For at least 300 years, the Philippines had been controlled and restricted of freedom by her colonizers. It was also during these times of struggles, that great men, not essentially of action but of intelligence, rose up to fight for the freedom of an enslaved nation. Among the most greatest of Filipinos patriots is Jose Rizal – the fountainhead of Filipino Nationalism. Rizal’s Significance Then On the 19th day of June in the year 1861, in the second half of the 19th century, Jose Rizal was born into a Philippine society governed by a system that brutalized and degraded the inner beings of Filipinos all over the archipelago.
Despite the discontenment it had caused, Filipino natives remained to be stagnant and full of ignorance towards a noble principle that of social welfare. “Historical development in the Philippines in the second half of the 19th century,” as stated by Leopoldo Yabes in Rizal, Intellectual and Moral Leader, “demanded an appearance of an intellectual and moral leader, and Rizal was the answer. ” True enough, even at an early age, Rizal had already discovered that ignorance was detrimental to a relationship between rulers and their subjects – it generates corruption which leads to fallacy, fantacism, intolerance, and greed.
For him, education was the solution to the poisonous effects of such to the wellness of the country and its people. Being a man of knowledge, however, is not enough for one to be a substantial leader. Character is also needed in carrying out the moral responsibilities due to a leader. Fortunately, Rizal was both intellectually gifted, having mastered 22 languages and being a versatile genius in many fields; and strong in character, as he possessed oustanding traits like courage, devotion to truth, integrity, selflessness, and loyalty.
Having realized the demands of leadership as a tool for social transformation, Rizal devoted his life in honing his skills and character so that, one day, he could “participate in the leadership or the movement to restore the people’s sense of integrity and self-respect which they had been deprived of by the rulers,” as stated by the same author. In the administration of justice, Rizal was determined to fulfill his destiny of becoming a revolutionist and a social reformer.
He did so through the power of writing, as he believed that violence is not the solution to seeking the freedom and peace proper to his beloved nation and countrymen. His works, as reflections of his life and deeds, had awaken the sleeping good that is Nationalism. Two of Rizal’s most influential works include: Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, both of which exemplify his cleverness and courage, as he had described the social condition, the brutality, the injustices, and the like generated by the Spanish regime.
With all that’s been said, this writer believes that Rizal had contributed immensely to the betterment of the Philippine society and its people. His life and achievements, mirrored in his writings, promotes equality, education, moral principles, and internationalism – important, powerful realities that had uplifted the spirit of the nation and countrymen away from the cancer rooted from the selfish ideals of foreign domination. This patriotic, nationalistic movement led by Rizal paved the way for a revolution and the establishment of the Philippine Republic.
Although many decades have passed since his existence in this physical world, his intelligence and strong sense of character will continue to live on in the nature of every Filipino. Rizal’s Relevance Today As underlined in the previous section of this paper, the greatness of the “First Filipino” – Jose Rizal, is embedded in his intellectual superiority and strong moral character which became the very tool he used to institute and inspire revolutionaries all over the Philippines.
In his article Rizal, Nationalist and Internationalist, Yabes states that Rizal, as a natural and social scientist, was able to “look beyond his nation’s boundaries and envision the shape of things to come – one of those prophetic minds who could forsee the establishment of a “Parliament of Man” and a “Federation of the World”. ” This positive attitude towards humanism and freedom expressed in his ideas, principles, and convictions, are manifestations of his “profound mind, love for country, and remarkable patriotism,” according to a Rizalist, Justo Torres, Jr.
As a leader who courageously dedicated his life to the betterment of Philippine society and its people, Rizal will remain to be the nation’s symbol of hope – for a better human understanding and the attainment of a righteous democracy. Recognizing the power and influence of Rizal – his ideas, principles, and convictions, the Congress of the Philippines passed a law in 1956 to inform, promote, honor, and enrich the spirit of realism expressed in Rizal’s writings and dialogues, with much hope that this will be the key to elevate self-worthiness and patriotism in every Filipino.
Republic Act No. 1425 requires all public and private schools to include in their curricula courses on the life works, and writings of Jose life, works, and Jose Rizal, particularly his novels – Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo. The construction of Batas Rizal is a concrete demonstration of Rizal’s relevance in modern Philippine society. As the country continues to struggle between the realms of tradition and modernity as more and more changes occur due to the advances brought about by modernization, it is an utmost need for Filipinos to allude to the doctrines written by Rizal.
It is through these writings that the character of this honorable patriot, martyr, scholar, humanist, and nationalist will continue to live on and enlighten the Filipino nation and Filipino people to gear towards a life of freedom and peace, education, morality, internationalism, and for love – of country and fellow countrymen. As long as the Filipino nation continues to retain hope and aspirations for their motherland, Jose Rizal, the patriarch and living source of Philippine Nationalism, will continue to exist as a source of illumination for a better and brighter future.
Montemayor, Teofilo. Life and Works of Rizal”. Mindanao: U. P. Department of Social Sciences. Article on-line. Available from: http://www. scribd. com/doc/2098810/Jose-Rizal-Biographical-Sketch Morris, John. “Jose Rizal and the Challenge of Philippines Independence. ” Washington, DC: The Schiller Institute, 2003. Article on-line. Available from: http://www. schillerinstitute. org/educ/hist/rizal. html Podberesky, Igor. “Jose Rizal: The Greatest Humanist. ” Jose Rizal Annual Lectures 1977-1985. Manila: National Historical Institute, 1987. Rizal, Leoncio. “Rizal’s Contribution to Human Betterment. ” Rizal as an Internationalist.
Manila: National Historical Institute, 1980. San Juan, E. “Introduction to Rizal: Toward a Re-Interpretation. ” Article on-line. Available from: http://philcsc. wordpress. com/2008/10/06/introduction-to-jose-rizal/ Torres, Justo. “Rizal’s Continuing Dialogue. ” Jose Rizal Annual Lectures 1977-1985. Manila: National Historical Institute, 1987. Yabes, Leopoldo. “Rizal, Intellectual and Moral Leader. ” A Rizal Anthology. Manila: National Heroes Commission, 1964. Yabes, Leopoldo. “Rizal, Nationalist and Internationalist. ” Rizal as an Internationalist. Manila: National Historical Institute, 1980.