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12 Ways to Best Describe Jose Rizal, The Philippines’ National Hero

Updated: May 11, 2021

Marietta B. Pangan


Dr. Jose Rizal is the Philippines' National Hero. This is just one of the many significant reasons why Albertans of Filipino descent are working diligently to raise funds and construct a bust of Jose Rizal at Nose Creek Park at the City of Airdrie. Jose Rizal is a joint project of the Filipino Airdrie Association and the Philippine Consulate General in Calgary. This project is already in the works and well supported by Airdrie City Mayor and several Filipino Alberta groups, businesses and other non-profit organizations.



Artworks and Photo credit: Caps & Lenses by Marietta


Everyone who received their education from the Philippines is familiar with Jose Rizal's dozens of quotes, including this,"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).


Many may wonder what the importance of constructing this historic undertaking. A bust is the closest symbolism to immortalize Jose Rizal's legacy, just like his monument found where he was shot, at Bagumbayan or Luneta or Rizal Park.


But what else do we really know about the greatest Filipino hero Jose Rizal? Those that were born and raised outside the Philippines may not know him that much. So if you are not familiar with him, let me start with some great trivia that younger generations may be able to relate to.


Did you know that Rizal was ironically put as one of the characters in 1999, a warfighter video game "Medal of Honour"? Whenever he dies, he will say "Adios Patria Adorada," which means "Farewell, Beloved Fatherland." Tekken Project is another popular video game character. According to its creator, the female fighter, Josie Rizal, was inspired by the national hero Jose Rizal. Josie wears an outfit with colours of the Philippine flag, and her waist ornament is the flower Sampaguita.


José Protasio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda,yes, that is his full name, became known simply as Jose P. Rizal? The purpose of keeping the 3 names: Jose Protacio Rizal, while dropping the rest of his full name is to detach from Ponciano, his older brother alleged association with the GomBurZa (Gomez-Burgos-Zamora). The three Filipino priests were executed by garrote , by Spanish colonial authorities. Having "Rizal" as his surname enables him to study and travel freely in several European countries en route to Madrid.


Besides talking about video games, why was Rizal hailed as the Philippines' national hero? The shortest reason was mainly that Dr. Rizal fought one of the most peaceful yet powerful battles against Spaniards through the use of his pens. Rizal's novels, essays, and news articles as a silent protest led to his exile for four years and eventually execution on December 30, 1896.



Caps & Lenses by Marietta

Jose Rizal is a polymath, and he is the jack of so many trades. For those who are not so familiar with him still, let me help introduce and describe him further in twelve ways:



1. Nationalist, Revolutionist and Political Scientist. He expressed himself fully as Filipino. Part of his political program, which he presented at the Cortes ( Spanish Parliament), was the consideration for the Philippines as one of the Spanish provinces. He also asked that Spanish Friars be replaced by Filipino priests instead.


Caps & Lenses by Marietta

2. Journalist, Book Lover and Author. He wrote and published several articles in many publications and was one of the organizers of the La Solidaridad. He is the author of the two passionate social Novels, Noli Me Tangere ( Touch Me Not) and its sequel El Filibusterismo (The Reign of Greed). Rizal exposed the evils of Spanish rule in the Philippines from these two novels. "Maka Misa" (After Mass) is an unpublished novel; it mirrors the style and setting of his two other stories.


3. Polyglot and Ethnologist. Jose Rizal can speak as many as twenty-two languages. During his many travels, Rizal is also keen on writing the similarities and differences of different ethnicities.



4. Propagandist and Reformist. He became the leader of the Propaganda Movement. While Rizal was still studying overseas, he began publishing a series of works that established him as a leading voice for reform in the Philippines. His translation of Antonio De Morga's 1609 Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas highlighted the achievements of Filipino society before Spanish colonization.

Caps & Lenses by Marietta


5.Ophthalmologist and Physician. Rizal was inspired by his mother's failing eyesight and first patient. He was an accomplished eye surgeon who graduated from the University of Madrid.


6. Conchologist, Researcher and Book Lover. He has several good collections of shells. He is a comprehensive reader and studies several practices. He used to be employed in one of the laboratories while in London.


7. Poet and Musician. Rizal started his works and writings at the tender age of eight. His most notable poem was "Sa Aking Mga Kabata ( To my fellow children). Later on, he engaged himself further in poetry, expressing his thoughts, hopes, dreams, aspirations, and heartaches.



8. Citizen of the World and Cartographer. He is a well-travelled man and befriended several people from different nations. He also sketched the Map of Dapitan in Mindanao, Philippines.


9. Educator and Linguist. Rizal established a particular school while in Dapitan and became a teacher. He also used linguistic analysis to support hypotheses about the past migrations of Malay peoples and advance revisionist historical arguments.


10. Pharmacologist and Botanist. At an early age, he learned how to love planting fruit trees. He has an array of plants while in exile and experimented on them. He also uses them to cure and treat people.


Caps & Lenses by Marietta

11. Anthropologist, Archeologist and Zoologist. There are three animals named after Rizal. These animals are part of the several more he collected when he was exiled in Dapitan: abogonia rizalie, a type of tiny beetle; Drago Rizalie, a species of dragonfly and Racoforus Rizalie, a species of toad.


Caps & Lenses by Marietta

12. Philosopher and Ascetic. Lover of wisdom, Rizal completed licentiates in medicine and philosophy and letters at the Central University of Madrid. He wakes up every day at 4 am. If Rizal is not studying, he is attending Mass. He embodied calmness and wellness by exercising regularly too.


These are a few of many characteristics of Jose Rizal; they are more than sufficient to support a worthwhile endeavour such as the Rizal Project: Donate a Brick- Be a Hero for a National Hero in Airdrie, Alberta.



For more information on how to become part of the Jose Rizal Project,

Contact/Inquiries @ 403.667.2930 Jun Martin.

FAA Donations and Sponsorships may be sent via e-transfer: filipinoairdrieassociation@gmail.com or cheque payable to Filipino Airdrie Association.




Caps & Lenses by Marietta



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