Honoring Dr. Jose Rizal's 158th birth anniversary tomorrow
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B Jimenez (The Freeman) - June 18, 2019 - 12:00am

Having been born on June 19, 1861, Dr. Jose Rizal, the greatest Malayan who ever lived, should have been 158 years old today. He was executed on December 30, 1896 at the age of 35. Many of our young Filipinos today don’t realize how amazing indeed the greatest Filipino was. To honor him, we need to study his life and achievements.

The way to honor Dr. Jose Rizal is to study his life, achievements, writings, philosophies, and the many facets of his genius. He was not only a prolific writer, novelist, poet, essayist, playwright, opinion writer, literary critic, commentator, propagandist, and an accomplished journalist and editor, publisher, newspaperman, and founder of the La Solidaridad. He was also a painter, sculptor, musician, mythologist, cartographer, humorist, researcher, and public relations man.

He was a scientist with multiple fields of interests and specializations. He wasn’t only a doctor who earned his medical degree at the age of 23 in Universidad Central de Madrid. He pursued advanced studies in ophthalmology in France and Germany. He was also an anthropologist who studied the nature of man. He was an archaeologist who studied monuments and ancient currencies. He was a practicing botanist who had a big garden in Dapitan where he studied the nature of plants. Our hero was also a practicing conchologist with an extensive shell collection in Dapitan.

He was also practicing pharmacology when he made basic drugs out of herbs and roots in Dapitan and used combinations of basic elements to concoct medicines out of chemicals derived from botanical and zoological sources. He was a practicing doctor and treated patients not just from Mindanao but also from Visayas and Luzon. In fact, he met his wife, Josephine Bracken, who was accompanying her sick adoptive father, Irishman George Tauffer, who sailed from Hong Kong to Dapitan for treatment. He was also an etymologist who studied the differences among various races. He was a linguist who could write and speak no less than 20 languages including Spanish, Portuguese, English, Latin, German, French, Japanese, Chinese, and many others.

Rizal was a multi-faceted man, an agriculturist, agronomist, rural developer, and educator who founded a school in Dapitan, He was also a businessman who had an abaca business in Dapitan with a local partner. He was very good in chess and fencing. He challenged General Antonio Luna to a duel in France when they had an altercation over a girl, Nelly Boustead. And talking of girls, he was a great lover. He had nine loves, namely: Segunda Katigbak, Leonor Valenzuela, Leonor Rivera, Consuelo Ortega y Rey, O Sie San, Gertrude Beckett, Nelly Boustead, Susanne Jacoby, and Josephine Bracken.

There has been no Filipino, or Malay, who ever touched as many lives as Dr. Jose Rizal did in his rather short life. There is simply so much more to know about our national hero. To honor him, we need to know more of his colorful and inspiring life.


  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with