Skip to main content

Who is Jose Rizal Really?

Are you a Filipino? So who is Jose Rizal Really?

This article will open up a conversation about heroism on a different perspective. Read until the last word of this post and you’ll get to know why we need another Jose Rizal today!


Just search for “Jose Rizal” over the internet and you’ll surely get instant answers to the question “Who is Jose Rizal?” You’ll see photos that will somehow reveal Rizal’s looks, styles and hobbies. And to cut your search for more great information about the Philippines’ national hero, here is the website created for him: http://www.joserizal.ph.

Almost everything is here, except for the fact that the answer to this question maybe is not there: “Who is Jose Rizal for the people of today?”. We need to turn into other sources, therefore.

Let me share my thoughts about Jose Rizal, if you please.

I can still remember that during my primary school days, I was chosen by my teacher to compete for a poem recital contest – the poem of which was Rizal’s “Huling Paalam” (English: My Last Farewell, Spanish: Mi Último Adiós). I did not win the contest but I was lucky enough to recite a poem the words of which all came from the mind of a national hero. When I was in high school, we went to Rizal’s birthplace in Calamba, Laguna as part of our field trip activity. This house is now known as “Jose Rizal Shrine”. It was a great experience seeing those chairs and tables where Rizal takes his breakfast, to walk on the grounds where Rizal used to play with his dog, and just to be in that place. And during my college days, I was able to own this book entitled “El Filibusterismo”, one of Rizal’s popular novels. Well, the famous Rizal Park or Luneta Park, I’ve been here several times in my life. Rizal’s monument is truly a great wonder.


Given the fact that I happen to experience those things, do I really know Rizal? You may have your own experience too, so I am throwing you the same question: do you know Jose Rizal, really?

If it’s about heroism, the real reason why Rizal became Philippine’s national hero, I don’t think many of us knows. But let me tell you why, on my own words.


He’s a hero for he fought for the freedom of the Filipinos against the oppressive Spaniards who introduced Roman Catholicism in the country!

Does anyone of this generation knows that? Well, maybe the historians and scholars fully knows, but not many of the youths. So does this saying of Jose Rizal still holds true?

“The youth is the hope of our future.”

But the deeper reason behind my question is this. If we really know Jose Rizal and what he did fight for, why are there still oppressors in this country? How come the mentality of abusing people still rampantly exists in the land? And think about this seriously. For money’s sake, there are stupid Filipino people betraying the trust of his or her countrymen against the Chinese, Americans, Indians, Koreans, and Japanese? Well, this is something that Rizal has actually think of seriously when he was alive, for he says:

“Ignorance is servitude, because as a man thinks, so he is; a man who does not think for himself and allows himself to be guided by the thought of another is like the beast held by a halter.”

Do we live the values of Jose Rizal to these days?

Think about the influence of the social media to our culture. Over the recent years, it has become an avenue for many opportunists to scam Filipinos themselves. Social media has become the means to bully, bash, and threat people. Many of us use social media for non-sense things – to shout out the expensive things we acquire, to scatter fake news, to fool consumers with deceiving marketing tactics, etc. Many of us chose not to give our lives meaning – but just wasted it. These happenings of today apparently has resemblance to this intelligent thought of Jose Rizal:

“It is a useless life that is not consecrated to a great ideal. It is like a stone wasted on the field without becoming a part of any edifice.”

Entangled sharing of personal beliefs in the social media world, where do we go now from here?

Freedom. Liberty. Democracy. Are we really free? To whom are we working for? Who owns the big factories, plantations, hotels, shipyards, resorts, casinos, shopping malls and schools in this land? Any ideas? And when we work, do we care about our co-Filipino workers betterment? Are we recruiting them to work abroad for their betterment or for our personal gains? You could have been a victim yourselves of your co-Filipino. But did you think twice who’s really on the top of all these oppressions?

Rizal says this: “It is enough for the evil people to succeed, for the good people to do nothing.”

Will these oppressions end? Are there people taking their part to completely change the way we live in this land at the present time?

Even these simple reminders of Rizal, many of us have forgotten.

“He who does not love his own language is worse than an animal and smelly fish.”

“He who does not know how to look back at where he came from will never get to his destination.”


The first language in many schools is English. Many Filipinos choose to live abroad permanently. What about that?

And what more about these stretched-to-the-bones ideologies Rizal’s left us?

“I do not write for this generation. I am writing for the ages. If this could read me, they would burn my books, the work of my whole life. On the other hand, the generation which interprets these writings will be an educated generation; they will understand me and say: Not all were asleep in the nighttime of our grandparents.”

“I can concede that the government has no knowledge of the people, but I believe the people know less of the government. There are useless officials, evil, if you like, but there are also good ones, and these are not able to accomplish anything because they encounter an inert mass, the population that takes little part in matters that concern them.”

“I have to believe much in God because I have lost my faith in man.”


Ever heard or read those sayings of Jose Rizal? Those are the reasons he died for us.


I am writing this for I want change. And I don’t write claiming I have clean hands. I could only say I am trying to live my life with good values, but I do commit mistakes too like everybody else.

The situation we are facing today in the Philippines is not just a wakeup call, it’s a shout out loud message. Where there is politician, there is corruption. Where there is drugs, there is criminality. Where there is freedom, war is ignited by a few. Where there is plenty of arable land, there is scarcity of food. Until this man came into the scene and says these words (which sometimes is in a harsh tone).

“Love of country, subordination of personal interests to the common good, concern and care for the helpless and the impoverished – these are among the lost and faded values that we seek to recover and revitalize as we commence our journey towards a better Philippines.”

“I will fight for the people until my last breath.”

“I don’t want anyone controlling me.”

“For the record, I believe in God, but I do not believe in religion, period.”

“I’ve always hated oppression.”

“I just want everybody to follow the law.”

“I do not like the way oppressed Filipinos are being treated now. They are oppressed and have no one to turn to.”

“My worry is how to protect the Filipino.”

“I only want three children. I’m a Christian, but I’m a realist, so we have to do something with our overpopulation. I will defy the opinion or the belief of the church.”

“I wear cheap shoes. I don’t even wear socks.”



Don’t get me wrong, but I can see him doing a good job in line with what Jose Rizal has taught us. President Rodrigo Duterte said those words and it is up to you to think about them now.

Now, who knows Jose Rizal really? Do you?

Comments

Most-Read Posts of the Month

“I Love Baguio City” - My Travel Story in the Summer Capital of the Philippines

The Strawberry Farm, Burnham Park, Mines View Park, the Mansion, Wright Park, Lourdes Grotto, and Session Road; these are among of the popular landmarks in the more commonly known “Summer Capital of the Philippines” – Baguio City. Why so? Well, the temperature here seldom exceeds 26 degree centigrade. During the cold season of December to February, the temperature falls down to even below 10 degree centigrade. The record low temperature was 6.3 degree and that was on January 18, 1961.

How to Travel to Baguio City?
Going to this cold city in the mountainous province of Benguet, Philippines is a six to seven hours travel by passenger utility bus from Manila. Starting from EDSA, traversing the NLEX, entering SCTEX, exiting the province of Tarlac and going through the neighbouring provinces of Pangasinan and La Union, and then exploring the zigzag road of either the Marcos Highway, the Kennon Road or the Naguilian Road, the coldest place in the Philippines will be reached. Baguio is about 2…

"Business as Usual" as the Filipinos Define It (Vulcanizing Shop, Sari-Sari Store, Bakery) – Part 1

I asked the shop owner about these old unused tires on what are they doing with it. The Vulcanizing shop owners says, “Oh, someone will pick up those tires and pay us 5 or 10 pesos each. Sometimes they just take it for free”.


Vulcanizing Shop - A Classic Example of Filipino Business
You’ve most probably seen and been into a local, typical vulcanizing shop like this one in the photo. The business concept is very simple. Here’s a customer with his flat or deflated tire and the vulcanizing boy will repair it using a rubber compound patch, a heating tool, and an air pump. If it’s a regular car or van tire, repairing one may only take 10 minutes the cost of which is around 30 to 60 pesos. If it’s a tire from a truck or bus, it could be around 30 minutes and the repair would cost the vehicle owner around 100 to 150 pesos.

Here’s the thing. A shop like this one could potentially earn a revenue of 1000 up to 2000 per day just by repairing a flat tire. Why? Well, with thousands of vehicles like j…

Who are These OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) and Why are They the Modern Heroes of the Philippines

At the turn of the millennium, the Philippine government launches this campaign program calling the overseas Filipino workers or OFWs as “Mga Bagong Bayani ng Bayan” (Modern Heroes of the Nation). From then onwards, different organizations established programs giving awards and recognitions to selected OFWs who did a remarkable contribution or action to their family, friends, work or in general, to the country.


OFW ka ba?Bakit?Eh kasi dating mo pa lang, mayaman ka na. Boom! 
(Are you an OFW? Why? Because with just the way look, it seems that you’re rich. Boom!)

My Cousin Dado as an OFW in South Korea 

At present, OFWs around the world are estimated to be around 12 – 14 million. This is approximately 10 – 12 percent of the Philippines total population. These OFWs are distributed on many countries all over the globe majority of whom are in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Japan, Singapore, Hongkong, Taiwan, South Korea, and Italy. Immigrant workers in the United States, Australia and Eu…

The Divisoria Malls - Defining Shopping in the Philippines

They call it the 168 Mall. It is one of the busiest places in the Philippines during shopping days like Christmas season when longing for enjoyment and relaxation is on the air once again. From Cavite, my home place, going to Divisoria, it will take you about an hour travel under normal traffic flow.

What is in this place? Well, Divisoria is the Bargain Shopping Capital of the Philippines. This is where wholesale and retail prices make shoppers say “WOW!” on delight. Visiting this place will definitely give you a realization about shopping on a different dimension. Find out why on the next paragraphs.

On the Photo: The Popular 168 Mall in Divisoria, Manila, Philippines


Divisoria is located in Binondo, Manila. It is accessible via Quiapo(where the famous Black Nazarene of Quiapo Church is) thru Recto Avenue and via Lawton near Manila City Hall. Divisoria has been there since the early 90’s. As it is near the North Harbour, Manila’s main seaport, the freshest and cheapest products usuall…

The 100 Million Filipinos and Our Basic Rights in the Philippines

We have the right to education, healthcare, security, good services and affordable quality products, among others. But do we understand really the extent of our rights to these things as a Filipino citizen? And our duty to abide by the laws of the land and to promote democracy, are we aware of that? Our privilege or special right to something, do we care about it?




It was Abraham Lincoln, former president of the United States of America, who in one of his speeches said this:


“…that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”


I remember these same words quoted by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in one of his speeches. That was long time ago, during his first-year term I believe. While I cannot remember what the event was, what is clear to my mind until today is that he’s fulfilling at his capacity and political will the meaning of that statement.


The Philippine Government of the People, by the People, for the People
Let me translate th…

Our "Kapitan Eddie Panganiban", 1959 - 2018: Our Good Tatay, Our Masipag na Kapitan

This blog post is in memory of Kapitan Eddie Panganiban who lost his life as a good public servant, a kind father to his barangay, a person who cares for the benefit of everyone.

Who is Kapitan Eddie?
Kapitan Eddie is the chief captain of barangay Panghayaan, Taysan, Batangas in the Philippines. A big part of his life was spent as a public servant, from councilor to chieftain. Earning recognition and applause from people who knows him from the inside and out, our beloved kapitan is known for his kindness and care among his constituents. He is known to help people in need. His significant projects and personal actions in his baranggay are exceptional, always sided for the benefit of the masses. On December 22, 2018, he was brutally killed in his residence. Many expressed their disbelief in the incidence. The life of a good kapitan was just taken that quick.

Allow me to share this short story of how Kapitan Eddie was able to extend his help to my personal life.

When I got diagnosed with a…

Great Reasons Why You Should be Proud to be Pinoy Today

Yes, we live in a poor country. We walk up and sleep in a country with high unemployment rate, low quality of life, high crime incidence, rampant corruption in the government, unsolved traffic issues, high poverty and so on and so forth. We are residing in a country where there are New People’s Army, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Abu Sayyaf Group and plenty of other leftists doing harm to the nation’s freedom and sovereignty. Many of our rivers, oceans and lands are totally polluted – some are dead. Our streets are flooded with criminals, kidnappers, snatchers, drug addicts, drug pushers and tons of other bad elements invading our liberty. In remote areas around the country, there are children walking barefoot, on their empty stomach and with unconditioned mind and body just to taste the education which their parents were forced to believe that “poverty is not a hindrance to education” – but is not. We experience over and over again the fury of strong typhoons leaving us billion-wort…

A Visit to Chinatown in the City of Manila

Chinatown, Manila, the Philippines - January 29, 2012

We missed the opportunity to see Chinese New Year celebration in Manila last Janaury 23, 2012 so I and my wife decided to go here in Chinatown 6 days after. Actually, we have no any plan of going here and go buy jewelries at the popular Ongpin Street where Chinatown is also popular about. It was just a what-you-see-is-what-you-get tour and my main intention is to actually capture different angles of the town as well as of the scattered items with Chinese traceability. Take a look on these first few photos that I took.

On the Photos: The China Town "Welcome" Street Structure



We walked straight from Quiapo Church going to Binondo Church via the famous Ongpin Street. This could really be the highlight of Chinatown primarily because on everywhere you look, there is something about Chinese that can be seen. Even the posts, the establishment names and the advertisement banners are in Chinese language. It was our first time to reac…

Sidewalk Vendors

You’ll often see them. You’ll buy from them. But when they become part of the news, you’ll get to hate them – some of you. They are people like us who simply wants to earn a living. They have a family to feed. This is the business they call “marangal” (dignified). And we call them…
Sidewalk Vendors

Let me define what (or should I say “who”) a sidewalk vendor is.

Here in the Philippines, there is a notion that if you’re a sidewalk vendor, you mostly likely belong to the lower class of the society. For one reason, why sell on the sidewalks or streets of Metro Manila and other cities if you can sell on approved places particularly the market. For another, selling in the street on a daily basis is a risky activity – you’re prone to illnesses, effects of air pollution, dangers from vehicles passing by, and unsafe condition of your store or shop.

In a third-world country where job opportunities are scarce for people with lower educational attainment, there is no reason to doubt that poor people…

The Solutions to the Problems in the Philippines – an Appeal for Help from People Like You

If I would become the political adviser of the Philippine president, I would propose to him solutions on how to resolve the problems and issues happening in this country. But if I would not become one, I will continue to become an adviser if not to the president then to the people.

Manila, Philippines


There are hundreds of problems the government of the Philippines is facing today and even in the past. Some of them can be considered solved while some are not. Some problems are recurring while others are permanent and therefore the solutions are only temporary. However, it is worth commending on how the current government is responding to the needs of time of the Filipino people.
The rise of the Philippine Stock Exchange index is a valid proof that several economic measures are taking effect. The legal measures are showing results in the sense that the fight against corruption is not a “ningas-kugon” platform. The call for peace in Mindanao is on-going despite of the threats against it. B…