Jose Rizal Childhood

n.c.radomesStarred Page By n.c.radomes, 12th May 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
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Even in his boyhood days, Jose Rizal already showed greatness. There's an anecdote about him in a river boat in a swirling current losing one of his slippers; that he instinctively let go of the other mate to float in the water with the other so the finder can still make full use of the thing.

Jose Rizal was born

Jose Rizal, the 7th child of Francisco Mercado Rizal and Teodora Alonso y Quintos was born on 19 June 1861 in Calamba, Laguna. Three days after, on 22 June 1861, he was baptized Jose Rizal Mercado at the Calamba Catholic Church by a Batangueño parish priest Rev. Fr. Rufino Collantes, with Rev. Fr. Pedro Casañas, close friend of Rizal family, the godfather.

The big fire

A big fire gutted the town of Calamba on 28 September 1862, according to reports, burning almost everything, including its parochial church and the religious books containing baptismal records, together with the book where Rizal’s birth and baptismal data were entered, got burned.

Learning the Alphabet and How to Read and Write

In 1864, barely three years old, he learned the alphabet from his mother, and a year later in 1865 when he was four years of age, his sister Conception, the eight child in the Rizal family, died at the age of three. It was on this occasion that Rizal remembered having shed real tears for the first time.
From 1865 to 1867, his mother taught him how to read and write. His father hired a classmate Leon Monroy to teach Rizal the rudiments of Latin. However, Monroy was able to give tutor to Rizal for only 5 months because of the former’s death.

Rizal's physical and mental development

Within the same time frame, two uncles from his mother’s side volunteered to help shape Rizal’s future. Uncle Jose Alberto concentrated himself on the physical development of his young nephew and taught him the love for the open air and developed in him a great admiration for the beauty of nature, while Uncle Gregorio, a scholar, instilled into the mind of the boy love for education. He advised Rizal: "Work hard and perform every task very carefully; learn to be swift as well as thorough; be independent in thinking and make visual pictures of everything."

The Pilgrimage to Antipolo

Almost seven years old, with his father, Rizal made a pilgrimage to Antipolo on 6 June 1868 to fulfill the vow made by his mother to take the child to the Shrine of the Virgin of Antipolo should she and her child survive the ordeal of delivery which nearly caused his mother’s life.
From there they proceeded to Manila to visit his sister Saturnina who was at the time studying in the La Concordia College in Sta. Ana.

First Poem

In 1869 at the age of eight, Rizal wrote his first poem entitled "Sa Aking Mga Kabata." The poem was written in Tagalog and had for its theme "Love of One’s Language."


Original text
(as first published)
'Sa Aking Mga Kabatà'

Kapagka ang baya'y sadyáng umiibig
Sa kanyáng salitáng kaloob ng langit,
Sanglang kalayaan nasa ring masapit
Katulad ng ibong nasa himpapawid.

Pagka't ang salita'y isang kahatulan
Sa bayan, sa nayo't mga kaharián,
At ang isáng tao'y katulad, kabagay
Ng alin mang likha noong kalayaán.

Ang hindi magmahal sa kanyang salitâ
Mahigit sa hayop at malansáng isdâ,
Kayâ ang marapat pagyamaning kusà
Na tulad sa ináng tunay na nagpalà.

Ang wikang Tagalog tulad din sa Latin
Sa Inglés, Kastilà at salitang anghel,
Sapagka't ang Poong maalam tumingín
Ang siyang naggawad, nagbigay sa atin.

Ang salita nati'y huwad din sa iba
Na may alfabeto at sariling letra,
Na kaya nawalá'y dinatnan ng sigwâ
Ang lunday sa lawà noóng dakong una.

To my Fellow Youth (Approximate English translation not rhyming)

If a nation's people certainly love
Their gift of language bestowed by heaven,
So too will they regain their pawned freedom
As the bird that flies in the sky.

For language is a measure of worth
Of cities, nations, and kingdoms,
And each person alike, deserves
That of any creation born free.

One who does not treasure his own language
is worse than a beast and putrid fish,
Thus it should be nurtured gladly
As our mothers nurtured us.

The language Tagalog is like Latin,
Like English, Spanish, and the language of angels
For it was the Lord, in his wisdom
Who bestowed it, who gave it to us.

This language is like that of others,
With their own alphabet and their own characters,
But vanished as if a sudden storm had come upon
A boat in a lake in an age long past.


English translation of Rizal's Sa aking mga Kabata

To My Fellow Children

Translated by Frank C. Laubach

Whenever people of a country truly love
The language which by heav'n they were taught to use
That country also surely liberty pursue
As does the bird which soars to freer space above.
For language is the final judge and referee
Upon the people in the land where it holds sway;
In truth our human race resembles in this way
The other living beings born in liberty.
Whoever knows not how to love his native tongue
Is worse than any best or evil smelling fish.
To make our language richer ought to be our wish
The same as any mother loves to feed her young.
Tagalog and the Latin language are the same
And English and Castilian and the angels' tongue;
And God, whose watchful care o'er all is flung,
Has given us His blessing in the speech we calm,
Our mother tongue, like all the highest that we know
Had alphabet and letters of its very own;
But these were lost -- by furious waves were overthrown
Like bancas in the stormy sea, long years ago.


Are you aware that three of the animal species we know today were actually named after Rizal?

When he was an exile in Dapitan, he collected different kinds of species of animals. Among them were the Draco Rizali (Wandolleck), a species of flying dragon, Rachophorous Rizali (Boetger), a hitherto unknown species of toad and Apogonia Rizali (Heller), a small beetle, which were later named after him.

Rizal Monument

Did you know that the famous Rizal monument in Luneta was not the work of a Filipino but a Swiss sculptor named Richard Kissling?


"The Rizal Monument (original title: Motto Stella, Latin, ('guiding star') is a memorial in Rizal Park in Manila, Philippines built to commemorate the executed Filipino nationalist, José Rizal. The monument consists of a standing bronze sculpture of the Rizal, with an obelisk as his backdrop, set on a stone base within which his remains are interred. A plaque on the pedestal's front reads: "To the memory of José Rizal, patriot and martyr, executed on Bagumbayan Field December Thirtieth 1896. This monument is dedicated by the people of the Philippine Islands".
"The perimeter of the monument is guarded continuously by the Philippine Marine Corps’ Marine Security and Escort Group, the changing of the guard having become a daily ritual. About 100 m (330 ft) north-northwest of the monument is the exact location where Rizal was executed, marked by life-size dioramas depicting his final moments.
An exact replica of the Rizal Monument can be found in Madrid, Spain at the junction of Avenida de Las Islas Filipinas and Calle Santander."


  • Rizal's family /
  • View of the facade of Calamba Church and image of St. John the Baptist/
  • Teodora was Jose's first teacher, who was a remarkable woman of good character and fine culture.  On her lap, Jose learned prayers and the alphabet /
  • ... every task very carefully; learn to be swift as well as thorough; be independent in thinking; and make visual pictures of everything.” – Uncle Gregorio /
  • One June 6, 1868, Jose and his father left Calamba to go on a pilgrimage to Antipolo/
  • Sa Aking Mga Kabata If Rizal stayed in Hong Kong and never returned to the Philippines in 1892, he wouldn't have died on December 30, 1896. But he did .../
  • Ang 'di marunong magmahal sa sariling wika, daig pa ang malansang isda. He who does not love the national language is worse than a smelly fish /
  • When Dr. Jose P. Rizal was an exile in Dapitan, he discovered three different kinds of species of animals which was then named after him – the Draco rizali .../
  • The Rizal Monument is a memorial in Rizal Park in Manila, Philippines built to commemorate the executed Filipino nationalist, José Rizal. (Wikipedia) /

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At 3 He Learned Alphabet From His Mother, Baptized Jose Rizal Mercado, Born On 19 June 1861 In Calamba, Rev Fr Pedro Casaas Was Rizals Godfather

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Retired government employee; finds hubbing, blogging on any interesting topic enjoyable.

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