Rizal's prison cell
VERY early in the morning of December 30, 1896 before his execution, Rizal’s mother and his sisters visited him in his prison cell.
Rizal called Saturnina’s attention and whispered to her: “Bring the lamp home. Inside is a piece of paper. Keep it.”
Back home, Saturnina gingerly opened the lamp as bidden. Lo! Opening the piece of paper, it reads “Mi Ultimo Adios” It was Rizal’s poem, My Last Farewell. Rizal had hidden it inside the lamp to prevent from falling into wrong hands.
IT was the annual fiesta in Calamba, Laguna, Rizal’s hometown. Colorful bands provided sweet and hot music as background. Multi-colored buntings gaily decorated the houses and streets. In the plaza was a program where throng of people was gathered. Loud voices of appreciation and clapping of hands were audible as a pair of dancers finished a number.
It was Soledad, Rizal’s youngest sister, and his partner who had just danced Padanggo sa Ilaw performing balancing acts using lighted candles in glasses to the delight of the audience.
The Spanish Governor General who was the main guest for the day, called for Soledad to get near him, ask her name and told her he had also a daughter in Spain who’s as old as she and who knew Spanish dances. Then the Governor General said: “Ask your wish and it shall be granted.”
In tears, Soledad looked straight into the guest’s eyes and answered: “My mother is in prison. Will you grant her, her freedom?" Right then and there the Governor General set free Aling Doray, Rizal and Soledad's mother.
Rizal’s Study Lamp and the Moth
Aling Doray was engrossed telling a story to motivate her son Pepe to read. But Pepe wasn’t paying attention. He was attracted by a young moth who came flying towards the lighted lamp. It circled and circled, closer and closer towards the light. Then it singed its wings on the glowing fire and fell dead on the table.
Oil lamp then was the main light used during those times.
Pepe thought deeply and sighed. He asked his mother why the moth fly to the light despite danger of death. Aling Doray answered: “It loves the light very much even if it costs dear life.” Deep in thought, Pepe said, “How beautiful is the light. When I’m old enough, I shall look for a much brighter light, much brighter than our oil lamp.” Then mother and son made the sign of the cross and prayed for divine protection before going to sleep.
Source: Three Lamps in the Rizal Family, The Modern Teacher, June 1994
Rizal's Childhood Memories
Earliest Childhood Memories:
Jose Rizal had many beautiful memories of his childhood in his native town Calamba. It’s scenic beauties and it’s industrious, hospitable, and friendly folks profoundly affected his mind and character. The happiest period of Rizal’s life was spent in this lakeshore town.
The first memory of Rizal, in his infancy, was in the family garden when he was 3 yrs. old. Because he was a frail, sickly and undersized, he was given the tenderest care by his parents. His father built a Nipa cottage for him to play in the daytime.
Another childhood memory was the daily Angelus prayer. By nightfall, his mother gathered all the children at the house to pray the Angelus.
He also remembered the aya (nurse maid) who related to the Rizal children many stories about fairies; tales of buried treasure and trees blooming with diamonds and other fabulous tales.
Of his sisters, Jose loved most little Concha (Concepcion) who was a year younger than him. He played with her and from her he learned the sweetness of sisterly love.
Unfortunately, Concha died of sickness in 1865 when she was only 3 yrs. old. Jose cried bitterly at losing her. The death of Concha brought him his first sorrow.
Rizal grew up a good catholic. At age 3, he would take part in the family prayers. When he was 5 yrs. old, he was able to read the Spanish family bible.
He loved to go to church, to pray, to take part in novenas, and to join religious processions.
One of the men he esteemed and respect in Calamba was the scholarly Father Leoncio Lopez, the town priest. He used to visit him and listen to his stimulating opinions on current events and sound philosophy of life.
On June 6, 1868, Jose and his father left Calamba to go on a pilgrimage to Antipolo, in order to fulfill his mother’s vow, which was made when Jose was born. After praying at the shrine of the Virgin of Antipolo, Jose and his father went to Manila to visit Saturnina, who was a boarding student in La Concordia College in Santa Ana.
Of the stories told by Dona Teodora, Jose remembered the Story of the Moth. The tragic fate of the young moth, which “died a martyr to it’s illusions”, left a deep impress on Rizal’s mind. He justified such noble death, asserting that “to sacrifice one’s life for it”, meaning for an ideal, is “worthwhile”. And, like that young moth, he was fated to die as a martyr for a noble ideal.
At age of 5, he began to make sketches with his pencil and to mould in his clay and wax objects. Jose had the soul of a genuine artist. He also loved to ride the pony that which his father gave him and take long walks in the meadows and lakeshore with his black dog named Usman.
Aside from his sketching and sculpturing talent, Rizal possessed a God-given gift for literature. At age of 8, Rizal wrote his first poem in the native language entitled Sa Aking Mga Kababata (To My Fellow Children).
After writing his first poem, Rizal who was then 8 yrs. old, wrote his first dramatic work which was a Tagalog comedy.
Rizal was also interested in magic. He learned various tricks, such as making a coin disappear and making a handkerchief vanish in thin air. He read many books on magic and attended performances of the famous magicians in the world.
Rizal at 11 years of age was a student at the Ateneo Municipal de Manila (picture above).
Manila : Philippines | Jun 20, 2011
Dr, Jose Protacio Rizal was born on June 1861 to Francisco Mercado Rizal and Teodora Alonzo y Quintos in the town of Calamba, Laguna, Philippines.
Rizal was the 7th member of the family with 11 siblings, 9 girls and 2 boys himself included. He and Josephine Bracken lived as de facto husband and wife in Dapitan in 1896 and had a son who lived for only 3 hours after his birth.
The News Proper:
Liza Bayot, one of Rizal’s descendants, spearheaded the activities. She stressed the importance of educating the Filipinos, especially the youth on Rizal’s achievements and his beloved wife.
Some visitors have artists drawn their portraits. The Ateneo Chamber Singers sang series of patriotic songs. Singer Cris Villonco gave her soulful rendition of the song "Hanggang."
Rizal's clans were excited and happy having an intimate get-together. They said this is the best gathering they've had in years. They had to color code Rizal’s descendants for easy identification.
Nine-year-old Gino Herbosa, who descended from Rizal's sister Lucia, said he is proud to tell his friends that his Lolo is a national hero.
June 19 was a day filled with festivities marking the historic birth anniversary of Dr. Jose Rizal all over the country. But for Rizal’s direct descendants, it was a time to reconnect, celebrate and ensure that the spirit of their "Lolo Pepe" lives on.
Source: Rizal's 150th birth anniversary ...