Rizal: Return to the Philippines (MANILA) The stunning beauty of the European lands did not stop Rizal from continuously adoring his native land. After the Noli Me Tangere was published, he decided to return to Calamba despite the many warnings he received from friends and relatives alike. He had four reasons for returning to the Philippines: 1. to perform an operation on Dona Teodora's eyes; 2. to defend his oppressed countrymen more effectively than doing so in a foreign land; 3. to find out how his Noli was received by the Filipinos and Spaniards; and 4. to know the reason for Leonor Rivera's long silence.
Aboard the steamer Djemnah, Rizal sailed to the East via the Suez Canal on June 3, 1887 and reached Saigon on the 30th of July. From Saigon, he boarded the steamer Hayfong bound for Manila. He arrived in Manila on August 5, 1887. Several days later, Rizal performed an operation on the eyes of her mother. Word spread about his expertise that patients started coming in but Rizal did not only concentrate in treating his patients. He initiated sports like sipa, arnis, and fencing in the hope of weaning his townspeople, who dubbed him as Dr. Uleman (German) since he came from Germany, from gambling and other vices.
Used to having outdoor activities, he explored the fields, hills, and mountains. He hoisted a banner on Mt. Makiling. Since the publication of his first novel, Rizal’s life in the Philippines became different. Regarding his novel Noli Me Tangere, Rizal met Governor General Emilio Terrero who informed him of the charges against him. As a defense, Rizal told Terrero that the Noli only exposes the reality, Not having read the book yet and out of curiosity, the governor general asked for a copy of the controversial novel, which he later confessed that he enjoyed reading. He saw no problem on the book, yet to protect Rizal's life hich was then in danger, he assigned Jose Taviel de Andrade, a young Spanish lieutenant, as Rizal's personal bodyguard. Soon enough, the attackers and defenders of the novel resurfaced. Realizing that his family's and friends' safety were at risked; and that his fight against the Spaniards have better chance of winning if he'd stay abroad, Rizal, six months after, finally decided to sail back to Europe. Before his departure, a friend from Lipa City, Batangas asked of him a poem dedicated to the industrious workers in their town. Privileged, Rizal wrote the Himno Al Trabajo (Hymn to Labor). (Manila – East Asia)
On February 3, 1888, Rizal left Manila. He sailed to Hong Kong, where he met Jose Ma. Basa. From Macao, he sailed to Japan, the United States, and in England. In Japan, the Spanish government offered Rizal a job as interpreter but he chose to be on his own. After staying for almost two months in Japan where he learned about Japanese arts, language and culture, he sailed to America. He left Japan on February 28, 1888 aboard the SS Belgic. He arrived in San Francisco on April 18, 1888, lodged at the Palace Hotel and then took a transcontinental train to the US East Coast via Chicago and the Niagara Falls in Lake Ontario.
He stayed at the Fifth Avenue Hotel in New York for a while and sailed for England aboard the SS City of Rome, arriving at the Liverpool on May 24, 1888. During his travels in different countries, Rizal was romantically linked with different women. Among the first of these ladies were: O-sei-san, a beautiful Japanese girl of noble descent, who became his faithful guide and interpreter; He Spoke Spanish, French, German, English, Dutch, Greek, Latin and Tagalog. He had knowledge of Ilocano, Visayan, Russian, Sanskrit, Arabic, Swedish, Hebrew, Malayan, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese and Italian. East Asia - Great Britain/England) While in London, he chose to stay there to improve his English ; Rizal copied Antonio Morga’s Sucesos de las Islas Filipina, published in 1609, which he planned to annotate. It was during this work that he became acquainted with Dr. Reinhold Rost, a librarian and editor of Trubner’s Record. Rizal busied himself with other works while in England; he wrote the “Vision of Father Rodriguez” and “Letter to the Young Women of Malolos,” both published in 1889. There in London, he stayed with an English family. There he met Gertrude Beckett, yet another woman who grew fond of Rizal.
In London, Rizal received both good news and bad news from home. The good news was that Rev. Vicente Garcia was defending his Noli from the attacks of the friars. On the other hand, the bad news were that the Filipino signatories of the “Petition of 1888” and the tenants of the Calamba agrarian trouble were facing persecution; that his brothers-in-law, Manuel T. Hidalgo and Mariano Herbosa, were exiled to Bohol and was denied Christian burial, respectively; and his friend, Laureano Viado, a UST medical student, was imprisoned for possessing a copy of his Noli.
During his stay in this country, Rizal also made used of his time in writing essays and articles for the La Solidaridad. On June 12, 1889, with Filipino and Spanish friends, they founded the Asociacion Hispano-Filipino which aimed for union and reforms. After ten months, Rizal left London and departed for Paris. (Great Britain/England – Paris, France) In Paris, Rizal continued his study on various languages and practiced his artistic skills, and finished two statues - “The Beggar” and “The Maid with A Basket. ” He organized a social club called Kidlat Club which brought together young Filipinos residing in France.
Soon, the members of the said club founded a new Filipino society – the Indios Bravos, an organization which envisioned Filipinos being recognized by Spain for being excellent in various fields of knowledge. By January 1890, Rizal's annotation of the Sucesos de las Islas Filipina, published in 1609, was finally printed and published by the Garnier Freres. (Paris, France – Belgium) On January 18, 1890 Rizal arrived at Belgium With his roommate, Jose Albert and celebrated Christmas in Paris on January 23, 1890.
Shortly after New Year, he visited London for the last time and on January 28, 1890, left Paris for Brussels. With Albert, they left the extravagant and gay social life in Paris and stayed in a boarding house owned by the Jacoby sisters in Brussels. Rizal continued contributing for La Solidaridad under the pseudonyms Dimas Alang and Laong Laan. In Belgium, Rizal lived in poverty. The printing of his second novel, El Filibusterismo, a sequel of Noli Me Tangere, was stopped because of financial constraints until Valentin Ventura, a rich compatriot, came to his aid.
Thus the book came out of the press on September 18, 1891. Depressing news reached him from home. His sweetheart Leonor Rivera married Engineer Kipping; and From Calamba, Rizal received letters telling that the agrarian trouble in the province was getting worse, and as such, he decided to go home. But instead of going home, a letter from Paciano told him that they already lost the case against the Dominicans and they were in need of a lawyer who would defend their family and the families in Calamba from Madrid.
Rizal traveled to Madrid to seek justice but in vain – he could not find the right person and he heard that his family was already evicted from their land in Calamba and other family members were banished to Mindoro and Manila. (Belgium – Madrid, Spain) Rizal had many misadventures in Madrid. For one, he challenged Antonio Luna and Wenceslao Retana in a duel. With Luna, it was about the latter's frustration with his unsuccessful “love affair” with Nellie Boustead, and so gave negative remarks on the lady which Rizal did not tolerated.
The other encounter was with Retana who had insulted Rizal and his family by writing in La Epoca, an anti-Filipino newspaper, that the Rizal family in Calamba was ejected from their lands because they did not pay their rents. It is also from this city where Rizal heard the news of Leonor Rivera's marriage with Henry Kipping, a British engineer, one of the builders of the Manila-Dagupan Railway system in 1890, which terribly broke his heart. Another marked event in Madrid was the Marcelo H. del Pilar-Jose Rizal rivalry for leadership in the Asociacion Hispano Filipino.
A faction emerged from the Filipinos in Madrid, the Rizalistas and Pilaristas, Rizal and del Pilar's compatriots, respectively, during the organization's election. Losing the election, Rizal decided to go back home, fearing that his presence may result to bigger and stronger faction among the Filipinos in Madrid. (Madrid, Spain – Back to Hong Kong) After the Fili was published, Rizal left Europe. Aboard the S. S. Melbourne, he sailed to Hongkong where he lived for seven months. His reasons for venturing to Hongkong were the following : . to leave behind his rivalry with del Pilar; 2. to facilitate a Propaganda Movement in Hongkong; and 3. to be proximate to his family in the Philippines. On November 20, 1891, Rizal arrived in Hongkong and was cordially welcomed by the Filipino residents in the city, particularly, his friend Jose Ma. Basa. He resided at No. 5 D' Aguilar Street, No. 2 Rednaxela Terrace and opened a medical clinic there. Rizal had a continued correspondence with his family in Calamba and had been aware of the unsettled agrarian problem.
Through a letter from his brother-in-law, Manuel T. Hidalgo, he had been informed of the deportation of twenty-five persons in Calamba, including the Rizal family. This news made Rizal even more desperate to return to Manila, but his sorrow was replaced by surprise when his family visited him in Hongkong and celebrated the 1891 Christmas with him. While in Hongkong, Rizal practiced his medical career. With the help of his friend, Dr. Lorenzo P. Marquez, they built a large clientele and opened a medical clinic where he was recognized as an excellent eye surgeon.
He was equally supported and aided both morally and financially by his family and friends with his chosen career. Another marked event during Rizal's stay in Hongkong was his plan to move the landless Filipinos to Borneo and transform the said wilderness into a “New Calamba” through the so called Borneo Colonization Project. In April 1892, he visited Borneo and negotiated with the British authorities who are willing to provide 100,000 acres of land for the Filipinos. Many Filipino patriots found this project amusing, thus, promoted the said project.
However, there were a number who objected it, one of which was Rizal's brother-in-law, Hidalgo. Twice did Rizal write a letter addressed to Governor General Eulogio Despujol informing his Borneo colonization project, with whom he received no response. Instead, Despujol commanded the Spanish consul-general in Hongkong to notify Rizal that such project was very unpatriotic, and by immigrating Filipinos to Borneo, the Philippines will surely be lacking of laborers and that saying it was impractical for Filipinos to develop foreign territories when the Philippines itself needed development.
Despite the many oppositions from friends and relatives, he decided to return to Manila on the following reasons: 1. to discuss with Governor General Despujol his Borneo colonization project; 2. to form the La Liga Filipina in the Philippines; and 3. to prove that Eduardo de Lete's allegations on him and his family in Calamba were wrong. Before his departure, he wrote three more letters – the first addressed to his parents and friends; the second one, to the Filipinos; and the last to Governor General Eulogio Despujol.
Instead of having the protection he desired, Rizal and his sister, Lucia, fell into the Spanish trap – a case was secretly filed against Rizal, and Despujol ordered his secretary, Luis de la Torre, to verify whether the patriot had naturalized himself as German citizen or not. And so the siblings sailed across the China Sea without prior knowledge of what awaits them in the Philippines. (Back to the Philippines from Hong Kong) On June 26, 1892, he arrived in Manila with his sister Lucia aboard the SS Don Juan.
Few days after, on July 3, he founded the La Liga Filipina in the house of Doroteo Ongjunco on Ilaya Street in Tondo, Manila. The association was aimed to unite the Filipinos and for them to help each other in times of need, and to encourage them to be educated and trained in agriculture. The association was, however, short lived for after a few days of its founding, Rizal was arrested on flimsy charges. One of which was the leaflet entitled Pobres Frailes, a sarcastic allusion to the friars found on his baggage when he arrived from Hong Kong.
Governor General Despujol published in the Gazette the reasons for his arrest and copies were forwarded to the Spanish Embassy in Hong Kong for circulation. The British Consul commented on the strange reasons for his arrest. The editor of the Hong Kong Telegraph devoted an entire column of the newspaper on the sad news of his detention. On July 17, 1892, Rizal was deported to Dapitan under the watchful eye of Ricardo Carnicero, the military commandant of Dapitan. One who never allowed time to be spent idly, Rizal busied himself with activities that were also beneficial to others.
He established a clinic, a school, and constructed a water system. He bought tracts of land from his lottery winning and developed it into a farm. Loneliness impelled him to write Mi Retiro but reflected the strength of his spirit when he composed the hymn “Talisay. ” During his stay in Dapitan, he was visited by Dr. Pio Valenzuela; Dr. Pio was ordered by Andres Bonifacio to invite Rizal in leading the Revolution. Rizal declined for he knows that the Filipinos are not yet ready for such a revolution. He showed his adherence for his principles and convictions.
He told Dr. Pio that a country should be ready before it begins to strive for its own independence. “The heroes of today will be the tyrants of tomorrow” the way Rizal sees it. And for a country to be ready to have independence, education is necessary. The leaders should know what they really want to be sure that if one of them gets corrupted, they will be the ones to kick him out. He showed this in his novel El Filibusterismo, when he failed the revolution of Simon. But showed that there is still hope if the Filipinos can just like be Padre Florentino.
He was an educated man; a man who knows how to use wealth and knowledge to his advantage. Rizal wanted Filipinos to fight with their minds not with their hearts. He corresponded unceasingly with Ferdinand Blumentritt and other scientists he met abroad. He gathered specimens of plants and insects and sent them to his scientists friends abroad. His fame as an eye specialist lured patients to visit him in Dapitan. Among the most important was Engineer George Tauffer, who arrived with his foster daughter, Josephine Bracken.
Soon, Josephine became his wife. Having inspired the revolutionary spirit of the Filipinos, Rizal was visited by Pio Valenzuela, an aid of Bonifacio to get his word about an armed uprising against the Spaniards. He was also offered help for his escape but he refused. On July 31, 1896, Rizal sailed to Manila with Josephine, his sister Narcisa and other relatives after the Spanish government took his offer as doctor for the Spanish soldiers fighting against the rebel forces of Jose Marti in Cuba.
Upon reaching Manila, Rizal was informed that his boat to Cuba had already sailed, thus, he was transferred to the Castilla then anchored in Cavite until another boat, the Isla de Panay took him to Singapore. There, Pedro Roxas urged him to leave the boat, assuring him his safety in the British Territory but he refused. On September 30, 1896, while the Isla de Panay was sailing through the Middle East, the ship captain received orders of Rizal’s arrest on charges that he had a hand in the revolution that was already raging in the Philippines.
Thus, Rizal arrived in Barcelona as a prisoner and was briefly detained at the Montjuich Penitentiary. The following day, he was shipped back to the Philippines on the boat Colon. His friends tried to rescue him by court proceedings. While the boat was in Singapore, Dr. Antonio Ma. Regidor and some British lawyers who, through Lord Hugh Fort, filed writ of habeas corpus in the Supreme Court of the Straits Settlements for his release on the ground that he was illegally detained. But Judge Lionel Cox ruled that the Colon was a troopship flying the Spanish Flag and that he was a Spanish subject.
Therefore his case was not under British jurisdiction. Blumentritt wrote Rizal a letter informing him of an epidemic in Cuba,in 1896. Rizal then wanted to go to Cuba and requested for it to the Governor General which was then held by Ramon Blanco. It may seem that Rizal is helping the Spanish government in their war against its colonized nations but there was a hidden agenda on why Rizal wanted to be a volunteer doctor in Cuba. Rizal wanted to learn from the revolution in Cuba of techniques and strategies on how to win a war.
Since he will be sent to the field, he will learn of Spanish war tactics first hand while still practicing his craft. He wanted to know such things to be able to be of help to a Philippine Revolution. He wanted to learn every bit of detail that he can get in order for the Philippines to be ready for war. Unfortunately, Rizal was caught before going to Cuba becuase he was implicated in the Philippine Revolution led by Andres Bonifacio. Rizal was pointed to as the leader of the Revolution because his pictures are present during meetings of the Katipuneros.
To elaborate more, Katipuneros wore bags in their heads to avoid identification, this was a way to protect the members of the organization if in any case one gets caught. Even Andres Bonifacio was not known as the leader. They used the triangle system when recruiting members; a member can only recruit 2 members, and the 2 should not know each other. This was a way to again protect the Katipuneros from getting caught. Another pre-caution of the Katipuneros was to use passwords when gathering meetings, they used Rizal’s pen names. These pre-cautions though led to the pointing of Rizal as the leader of the Revolution.
The masses who got caught by Spanish soldiers; who did not know who the true leader was, pointed Rizal because his picture was present in every meeting and they use his pen names as passwords. This ‘false’ evidences and accusations led to the captivity of Rizal and imprisonment in Fort Santiago. On November 3, 1896, the famous prisoner arrived in Manila and was imprisoned at Fort Santiago. On November 26, he was trialed by the military court on the charges of rebellion, sedition and illegal organization of societies presided by Judge Advocate Enrique Alcocer at the Cuartel de Espana.
Rizal’s defense counsel was Lieutenant Luis Taviel de Andrade, whose efforts to save him failed. He was meted the death penalty. During Rizal’s trial he was still a man ready to die but refused to acknowledge what he does not have done anything into. In his “additions to my defense” he said that: “Regarding the rebellion. From July 6th, 1892, I had absolutely no connection with politics until July 1st of this year when, advised by Don Pio Valenzuela that an uprising was proposed, I counseled against it, trying to convince him with arguments “
On the eve prior to his execution, Rizal wrote the poem, Mi Ultimo Adios, which he hid in the alcohol burner. Hours before his execution, he gave to his sister, Trinidad, the alcohol burner and the book of Thomas Kempis, Imitation of Christ, to his wife. Presumably he retracted masonry; married Josephine Bracken before a priest, with guards as witnesses, and wrote letters to Professor Blumentritt, to his brother Paciano; and to his beloved parents.
On December 30, 1896, he was marched out of Fort Santiago toward Bagumbayan Field. With him were Fathers March and Villaclara and his legal counsel, Luis Taviel de Andrade. Before he was shot, he handed his belt to his nephew, Mauricio. Two years after, on August 17, 1898, his sisters exhumed his remains buried at the Paco Cemetery and kept it at their residence in Binondo before it was finally rested at the monument in his honor at Luneta, now Rizal Park.