The story of Jose Rizal, the Philippine national hero, his exile in Dapitan, and his love relationship with Josephine Bracken.
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Jose Rizal is the national hero of the Philippines. He was an ophthalmologist, a polyglot, and a man of high intelligence and of many talents. The 7th child of Francisco Mercado Rizal and Teodora Realonda, he was born in Calamba, Laguna, Philippines on June 19, 1861. He studied at Ateneo Municipal de Manila earning Bachelor of Arts, and took medicine and philosophy and letters at Universidad de Santo Tomas in the Philippines. However, he did not continue his studies claiming discrimination by Spanish Dominican friars against native students. He went to Spain to further his studies. There, he earned a degree of Licentiate in Medicine at Universidad Central de Madrid. He also attended University of Paris. Later, he went to Germany and earned a second doctorate at the University of Heidelberg.
While in Germany he wrote Noli Me Tangere , a Latin phrase which literally means “touch me not”. The novel depicted the abuses of the Spanish friars in the Philippines. When the book reached the Philippines, it angered the Spanish friars as well as the local Spanish elites and Hispanized Filipinos because of its implicit insult to the ruling Spanish authorities in the Philippines. The novel of Rizal further catalyzed the discontent of moderate Filipinos on the Spanish colonizers and the fervor of the militant groups to start a revolution.
In Europe Rizal met with other Filipino expatriates and discussed on reforms in the Philippines. Despite his writings, Rizal did not believe in violent revolution. He was for institutional reforms. These included the Philippines becoming a province of Spain, equal rights before the law of Spanish and Filipino plaintiffs, representation of the Philippines in the Cortes, Spain’s legislative assembly, and Filipino priests instead of Spanish friars serving in the Philippine communities. Later, when he felt that the changes that he aspired for were not possible, he wrote his second book El Filibusterismo or the “The Filibuster”, a novel on revolution.
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From Europe Rizal went to Hong Kong. There, at daytime his house was also a medical clinic from 2 pm to 6 pm. He met Josephine Bracken in 1891. She was born in Hong Kong on August 9, 1876 to Irish parents. Her father was James Bracken, a corporal of the British Army and her mother was Elizabeth Jane McBride. Josephine was the youngest of five children. Elizabeth died shortly after the birth of Josephine. Since as a soldier he was always away from his family, James had Josephine adopted to an American named George Taufer.