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Rizals first essay, The Love of Country, was written when he was 21 and
newlyarrived in Madrid. It was published under the name of Laong Laan on 20
August 1882 in
Diarong Tagalog,
a Philippine newspaper, then on 31 October 1890 in
La Solidaridad,
Madrid.This essay is a poignant dissertation of what Rizal calls a beautiful but
hackneyedsubject, love of country. In crystallizing his concept on love of country,
Rizal reveals a foretasteof the style and substance of his novels. He could have had
Maria Clara and Sisa in mreind whenhe described the country as enveloped in
morning clouds and mist, always beautiful and poetic,and the more idolized by her
sons when they are absent and far away from her.Love of country is the purest,
most heroic and most sublime human sentiment. It isgratitude, it is affection for
everything that reminds us of something of the first days of our life; itis the land
where our ancestors are sleeping. Love of country is never effaced once it has
penetrated the heart, because it carries with it a divine stamp which renders it
eternal andimperishable. Of all loves, that of country is the greatest, the most
heroic and the mostdisinterested. Some have sacrificed for her their youth, their
pleasures; others have dedicated toher the splendors of their genius; others shed
their blood; all have died, bequeathing to their Motherland an immense future:
liberty and glory.This idea of dying for the country reverberated in Rizals writings.
In a letter to MarianoPonce, he declared:If one has to die, at least one must die in
his own country, by his country and for hiscountry.A year later, Rizal decided to
return to the Philippines, the first step that would ultimatelylead to his death for
country:I believe that it is now the opportune time for me to return to the Philippines
and sharewith them all the dangers. For I have always been of the opinion that I can
do more in mycountry than abroad. What good have I done in these three years,
and what evil had occurred because I was in my country.
Rizals Love for the Motherland
OUR national hero, Jose Rizal, loved his country deeply. He had been to free, lovely,
prosperous, and developed nations, yet he always preferred to return to his own.
Love of country, the native land, the motherland, and the land of birth this was the
very character that defined his personality.
He was about 21 years old when he went to Spain for the first time in May 1882.
While traveling, he recorded in his diary that his motherland was the seat of all his
affection and that he loved it that no matter how beautiful Europe would be, he
would still like to go back to her (Reminiscences and Travels of Jose Rizal,
Centennial Edition, Manila: Jose Rizal National Centennial Commission, 1961, pp. 44,

Days after he arrived in Barcelona in June 1882, he wrote the

essay El Amor Patrio (Love of Country), which contained the reasons behind that
deep fondness for his land of birth. He wrote:
It is a very natural feeling because there in our country are our first memories of
childhood, a merry ode, known only in childhood, from whose traces spring forth the
flower of innocence and happiness; because there slumbers a whole past and a
future can be hoped.
Is it because love of country is the purest, most heroic[,] and most sublime human
sentiment? It is gratitude; it is affection for everything that reminds us of something
of the first days of our life; it is the land where our ancestors are sleeping; it is the
temple where we have worshipped God with the candor of babbling childhood; it is
the sound of the church bell which had delighted us since [we were children]; they
are the vast fields, the blue lake, the picturesque banks of the river? (Rizals Prose,
Centennial Edition, Manila: Jose Rizal National Centennial Commission, 1962, pp. 16,
Rizal added that love of country was a great emotion that had been sung for
centuries by all men, free or slaves, because it: is never effaced once it has
penetrated the heart, because it carries with it a divine stamp which renders it
eternal and imperishable. It has been said that love has always been the most
powerful force behind the most sublime actions. Well then, of all loves, that of
country is the greatest, the most heroic[,] and the most disinterested (ibid., p. 18).
Rizal asked the readers to read history, the annals, and the traditions to find that
because of this love:? Some have sacrificed for her their youth, their pleasures;
others have dedicated to her the splendor of their genius; others shed their blood;
all have died, bequeathing to their Motherland an immense fortune: Liberty and
glory? (ibid., p. 19).
This essay first appeared in the Manila-based periodical Diariong Tagalog (Tagalog
Paper) on August 20, 1882. It inspired a plebeian Manileno named Andres Bonifacio
to write a poem faithfully echoing it. Titled Pag-ibig Sa Tinubuang Lupa (Love of the
Native Land), Bonifacios long Tagalog poem was published in the Katipunan
newspaper Kalayaan(Liberty) in its first issue dated January 18, 1896. Its first, sixth,
seventh, and eight stanzas were taken from the preceding passages
of El Amor Patrio. Those stanzas contained the following lines:
What other love that can surpass/In purity and in greatness,/The love of the native
land?/What other love? No, none there is.
Why? What immense possession is this/That all obedience to her is tendered?/And
to make her more esteemed ever,/Sacrificed even a life so sacred.
Ah! It is the native Land of birth;/She is the mother, and from her only/Was first
seen the pleasant rays of the sun/That gives warmth to the callused body.
Owed to her is the very first taste/Of the breeze that gives remedy/To the
aggrieved heart that struggles/In the depths of grief and agony.

Bonifacio rewrote Rizalslove of country is the greatest, the most heroic, and the
most disinterested love? into a more effective no other love can surpass, in purity
and in greatness, the love of the native land.?
Rizals motherland is so loved that her sons and daughters sacrificed their youth,
their pleasures, their genius, and even their blood for her became Bonifacios the
motherland is an immense possession that to her all obedience is tendered and
even life is sacrificed.?
Rizalss in our country are the first memories of childhood and the memories of the
first days of our life was paraphrased by Bonifacio into from the mother only was
first tasted breeze and seen the pleasant rays of the sun.
Bonifacio was only 18 years old when he read El Amor Patrio for the first time
in Diariong Tagalog. This was the first of Rizals works that would shape and sharpen
his political convictions.
El Amor Patrio was the most beautiful essay that Rizal wrote. It was the first piece
that dawned on the Filipinos one of the bright lights that they needed thenthe
concept of nationhood and love of country, or the idea that Filipinos had their own
native land to mind and love, and that land was the Philippines, not Spain.
Never before had Filipinos read about giving care and love for their nation. They did
not have any sense of this virtue before. El Amor Patrio was full of fiery endearment
and just concern for the country. Its messages and wisdom urged the Filipinos to
invest their time, strength, and knowledge for her.
This essay captured the attention it deserved. The publisher of Diariong
Tagalog informed Rizal that the papers editorial staff and Manilas enlightened
groups poured praises on it, affirming that no one in the Philippines and Spain could
write an equal literary work so full of opportune concepts and poetic images
(Rizals Correspondence with Fellow Reformists, Centennial Edition, Manila: National
Heroes Commission, 1963, p. 7).
It created a lasting impact on the hearts of those who had read it, an impact that
rubbed off on their principles.
Regarding this article, Rizals brother-in-law, Silvestre Ubaldo, cautioned him in a
letter dated January 19, 1883: The news I have heard about you is that you are
allegedly hated by those in white robes [friars] because of what was published
in Diariong Tagalog, which you wrote while you were still in Barcelona; so take care
there; it is advisable that you be careful as it seems that you are now in their black
list (Letters Between Rizal and Family Members, Centennial Edition, Manila:
National Heroes Commission, 1964, p. 75).
El Amor Patrio led Rizal to become an enemy of the Church and Statethe
Spaniards were now keeping an eye on him. On the contrary, it enabled him to rise
as the future political leader of the Filipinos and to father Filipino nationalism.
Rizal wanted to express that love for the country by bringing enlightenment to his
countrymen, by working with them, by encouraging them to maintain their virtues,

by helping them attain development, and by devoting himself to the sciences and
the study of his countrys history and culture (The Rizal-Blumentritt
Correspondence, Centennial Edition, Manila: Jose Rizal National Centennial
Commission, 1961, Part 1, pp. 21, 38, 196; Part 2, p. 344).
He felt that it was his duty to work for his fellow Filipinos because the philosophy of
his entire life had been that love for the nation and her moral and material progress
(Miscellaneous Correspondence, Centennial Edition, Manila: National Heroes
Commission, 1963, p. 167). Even if he died for this duty, he would prefer such death
because: We die only once[,] and if we do not die well, we lose a great opportunity
which will never come up again (Rizals Correspondence with Fellow Reformists, p.
His love for the country was very evident in his desires to always go back to her.
Europe was a lovable, free, cultured, and civilized continent; yet he decided to leave
it, feeling that it was in his own land where he would be more useful. His friends and
compatriots were keeping him from returning, warning him that his destruction was
awaiting him there. He did not listen to them because there was that strong urge to
be in the place his heart found satisfying for him, beside his loved ones (The RizalBlumentritt Correspondence, Part 1, pp. 75, 96, 106). He returned to the country in
August 1887.
When he was back in Europe again in May 1888, his longing to return again to the
country kept inflaming in his heart. Europe to him seemed not suited to his
definition of a worthy life. He would rather prefer to offer his life for his fellow
Filipinos than stay there forever to lead a pleasurable life (ibid., Part 2, p. 373).
By 1891, he found Europe already becoming burdensome to him (ibid., p. 416). He
would totally desert it to breathe in a new environment. He returned to the
Philippines for the second time in June 1892 to realize his dreams for her.
Rizals love for the motherland meant absolute independence for the country, and
for the people: honor and dignity, freedoms and righteousness, education and
enlightenment, virtues and character, labor and industry, enrichment of their
customs and traditions, studies of their rich history, and devotion to sciences and
It meant paying back all his debts of gratitude to her because in the natural
landscapes and beauties of her tropical paradise, he first felt the strength of the sun
and the touch of its rays.
It meant his parents, brother, sisters, relatives, and friends who gave him the love
that he needed, the learning that he sought, the care when he was sick, the
sympathy when he was in pains, and the laughter when he was in good times.
It meant staying in his country of origin (or going back to her if he was abroad),
where he would work at the prime of his life, reminisce at old age, and wait to die
because in her earth his ancestors were quietly reposed.

It meant a strong preference for universal peace because it suggested that if one
loved his country, he must not injure other nations. Knowing that there would be
hatred and retaliation against his beloved motherland once he injured others, he
would refrain from doing it if he truly loved her.
Rizals love for the motherland meant knowing and cherishing who he was, where
he came from, and what he could offer to her. He performed them all with his mind,
heart, and spirit.
Lucky is a nation whose people love her because those people are proud of her and
have beliefs in their own ability, her leaders prioritize the common good, there is no
brain drain as most of those people do not abandon her but pour their talents for
her (not for others), there is no financial outflow because her capitalists invest their
wealth primarily for her (not for others), and constructive corrections of social
defects are applied.
That was what Rizal did. He always thought of his native land, worked for her, cared
for her, always returned to her, and even died for her. Although there is no longer a
need to die in fighting for the country nowadays, there is at all times the need to
work and care for her

What we will here discuss has an element of beauty, and for that matter it
is a commonplace topic-love of country. It has caught the imagination of the
sage, the poet, the artist, the tiller, the merchant, the warrior, all whether old
or young, ldng or slave. Everyone has dedicated the treasures of heart and
mind to the fatherland. Everyondm cultured Europeans, free and proud
of their glorious history, to black Africans plucked from the forests and shamefully
sold as slaves; from ancient avilizations which survive in melancholic
ruins memo^ their triumphs and defeats, to modem nations throbbing
with motion and lif+everyone has worshipped the fatherland like an idol,
fair, brilliant and sublime, but at the same time implacable, stern and demanding.
In praise of one's country, songs in a thousand languages have risen
and music in most melodious strains has filled the air. The sharpest of minds
and the most inspired of geniuses have regaled her with their brilliance. The

beloved country has been the rallying point in the struggle for peace, love and
glory, for she occupies the minds of all and, like light from limpid crystal,
scatters rap of bdiance in all directions.
Is the behavior of our forebears reason for us to shy away from this obsession?
Can we match in some small way the dedication of the past, we whose
only misfortune was to have been born late in history? Does the nineteenth
century give w the right to be ungrateful? By no means. The heart is a rich
mine whose resources have not been exhausted, its memory forever fertile;
and however little inspired we may be, we will find in the recesses of our soul
if not priceless metal, at least a humble coin, which notwithstanding its size
will fire enthusiasm and give expression to our sentiments. Therefore, in the
fashion of the Hebrews of old who made offerings of the first fruits of their
labor of low, we exiles in a foreign land will dedicate our first wrds to our
country shrouded in clouds and morning mists, ever fair and poetic, ever more
the object of idol worship the longer our absence and distance from her shores.
Do not be surprised, for these sentiments are but natural. For in the land of
our birth the memory of our earliest years still lingers like an enchanted fairy
taking a stroll, visible only to the eyes of children, the flower of innocence and
bliss sprouting at her feet. There the past remains in slumber and we get a
glimpse of the future The woods and plains, wery tme, every bush, every
flower bear the images of people you love; you feel their bmath in the
breeze, hear their song in the sound of the fountains, see their smile
in the brilliance of the sun, sense their anxieties in the troubled howling of
winds at night. With the eyes of the imagination you see in the quiet ancestral
home the family which remembers you and awaits your return, thinking and
worrying about you Fiy, you find poetry, tenderness and love in the sky,
the sun, the seas and forests, and even in the cemetery where a humble grave
waits to receive you back into the womb of the earth. Must it not be some
magic spell which ties our heart to the native soil, beautifies and embellishes

all the land, as it presents to us all objects as full of poetry and feeling and
captures our affections? For whatever be the visage of the beloved country-a
rich and mighty lady clothed in royal purple, with a crown of towers and
laurels on her head; or a sad and lonely figure dressed in rags, a slave longing
for her enslaved children; or some nymph, beautifid and pretty like the dream
of deluded youth, playing in a garden of delights by the blue sea; or a woman
shrouded in snow somewhere in the north pole awaiting her fate under a
sunless and starless sky; whatever be her name, her age, her fortune-we
always love her as children love their mother even in hunger and poverty.
And how strange it is! The poorer and more miserable we are and the more
we suffer for our country, so much the mom do we venerate and adore her
even to the point of finding joy in our suffering. It has been observed that
inhabitants of mountains and rough valleys and those who saw the light of
day in sad and barren lands have the most vivid recollections of their fatherland
and find in the dties nothing but unbearable tedium which foxes them
to return to their native soil. Is it because the love of country is purest, most
heroic and most sublime? What is it that grips us? Is it the recognition of
familiar placed and the dear memory of eveything connected with our earliest
days? Is it the earth where lie our ancestors in peace, the temple where we
worshipped God with the candor of babbling infants, or the sound of the bell
that cheered us from our youngest years? The wide fields or the blue lake
surrounded by its picturesque shores where we sailed in a light boat? Or the
clear stream flowing by a happy hut, like a nest of love, surrounded by flowers,
or the tall mountains that produce this sweet emotion in us? Could it be
the storm that unleashed, whips and knocks everything in its path, or the
thunderbolt which from the hand of the Almighty hurls down with destructive
fury? Could it be the heavy rains and the waterfalls, reminders of the law
of perpetual motion and the cycle of continuing threat to Me? Could it not be
that all these pull, capture, and take possession of us?
More than My, it is these beauteous elements and fond memories which

strengthen the bond that ties us to the land of our birth, causing while we are
in our country a sense of well-bein& or when we go away, the pathological
condition of severe depression and cruel nostalgia.
Oh, don't you ever bring sorrow to the stranger that comes to your shores.
Don't you awaken in him vivid memories of his beloved country and the joys
in his home for unfortunately you will induce this illness which will grip him
like a ghost to vanish only when he steps on his native soil again or approaches
his own grave.
Give him not the slightest cause for bierness, for his tendency is to recall
the bliss in his lost home and blow his woes out of proportion.
We are born, grow up, reach old age and die with this pious sentiment.
Love of the country is perhaps the most constant of emotions, if there ever be
anything constant in the human heart, and, it seems, will not leave us wen in
the tomb. In exile, at the prospect of an obscure grave, Napoleon remembered
France, which he loved so dearly, and so willed that his remains be brought
home in the sure hope of finding sweet xepose in his native soil. Ovid, cutting a
still sadder figun?, inasmuch as he knew that not even his ashes would return to
Rome, was consoled in his death agony at Black Sea by the thought that he
would go to the Capitol if not in person, at least in the mading of his verses.
As children we love to play games which we abandon in our adolescent
years. In our youth we work for an ideal, but later we become disillusioned
and turn away from it in favor of something more positive and practical. As
parents we lose children to death and time wipes away our sorrow much like
the widening sea makes the shore vanish from sight as the ship sails into the
deep. In contrast, the love for country is never wiped away once it finds a
place in the human heart, for it bears the divine seal which makes it eternal
and indestructible.
It has always been said that love is an extremely powerful force behind
most noble activities. Well then, of all loves, the love of country has inspired
the grandest, the most heroic and the most selfless of deeds. Do read history

books or historical records and traditions. Go into the history of families.

What saaifices, acts of self-abnegation, and tears have been offered to the
nation as to a deity! From Brutus, who condemned his own sons to death for
treason, to Guzrnan, who out of a sense of duty stopped not the execution of
his family, what dramas, tragedies and martyrdoms have taken place for the
sake of this implacable deity who in exchange for the sacrifice of children
offers nothing but words of gratitude and benediction!
Nonetheless, peoples have erected glorious monuments to the fatherland
with contniutions truly coming from the heart. With the work of their hands
and the sweat of their brow, they watered the ground and made her, l i i a
sacred tree, bear fruit, without reward or even any hope of it.
Look at the reseaxher engraaed in his office He has seen better days; his
sight weakens, his hair becomes white and sparse as his dreams vanish; his
shoulders are bent. He is in search of the truth; he has spent years trying to
solve a problem; he has endured hunger and thirst, cold and heat, sicknesses
and misfortunes. He will soon go to his grave and now in his agony offers to
his country an achievement to add to her crown of glory--a discovery which
will produce untold benefits.
Turn your eyes to the farmer burnt by the sun tilling the stubborn earth
and burying a seed. He too contributes through his modest but useful work to
the glory of the nation.
"The country is in danger!," sounds the alarm. As by a magic command,
soldiers and leaders rise from the land. The father abandons his children, sons
their parents; all rush in defense of the native land, the mother of all. They bid
farewell to their home and peaceful chores, and hide with their helmet the
tears that well from tender hearts. All set forth and die! Perhaps it's a father
blessed with children, fair and smiling like angels, or a young man full of
bright hopes, or a son, or someone in love: it does not matter who. All fight in
the defense of one who gave them lii; they only fulfill their duty. Codrus or
Leonidas or whoever: the fatherland will remember each one forever.

Some have sacrificed theii youth, their pys; others have dedicated the
brilliance of their genius; still others shed their blood. All have bequeathed an
immeasurable fortune, the h i and glory of the beloved country. And what
in turn does she do for them? She weeps and proudly presents them to the
world, to posterity and her children, as worthy of emulation.
But alas, oh beloved country, if there shine heroic virtues in your honor,
and superhuman sacrifices are offered in your name, how many injustices still
Alas, how many have suffered and died in your name, which others have
taken in vain to free the fatherland from conquerors-from Jesus Christ who
out of great love came to the world for the good of humanity and died for all
in defense of the laws of his own beloved country, down to the unknown victims
of modern revolutions! How many victims of rancor, ambition or ignorance
have breathed their last, blessing you and wishing every good fortune!
Fair and majestic is the beloved country when at the sound of battle her
sons give of themselves in deknse of the ancient soil of their forebears.
and proud is she when from on high she watches the foreign aggressors
flee in dread of the invincible column of her sons. By the same token,
when her sons, divided into opposite camps, destroy one another, when anger
and rancor devastate fields, towns and cities, she takes off her mantle, throws
away the scepter and dresses in black to mourn for her dead children.
Whatever be then our situation, let us love her and wish her nothing but
her good. Thus we will work for that end which God has wished for all
humankind, universal harmony and peace in all creation.
You whose ideals of the past are lost, you whose hearts are wounded and
whose dreams have vanished one by one, you are like the trees of autumn
without flowers and leaves, and wishing to love, you find nothing worthy of
your affections: here is your native land; love her.
You who have lost father or mother or brother or spouse or child, or a

beloved on whom you were building your dreams, and find within yourselves
nothing but a vast and terrifying emptiness: here is your own country,
love her as she deserves.
Love her, yes, not in the ways of old through rough deeds rejected and
condemned by genuine morality and mother nature, but rather, by doing
away with all display of fanaticism, destructiveness and cruelty. The rosy
dawn rises in the horizon, scattering sweet and quiet rays of light, harbinger
of life and peetrue dawn of Christianity announcing happy and tranquil
days, It is our duty to tread the hard but peaceful and productive paths of
science which lead to progress and ultimately to the union which Jesus Christ
wished and prayed for on the night of his passion.
LAONG LAANBarcelona, June 1882.

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