Jose Rizal’s Education in the Philippines: The Awakening of Nationalism
The year 1872, when Jose Rizal was eleven years old, two important events were unfolded which influenced the life of the hero. These events awakened the nationalism spirit in Jose Rizal that he lived up to the day he was shot at the Bagumbayan:
- Martyrdom of GomBurza
During the Spanish era there were two kinds of priests: the regular and the secular. The regular were the Spanish priests trained and studied in seminaries in Spain belonging to the major missionary order like Jesuits, Recollects, Dominicans, Augustinians, and Benedictines while the secular were Filipino priests studied and trained in the seminaries in the Philippines.
The secular priest were Filipino priests trained in the Philippines and were considered inferior and given limited assignments. They were not allowed to hold parishes. Due to this kind of treatment, the seculars boldly clamored and demanded for an equal responsibilities and assignments as clergies. This was known as the secularization issue headed by Fr. Mariano Gomez, Fr. Jose Burgos, and Fr. Jacinto Zamora. Somehow, they were able to get the sympathy of some Filipinos, which alarmed the Spanish authorities. This crusade became also an issue of Filipinization.
On January 20, 1872, the same year of the emergence of the controversial secularization issue, Cavite mutiny took place. It was a mutiny spearheaded by Lt. La Madrid, in-charged of Spanish arsenal, who was disgruntled because of abolition of their benefits including forced labor and tax exemptions by the reactionary Governor General Rafael de Izquirdo. The Cavite mutiny was failure and easily subdued within two days. The Spanish authorities was able to get a chance to silence the GomBurZa in their secularization crusade by having them implicated as plotters of the Cavite mutiny.
Consequently the GomBurZa were executed despite of archbishops’s plea for clemency because of their innocence. Mounted fabricated evidences and false witnesses sent them to garrote on February 17, 1872. It was considered martyrdom by the Rizal family and some patriotic Filipinos in the Philippines.
Paciano was a friend, teacher and housemate of Fr. Jose Burgos while he was studying in Colegio de San Jose in Manila. He was deeply affected with the execution of his friend. As a sympathy and protest against the injustice of Spanish authorities, he quit studies and went back to Calamba. He aired out his remorse by telling and retelling the heroic stories of Fr. Burgos to his family. He came to realize the injustice and racial discrimination in the Philippines.
2. Imprisonment of his mother:
Jose Rizal had a taste of injustice on June of 1872, when her mother was accused together with his uncle, Jose Alberto of trying to poison the latter’s wife. His uncle just returned from his business trip in Europe and discovered that his wife abandoned their home and children and lived with another man. Alberto would like to file a divorce due to infidelity of his wife but Dona Teodora dissuaded him from doing so to avert the family scandal and persuaded him instead to forgive his wife. The trouble was amicably settled. The couples lived together again. According to accounts, the wife with the connivance of Spanish lieutenant of the Guardia Civil filed a case in court against her husband and Dona Teodora of attempting to poison her.
The said lieutenant had a personal grudge against the Rizal family because at one time Don Francisco (Jose Rizal’s father) refused to give him a fodder for his horse. Taking an opportunity to get even, he arrested Dona Teodora with the help fo the gobernadorcillo.
She was incarcerated in the provincial prison for two years and a half. They hired the services of famous lawyers from Manila, Messrs. Francisco Mercaida and Manuel Marzan. The mother of Jose Rizal was finally acquitted of the alleged crime by the Royal Audiencia (supreme court).
In the course of the imprisonment of her mother, Jose Rizal experienced the injustice of the Spanish authorities. This event in his life was inculcated in his mind and opened his eyes to reality and dreamed to have equality between Filipinos and Spaniards before the law.