Honoring the Genius, Dr. Jose Protasio Rizal Mercado Alonso y Realonda
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B Jimenez (The Freeman) - June 19, 2019 - 12:00am

How do we honor the greatest Malayan who ever lived?

Today is the 158th birth anniversary of the greatest Filipino who, until now, never fails to inspire us all and to make us awed at the magnitude of his multi-faceted genius and achievements in only 35 years of his life on earth. The only Filipino in the nineteenth century who spoke fluently and wrote lucidly in no less than 20 languages. Not only that, he visited no less than 30 countries, wrote two masterpiece novels, and also wrote more than 100 essays, more than 50 poems capped by his immortal “Mi Ultimo Adios.” Above all, Dr. Jose Rizal loved no less than nine women and married Josephine Bracken with whom he had a son who unfortunately died stillborn in Dapitan.

Our national hero has been recognized all over the world, not just in the Philippines but as the greatest Malayan who ever lived. He has monuments erected in all the 88 provinces in the Philippines as well as in all towns and cities, but also in Spain, Germany, France, United Kingdom, and in the United States. In Malaysia and Indonesia, there are thousands of Muslim and Christian men who are named Rizal. There is a religious group in southern Luzon who worship him as a god, and the Knights of Rizal is one of the strongest fraternities of Filipinos who believe in the values, ideals, principles, and philosophies of Dr. Jose Rizal.

Our national hero started writing at the age of seven and never ceased to believe that the pen is mightier than the sword. He wrote the “Noli Me Tangere” in 1887, based on the gospel of St. John Chapter 20 verse 15 “touch me not.” That novel angered the Spanish friars and military as it exposed the abuses against the Filipinos. It was followed by “El Filibusterismo” which further exacerbated the anger of the Spanish colonial rulers as it denounced the atrocities committed against the natives. Rizal was also a prolific essayist who produced many masterpieces, among which was the famous “Filipinas Dentro De Cien Anos” or “The Philippines a Century Hence,” which was penned in 1890, which contained accurate predictions of the things happening in this era.

Aside from being a masterful writer, Rizal was an agriculturist, agronomist, anthropologist, archaeologist, botanist, cartographer, commentator, conchologist, chess player, educator, etymologist, ethnologist, journalist, linguist, musician, mythologist, ophthalmologist, orientalist, pharmacologist, philosopher, physical culturist, physician, plant lover, poet, polyglot, propagandist, public relations man, researcher, revolutionary, reformist, rural development advocate, scientist, sculptor, socialist, world traveler, youth inspiration, zoologist, and many more. He was a lover of women and nature, music and the arts. He is the almost perfect imperfection of a fully-developed human being.

He is admired all over the world, the pride of Filipinos and the inspiration of our youth; Dr. Jose Rizal, the Filipino for all seasons


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