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José Rizal (1861-1896) was a national hero of the Philippines and the first Asian
nationalist. He expressed the growing national consciousness of many Filipinos who
opposed Spanish colonial tyranny and aspired to attain democratic rights.
José Rizal was born in Calamba, Laguna, on June 19, 1861, to a well-to-do family. He
studied at the Jesuit Ateneo Municipal in Manila and won many literary honors and prizes.
He obtained a bachelor of arts degree with highest honors in 1877. For a time he studied
at the University of Santo Tomas, and in 1882 he left for Spain to enter the
CentralUniversity of Madrid, where he completed his medical and humanistic studies.
In Spain, Rizal composed his sociohistorical novel Noli me tangere (1887), which
reflected the sufferings of his countrymen under Spanish feudal despotism and their
rebellion. His mother had been a victim of gross injustice at the hands of a vindictive
Spanishofficial of the guardia civil. Because Rizal satirized the ruling friar caste and
severely criticized the iniquitous social structure in the Philippines, his book was banned
and its readers punished. He replied to his censors with searing lampoons and diatribes,
such as La vision de Fray Rodriguez and Por telefono. Writing for the Filipino propaganda
newspaper La Solidaridad, edited by Filipino intellectuals in Spain, Rizal fashioned
perceptive historical critiques like La indolencia de los Filipinos (The Indolence of the
Filipinos) and Filipinas dentro de cien años (The Philippines a Century Hence) and wrote
numerous polemical pieces in response to current events.
Of decisive importance to the development of Rizal’s political thought was the ageold agrarian trouble in his hometown in 1887-1892. The people of Calamba, including
Rizal’s family, who were tenants of an estate owned by the Dominican friars, submitted a
“memorial” to the government on Jan. 8, 1888, listing their complaints and grievances
about their exploitation by the religious corporation. After a long court litigation, the
tenants lost their case, and Governor Valeriano Weyler, the “butcher of Cuba,” ordered
troops to expel the tenants from their ancestral farms at gunpoint and burn the houses.
Among the victims were Rizal’s father and three sisters, who were later deported.
Rizal arrived home on Aug. 5, 1887, but after 6 months he left for Europe in the
belief that his presence in the Philippines was endangering his relatives. The crisis in
Calamba together with the 1888 petition of many Filipinos against rampant abuses by the
friars registered a collective impact in Rizal’s sequel to his first book, El
filibusterismo (1891).
Rizal’s primary intention in both books is expressed in a letter to a friend (although
this specifically refers to the first book): “I have endeavored to answer the calumnies

planned town improvements. Rizal rushed to Hong Kong for the purpose of ultimately going back to Manila.” The day of Rizal’s execution. For 4 years Rizal remained in exile in Dapitan. wrote. Then he successfully petitioned the Spanish government to join the Spanish army in Cuba as a surgeon. workers. our griefs. The Liga.which for centuries had been heaped on us and our country. I have unmasked hypocrisy which. which spearheaded the 1896 revolution against Spain. though it inspired Andres Bonifacio. the Philippine revolution broke out. under the guise of religion. to organize the first Filipino revolutionary party. His enemies in the government and Church were operating behind the scenes. Rizal perceived the internal contradictions of the system as the source of social development concretely manifested in the class struggle. our desires. So I am going to die with a tranquil conscience. and tried for false charges of treason and complicity with the revolution. Rizal still continues to inspire the people. 1892. built a school and waterworks. and intellectuals. His radical humanist outlook forms part of the ideology of national democracy which Filipino nationalists today consider the objective of their revolutionary struggle. the Katipunan.” In El filibusterismo. our grievances. imprisoned. by his exemplary selflessness and intense patriotic devotion. a reformist civic association designed to promote national unity and liberalism. our hopes. Dec. who is the product of the decadent feudal system. 1892. our beliefs. Rizal predicted the outbreak of a mass peasant revolution by showing how the bourgeois individualist hero of both novels. founded on July 3. Mindanao. but on his way to Spain to enlist. and he was convicted. on July 7. works only for his personal and diabolic interests. signifies for many Filipinos the turning point in the long history of Spanish domination and the rise of a revolutionary people desiring freedom. a Manila worker. independence. and carried out scientific experiments. BIOGRAPHY OF GRACIANO LOPEZ JAENA Graciano López y Jaena (December 18. 1896) . Rizal was arrested and deported to Dapitan. and Rizal was returned from Spain.January 20. The day before he was executed he wrote to a friend: “I am innocent of the crime of rebellion. did not survive. 30. the life. 1856 . and justice. Anguished at the plight of his family. where he practiced ophthalmology. 1896. I have described the social condition. especially the peasants. came to impoverish and to brutalize us…. Here he conceived the idea of establishing a Filipino colony in Borneo and drafted the constitution of the Liga Filipina (Philippine League).

However he was directed to the San Juan de Dios Hospital as an apprentice. financial backing ran out and his poor parents could not afford to keep him in Manila. His father. along with Marcelo H. Of these three López Jaena was the first to arrive and may be said the Genesis of the Propaganda movement. as his mother was a seamstress and his father a general repairman. While studying at this seminary. del Pilar and José Rizal. However he got into trouble for refusing to testify that certain prisoners died of natural causes when it was obvious that they had died at the hands of the mayor of Pototan. His mother." Rizal countermanded. López Jaena continued to agitate for justice and finally left for Spain when threats were made on his life. López Jaena served as a secretary to an uncle. Once Rizal reproached Lopéz Jaena for not finishing his medical studies. There he was to become a leading literary and oratorical spokesman for the cause of Filipino freedom. His parents were poor. During this time his visits with the poor and the common people began to stir deep feelings about the injustices that were common. had been to school and his mother was quite religious. Graciano replied. "On the shoulders of slaves should not rest a doctor's cape. Unfortunately. as the triumvirate of Filipino propagandists. Iloilo to Placido López and Maria Jacoba Jaena. "The shoulders do not honor the doctor's cape. Historians regard López Jaena. He even took charge of some minor matters that were brought to that office.Jaena was born to in Jaro. Despite his mother's desires." This naturally incurred the fury of the friars who knew that the story depicted them. however. He pursued his medical studies at the school of medicine at the University of Valencia but did not finish the course. He returned to Iloilo and practiced medicine in outlying communities with such knowledge as he had. Here again. young Graciano was placed under the watch of Father Francisco Jayme who noted his intellectual promise. Botod’s false piety "always [had] the Virgin and God on his lips no matter how unjust and underhanded his acts are. feeling that the priesthood was the most noble of occupations and sent him to the Seminario de San Vicente Ferrer in Jaro which had been opened under the brief liberal administration of Governor General Carlos de la Torre. Although it was not published a copy circulated in the region but the Friars could not prove that López Jaena was the author. López Jaena sailed for Spain. Claudio López who was honorary vice consul of Portugal in Iloilo. his talents were noted. especially his gift of speech. At the age of six." . At the age of 18 he had the audacity to write the story "Fray Botod" which depicted a fat and lecherous priest. it was Graciano’s ambition to be a physician and he finally convinced his mother that this was the better course of action. He sought enrollment at the University of Santo Thomas but was denied admission because the required Bachelor of Arts degree was not offered at the seminary in Jaro. but the doctor's cape honors the shoulders.

I do not know for sure whether he loves politics in order to deliver speeches or he loves literature to be a politician.a stance that perhaps influenced the future constitutions of the Philippines. their illustrious and privileged class gave Del Pilar the opportunity to pursue higher education. López Jaena died of tuberculosis on January 20. He died in poverty just shy of his fortieth birthday and two and a half years before the declaration of independence from Spain by Emilio Aguinaldo. BIOGRAPHY OF MARCELO H. He . he obtained his law degree in the University of Santo Tomas. Previously. ". Del Pilar often stages movements for the overthrow of the friars in the Philippines. He was good at playing musical instruments such as the violin. However. one of the richest families in town.He then moved to the field of journalism. journalist and propagandist best known for his meticulous and liberal writings against the tyrannical government and Church officials in the Philippines during the 19th century Spanish occupation. lazy. 1850 in Cupang. Early in his writing career.Del Pilar. Hence. His father Don Julián Hilario del Pilar served as a gobernadorcillo (municipal mayor. piano and flute. Del Pilar sough for the separation of the state and the Church . Del Pilar would often denounce both the Church and the government in his speeches done in front of busy crowds in flee markets. "His great love is politics and literature. a deafening ovation followed the close of the peroration. Del Pilar already displayed a high degree of intellect. formed the triumvirate of the La Solidaridad. Unfortunately. Bulacan." Rizal noted. Often careless and.. he took and finished his Bachelor of Arts degree in Colegio de San Jose. del Pilar and on December 30th of José Rizal by firing squad. cockpit arenas and town plazas. DEL PILAR Marcelo H. 1896." In addition he is remembered for his literary contributions to the propaganda movement.. along with fellow patriots Jose Rizal and Graciano Lopez Jaena. and the men applauded frantically as they stood up from their seats in order to embrace the speaker. La Solidaridad (Solidarity). In 1881. a newspaper who advocates the Filipino cause in the Spanish parliament. the land of the brave and Filipino poets. Mariano Ponce who was another of the Filipino propagandists in Spain observed.) Thus. Bulacan. his friends would forgive him these indiscretions due to his appeal with words and oratory. His death was followed on July 4th by Marcelo H. He founded the fortnightly newspaper. he had disputes over some of the friars because of his nationalistic and liberal ideas that were against the abusive nature of the friars. It must be said that López Jaena had his faults. thus ending the great triumvirate of propagandists. Del Pilar was a Filipino writer. When the publication office moved from Barcelona to Madrid the editorship went to Marcelo H. the ladies waved their kerchiefs wildly. del Pilar. Del Pilar came from the family of Gatmaitan. Early in his childhood. Del Pilar was born on August 30. he perhaps enjoyed the café life of Barcelona and Madrid a bit too much. indeed.

hoping that this move will foster equality among the indios and the Spanish meztizos. Del Pilar seemingly issues his support over the possibility of an armed conflict. In one issue. Del Pilar sailed to Spain due to the tensions arising between him and the corporation of the friars. On the other hand. Del Pilar also advocates the recognition of the Philippines as a province of Spain.depicts the abusive friars who seemingly hold powers quite similar to that of the governor general. Del Pilar died in Barcelona on July 4. 1896 . Hence. signaling the start of an armed revolution. the last issues of the La Solidaridad. he took note of the government's failure in delivering prosperity in the archipelago that was first promised by the blood compact between Spanish explorer and first Spanish Governor-General Miguel Lopez de Legaspi and Datu Sikatuna of Bohol. the newspaper pushed for drastic reforms such as the expulsion of the polo (community service) and the automatic sale of local products to the government. Shortly. Moreover. no longer pushed equality through peaceful means. . While in Spain.just around one month before the Cry of Pugad Lawin. Under his tutelage. he succeeded Lopez-Jaena as the editor-in-chief of the La Solidaridad.