Jose Rizal: The National Hero of the Philippines

Jose Rizal is a prominent figure in Philippine history. The country considers him a national hero due to his contributions to the Philippine Revolution against Spanish colonial rule. Rizal was a polymath and excelled in several fields, including medicine, poetry, and essay writing. He was also a passionate advocate for Philippine independence and a vocal critic of the oppressive Spanish regime. In this article, we will discuss the life, achievements, and legacy of Jose Rizal.

The Portrait of Rizal, painted in oil by Juan Luna
By Painting from Lineage, Life and Labors of José Rizal, Philippine Patriot, by Austin Craig (1909). Information page at Project Gutenberg, Public Domain

Early Life of Jose Rizal

Jose Rizal was born on June 19, 1861, in Calamba, Laguna, Philippines. Francisco Mercado and Teodora Alonso, both educated and from prominent families, were the parents of Rizal, who was the seventh of eleven children and known to be a precocious child. Despite facing challenges in his childhood due to his family’s struggle against the Spanish colonial authorities, Rizal was a brilliant student. He attended prestigious schools in Manila and Europe, where he showed great promise as a writer and thinker.

Education and Career of Jose Rizal

Rizal studied at the Ateneo Municipal de Manila and later at the University of Santo Tomas, where he obtained a degree in medicine. He also studied in Madrid, Spain, where he pursued a degree in philosophy and letters. During his stay in Europe, Rizal wrote his two most famous novels, Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, which exposed the injustices and abuses committed by the Spanish colonial government in the Philippines.

Rizal’s Involvement in the Philippine Revolution

Rizal was a peaceful reformist who believed in the power of education and peaceful means to achieve change. However, his writings and ideas inspired many Filipinos to join the revolution against Spanish colonial rule. Authorities accused Rizal of being subversive, leading to his arrest, trial, and execution on December 30, 1896, at Bagumbayan, which is presently identified as Luneta Park.

Legacy of Jose Rizal

Rizal’s death sparked a revolution that eventually led to the Philippines’ independence from Spain in 1898. Rizal’s writings, particularly his novels, continue to be studied and read in the Philippines and around the world. Rizal is also remembered for his contributions to education, science, and the arts. He was a prolific writer, a skilled artist, and a dedicated physician.


Jose Rizal remains a beloved figure in Philippine history. His life, achievements, and legacy continue to inspire generations of Filipinos to strive for excellence, to fight for justice and freedom, and to be proud of their heritage and culture. Rizal’s message of education, peaceful reform, and love for one’s country still resonates today, more than a century after his death. Let us honor and remember the life and work of Jose Rizal, the Philippine national hero.

Famous Quotes of Jose Rizal Part 1:

1. “Ang hindi marunong lumingon sa pinanggalingan ay hindi makakarating sa paroroonan.” (He who does not know how to look back at where he came from will never get to his destination.)

2. “Ang kabataan ang pag-asa ng ating bayan.” (The youth is the hope of our future.)

3. “Upang malaman ang kinabukasan ng isang bansa, kailangang suriin ang kanyang nakaraan.” (To foretell the destiny of a nation, it is necessary to open the book that tells of its past.)

4. “Ang kadakilaan ng isang bayan ay hindi nakasalalay sa tagumpay ng mga taong nasa tuktok, kundi sa kabutihang-loob at katapangan ng mga taong nasa ibaba.” (The greatness of a nation does not depend on the success of those at the top, but on the goodness and bravery of those at the bottom).

5. “Iniibig ko ang aking bayan at mamahalin ko pa hanggang sa huling sandali, kahit na ang turing ng iba sa akin ay parang isang masamang tao at isang traydor.” (I love my country and will continue to love it until my last breath, even if others consider me a bad person and a traitor).

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Famous Quotes of Jose Rizal Part 2:

6. “Ang pinakamahalagang kundisyon upang maabot ang pagsunod sa sariling pagpapahalaga at pagkakakilanlan ay ang pagkakaroon ng pagpapahalaga sa bayan.” (The most important condition for achieving adherence to one’s own values and identity is to have a love for one’s country).

7. “Ang hindi magmahal sa sariling wika ay higit pa sa hayop at malansang isda.” (Those who do not love their own language are worse than animals and stinking fish).

8. “Ang mga diktador na naghahari sa mundo ay nagkamali. Sinikap nilang putulin ang kaisipan at kaluluwa ng tao, ngunit nakalimutan nilang ang mga tao ay magkakaroon ng pagod sa kanilang mga tanikala at babalangkasin nila ang kanilang kalayaan.” (The dictators who rule the world made a mistake. They tried to sever the minds and souls of people, but they forgot that people will tire of their chains and will break free to claim their freedom).

9. “Ang pinakamalaking ambag ng Pilipinas sa mundo ay ang kanyang mga mamamayan. Ang mga Pilipino ay higit sa lahat, maalaga, mabait, at relihiyoso.” (The Philippines’ greatest contribution to the world is its people. Filipinos are, above all, caring, kind, and religious).

10. “Walang kabuluhan ang buhay na hindi nakatutok sa isang dakilang adhikain. Ito ay parang isang bato na walang pakinabang sa bukid at hindi naging bahagi ng anumang gusali.” (Life is meaningless without a noble purpose. It is like a stone that has no use in the field and has not become a part of any building).

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