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?

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…

What We Filipinos Believe In

Weeks before I arrive on writing this post, I came across this person popularly known as “The Son of Hamas”. Hamas is an Islamist Group in the Middle East. Many regards them as terrorists but on their own rights and beliefs, they exists to liberate Palestine, including modern-day Israel, from Israeli occupation. Before he’s a leader of Hamas. He quitted and now he’s into writing and public speaking taking his personal stand against the extremism done by his former organization Hamas and his campaign for better peace in the region in light of political correctness. You can search about him online - Mosab Hassan Yousef. Hamas’ beliefs, in Mosab’s point of view, is wrong.
The connection I want to imply in this piece of writing is this:

A belief, once it has been engraved in the people’s mind, is difficult to change, that it sometimes takes force (and time) for someone in authority to change it.



In the Filipino people’s mind, for example, that belief that Catholicism is the religion that wou…

“Fixer” in Philippine Government Agencies Like the Social Security System (SSS) and Land Transportation Office (LTO) – What We Filipinos Can Do About it?

Maybe in this post, I can clearly explain how “fixing” works in many government offices in the country. The idea is first, to warn you that such illegal fixing happens, and second, to give you tips on how you should avoid them. Plain and simple, we will not in anyway damage or speak against anyone or any particular office of the government in this post. It just happened that this is about my experience with LTO and SSS Tagaytay. I want to emphasize that still many government employees in the Philippines are doing their jobs right - including those who are working in the said branches.
If you have experienced transacting with any government offices here in the Philippines, whether you're a Filipino or not, you should already be familiar with these signages.



Here’s a bit of knowledge for you to digest first.
What is “fixing” or who is a “fixer” by the way?
In the Philippines, these good words happened to have a negative connotation over the past decades. Good words? Yes, indeed. When …

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…

I know a man - Manny Pacquiao; He’s a Filipino

Way back 2006, I would not forget that day, Pacquiao knocked down Erik Morales twice and defeated the latter via TKO in the tenth round of that heated boxing match. I am with my friends in our rented apartment, which is near the company I used to work, watching the brawl in both excitement and suspense. That was yet another history made, taking his revenge to a Mexican boxer who once stole the glory from a Filipino champion. Like any other Filipino, I shouted, cheered, and celebrated that very moment of winning. The afternoon news is all about that big story of Manny Pacquiao - hailed as the People’s Champ. That was the year I started to get more fascinated about Pacquiao.



“All those who are around me are the bridge to my success, so they are all important.” – Manny Pacquiao


The Pambansang Kamao
Manny Pacquiao is dubbed as the “Pambansang Kamao” (National Fist). I am not going to tell his story as a boxer as that story has been there online for quite some time. What I want to share in th…

Filipinos! Here is My Free Education Advocacy that I Want You to Know

In the Philippines, we often hear this statement from the Filipinos about education:


“Hindi hadlang ang kahirapan para makatapos ng pag-aaral.” Poverty is not a hindrance to finish education.
I completely disagree! Allow me to explain my side.





Millions of Filipinos are unable to step highschool and even college because of the hardships in life we have in our country. Many are poor and therefore cannot afford the cost of education in the Philippines. If paying 5,000 to 20,000 pesos per semester in a Philippine college is already tough, then how about more the daily baon, school projects, transportation allowance, boarding house, and extra expenses?


Wake up! This is the truth. That Filipino statement with all respect, if I were you, forget it. Accept the fact that you cannot just earn your education in the Philippines because you are poor.

This is not an insult to anyone. I am from a poor family but I was able to complete a college degree despite of that. If you really want to find a solution…

Decoding the Meaning Behind the Creative Photos of a Filipino Local Traveler

Meet Jerob, a Filipino traveler who truly enjoys the place he used to visit here in the Philippines – with creativity in mind. Jerob was a former workmate of mine and I got really fascinated with the photos he’s sharing on his social media page. There is something different in there, something even beyond creativity. I did not interview Jerob about his photos except that I only asked his permission that I will create a blog post related to some of them. Great! He allowed me. So in this post, let me try to decode the meaning behind each one of Jerob’s impressive photos.

In this photo, obviously, he’s into “planking” and interestingly, he did it on top of the “I love ABRA” signage. Well, planking became famous here in the Philippines just a few years back. It is actually an exercise and at the same time a self-test for mental toughness. That idea if you can endure to hold your position for a long time and to also do it in a public place is a form of creative communication. Yes, it is gr…

“Pasalubong” – What Makes this Filipino Word Very Special?

Probably next to the beauty of a tourism spot, if it’s about the real reasons for traveling there, is our search for the best “pasalubong”. It’s the tagalog word for “gift” or “souvenir” and it can be anything from foods, toys, clothes, handicraft, furniture, soaps, wearables, or household items. It’s practically anything, big or small, cheap or expensive, edible or not. And for as long as that special item was bought somewhere else and then given to someone as an act of love and kindness – the true purpose has been served.


A simple gesture of “Salamat po” (Thank you) for sharing that pasalubong is enough to make you feel the love and kindness back. There is the best pasalubong for kids, for grandmas and grandpas, for a favorite grandson, for a close neighbor or friend, for the workmates, for the boss, for a former enemy, for a religious brother, and even for a complete stranger. Yes, indeed!

Well, “pasalubong” is actually different from a gift for birthday, wedding, or special gatherin…