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Jose Rizal - Legacy of the Philippines National Hero

Updated on April 19, 2011

Jose Rizal

December 30 may be known for plenty other events that have occurred throughout history but in the Southeast Asian region, particularly in Philippines, December 30 1896 marked the execution of Jose Rizal, Philippines’ National Hero. December 30 is considered a national holiday in the Philippines known as Rizal Day, to commemorate the martyrdom of Jose Rizal. A hugely popular figure, the nationalist is known worldwide for his push towards reform in the Philippines during the Spanish Colonial Era and known as the most prominent Filipino; Jose Rizal has left a long lasting legacy and monuments of Rizal has been erected as far away as the United States and even Czech Republic. Singapore also has at least one plaque erected in tribute to Rizal.

Jose Rizal

Plaque at the Ancient Civilizations Green near the Cavenagh Bridge, Singapore, in memory of the Filipino national hero Jose Rizal (June 19 1861  December 30 1896)
Plaque at the Ancient Civilizations Green near the Cavenagh Bridge, Singapore, in memory of the Filipino national hero Jose Rizal (June 19 1861 December 30 1896)

Early Days

Jose Rizal, born to a wealthy family on June 19 1861 was a true intellectual; Rizal traveled to Spain, Paris and even Germany to gain his second doctorate and was believed to be conversant in over ten languages. His literary skills writing poems and novels proved to be the key as he became Asia’s very first modern non-violent proponent of political reforms as he urged Philippines to undergo revolution against the Spanish Colonial Era. Rizal, through peaceful means, founded The Philippine League (known as the La Liga Filipina in the Philippines), an organization to reform the Spanish rule.

Legacy of Jose Rizal

Rizal was perhaps best known as a polymath, a man with multiple exceptional skills. Besides his talent in writing poems and novels, Rizal was a well known educator, sculptor, painter, historian, playwright and ophthalmologist amongst other skills and was also known to be skilled in fencing, martial arts and in the matters of sociology, economics and cartography. Rizal’s best known novels were the Noli Me Tangere and the El filibusterismo, novels that lambasted the Spanish friars and the Catholic Church and criticized the Spanish Colonial Era more than ever. Rizal’s push for reforms did not end there as under pen names, he submitted several essays, thought pieces and editorials to express liberal ideas and equal rights for Filipinos.

Jose Rizal

Rizal’s largely anti-Spanish reforms led to him being eventually persecuted and being in exile from July 1892 onwards. In 1896, the Philippine Revolution was in full swing when Katipunan, a secret society that was rebelling against the Spanish Colonialists started a revolution. Rizal, even though disassociating himself from the revolution, was apprehended in Barcelona and was charged with the founding of the Philippine League (La Liga Filipina), a claim by the Spaniards that La Liga Filipina was meant to create the rebellion which sparked the revolution. Rizal was also charged for involvement in the ongoing rebellion and was sentenced to be executed on December 30.


Rizal was executed in what was then known as Bagumbayan Field (now known as Luneta) and was buried in Paco Cemetary in Manila. Even though Rizal is well known as a national hero for the Filipinos, there have been claims that while Rizal favored peaceful reforms, he approved non-peaceful reforms as well, which led to the Philippine Revolution. Rizal was also controversial through means of his connection with Josephine Bracken, a retraction of his faith in the Catholic Church. Despite his controversies, Jose Rizal was indeed a man of strong ideas following the likes of peaceful activists such as Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore and Sun Yat Sen. A true national hero, his achievement to reform the Philippines without holding a gun or a sword has left a truly memorable legacy.


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      ignugent17 5 years ago

      I enjoyed reading it. Thanks for sharing the life of Dr. Jose P. Rizal. I remember my college days.

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      Dheckie abad 6 years ago

      n0w it starting to digest unto my nerves! Job well done for him. A true Filipino patriot!ö

    • profile image

      chriziamie 6 years ago

      i inspired so much reading the history of rizal

    • profile image

      liberis 6 years ago

      what is the full name

    • profile image

      mishiko 6 years ago

      @ victoria his ni not alive anymore he hot executed on dec. 30 1986 if you really read this article you should know :P

    • profile image

      cornelio 6 years ago

      i really like to read the history of Jose Rizal and proud of him so much...

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      victoria 6 years ago

      rizal's a great man who's always merry. i just whonder and im curious to know if ever he's alive,if he repented just once that he saved the philippines in exchange of his life. please filipinos answer me.i may not be a filipino but im amazed of jose rizal.

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      jan 7 years ago

      great,,,he's same to me,,

    • profile image

      ceejhay 8 years ago

      thank you for reading my comment there above you see it ...?oh. very good !

      Thank You

    • profile image

      Christine Joy C. Gervacio for short Ceejhay ok.........thank you! 8 years ago

      thank you for the information about our National Hero, thanks for featuring his patriotism

      thanks for it help me to knoow more abuot Rizal..


      P.S. nag-english na ako kasi nakakahiya naman eh lahat ng nagcomment sa inyo kasi english speaking eh.... he.he.he

    • emievil profile image

      emievil 8 years ago from Philippines

      Thanks for featuring our national hero. =)

    • creativeone59 profile image

      benny Faye Douglass 8 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

      Very nice hub on Jose Rizal, thanks for sharing. creativeone59

    • IslandVoice profile image

      Sylvia Van Velzer 8 years ago from Hawaii

      He was an incredible man, a real genius. His patriotism and love for country cost him his life. His legacy lives on and i am very proud of him. Much appreciation for such a lovely tribute hub for someone very close to my heart.

    • hafeezrm profile image

      hafeezrm 8 years ago from Pakistan

      Good informative hub. I have been to Jose Rizal Park in Manila. My friend who me took there was about to weep while discribing his good deeds and fate.