September 10, 2008

my essay....hope you can help me edit this...

hmmm....we were required to write a 3-page essay about Jose Rizal....hmmm im still in the process of editing....anyone likes to offer some help...??? your help will be very much appreciated.... im not really good in writing...if you see some errors or you have better way of writing my ideas...
please feel free to criticize.... that would be a very great help...

here it goes...

Jose Rizal:

An American Made Hero or a True National Hero?

“In the history of nations there are names that by themselves signify achievement that recall passion and greatness, names that, like magic formula, evoke pleasant and smiling thoughts, names that became a pact, a symbol of peace, a bond of love between the nations…”, 1 this is a part of Rizal’s speech, which held his audience spellbound, as he saluted Luna and Hidalgo as two glories of Spain and the Philippines. But it’s true that the name Jose Rizal, spell greatness and valor and the name itself is an epitome of heroism. Hence, now he is included in the list of the names that, more than a century ago, he tried to characterize as pride of our nation. He is a living proof of the proverb “a name is more precious than much refined gold”. Since years bygone up to this day, his name became the symbol of the Filipino race, and he has been venerated as the country’s hero. Still, many doubt his worthiness and legitimacy; maybe this is because we have different definitions of a hero, whether it is based on courageous acts or simply the wisdom to do what is right. Webster's Dictionary defines the word hero as a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities; one that shows great courage. 2 From this definition then, we can conclude that Rizal having attained so many honors in almost all fields, showing his great achievements and having published two books that exposes the exploits of Spanish tyrants, showing his unmeasurable courage, is a true hero.

But there still arise a never waning issue, that is, is Rizal a true National hero or an American made hero? For the rest of our discussion we will be dwelling in this question. We would try to answer latter part of the question, and drive our discussion to answer the former.

Now let us discuss how the perception of Dr. Jose Rizal being an American made and sponsored hero came into mind. In the year 1896, when the American government bought the island of the Philippines from the Spanish oppressors, a common wealth government was formed. Under this government, Filipinos started to frame up Filipino national identities which included the selection of the Philippine Commission a national hero to the Filipinos. The Taft Commission of 1901, particularly Civil Governor William Howard Taft, chose Rizal as the nation’s hero. 3 Taft “with other American colonial officials and some conservative Filipinos, chose Rizal as a model hero over other contestants - Aguinaldo too militant, Bonifacio too radical, Mabini unregenerate.” But it has been said that America’s motive behind this decision is to instill in the minds of the Filipinos that peaceful propaganda and diplomatic approaches, in attaining Philippine independence, is more honorable and greater surpass the revolution done by Bonifacio. Hence, with these ideals imbued in the minds of the people under their rule, there is lesser chances of revolution and, in a sense, would prevent the Filipinos from rousing disrupt against the American Government.

The decision of the Taft Commission to sponsor Rizal was implemented with the passage of the following Acts of the Philippine Commission: (1) Act No. 137 which organized the politico-military district of Morong and named it the province of Rizal “in honor of the most illustrious Filipino and the most illustrious Tagalog the islands had ever known, “ (2) Act No.243 which authorized a public subscription for the erection of a monument in honor or Rizal at the Luneta, and (3) Act No. 346 which set aside the anniversary of his death as a day of observance. 4

It is true that the Americans have highlighted Rizal among other heroes. But even before Rizal’s death, many people of his time, has looked up to him as a hero. Consider Bonifacio, he made Rizal the honorary president of the Katipunan and attempted to rescue Rizal from exile in Dapitan so that the latter could lead or inspire the Filipino revolt, thus showing that even Bonifacio himself had a deep respect and honored Rizal so much. Furthermore, two years before the Taft Commission selected Rizal, in the year 1898 Emilio Aguinaldo in honor of Rizal declared December 30 an annual “day of mourning”. It must be noted that both Bonifacio and Aguinaldo are contenders of Rizal to be the National Hero of the Philippines, but it is clear from the statements above that both of them have a high regard and great admiration for Dr. Rizal. 5

Rizal, through his writings, had deeply influenced the lives of the Filipino people, and thus long before the Taft Commission chose him, he was already embraced by the Filipinos as a hero. If that is the case then Filipinos, other than Bonifacio and Aguinaldo which have already been discussed above, have their reasons why their sentiments are inclined to Rizal. One of these reasons is that even though it’s not evident, but Rizal is truly the prime mover of the revolution. Martin Costantino, a policeman from Bulacan, testified in Manila on September 9, 1896, that the objective of the katipunan was the massacre of all Spaniards and the proclamation of the independence of the country, “that as soon as the Spaniards have all been massacred the Supreme Head would be Rizal, who would come to establish his headquarters in the city.” Also Aguedo del Rosario, a book binder from Mindoro, state that “Rizal is the honorary president of the katipunan”. His portrait hangs in the session hall of the Supreme Council. Hence even if Rizal was not the one who planned the goal of katipunan but he was the inspiration of the katipuneros, someone who moved them to fight, which is evident in their plan of making him as their supreme head. Also, the speeches of the Katipuneros Pinkian and Tik-Tik are proofs that Rizal is the true prime mover of the revolution. Jose Turiano Santiago known as Tik-tik said: “In the meantime let us keep our spirits up with these battle cries: Long live the Philippines! Long live Liberty! Long live Dr. Rizal! Unity!” Pinkian, whose real name is none other than Emilio Jacinto concluded his speech with the lines “Let us all shout with one voice: Long live the Philippines! Long live Liberty! Long live the great Dr. Jose Rizal! Death to the oppressor Nation!” 6

His bravery and bold opposition against the slavery and apparent tyranny, through his literary works, kindled and ignited within each person his veiled nationalism. Indeed through these noble deeds and self-sacrificing spirit, he was able to get the sympathy of his fellow men which encouraged and motivated them, to move and insist from their foreign oppressors the rights they really ought to have, freedom in their own land.

Some Filipino says that Rizal is a reformist and against revolution, 7 but this is not really the case, according to _________in his ___________, Rizal is not really discouraging revolution. What he was only trying to thwart is the unprepared up-rise against their evidently more powerful enemies, the corrupt and brutal Spanish officials. 6

Another reason why Rizal deserves to be called our national hero is the fact that he brought honor to the Philippines. Because of his conscious efforts many foreigners including Americans, Germans, and the French people came to a realization and recognized the just honor that is due to our country.

“What is most admirable in Rizal”, wrote Rafael Palma “is his complete self-denial, his complete abandonment of his personal interests in order to think only of those of his country…the voice of the species was stronger than the voice of personal progress or of private fortune, and he preferred to live far from his family and to sacrifice his personal affections for an ideal he had dreamed of…He did not have great means at his disposal to carry out his campaign, but that did not discourage him; he contented himself with what he had. He suffered the rigors of the cold winter of Europe, he suffered hunger, privation, and misery; but when he raised his eyes to heaven and saw his ideal, his hope was reborn.8

Moreover, Rizal loved his people dearly and he willed to help the Filipinos in alleviating their suffering, and to help the country to free from Spanish tyranny in its entirety. 9 Thus he said in his letter written in Paris, to Mariano Ponce:

Without 1872 there would not be now either Plaridel or Jaena, or Sanciangco, nor would there exist brave and generous Filipino colonies in Europe; without 1872 Rizal would be a Jesuit now, and instead of writing Noli Me Tangere, would have written the opposite. At the sight of those injustices and cruelties while still a child my imagination was awakened and swore to devote myself to avenge one day so many victims and with this idea in mind I have writings. God will someday give me an opportunity to carry out my promise. 10

Dr. Jose P. Rizal showed us the greatness of a true national hero, who even being in the vale of deep shadow, in front of his wicked foes he stood strong, unmovable and firm to his vision of a better Philippines and he did not allow himself to be distracted by anyone from this objective. He endured the criticisms thrown at him and showed that he truly is a valiant hero, someone who was not afraid of any man­- the Spanish Guardia Civils, the Dominican priests, and all his mighty and the powerful enemies- and neither was he afraid to die. In his book Jose Rizal, Life, Works, and Writings of a Genius, Writer, Scientist, and National Hero, Zaide said that Rizal was forced to escape from the Philippines due to two reasons, “first, his presence in Calamba was jeopardizing the safety and happiness of his family and friends, and second, he could fight better his enemies and serve his country’s cause with greater efficacy by writing in foreign countries”. 11 Hence, he did not escaped because he was afraid to die, but he was protecting his family, friends and his country’s cause. Up to the day of his death he never turned his back to his beloved people and to his fatherland, thus he has lived up to that name - the True National hero.

In the book of knowledge a certain proverb says, “A name is better than good oil, and the day of death than the day of ones being born”, yes! This is true with our very own Rizal, because of his words and deeds throughout the course of his life, even until the day of his death; he has acquired a clean and noble name. And due to this reason even if Dr. Jose Rizal, may have died more than a century ago, yet his name continues to live until this day, and his influence felt up to this very moment. Who doesn’t know him? You do know him, for sure! Somehow you are a true Filipino if you know Dr. Jose Rizal. Indeed Rizal, though his noble ways has proved himself worthy to be called our true “Philippine National Hero”.


Constantino, Renato. Jose Rizal: Veneration Without Understanding, Manila, 2008.

de Ocampo, Esteban. Who Made Jose Rizal Our Foremost National Hero, and Why?

Joaquin, Nick. A Question of Heroes: Essays and criticisms on ten key figures of Philippine History. Manila: Ayala Museum, 1977.

Ocampo, Ambeth. Rizal Without the Overcoat, Pasig: Anvil Publishing Inc, 2000.

Palma, Rafael: Biografia de Rizal. Manila: Bureau of Printing, 1949.

Zaide, Gregorio F. and Sonia M. Zaide: Jose Rizal, Life, Works, and Writings of a Genius, Writer, Scientist, and National Hero. Quezon, All Nations Publishing Co. Inc., 1999.

___________: Rizal’s Correspondence with Fellow Reformists. Manila, National Heroes Commission, 1963.

___________: How come Jose Rizal became the Philippine hero?

___________: Should Rizal be our National Hero?

___________: What is a Hero?

___________: Why is Jose Rizal not an American sponsored hero?


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Anonymous said...

i was browsing when i saw your essay. fix the title. it must be great things come in small packages. probably its late but it would be useful. :]

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