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Education in the Philippines: Jose Rizal in Ateneo

Updated on December 9, 2009

On June 10, 1872, Jose together with his brother went to Manila to grant his wish of enrolling Jose in San Juan de Letran. Jose Rizal took the entrance examination and passed them with flying colors, then he went back to Calamba to stay for a while with his family and attend their town fiesta only to find out that his father’s wish changed instead of enrolling him to San Juan de Letran he wished to enroll him to Ateneo de Manila.

Thus, being an obedient child, upon his return to Manila accompanied again by his brother Paciano, they proceeded to Ateneo Municipal. At first Father Magin Fernando, who was the college registrar, denied them of admittance for two reasons: 1.) he was late for registration and 2.) he was sickly and undersize for his age. Jose Rizal was then eleven years old. However, they sought the intercession of Manual Xerez Burgos, nephew of Father Burgos. As a result, he was reluctantly admitted at the Ateneo.

First Year in Ateneo (1972-73)

Jose Rizal belonged to the class composed of Spaniards, mestizos and Filipinos. His first teacher was Fr. Jose Bech. As a newcomer and knowing little Spanish, he was considered as inferior and placed at the bottom of the class. He was an externo hence he was assigned to the Carthaginians, an occupant of the end of the line.

He proved he was no inferior for at the end of the month he became the emperor and received a prize, a religious picture. To improve his Spanish, Jose Rizal took private lesson in Santa Isabel College during the noon recess while students were playing and gossiping. In the second half of the first year, his performance declined and was not able to maintain his academic supremacy that he held during his first half of the term for the reason that he was affected so much by the remarks of some professors. He placed second at the end of the year although his grades were marked excellent. According to Ambeth Ocampo there were only twelve students in a class, nine of which, including Jose Rizal, graduated sobresaliente with the same excellent mark in all their subjects in school year 1876-77.

Second year in Ateneo (1873-74)

Jose Rizal repented having neglected his studies the previous year. He studied harder this year and regained his leadership composure and became an emperor again.

His Favorite Books

  1. ‘Count of Monte Cristo’ (Alexander Dumas) – characterized by Edmond Dantes (the hero) in prison, is spectacular escape from the dungeon of Chateau d’ If, the finding of buried treasure on the rocky island of Monte Cristo, and his dramatic revenge on his enemies who had wronged him;
  2. ‘Travels in the Philippines’ (Dr. Feodor Jagor) – a German scientist-traveler who visited the Philippines in 1859-1860. What struck him most in this book were Jagor’s keen oberservations of the defects of Spanish colonization and his prophecy that someday Spain would lose the Philippines and that America would come to succeed her as colonizer;
  3. ‘Universal History’ (Cesar Cantu) – a non-fiction historical work. He was able to acquire an expensive set of this book by convincing his father that this book would be of great aid in his studies and enabled him to win more prizes.

Third year in Ateneo (187-75)

Jose Rizal returned to Ateneo shortly before the classes began to start his junior year. He met his mother and informed him that she was finally released from prison, just as he predicted when he visited her to her prison cell in Santa Cruz, Laguna.

However, he was disappointed to the result of his class performance as in the previous year, although his grades remained excellent in all subjects. He won a single medal in Latin. He failed to win a medal in Spanish because his spoken Spanish was not that fluent. A Spaniard who delivered Spanish with fluency and right accentuation defeated him.

Fourth Year in Ateneo (1875-76)

On June 16, 1875, he became a boarder in Ateneo. He befriended his professor Fr. Francisco de Paula Sanchez, whom he regarded as great educator and scholar. He inspired him to write poetry and to study harder. Fr. Sanchez recognized his God-given talents. Because of the inspiration and recognition given, he regarded the Jesuit professor as “model of uprightness, earnestness, and love” for the advancement of his students.

Consequently, he resumed his studies with vigor and dedication and topped all his classmates in all subjects and won five medals at the end of the school term.

Last year in Ateneo (1876-77)

Although there was a great improvement in his performance but his previous years of performance made a great effect, he graduated on March 23, 1877 (16 years old) and received the degree of Bachelor of Arts, with highest honors and not a valedictorian.

Extra Curricular Involvement

  • an emperor inside the classroom
  • campus leader
  • active member and became a secretary, the Marian Congregation Religious Society
  • member of the Academy of Spanish Literature and the Academy of Natural Sciences
  • poet
  • studied painting under the famous Spanish Painter, Agustin Saez
  • improved his sculpture talents under the supervision of Romualdo de Jesus
  • engaged in gymnastics and fencing and continued the physical training under his sports-minded Tio Manuel.


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      iloverizal 3 years ago

      .ohh my God Rizal! I think I fall in love with you. Every now and then I'm always looking for you. You made my heart beats faster . You made my eye twinkling. You're my hero! My love! RIZAL!

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      Agent PG 3 years ago

      Rizal, deserving to be a Hero of the Whole World..

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      danrex 3 years ago

      tama kayo,,

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      baby 4 years ago

      haha good

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      marson zepeda 5 years ago

      boring nga ang history pero as a filipino,you must know what happened ad salute our heroes.

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      jessa 5 years ago

      VERY WELL!! :)

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      Miki 5 years ago

      who was rizal's classmate in ateneo who he admitted was better than him?

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      DAYALYN OLOI 5 years ago

      genius tlga c rizal nuh

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      jovelle 5 years ago

      akala ko boring pagaralan ang history lalo na kapag life na ng mga heroes pinag-aaralan ero di pala.

      cyado ngang interisating ei:))

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      yankee 5 years ago

      I love rizal a lot

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      bad emage 5 years ago

      Rizal is the greatest Malayan heritage. He is one of the reason why our country is liberated from the hand of the imperialist Spain. without him Andres Boniface (hehehe, Bonifacio) and the others will never be encourage to fight for our freedom. So we must thank him and hailed him for his undying dedication and sacrifices for our country, as what loverboy said he is the eye opener.

      to those person who condemned rizal fuck you more!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      di ka pinoy kung di mo love Rizal.

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      Loverboy 5 years ago

      Rizal is our national hero. You must give due respect to him. He apply his splendor talents just to awaken our mind of the wrong doings of the Spaniards. We must be thankful of him because he serves as an eye opener to everybody.

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      PEDRO 5 years ago

      magaling nga si rizal pero hnd sya ang nagpalaya ng pinsa db? :) idol ko sya kc ang talino nea. pro i think may mas karapat dapat na iba upang maging national hero. peace :)

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      novie 5 years ago

      cnu ung mga 12 graduates noong 1877, ksama c dr.jose rizal? anu rin ung mga grades nila? tnx =)

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      vieca 5 years ago

      graduates sa ateneo.., noong 1877..?

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      asdasdas 5 years ago

      love the history talaga hhihi

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      abbzz 5 years ago

      i really like rizal cause he is a good one at kahit bata pa sya ginagwa nya ang lahat to be an emperor deserving talaga sya maging hero at dahil dyan naging inspirasyon ko si rizal ,,,,,,,

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      luxaislinn 5 years ago

      Deserving talaga si Rizal na maging national hero. Na-appreciate ko talaga kung ano yung nagawa niya para sa bansa natin. Kung wala siya, siguro naghihirap na tayo ngayon. Kaya we should be thankful for what he did para sa bansa natin.

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      jeffrey moreno 5 years ago

      nag iisa at walang katulad kaya idol ko si Rizal.

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      mhack 5 years ago

      my picture ba kayo of rizal Wearing his uniform at ateneo de municipal ???

      plss inform mee :))

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      nhoy 5 years ago

      first year in ateneo 1972??

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      kristine 5 years ago

      d talga ako ngbabasa ng mga books... report ko lng ito kaya me ngresearch.... pero nung nabasa ko na prang gusto ko na basahin lahat hindi lng report ko..... nkakainspired kasi...

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      shen 5 years ago

      mga ungas,.dapat maging proud kau.,ung mga nauna.,filing.,igalang nyo hero natin.,his the one,.i'am the two.,.,hehehe .,tama,.

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      clarissa 5 years ago

      rizal was the ever genius man produced by the filipino race :)

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      lovekorizal 6 years ago

      ,.,., thanks ky Dr. Rizal because of him were all free from spanish colonial,.., love and respect him,., dahil sa mga ngawa nya sa ating lahat,. at sa mga nag post na hndi mgnda,., your not appreciating what he done for you!!!!!!!

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      gagokarizal 6 years ago

      dagdag ka sa home work ko gago ka rizal!

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      o_dreD_O 6 years ago

      wla sang teacher si rizal??

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      eiyan 6 years ago

      hay kung may like button lang sana to nilike ko na mga comment nyo...hehhehehe

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      ashly 6 years ago

      I really appreciate what rizal done to our country. I salute you very much jose rizal. For those who did not give emphasis to the life of rizal, MAMATAY NA KAYO!

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      RizalFan 6 years ago

      yepSedo... Rizal is very witty, prolific, and most especially a brave novelist...

      just like his very inspirational poem

      "Por La Educacion Recibe Lustre La Patria"

      Through Education the Country receives Light..


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      gwapzz 6 years ago

      tunay talagang bayani si RIZAL

      YOUR THE BEST!!!!!

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      YUKanna 6 years ago

      salute rizal ...

      tunay na bayani si rizal...

    • profile image

      YUKanna 6 years ago

      salute rizal ...

      tunay na bayani si rizal...

    • profile image

      yong.. 6 years ago

      kol nga siya ,eh..

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      MAEDENO9 6 years ago


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      mj 6 years ago

      idol q c rizal,,hehe..chickboi nga lng.

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      loraine 6 years ago

      i think Rizal is a very intelligent person and observant person.

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      Darwin 6 years ago

      ito na kkompleto sa presentation ko sa rizal.. hhe

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      nikz@27 6 years ago

      rizal is deserving to be our national hero...

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      calvin 6 years ago


      May I know your sources so that I can use this information on a school paper? :)

    • profile image

      khoia 6 years ago

      i was looking for another information about rizal as a dramatist

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      Arch 6 years ago

      Hehehe! grabe naman kau kung makapagcomment., wagas.,!

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      karth carl 6 years ago

      boring xa pero nasarapan ako sa pag babasa . :) kasi mabait teacher namin kaya gusto kung matutunan lahat kung ano si rizal .. heheh :)

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      Nakahoma 6 years ago

      Let's preserve our patriotism, become a Knight of Rizal.

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      lhyn 6 years ago

      tama kung wla si rizal wla rin tayo

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      jampong 6 years ago

      kung wala si Rizal malamang wala rin tayo...

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      Gwapo 6 years ago


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      churva 6 years ago

      i really salute Dr. Jose Rizal...

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      Anon 6 years ago

      vhea - troll.

      very well played.

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      To Vhea 7 years ago

      The way you posted your reply is very indicative of your intellectual capacity. I think your life's boring. Typical, not like Rizal's.

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      yoye 7 years ago

      tama!!! cguru spaniard nagsabi nun....walang kwentang tao un..respect rizal

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      Fuck u 2 Jonard 7 years ago

      kayu ang boring hindi ang buhay nya

      mga walang pag papahalaga..

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      vince 7 years ago

      ayos si riza;.........

      we are now free from Spaniards because of him/........


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      7 years ago

      Pilipino ba kayo? Kung wala si Rizal sa tingin mo ganyan ang buhay mo ngayon? Ikinahihiya mo ba siya? Ikaw kaya mo ba ang ginawa niya? Huwag ninyo naman kalimutan ang paggalang, mga Pilipino pa man din kayo.

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      ian 7 years ago

      uu nga ie RIZAL pero foR mE rizAL iS cOoL peRsOn :D

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      Jonard 7 years ago

      Fuk u!

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      vhea 7 years ago

      borng tlaga history, ;d