Muara, Brunei- Mosque Walkaround
Manila, Philippines- Fort Santiago and a Request

Manila, Philippines- Death of a Hero

Doctor Jose Rizal (Jose Protasio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda) was a brilliant man. Born in the Philippines in 1861, he was by profession an ophthalmologist, picking his career choice when he learned his mother was going blind. He was a prolific writer, authoring books, poems, letters, essays, and vital political commentary.  He became a key writer for the fledgling Filipino Propaganda Movement, which advocated political reforms for the then-Filipino colony under the rule of Spain. Many of his writings advocated improved literacy and social reform. Despite not being actively involved in the planning or conduct of the Philippine Revolution, he was declared an Enemy of the State because he published a novel advocating independence and reform while exposing the evils of Spanish rule. During his exile to the remote city of Dapitan, he built a school, a hospital, and a water supply system. 

In 1896, the rebellion became a full-blown revolution. Dr. Rizal volunteered his services as a doctor in Cuba and was given leave by the governor to serve in Cuba to aid in the fight against Yellow Fever. In Barcelona, he was arrested en route and transported back to Manila the same day to stand trial.  While imprisoned in Fort Santiago, he issued a manifesto disavowing the current revolution in its present state and declaring that the education of Filipinos and their achievement of a national identity were prerequisites to freedom.

Dr. Rizal was tried before a court-martial and convicted of rebellion, sedition, and conspiracy. His key supporters had been forced out of office or relegated to minor positions. He was executed on December 30, 1896, by a squad of Filipino soldiers of the Spanish army. A backup force of regular Spanish troops stood ready to shoot the executioners if they failed to obey orders. Dr. Rizal was subsequently buried in an unmarked grave, later discovered by his family, to avoid martyrdom.  

Jose Rizal is considered one of the greatest heroes of the Philippines. While not an active participant in the revolution, it was inspired by his writings and ultimately resulted in Philippine independence.

Edward Bulwer-Lytton's adage, quoted in two of Jose Rizal's books, is true: The pen is mightier than the Sword.

(credit to Wikipedia for most of the source information)

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Jose Rizal is believed to have written this farewell poem days before his death and hid it in an alcohol stove. Filipino schoolchildren memorize portions of it. Our Tour Guide spoke the opening paragraph to us with his back turned to the words, and the emotion in his voice was evident.

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Death of a Hero

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This is the first of three postings of our day in Manila. Come back and see us!

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Manila, Philippines


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