National Hero of the Philippines

            Adios, Patria adorada, region del sol querida,.

             Perla del Mar de Oriente, nuestro perdido eden,.

             A darte voy, alegre, la triste, mustia vida;.

             Y fuera mas brillante, mas fresca, mas florida,.

             Tambien por ti la diera, la diera por tu bien. .

             One hundred years ago, on the eve of December 30, 1896, Jose Rizal wrote his Ultimo Adios, replete with pathos and patriotic devotion, a masterpiece of 19th century Spanish verse. At early dawn the following day, he faced a military firing squad and died, a martyr to the Filipino quest for justice during the Spanish regime. .

             Dr. Jose Protacio Rizal was born in Calamba, Laguna, to a prosperous landowner and sugar planter of Filipino-Chinese descent on June 19, 1861. His intellectual and moral development was powerfully influenced by his mother, Teodora Alonso, and the teachings of the Catholic Church. .

             At an early age, he demonstrated a prolific talent for poetry, writing his first poem at age eight. In 1877, at age 16, he graduated with highest honors from the Ateneo de Manila. In 1882, he went to Spain to pursue medical studies which he had started at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila. At age 24, he was conferred the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and Letters, and Doctor of Medicine at the Universidad Central de Madrid. .

             He traveled extensively in Europe, attending classes at the universities of Paris, Heidelberg, Leipzig, Berlin, Vienna, continuing his studies in various fields, including ethnology and anthropology. Besides Tagalog, Malayan and Spanish, his linguistic proficiency encompassed seven European languages, plus Greek, Chinese, Japanese, Sanskrit, Hebrew and Arabic. A versatile genius, he achieved recognition as a novelist, linguist, anthropologist, biologist, zoologist, sculptor, painter, jounalist and illustrator. .

             To secure political and social reforms and to educate his countrymen, he published several nationalistic and revolutionary works in Europe.

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