National Hero of Philippines: Jose Rizal

1. My dad always tells me that behind every great man is a greater family. Maybe what he meant was no one could be great in life without the help of his family or without his family along with him. This was concretely shown in Rizal’s life. Being the great man that he is, Rizal was brought up by his parents very well that he became almost excellent and great in all that he did.

Way back in my elementary days, we were asked what we would like to be when we grow up. I answered, “My dad is a great, smart and handsome accountant and I wanna be just like him.” I believed that what we turn out to be is patterned on our parents, how we are brought up by them and how our family supports us in what we do. In Rizal’s case, his abilities, I believe, came from his parents. His skills in literature particularly in poems and his skill in speaking Spanish came from the upbringing he got from his mother, Teodora Alonso and his skills in philosophy came from his father, Francisco Mercado.

I admire Rizal’s parents because even if they were part of the principalia, they lived simply and taught their children to live humbly. They exercised their children to be good-mannered, respectful to everyone, disciplined and God-fearing. They were strict to their children and they, just like any other parents, disciplined their children physically because they believed in the saying “Spare the rod and spoil the child”. They also taught Rizal and his siblings to love God above all.

This was concretely shown in their practice of attending mass every day, praying the angelus at home and praying the rosary before going to sleep at night. However, being strict and very religious persons that they are, they let their kids have time for playing. All of that taught Rizal to balance everything in his life, to have time for studying, for God, for him and for his family but still manage to have fun once in a while.

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Based from my experience, I know a lot of people who have very unsupportive family or came from a broken family and who is now unsuccessful in life. All I’m saying is, Rizal would not be what he became if it were not because of the help of his family, especially, his parents.

2. “Sandali lang ha, mag-aaral lang ako sa Rizal para maging accountant ako…” This, I always say, to whomever I am talking to before studying for this subject. Most often, I wonder, what does the Rizal course have to do with my chosen college course, accountancy? Rizal was not an accountant. So why study this? As we started our journey through this course, little by little, I began to understand why we have Rizal in our curriculum. For one reason, it is a law to have a Rizal subject in all the courses of all universities. So, just by this reason, we have no way out from studying this course.

But talking as a Filipino, I believe that we have to study Rizal because if we reflect, what we really know about Rizal are only the 2 novels he made which were Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, that he died because what he wrote were all against the Spaniards and that he is our national hero. But what we do not know is that Rizal is just an ordinary person like us before all that happen and like what Mr. Ungriano said, I believe that there is always a Rizal in every Filipino and I hope to find that Rizal in me with the help of this course.

Rizal’s life, thoughts, ideas, works, principles and convictions are very influential to people’s life. Taking the case of the late Ninoy Aquino into consideration, I believed that he was greatly influenced by Rizal. That’s one example of his influence of his heroism. In this course, we will see how Rizal influenced many Filipinos by his childhood, by how he was brought up by his parents, by how he was as a student, by how well he did in college, etc.

My personal reason why I am interested in studying him is to know why, of all our heroes, he became our national hero. I have been insisting all my life that Andres Bonifacio should be our national hero, because in the first place, he was the one who fought the Spaniards sword-to-sword and he was the one who gathered all Filipino to go against the Spaniards. But there was a point in Bonifacio’s life that I missed. He never won any battle and he surrendered to the Spaniards. Even Aguinaldo, our 1st president, surrendered to the Americans. In the other hand, Rizal, who used only his pen, which was said as a weapon mightier than the sword, in fighting for freedom, never surrendered from a fight even in the last moments in his life.

Lastly, studying Rizal’s life and works is a way of saying thank you to him for all his sacrifices and deep sense of nationalism that greatly contributed and led to our country’s freedom. Maybe one thing that we should really work on is our love for our country and who knows, someone in our generation might be the next Rizal. As what I have said, Rizal is just an ordinary person, but the most extraordinary of all his kind.

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