Jose Rizal

by Jonathan from San Diego

José Rizal in his 30's around the time before he  (
José Rizal in his 30's around the time before he (

“He who does not know how to look back at where he came from will never get to his destination.”(Jose Rizal) This quote best describes the life of this wonderful hero Jose Rizal. Born on a tiny island in the Philippines, Rizal studied under the church. Years later Rizal left to study medicine abroad, but also left for an unclear politically-related reason. He spent some of his time in Spain (which at the time occupied the Philippines with colonies) to study medicine and writing. He was a very talented writer who knew how to write in Spanish, Tagalog, German, French, English, and Italian and also knew Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. After Spain he continued traveling to see how the world treated each other. He took particular interest in the United States and how it freed itself from English rule. He wished the same would happen to save the poor and oppressed of his home land of the Philippines. He unloaded all his thoughts, feelings, and beliefs into two books that inspired the people to rise up. Jose Rizal deserves the sacred name hero because he never believed in violence to solve his problems, always helped others, and was brave beyond compare, and as a result he set an entire colony on the path of freedom.

Even though Rizal died a mortal death he is still (
Even though Rizal died a mortal death he is still (

Jose Rizal used his abounding skill of writing to move a whole country to free itself, and his overflowing selflessness and courage is why he holds the renowned title of hero. Jose Rizal traveled the world never forgetting the Philippines, he expanded his knowledge and skill on writing and medicine never forgetting the Philippines, he died with the future still on his mind, and he never forgot the Philippines. He reached his destination by remembering where he came from, and it’s a belief he held strong and close to his heart obviously for his whole life. The way that he selflessly devoted himself to his country’s wellbeing is what makes him a hero in my eyes. “He who does not know how to look back at where he came from will never get to his destination.”(Jose Rizal) this quote ties in with the title, because most Filipinos know what it means, but for those who don’t it’s a public statement of a Filipino’s pride of their country pride of being part of a people driven to freedom by this one man… Pinoy Pride was started by him. I am proudly Pinoy because this man had talents and he used them to the best he could for not only his dream, but for his whole country to the best of his ability selflessly and nonviolently, and I believe we all have that same power to inspire an entire country. He is my hero.

Works Cited

Bonoan, Raul J. "Jose Rizal, liberator of the Philippines." America 7 Dec. 1996: 18+. Gale Student Resources In Context. Web. 6 Jan. 2011.

"José Rizal." Encyclopedia of World Biography. Detroit: Gale, 1998. Gale Student Resources In Context. Web. 6 Jan. 2011

Fernandez-Armesto, Felipe. "Times and tides." History Today 46.7 (1996): 10+. Gale Student Resources In Context. Web. 6 Jan. 2011.

This is the original cover of one of Rizal's book (
This is the original cover of one of Rizal's book (

Jose Rizal was determined to have his people free themselves through his words and writings instead of fighting; he was always wise and looking forward as he led his people to independence. He stands by nonviolence but knows it may sometimes be necessary, and his wise words are always well respected as: “Increasingly Rizal warned of separation and independence and alluded to ‘the great law of history’--that colonies eventually declare themselves independent. While Rizal did not categorically rule out violent revolution, he articulated in his second novel a philosophy of nonviolence--admittedly not as developed as Gandhi's. The Filipino people, he said, must be worthy of their liberties and prepare themselves for independence, principally through education and moral regeneration. ‘Only love can work wonders, only virtue can redeem.... What is the use of independence if the slaves of today will be the tyrants of tomorrow?’” (“Jose Rizal, Liberator of the Philippines”) he is like the Slim from “Of Mice and Men” of the Philippines his ideals were always held above the rest since his writings spread of the injustices of the Philippines. He hated how oppressed and beat down they were treated by the Spanish and knew that independence would come as long as they fought for it, but change doesn’t come unless they brought it with their own hands. Rizal continued to search the world for ways he could push his people to bring up independence and when his knowledge was enough he wrote books that pushed the people to bring the revolution because he’s: “What Victor Hugo did for les miserables of France and Charles Dickens for the wretched of London, Rizal wanted to do for the poor and oppressed of his own country. In 1887 his first novel, Noli Me Tangere, was published by a small printing press in Berlin. It diagnosed the Philippines' ailment as a malignant cancer in so advanced a stage that the slightest touch produced the acutest of pains. The title, Latin for ‘Do Not Touch Me,’ echoes the words of Christ to Mary Magdalene in John 20:17. Copies of the novel were smuggled into the country and read surreptitiously behind closed doors or at night by candlelight. The effect was nothing short of cataclysmic. What Abraham Lincoln said to Harriet Beecher Stowe--that her Uncle Tom's Cabin caused the Civil War--may be applied with equal truth to Rizal's novel and its sequel. They set the fires of revolution” (“Jose Rizal, Liberator of the Philippines”) he was considered by his people someone to hope in, someone to carry their dreams as they strive to make his wishes come true. Is that not what a hero is? Someone we can look to and aspire to be more like? This man was a hero that was one who looked at his home, to the world, then back at his home and said that something’s wrong. He used his pencil instead of his sword to push the inevitable change and took full responsibility until the end.

This is the cite of Rizal's exicution on 30 Decem (
This is the cite of Rizal's exicution on 30 Decem (

Rizal always wanted the best to others, always kept his ideals in mind, and his courage knew no bounds. Here the man again displays his bravery and defends his beliefs, but more than that he defends his people as he asks: "Does your Excellency know the spirit of (my) country? If you did, you would not say that I am "a spirit twisted by a German education," for the spirit that animates me I already had since childhood, before I learned a word of German. My spirit is "twisted" because I have been reared among injustices and abuses which I saw everywhere, because since a child I have seen many suffer stupidly and because I also have suffered. My "twisted spirit" is the product of that constant vision of the moral ideal that succumbs before the powerful reality of abuses, arbitrariness, hypocrisies, farces, violence, perfidies and other base passions. And "twisted" like my spirit is that of hundreds of thousands of Filipinos who have not yet left their miserable homes, who speak no other language except their own, and who, if they could write or express their thoughts, would make my Noli me tangere very tiny indeed, and with their volumes there would be enough to build pyramids for the corpses of all the tyrants..." (José Rizal, in an open letter to Barrantes published in La Solidaridad, regarding his novel, Noli me tangere) By the way he questions the very foundations on which the government was built displays his extensively rooted in his belief of freedom and rights. The way he uses the ruler’s own words against him by turning the perspective infers that he adamantly stands by his beliefs and that what they said about him is wrong. The way he compares himself to his fellow Filipinos as he portrays himself as the one who speaks for the nation, and how his book does not compare to the number of those who are behind him. When Rizal was exiled for his books and the commotion it spread he never dwelled on his misfortune, he always used his talents to help those around him and: “For 4 years Rizal remained in exile in Dapitan, where he practiced ophthalmology, built a school and waterworks, planned town improvements, wrote, and carried out scientific experiments. Then he successfully petitioned the Spanish government to join the Spanish army in Cuba as a surgeon; but on his way to Spain to enlist, the Philippine revolution broke out, and Rizal was returned from Spain, imprisoned, and tried for false charges of treason and complicity with the revolution. His enemies in the government and Church were operating behind the scenes, and he was convicted. The day before he was executed he wrote to a friend: ‘I am innocent of the crime of rebellion. So I am going to die with a tranquil conscience.’" (“Jose Rizal, Liberator of the Philippines”) He wanted change but never led it he only showed them the way. He always tried to help his people in exile or abroad he always remembered where he came from so he knew where he needed to go. He kept on helping and expanding his talents, never dwelling on what happened but what can happen. By the way he came to term with his fate before the end came, but he wanted to be the master of his own death to show he was unafraid for: “IN THE EARLY MORNING of Dec. 30, 1896, 35year-old Jose Rizal, an indio with strong oriental features but the bearing of a Western intellectual, wearing a black suit and hat, stood erect and calm in an open field by Manila Bay. Ministering to him were two Jesuit priests. Wanting to be master of his own execution, he refused to kneel and be blindfolded. He asked to face the firing squad but was forced by the officer in charge to turn his back. A military doctor took his pulse. It was, strangely, normal. At 7:03 the bark of bullets rent the air. Rizal fell and so, virtually, did Spanish colonial rule.” (“Jose Rizal, Liberator of the Philippines”) This man wrote two books that inspired a nation, he expanded his talents to help those of his home, and now he looked into the face of death and fear and said “I have no regrets, and I am not afraid.” This man spent his short life chasing his dream of showing his home the way forward by the rights of all men to the way that was best for them. Rizal always knew the consequences of his actions, but still kept striving for his dream. That is the difference between bravery and foolishness. Foolishness is when someone dives into something when they don’t know how his actions will affect himself or others, and bravery is when someone knows the consequences of his actions and decides that it is worth the risk. He knew that what he’s going to do will probably end in his death but he knew as long as his home is freed from the tyranny of the Spanish so he took the risk and without fear know that the good will outweigh the bad.

Page created on 1/11/2011 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 1/5/2017 11:55:06 PM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Related Links

Noli Me Tangere - Named after one of his famed books, an article describing the book's story