January 05, 2016

From Zero to Hero: Dr. Jose Rizal, National Hero

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  • The construction of the Torre de Manila in Ermita, dubbed in social media as “Terror de Manila”, continues to be a controversy. Apart from alleged building and zoning violations, to both local and foreign tourists, the building is a “photobomber”, ruining the view of the landmarks in the area. The most damage seen is its effect to the monument of the national hero of the country, Dr. Jose Rizal in Rizal Park, found a few kilometers away.


    Regarded as one of the Renaissance men and the most influential Malay of his time, Dr. Jose Protasio Mercado Rizal y Alonzo Realonda was born on June 19, 1861 in Calamba, Laguna. The seventh of eleven children, he was sickly and small for his age, with his forehead the most remarkable feature, hinting the man that will soon be known by the world as a writer, doctor and multilinguist.

    Rizal was different compared to most of the heroes of his time, when the revolution against the Spaniards sparked. Instead of taking arms and using weapons to fight, he opted to write, penning down the novels Noli me Tangere and El Filibusterismo. He earned the respect of his fellow Filipinos, one of which is Andres Bonifacio, a leader in the Katipunan, a secret group fighting the Spanish colonizers in the country. Due to friars having read his novels which they termed “subversive in nature”, Rizal went overseas to escape. Encouraged by his family to remain overseas in order to keep himself safe from the prying eyes of the Spaniards, he pursued higher studies in ophthalmology, with his mother’s failing eyesight in mind.

    Despite efforts to save him, Rizal died at a prime age of 36. He was shot in Bagumbayan, now known as Luneta, now made into a park dedicated to his memory. He is an inspiration not only to Filipinos but to all those who have met him, through his books that have initiated a change in each and every one.


    Article by Arvee Gomez

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