iba’t-ibang lugar). basahin mo ulit ang 2 novels niya at naroon ang message. sa el fili pa nga, yung revolution na ginawa ni Simoun (protagonist/antagonist ng nobela) ay nasawi nang sinimulan niya ang rebellion.

  5. i have read your article, and something urged me to write something..i love the fact that someone writes one’s opinions about rizal but..i have some things in mind that sort of answer the questions you left hanging…

    rizal was not solely a filipino but in his blood there runs a few culture..though that doesn’t necessarily eradicate him as a filipino..

    another point, yes he did write not in the vernacular, but in spanish, just a thought, may be that is his forte, that that is the way were he can say that i a filipino inspite and despite the fact that i am a filipino, i could write something that could penetrate your core…just a thought…

    i have to say that yes, he did fight for our country, he armed himself with same weapon that they have… if rizal did write in the vernacular do you think that the spaniards would even care or even bother? he armed himself with the same language, the language that the colonizers use…

    just think of it this way..either way..rizal did his part..he might have been overly praised or even idolized, but the truth remains i think..that rizal made an us and beyond the waters of the pacific..:)

    1. @ KR

      thought-provoking ideas. thanks for sharing. but… what about the fact that he wanted the Philippines annexed to Spain as a province?

      or maybe we need to accept the fact that in those days, there is no such concept as “filipino” and “filipinism”. if we go back to philippine history (never mind zaide’s book. there other non-college textbooks that are more factual, non-hagiographical, and non-fiction books), we will realize that the sporadic revolts during the Spanish period are based not on filipinism or nationalism but on oppression. otherwise, why would visayas establish its own federal system and write its own constitution to the exclusion of those in luzon and mindanao? even macario sacay’s or emilio aguinaldo’s governments do not even have representations from mindanao, or most of visayas in general. even aguinaldo’s katipunan, for a fact, is almost exclusive to tagalogs and those in luzon. not unless the concepts of “filipino” and “filipinism” are luzon-centric.

      but i agree with you. rizal made an impact. such an impact, however, should be treated in its context — that rizal is a hero against oppression but not of filipino nationalism.

  6. he thought so for he thought that we weren’t ready, as a matter of fact we weren’t even united as a whole country then, based from what you’ve said even the filipinos who reside among luzon, visayas and mindanao aren’t even at ease or united..

    hero against oppression but not of filipino nationalism… interesting and i love your last line.. though why wouldn’t he be considered as someone who is nationalistic? he even wrote based form what is happening within the country, meaning what’s happening to the Filipino people, why wouldn’t he be nationalistic if he has the choice to stay away from the country rather he keeps on coming back here, in the Philippines? why couldn’t he be considered as nationalistic if what he thought of is the Philippines and its people?

    just thoughts of an inquirer:)

    i deeply appreciate your replies!:)

  7. @ KR

    Why couldn’t Rizal be considered nationalistic? What is nationalism, in the first place? According to Anthony Smith in his book “National Identity”, the term nationalism can signify:

    1. The whole process of forming and maintaining nations and nation-states;
    2. A consciousness of belonging to a nation, together with the sentiments and aspirations for its security and prosperity;
    3. A language and symbolism of the ‘nation’ and its role;
    4. An ideology, including a cultural doctrine of nations and the national will and prescriptions for the realization of national aspirations and the national will;
    5. A social and political movement to achieve the goals of a nation and realize its national will.

    I think it’s impossible to locate Rizal’s intention in any of the above especially considering his advocacy of making the Philippines a province of Spain.

    Second, assuming that we strip off Rizal’s intention to annex the Philippines to Spain, there was no sense of “nation” during the late 19th century. And since there is no “nation”, how can there be “nationalism” then?

    A quick thought on why Rizal keeps coming back: Rizal made a promise to cure his mother’s eyesight, that’s why.

  8. you gave me things to think about then…it’s as if rizal isn’t then a good enough candidate to be a national hero for with what you’ve stated above are quite strong, then again who would be the best candidate for “position”?

    though he did think of his people and of his country, then may be you are right he wasn’t nationalistic he was fighting against oppression…but what then is a nation?

    i have this question and i would appreciate it if you’d reply… i have to have a position regarding rizal’s retraction, i would deeply appreciate it if you could say your opinion regarding this question “Did rizal retract?” either yes or no, could you support your position?

    thank you!:)

  9. @ KR

    As I said in my second to the last paragraph:

    These, however, does not diminish Rizal’s heroism. Actually, Rizal can even be considered not just as a Philippine hero but also the hero of the world.

    Searching for the “best candidate for the position of national hero” requires us to go back to the definition of nationalism. If we use Smith’s “signification” of nationalism by looking at the Philippines to what it is now (i.e., that the Philippines is composed of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao), then nobody will qualify. But if we look at nationalism in the context of the 19th century, Andres Bonifacio could fit the requirements. Proofs: He wants a new nation that is independent of Spain, not just a mere province; He uses the vernacular as the official language. He has a political and social movement – the KKK; a prescription to attain their goals and for changing the system then — armed revolution. To add, KKK even has a code of ethics: The Kartilya ng Katipunan. I don’t think we can find this with Rizal and his fledgling organization, the La Liga Filipina.

    As for the retraction, may I know which one is that — retraction from his writings/advocacies or retraction from his alleged membership in protestantism?

  10. Actually, Rizal can even be considered not just as a Philippine hero but also the hero of the world. — is he worthy enough of such title?

    i have to say both retraction, the retraction from his writings and the retraction regarding his faith…

    thank you

  11. Hero of world? Yes for the same reason that Nelson Mandela is considered as a hero for fighting racial discrimination. This I explained in the second to the last paragraph of the main article above.

    As for the retraction, historians say it is not true. As a fact, he was even shot to death which could have resulted to commutation if he retracted. Or, his remains could have been buried in a Catholic cemetery if he retracted. The Catholic Church, meanwhile, says that there is a retraction document signed by Rizal before he died. Thus, whether there is truth in the claims or not, we cannot say.

  12. thank you for answering my every question!deeply appreciate it! 🙂 it is my honor to be able to “converse” with you..

  13. I was reading your article when I came across a line that made me stop.

    It was your reference to Gregorio Zaide. As we all know, and as proven during our years together in High School, Zaide wrote books with a lot of errors. Errors which he purported to be fact, errors which were pointed out and proven false. Remember I had an issue with our history teacher (who was a big fan of Zaide since they attended college together) regarding one of these ‘facts’, I had to bring in several encyclopedias which had facts contrary to Zaide’s writings.

    I got a low grade for discrediting her idol in front of the class.

    We’ve always got to take every information we come across with a bit of sleuthing. After all, not everything you hear about is true, even if it seems apparent, not until we’ve exhausted all the other reliable sources of information to support it.

    Bottom line here is while there may be truth to some of the information written, I wouldn’t bank my penny on Zaide -I’m already wary of his works.

    Great blog, though! Keep it up. I always knew you were on to something. 😀

    1. @ Erik A.

      Thanks for dropping by. I met a professor who’s like the history teacher you were referring to. The professor said that I should not argue with him because: (1) I am just a student, (2) he is the professor and, (3) he studied under the author of the subject that we are discussing. I said I just wanted to be clarified on some issues as he (my professor) has claims contradictory to certain political science principles. He insisted again the three reasons mentioned so I said “Okay, your reasons cannot be denied. But have you read the books of your professor-author?”. The next thing I knew is that he walked out of the room and that I got the highest grade in class. lol!

      But I agree with you that all information should not be taken as it is. With the varying interests and the biases hovering around, sometimes it is hard to distinguish what is true and what is false. This should be a guide for all of us. Thanks, Rik. 🙂

  14. just wanna share some of the things that my professor in Rizal taught us.

    issue: rizal “only” wrote things and did not engage himself in the revolution and he only wanted the Philippines to be recognized as one of the provinces of Spain.

    (our prof’s) response:
    Rizal wrote something that urged and persuaded Filipinos to rebel against Spaniards. Rizal opened the eyes of the Filipinos and he also exposed the situation of the Philippines during that time to the whole world. According to Rafael Palma, “…the revolution of Bonifacio is a consequence wrought by the writings of Rizal and that although the Bonifacio’s revolver produced an immediate outcome, the pen of Rizal generated a more lasting achievement.”

    Also, he did not engage himself in the battles because he did not want the Philippines to be independent (YET) from the Spanish colonization because (according to our prof) he was thinking that the Filipinos are not yet ready to become independent. They (the Filipinos back then) cannot build a STRONG government (during the 333 years of Spanish colonization in the Philippines, Spaniards did not taught the Filipinos to govern our own land), cannot defend themselves in case of another invasion (like what had happened when the Americans colonized the Philippines), and should be unified first before creating a government.

    that’s what he taught us. just want to share. feel free to reply..=D

    (by the way, Bonifacio is the reason why Rizal was accused and was punished of death penalty, right?)

  15. @ BSC:

    Thanks for the visit and the thoughts. Just as the fire purifies the gold, so are ideas refined by tests.

    On the first note: Maybe we could agree more with your professor if he/she can back the claims with proofs. First, we can look back at the literacy rates: How many can read Spanish during those period? And from those who can read (mostly the illustrados), how many are willing to associate with the indios — the primary actors in the revolution? This will support or disprove the idea that Rizal’s writing was the cause of rebellions. Second, Bonifacio is not the only leader of the revolution or rebellions. There is not even one revolutionary or rebellious activity but hundreds and even thousands mostly undocumented and barely mentioned in history books. These are not all influenced by Rizal. Examples are: The cimarrones in Bicol who were acting on their own; the Muslims in Mindanao who fought for reasons of freedom and religion; and the Visayans like the Negros farmers who fought for their freedom and for their land. Palma is just exaggerating the way Zaide did when he wrote about Rizal. Or it could also be that we are exaggerating Palma to think that Palma was referring to the “archipelagic-wide pockets of revolutions” when in fact he was only referring to the KKK.

    On the second idea that the Filipinos are not yet ready for independence: If this is the case, why would he make the “Philippines” more dependent from Spain by making it a province? And why didn’t he wrote more on the subjects of “independence” and “governance” considering the facts that he had travelled more and had been exposed to various countries? Or, let us just simply read his thoughts in the Noli and Fili. He only wants reforms and fair treatment. Otherwise, he could have taken into consideration the nature of man and the pre-Spanish political history — that is, man is a political animal and whether we like it or not, the Spanish “Indios” will surely form associations and govern themselves; and that even without the Spaniards, the Spanish “indios” can govern themselves as what their fathers did before through the “barangay governments” and “barangay federations”. To note, the pre-Spanish Philippines (called Ma-i) even had a set of Ambassadors to China and trade relations were considered very good.

    1. To: J.A. Carizo

      Magandang araw, hindi ko naman minaliit si enrique dapat nga maging proud ako kasi kababayan ko siya. Pero sa totoo lang hindi talaga ako naniwala na siya ang unang nakalibot sa mundo pero kung sakaling totoo man yon talagang hindi siya ma recognize sapagkat ang unang nakalibot sa mundo ay hindi iisang tao lamang kundi isang grupo ng mandaragat at sa isang grupo ay merong isang leader at pwede nating sabihin na nakapangalan ang lahat sa kanya. Kung ganun siya ang ma recognize kung ano man ang makamit ng grupo. Halimbawa ang pakikidigma ni Bonifacio, alam nating may marami pa siyang kasamahan na namatay at pwede nating sabihing mga bayani, eh meron bang isang ordinaryo niyang kasamahan na narecognize ang kanyang pangalan at nagiging tanyag sa ating bansa? Diba ang pangalan lang ni bonifacio ang nag niningning. . paano nalang kaya kung merong isang kasapi si bonifacio na may marami pang napatay kay bonifacio,may karapatan ba siyang magagalit kapag hindi siya maging sikat na bayani, pero si bonifacio parin ang makikilala ng lahat dahil siya ang leader at siya ang maging sikat na bayani. Tungkol naman ky Lyca ang unang aso na nakapunta sa buwan, kung sakaling isang libong aso ang pinapunta sa buwan tapos si Lyca ang leader makilala kaya ang natitirang 999 na aso na kanyang kasama? Bakit sabihin nating si neil armstrong ang unang nkapunta sa buwan eh meron naman siyang mga kasamahan . . bakit hindi nating sabihin sila .. blah blah lahat ng kanyang kasama. Ngayon cguro naman naintindihan muna kung ano ang nais kong ipaabot. Sabi niyo nga maraming malimali ang kasasayan pero sa tingin ko kapag sabihin nating si Enrique ang unang nakalibot sa mundo madagdagan na naman ang mali..meron akong hiling sayo bigyan mo ako ng isang pruweba na si Enrique nga talaga ang unang nakalibot sa mundo at kailangan na insakto talaga ang mga detalye at talagang nakasulat sa kasaysayan at ikumpara ko kung sinu ang paniniwalaan ko. .ate28kuya “ lahat ng tao may angking katalinuhan, ngunit nananatili paring walang perpektong tao sa mundo”

      ang isa ring slave sa unang panahon ay tinuturing n isang personal belonging, meaning pwedeng ipagbenta at hindi itinuturing na tao kundi isang bagay,yan ang nanyari ng mga negro slave sa america. kung hindi nman siya slave. bigyan niyo talaga ako ng katibayan n siya nga ang tunay n unang nkapaglibot sa mundo, kase sapat na s akin yong mga impormasyon tungkol sa unang tao n nkalibot sa mundo. Isa pang pinagbabasihan ko ay nauna sa sibilisasyon ang spanya ky sa pilipinas.

    2. • Ferdinand Magellan (birth name in Portuguese: Fernão de Magalhães, Portuguese pronunciation: [fɨɾˈnɐ̃ũ dʒɨ mɐɡɐˈʎɐ̃ĩs]; Spanish: Hernando de Magallanes; 1480 – April 27, 1521) was a Portuguese explorer. He was born around 1480 at Sabrosa, near Vila Real, in the province of Tras-os-Montes in Portugal. He obtained Spanish nationality in order to serve the Spanish Crown, so that he could try to find a westward route to the Spice Islands of Indonesia. He thereby became the first European to lead an expedition across the Pacific Ocean. This was also the first successful attempt to circumnavigate the Earth. Although he did not complete the entire voyage (he was killed during the Battle of Mactan in the Philippines), Magellan had earlier traveled eastwards to the Malay Peninsula. So he became one of the first explorers to cross all of the meridians of the globe.
      • Magellan and his crew were the first Europeans to enter the Pacific from the eponymous Strait of Magellan, which he discovered. However it is clear they were not the first Europeans in the Philippines, parts of which were known to the Portuguese before their landing. Arab traders had established commerce within the archipelago centuries earlier. A number of geographic features and biological species have been named for Magellan, including the eponymous Magellanic Penguin, which Magellan was the first European to note.[1]
      • Of the 237 men who set out on five ships to circumnavigate the earth in 1519, only 18 completed the circumnavigation of the globe and managed to return to Spain in 1522.[2][3] They were led by the Basque navigator Juan Sebastián Elcano, who took over command of the expedition after Magellan’s death. Seventeen other men arrived later in Spain: twelve men captured by the Portuguese in Cape Verde some weeks earlier and between 1525 and 1527, and five survivors of the Trinidad.

  16. This blog just gave more questions than answers, hehehe. Anyway, I still loved the discussion, especially on the part that “is Rizal qualified as a national hero”. I guess he is a hero, though as what stated that he is not nationalistic by definition. Though his writings are read by a lot of individual here and abroad led to a lot of revolts against Spanish and other colonial occupation. Maybe he was too commercialize that he became our national hero.

    I have a question, did Rizal wanted to be a hero? (Can you state why or why not?) — Have read some books, but most of them are talking about why did Rizal happened to be out National Hero.

    1. Questions give birth to new ideas hehehe…

      Did Rizal wanted to be a hero? I think becoming a hero is unplanned. (Si Mang Jose lang ata ang nagplano na maging hero kasi kailangan niyang kumita hehehe.) Though reading behind the lines, Rizal just wanted to be a principled man — the reason why he accepted death penalty by firing squad instead of begging for the mercy of the King of Spain. Eventually, his principle made him a hero. But as stated, I don’t think he planned this.

  17. I really emulate and appreciate Jose Rizal because he’s a genius( painter, athlete, poet, etc.) and a peaceful advocate. I’m sorry I don’t read a lot about history now. Just encountered in college. But I do read about Jose Rizal. Well. if its true that he wanted the Phil. to be an annexed of Spain, maybe at that time it was just the best idea first that came to his mind, but I’m sure he was wise, there’s ,more plan after. He loved our country. He even sacrificed his life for the Filipino people. I’ll research more to know….

  18. sa lahat ng nag comment, ang masasabi ko lang ay totoong hero si rizal because namatay siya dahil sa kanyang mga panulat at ginawa nya yon dahil sa ating bansa. .he loves our country, dahil sa kanyang mga aklat na sinulat siya ay pinatay, sa tingin niyo ba? papatayin kaya si rizal kung ang kanyang sinulat ay makabubuti sa mga dayuhan na sumakop sa ating bansa. . sa tingin ko hindi, kaya siya ay pinatay dahil alam ng mga dayuhan na ang kanyang mga panulat ay makapagmulat sa mga pilipino kung ano talaga ang nangyari sa ating bansa, kahit sabihin man nating wala pa noong mka intindi dahil sinulat niya yon sa ibang wika, ay darating din ang araw na maindihan ng bawat pilipino ang kanyang mga panulat at nagkatotoo nga ngayon. . hindi lang nman ang pakikigdigma gamit ang armas ang mkapagpalaya sa isang bansa na sinakop ng karahasan. ate28kuya.

  19. The foreword of Sir Zaide in his book about Rizal’s life and writings, he expressed why Rizal was made as a national hero of our dearest country…and I am questioning it…giving contradictions to it…first, if he loves the Philippines, why wrote his two novels in Spanish?why not in vernaculars or in any language that he used?…because in the first place, he dedicated his Noli to his countrymen?so it is not for the Spaniards…then,his purpose,as what the historians considered,is to awaken the Filipinos from being meek to the oppression of the Spaniards.the historians did not said Rizal wants to stab the Spaniards through his writings…and yes I agree that if he’s really nationalistic why want the Philippines name be annexed to that of Spain?And then, he contradicted the way the Spaniards rule the country so why let the country be under the Spain again?rizal does not befit the title

  20. Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
    I’ve been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

    Thumbs up, and keep it going!

    Christian, watch south park online

    1. Hi Orrey: Di ko alam saan mo nakuha yan but I don’t think Rizal is the First Filipino. Wala kasing batas na nagsasabing ganyan or any document saying na siya ang kauna-unahang Pinoy. Siguro figurative language lang yan.

      1. Isinulat ni Leon Ma. Guererro and buhay ni Rizal at pinamagatan itong “The First Filipino” Ang nais ko malaman ay kung ano ang basehan niya sa pagtawag niya kay Rizal bilang “The First Filipino”

        Ngayon ko lamang nabasa ang iyong komento ukol dito. Sa kabilang banada, nais ko ring sabihing nasagot na ang aking katanungan. Salamat kay Dr. Zeus Salazar. Salamat din sa iyong oras sa pagsagot o pagiwan ng reply sa aking tanong.

  21. @ J.A. Carizo

    “Inangkin ni Rizal sa pangkalhatan ang katagang iyon mula sa mga kastilang insullares na siyang tumatawag sa mga sarili na “Filipinos” kumpara sa mga peninsulares na napunta lang sa Filipinas upang maging mga administrador. Ang tawag kasi sa mga Kastila sa naninirahan sa kapuluan na kanilang nakolonisa ay “Indios”. Tanggap man ito ni Rizal, sa kabila ng kaniyang pagtingin sa sarili bilang Filipino. Isa siya sa mga nag-organisa ng Indios Bravos at nang dapat niyang pirmahan ang sentensya ng kamatayan niya noong Disyembre 1896, nakita niyang nakalagay sa ilalim ng kaniyang pangalan na siya raw ay isang “mestizo sangley” (Mestisong Tsino) kinansela niya ito at sinulat ang “Indio”.” – Dr. Zeus Salazar

    Ito mismo ang binigay na sagot ni Dr. Salazar. May mga hindi lang ako naidagdag. Sana’y makatulong rin ito sa ibang mga mambabasa. 🙂

  22. @ Orrey: Thanks for sharing Dr. Salazar’s response. Sana makatulong din ito para sa dagdag-kaalaman para sa ating mga mambabasa.

    Pero interesting din, at sana magkaroon din tayo ng pagkakataon, na itanong kay Dr. Salazar ang sumusunod:

    1. Me additional info ba tayo tungkol dito sa mga Kastilang Insullares na tumatawag sa kanilang mga sarili na mga Filipino? Baka kasi ito ang mga puwedeng tawagin na “unang Filipino” instead na si Rizal. Me ginagawa rin kasi akong pag-aaral sa ilang political clans sa Bicol at me mga pure-blooded Spaniards dun na mas ginusto pang labanan ang Spanish Government kaysa sa kampihan ang kanilang mga kapwa-kastila. Ang nakakatuwa nga, yung ilang supporter ng Spanish Government ay mga “Indio/Filipinong” guardia civil samantalang yung financier and front-runners ng ilang provincial revolutions ay mga kastilang insulares.

    2. Gaano katotoo na mixed breed si Rizal – Spanish, Indio and Chinese? I have read some passages kasi na sinasabing ganun.

    Thanks again, Orrey, at mabuhay ka!

    1. Ang binigay kasi na bansag kay Rizal bilang “The First Filipino” ay katawagang pangjournalist lamang ayon kay Dr. Salazar na siyang hindi ko naisama sa aking unang reply sa iyo, at nanghihingi ako ng paumanhin para roon.

      Kung nais mo matanong si Dr. Salazar sa tingin ko ay kailangan mong subukang pumunta sa mga sampaksaan niya na siyang akin ring ginawa, na ginanap nitong nakaraang lunes sa UP.

  23. My two cents’ worth.

    I think all these debate about Rizal and Bonifacio is like the fable about the blind men feeling the elephant : each one proclaiming his own version of the gospel truth.

    Partiality aside, Rizal and Bonifacio would not have ended as heroes if other freedom fighters had come to the forefront of the Philippine struggle, like for instance our moro brothers who were never defeated by the spaniards and thus were never christianized. These people have not fought less gallantly as Bonifacio nor opposed the Spaniards with less zeal as Rizal, and yet were never documented in our history books. I think the problem with our historians both present and past is that they are too Manila-centric. In any case, until we get the total picture about Bonifacio and Rizal (which will never happen, anyway, because we have historical accounts from sources which are also inevitably biased – unless of course Bonifacio and Rizal ressurect from the dead ala Jesus Christ and grant a first hand account in an interview), we can never really tell who of the two is worthy of the title national hero.

    If we look back at recent history, heroes are not necessarily made out of his or her own merits, but by circumstances. Rizal was lucky to have been in the limelight during his time, which therefore made him a perfect poster boy for the Philippines, thus making him a very good candidate for a national hero. Here in our own backyard, our very own Simeon Ola was proclaimed a hero not by his own merit either, but also because of the circumstances of that time – Guinobatan’s mountainous terrains made it very difficult for Ola’s comrades to inform him about their defeat, which thus led to his late surrender, and, well, his eventual proclamation as a Bicol hero by virtue of his being the last man to surrender to the Americans. Lucky guy.

    I honestly got a good laugh reading your post re Rizal’s ancestry whether it’s Spanish, Indio, or Chinese, because that is exactly the result of a misinformed research. Who is Filipino, anyway? Are we not a conglomeration of all races? All of us have at least some Chinese, Spanish, Malay, Indonesian, and even Indian and Caucasian blood running in our veins, although I surmise Rizal has a greater percentage of Chinese in his blood by virtue of his being “malibog” or horny, given the number of his sexual conquests. I’m saying that based on my personal experience with Chinese women, although that’s completely a different topic altogether.

    Anyway, back to Rizal and Bonifacio. I think any further discussion about this topic is a grave insult to those people who were the real heroes of the revolution those who died and whose gallantry were never recognized. I hope that day would come when we would finally recognize those unnamed souls who suffered in silence and never saw the light of the dawn of the new republic, and especially those unsung heroes who were unsung in the true sense of the word whom history had practically forgotten – those street sweepers who cleaned the streets when Bonifacio and his comrades tore their cedula in Pugadlawin, those who provided the gugo bark to Tandang Sora to make her hair looking always Palmolive shiny, and those who made and sharpened Bonifacio’s and his comrades’ bolos. All these people also contributed to the revolution, are their heroism not at par with Rizal’s and Bonifacio’s?

    When will we ever mature as a country if we don’t even know our heritage by virtue of our heroes? Or will we ever mature?

    1. Kung ikaw ay natawa sa reply ni J.A. Carizo, mas lalo naman akong natawa sa iyo. Mga tsino lang ba ang malibog? Sa tingin ko, isa kang mangmang pagdating sa kulturang Filipino. Sana’y magbasa-basa ka ng mga akda ang kapwa natin Filipino. Subukan mong mabgasa ng mga lumang tula na isinulat ng mga Filipinong manunulat o magbasa ka ng mga kontemporaryong tula na nanalo sa Palanca para malaman mo na hindi lamang ang tsino ang malibog. Lahat ata ng tao ay malibog, dahil kung mga tsino lamang ang malibog sana’y sila nalang ang nanatili dito sa mundo.Kung sinusukat mo ang nasyonalismo ng isang tao base sa kanyang kalibugan, babatikusin ka ng marami.

      1. Well, I respectfully differ for the very reason that we each have our own definition of reality – what is true to you may not necessarily be true to me and vice versa. Like the blind men feeling the elephant, I guess we are both wrong and yet both correct too at the same time because we have our own definition of what malibog means.
        As I said in my post, based on my personal experience with chinese women, the chinese are malibog. If the writings of Filipino make them more malibog, then so be it, I fully respect your view.
        Anyhow, let’s not digress from the topic of this blog, which is about heroism, not sex. it’s good nonetheless that the cat is now out of the bag, which means we have opened the floodgates on the internet to those who would like to contribute to this discussion.
        Many thanks to you, Orrey for your post.

    2. @ Lily,

      I agree on the idea that circumstances make or unmake a hero. As earlier mentioned, there are a number of indios or individuals living in this archipelago who also fought with their lives just to live freely and not under the hands of colonizers. In Bicol Region, we have a number of that but the problem is that they were called “cimarrones”, or worse, robbers.

      On Rizal’s blood: It was just out of curiousity that I aired one of my readings. That needs to be verified, though.

      On our maturity as a country: That, I guess, should be the question we should be asking each other. I also share your worries — that is, that we may never mature — because we couldn’t even choose properly our leaders during elections. The elected leaders are supposed to represent us and our interests but given the quality of those who win, whether legit or by fraudulent means, indicates that there is a lot of things that needs to be done. We boast of being more than a hundred years old but it seems we are no different from the newly created states out the former USSR, or at most, Africa.

  24. Someone I work with visits your blog quite often and recommended it to me to read too. The writing style is great and the content is relevant. Thanks for the insight you provide the readers!

  25. What do you call a person who speaks two languages –

    What do you call a person who speaks many languages –

    What do you call a person who speaks 22 languages of
    different countries but doesn’t speak a single dialect of his own country – national hero

    One interesting anecdote about Rizal was when he was on a passenger ship to Europe. When he was accosted by a French man, he spoke French fluently. This impressed the French. Then when he was seated beside a German guy, he talked like a German native. This impressed the German. Then while drinking on the ship’s bar, he chatted with a Spaniard. Again, he spoke with an accent that sounded more polished than a native.

    Then he was approached by an Ilocano and greeted him. Rizal shook his head and turned to another passenger, as if asking for an interpreter. It turned out the guy was a Bicolano who also did not understand Ilocano. Rizal could only scratch his head in frustration.

    Rizal spoke the languages of 22 countries yet he did not know a single dialect of the country which made him a national hero!

    1. I thought the answer is “chic boy” o “tsikboy”. It has been said that the number of languages Rizal knew corresponds to the number of women linked to him intimately. 🙂

  26. wowowoweee!!!! gling gling nyo naman sa discussion ng mga FACTS(?). hayan, para na kayong mga rizalistas (or those who claim to know rizal pero kahit bday nga ng loko di alam) har har har…o cge na nga…kahit you keep on discussing unverified facts about kay toti nakuuu alam nyo ba natatawa siya ngayon, wherever he is, kasi nga kayo mga self-proclamed biographer …. pakialam natin if na-link siya kay kuwan…or [may love affair sila ni] kwan…nakuuu kayo talaga….

    okey, to make it a bit serious naman…because of this discussion, i tried to research about toti (rizal nga) from credible authors, historians, biographers….ang kaso, may kanya-kanya talagang version…so, if i am a writer with malikot na pag-iisip, i may be tempted to write my own version of toti’s travels, struggles and personal data…

    we must, therefore exercise prudence in discussing things about those who are already resting in peace (rip).


    1. @martz Lang

      Ikaw na rin nagsabi na may kanya kanyang bersyon ang lahat ng awtor tungkol sa talambuhay ni Rizal, kaya ang sinasabi mong posibleng bading si Rizal dahilan nga sa lantaran ang homosekswalidad sa europa nung panahon na yun ay isa ring bersiyon na maaaring mali din.
      Sinabi mo na we must exercise prudence, pero ikaw din nagsabi ng malisyosong alegasyon na maaaring bading si rizal dahilan sa naglalakad siya sa park na kung saan may mga bading. Kaya kung susundin natin ang argumento mo, lahat ng naglalakad sa park nung panahon niya ay mga bading.

      And since as you said, you tried to research toti’s life (the proper nickname should be Pepe), I believe you should also research on wikipedia the term SCHIZOPRENIA and the symptoms of a schizoprenic person.

      1. oowwssss, masyado ka yatang affected….pakibasa nga ulit ng comment ko…you missed the point…

        look lily, a simple name as vicente can have as many nickname as possible as in ente, vic, te…whatever…hence, for me i prefer to call him toti, not pepe…may reklamo? since alam mo naman that toti and pepe refer to papa jose, well, the message is delivered effectively…oh, kaw nga nakapag-react…
        since you asked to research on “SCHIZOPRENIA and the symptoms of a schizoprenic person,” can i have my own definition: here it is…
        SCHIZOPRENIA is, according to me, a state of being careless in words and in deeds by pretending to know something from everything, and….
        the symptoms are:
        1. read again what you’ve written;
        2. understand the unsolicited articles uv written; and
        3. and live by them…

        ..and when you walk your talk, you’ll learn that you have been useless for quite sometime…

        keep it up!

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