Calamba's Most Famous Son

Dr. Jose Rizal

Source: Austin Coate's Rizal: Makabayan at Martyr

Dr. Rizal: The Man, His Works and His Writings

Jose Mercado Rizal was born in Calamba on June 16, 1861 to Francisco Mercado Rizal and Teodora Alonzo Realonda. He was the seventh child of eleven children. The Rizal family was one the richest families in Calamba during the times prior to its persecution by the Spanish friars. They were the first to build a large stone house in the town, the first to have a home library, the first to own horse-driven carriage and to even send their children to Manila for their education.  

Thus young Jose secured a degree in Medicine at the University of Madrid in 1884, and subsequently studied at Paris and Germany. His novel "Noli Me Tangere" ("Touch Me Not") (1886), published in Berlin, was a denunciation of the Spanish administration of the Philippines, and caused his exile from the islands soon after his return there in 1887  

He lived in China, Japan, the United States, Britain and France before taking up medical practice in Hong Kong. He published a second political novel, "El Filibusterismo" ("The Rebel") (1891), and on account of it was arrested when he went back to Manila in 1892. 

Sent to reside in Dapitan, Mindanao in 1896, he was transported to Spain, almost immediately returned to Manila, he was charged with instigating a native rebellion, was condemned in a mock trial, and shot by firing squad on December 30, 1896 in Bagumbayan now known as the Rizal Park in Manila.  

Rizal Shrine in Calamba
 

This two-story, red-tiled roof house of Spanish vintage is being maintained by the government. It houses all kinds of Rizalian memorabilia ranging from pictures of the late hero and the women in his life, sculptures by Rizal, to laminated excerpts of some of his written work. This house is by no means all-original.

Except for the well, which is now dry, everything is a reconstruction of the original house of Dr. Rizal. Even then, it has been maintained much of its colonial appeal. The presence of Rizal still seemed to linger in the house.

A guided tour of the house can be conducted for groups. The museum also has a gift shop at the ground floor where one can buy souvenirs. There is no entrance fee but donations are welcome.


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