Pluma: Rizal, Ang Dakilang Manunulat

Jose Rizal, just like any of us, used to live an ordinary life. Just like a normal person, he underwent the mundane stages of human life such as infancy, childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. Yet, unlike any of us, Rizal inadvertently stood out because he lived by the saying, “Live life to the fullest.” He made the best out of his 35 years of existence. However, certain events and persons might have inspired him on the first place that eventually transformed his life from ordinary to an “extraordinary” one.

Rizal’s parents, Francisco Mercado and Teodora Alonso, had already introduced to him the value of education. His father owned several books in their shelf in which the young Rizal had a lot of novels to choose from and to read that suits his interest as a child. His mother also served as his first teacher. She taught him how to read and write. At an early age, he already shows brilliance as a writer with a good sense of social awareness.

An 8-year old Rizal was able to write his first poem, “Sa Aking mga Kabata.” This poem highlights love of nationality and Filipino language. Additionally, he excelled academically when he started attending schools in the Philippines, as well as in abroad. Putting his thoughts into writing became his hobby through the years. His works such as A La Juventud Filipina and El Consejo de los Dioses earned him the recognition to the Filipino youth and won an award in Manila respectively. Given the fact that Rizal’s eyes had long been opened to the awful reality during Spanish colonization, he further wrote novels, which include the famous Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not) and El Filibusterismo (The Reign of Greed).

Most likely, the former includes the story of Sisa, which was said to be inspired by what happened to his mother, Teodora, who was imprisoned due to the accusation of poisoning her sister-in-law. This taste of injustice could have aided Rizal to boost his patriotism. The latter was also written in honor of the memory of GOMBURZA who were executed due to the 1872 Cavite mutiny. With the aid of Paciano who witnessed the execution, Rizal’s eyes became widely opened to the gruesome reality of the Philippine society during their time. In a celebration of the achievement of Juan Luna’s Spoliarium and Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo’s Las Virgenes Cristianas Expuestas al Populacho, Rizal also realized and proclaimed that Filipinos do have something to be proud of.