Literature had always been part of the Filipino people. It was the literature of Dr. Jose P. Rizal who have somewhat ignited the passion of the people to fight for their freedom, their country.
Who is Dr. Jose P. Rizal?
Jose Rizal was born in Calamba, Laguna Philippines on June 19, 1861. He was executed in Manila on 30th December 1896, in Luneta Manila. Jose Rizal is the national hero of the Philippines, a patriot, a doctor, and a novelist. He served as an inspiration for the Philippines nationalist movement.
The son of a wealthy landowner, Rizal was educated in Ateneo de Manila and at the University of Madrid. A brilliant medical student, he soon became involved in reforming Spanish rule in his home country, but never advocated Philippine independence. Most of his writings originated in Europe, where he lived between 1882 and 1892.
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The Writings of Dr. Jose P. Rizal
Rizal published his first novel in 1887. The Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not). Read the Noli Me Tangere Summary here. The book is an ardent coverage of the afflictions of the Spanish regime in the country, Philippines. A follow-up novel, El Felibusterismo (The Reign of Greed ) was published in 1891. He identified his status as a prominent spokesperson for the reformist in the Philippines. He printed an annotated copy of Antonio Morga’s Events of the Philippine Islands, published in 1890 and was reprinted in 1958 with the hopes to demonstrate that the indigenous Filipino people had a very long heritage ahead of the Spanish regime. He became the leader of the propaganda movement and wrote numerous articles for their newspaper, The Solidarity, published in Barcelona. Rizal’s political program included integration of the Philippines as a Spanish province, representation in the Cortes (Spanish Parliament), replacing the Spanish brothers with Filipino priests, freedom of assembly and expression, and equality before the law for Filipinos and Spaniards.
Rizal returned to the Philippines in 1892. He founded a non-violent reform society, the Philippine League, in Manila and was deported to Dapitan in northwest Mindanao. He remained in exile for the next four years. In 1896, Rizal was taken away and charged with sedition, being the inspiration of the Katipunan that held an uprising during that time. He was found guilty and executed in public by firing squad in Luneta Manila. His martyrdom persuaded the Filipinos that there was clearly no substitute for freedom from Spain. The night before his execution, even though locked up in Fort Santiago, Rizal had written Último adiós (Last Farewell).