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Published by leeguan21
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Published by: leeguan21 on Aug 07, 2008
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was born on June 19,1861, in Calamba, Laguna, the seventh child and the second son of the 11 children of Francisco Mercado and Teodora Alonso. Rizal’s parents were not only well-to-do, butalso well educated, a rarity among Filipino families then. His father, a sugar planter andlandholder, attended a Latin school in his native Binan town, also in Laguna, and acollege in Manila. His mother, who had a good business sense managed some smallenterprise, also studies at a Manila college.Rizal was a precocious child. At the age of two, he could already recite the alphabet and,at four write sentences in Tagalog as well as Spanish. Rizal had his first formal education,which consisted of Latin and arithmetic, with a private tutor. He was about seven whenhis parents enrolled him at a school in town. Virtually the same home-study arrangementswas made after his father sent him to a Latin school in Binan, where he stayed with hisrelatives, except that the reason he did not last there was tow-fold: the schoolmaster wasunimaginative and sadistic, and his relatives kept sloppy household.Rizal was at that age, or a little younger, when he started writing poems in Tagalog. Healso wrote a short Tagalog comedy which was well received when it was staged inCalamba. His fascination for Tagalog poetry inspired him to write a poem on Tagalogitself, extolling it as an equal Spanish and other advanced languages. Sensitive and quiteobservant, Rizal, while still young, was already aware of the arrogant and condescendingattitude of the frailocracy towards Filipinos, whom it often humiliated and maltreated.In June 1872, aged 11, Rizal started attending the Jesuit-run Ateneo Municipal inIntramuros, Manila. At the Ateneo, his varied intellectual and artistic gifts began to
develop and mature all at once. His command of Spanish also vastly improved, no doubtaided by his wide readings and his conscious effort to improve his already retentivememory. Shortly after Rizal graduated from Ateneo, his father decided to send him to theUniversity of Santo Thomas (UST), a Dominican institution, for further studies. Heinitially enrolled in metaphysics to humor his father, but as a practical alternative, took upland surveying at the Ateneo at the same time. Only on finding out, upon returning toCalamba for the Christmas vacation, that his mother was getting blind from a cataract-acondition her imprisonment could have brought on, did he make up his mind to studymedicine, along with philosophy and letters. In 1879, his poem, "
 A La Juventud Filipino
"("To Philippine Youth") won first prize in a contest sponsored by Manila’s LiceoArtistico-Literario. In 1880, in another Liceo-sponsored literary contest, held inobservance of the Spain’s most famous writer, Miguel de Cervantes, Rizal again won top prize-and national prominence, beating even peninsular Spaniard, writing in their ownlanguage.Even while he was at the Ateneo, the idea had occurred to Rizal that, to fulfil his mission,he would have to go abroad. Toward the latter part of his stay at UST, this idea-inconfidential consultations with his brother Paciano, who shared and encouraged hisemerging political attitudes and convictions - had firmed up. Rizal left on May 3, 1882,saying goodbye to his parents through a letter delivered to them when he was alreadyseaborne. A decrepit Spanish ship first took him to Singapore. From there, he boarded amodern French liner for Marseilles, France, which he reached on June 13. In September he left for Spanish capital, to enrol at its Universidad Central de Madrid (UCM).
Even in just his first year in Spain, particularly Madrid, Rizal quickly realised that theenemy reform in the Philippines was not Spain or religion but the friars. By his example,he, too, could inspire his fellow students-who made up the bulk of the Filipinocommunity, to abandon their dissipating ways and take a more active role in enlighteningthe Spanish public about the evils of frailoracy in the Philippines. He initiated this attack  by writing letters to the editors of Madrid newspapers.By the time he obtained his licentiate in medicine , in 1884, with creditable performancein his medical subjects, he had become one of the premier students at UCM, rated‘outstanding’ in general, Greek, Latin and Spanish literature, as well as in history andadvanced Greek, and Hebrew.Initially, Rizal also wrote for the magazine put out by the Circulo Hispano-Filipino, anassociation of Filipino students and some Spaniards who had stayed in Philippines.When, with the association’s dissolution, it folded up for lack of financial support, hethought of coming up with a book, with Filipino expatriates in Europe-not just in Spain,each contributing an article on Philippines concerns. Quietly, he began actual work on the
 Noli me Tangere
later in 1884. To improve himself, Rizal travelled in Europe and he wasexposed to a vast range of idea, meeting with people from all walks of life, political persuasions, and religious beliefs.His novel was ready for publication in February 1887.
 Noli me Tangere
came off the press the following month. He sent his first copies to his friends., Curiously, he also sentindividual copies to the governor-general of the Philippines and the archbishop of Manila,a gesture which could only underline his guilelessness, convinced he was of utter justness

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