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REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES

SORSOGON STATE COLLEGE


SORSOGON CITY CAMPUS
SORSOGON CITY

A BOOK REVIEW
SUBMITTED BY:
KRISTINE JIMENEZ
BS ACCOUNTANCY 4

SUBMITTED TO:
MR. FELINO S. JASMIN, JR.
INSTRUCTOR

OCTOBER 16, 2014

IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE SUBJECT REQUIREMENTS IN LIFE AND WORKS


OF RIZAL

After contemplating for a few moments, of how could I start this composition, an idea at last,
came to my mind. When students of todays generations are being asked if the study of life,
works and history of Dr. Jose Rizal is still needed, some would answered boldly, No. Its
perhaps they thought of it as irrelevant with the modern subjects they have such as accounting,
and other business-related ones which are more in demand of todays growing business world.
While other students, who are still somewhat patriotic or nationalistic should I say,
conservatively would answer Yes. When asked why and how, they would reply back with a
plain and typical answer, Well, Dr. Jose Rizal is our national hero, thus he is part of our history
and history of our national hero will always be part of the Filipino race. Though somewhat
laughable for a pure blood Filipino College student to deliver such a shallow answer which very
much implies inadequate knowledge of the Filipino hero, I confess that I have been like those
students before. Not until I have made this research study, I am really unaware of the real
essence why include Rizal in the curriculum, unaware of what Dr. Rizal had painstakingly fought
for, the aspirations and hopes he had envisioned for the youth and motherland, his ideas and
views of various societal aspects such as politics and religion in which from ones understanding
of them could come out a voice that would awaken minds in deep slumber.
It had been three more days left. We have to pass a book review as final project. I was
astounded. A mixed feeling of anxiety, excitement, and challenge filled my being. After few deep
breaths, I hastily went to the school library to search for the perfect book. After scanning several
books of contemporary writers, an old book with no cover page placed in the unnoticeable part
of the bookshelf accidentally caught my attention. The yellowish, torn pages revealed to me a
very fascinating book title The Pride of the Malay RaceA Biography of Jose Rizal. It was
translated from the original Spanish of Dr. Rafael Palma, Filipino writer, lawyer, statesman and
former president of the University of the Philippines by Roman Ozaeta, Associate Justice of the
Supreme Court of the Philippines. 1949 by Prentice-Hall Inc.70 fifth Avenue, New York. The
following page narrates in the most genuine sense, never was the human sentiment of

patriotism magnified and elevated to such height as in the story of this obscure man of the
belittled Malay race. The succeeding pages indicated a close shot photograph of Dr. Jose Rizal,
wherein one can observe the boldness and intellect in the eyes of the national hero and a warm
dedication written by the author to the Filipino youth: To whom could I dedicate this better than
to you who were Rizals first inspiration and his last pre-occupation? I have made you a purely
human portrait of Rizal so that, recognizing the common atmosphere of home and family which
binds you to him, you could more easily take him as model and inspiration. The book contains
thirty-four chapters beginning from Rizals formative years and ends with his way to martyrdom.
Here, are highlighted only the subjects about the national hero less tackled:
Early Childhood
It was in June 19, 1861, when Jose the seventh of the eleven children was born of the marriage of
Francisco Mercado Rizal and Teodora Alonso Quintos. Their names were Saturnina (1850),
Paciano (1851), Narcisa (1852), Olimpia (1855), Lucia (1857), Maria (1859), Jose (1861),
Concepcion (1862), Josefa (1865), Trinidad (1868), and Soledad (1870). His birth was not
preceded by prophecies. It was not announced by any mysterious constellation. No wise men
foretold his good fortune. No augural signs forebode that the boy was going to perturb the peace
of a world that the Spaniards considered ideal. From his father he inherited a profound sense of
dignity and self-respect, seriousness and self-possession and from his mother, the temperament
of the poet and dreamer and bravery for sacrifice.

Early Schooling in Bian


When he was nine years old, his father sent him to Bian to continue studying Latin because his
first teacher had died. He stayed in the house of his aunt together with his aunts grandson named
Leandro. The boy distinguished himself in class and succeeded surpassing his older classmates.
Some of these were so wicked that even without reason, they accused him before the teacher, for
which in spite of his progress, received many whippings and strokes from the ferule. Rare was
the day when he was not stretched on the bench for a whipping or punished with five or six

blows on the open palm. Joses reaction to all these punishments was one of intense resentments.
He felt humiliated and humbled, but resigned himself in order to learn and thus carry out his
fathers will. Until such time he received awful news about his mother. The alferez of the civil
guard of Calamba arrested his mother and made her walk on foot from town to town due to an
alleged crime she did not commit. This happening naturally produced in Jose a tremendous
revulsion not only because it concerned his mother but also because of the injustice committed to
an innocent person. The tragic event left an indelible impression on his memory.
As soon as he had finished studies, and completed his baccalaureate his mother told him that
what he knew was enough and that he ought not to return to Manila. On the contrary, his father
encouraged him to study in the University of Sto. Tomas, so he matriculated in the first course of
Philosophy in June 1877. This was the time his idea of the Philippines as a nation was conceived.
He wrote the poem entitled To the Filipino Youth under the motto, Grow, O Timid Flower
and had won the prize for the poetry contest held in the university.
Rizal Decides To Study Abroad
An incident happened one dark night. Jose was taking a walk along the lake shore, when a bulky
figure passed in front of him and he did not salute. The figure turned out to be the lieutenant of
the civil guard, commanding the detachment. Rizal was treacherously knocked down and
wounded without a word passing between them. Sometime later, he presented to the Governor
General in his palace to complain the outrage, but he was not allowed to see His Excellency, nor
did he obtain justice either. His dignity suffered much. Almost at the same time, his father
suffered a terrible vexation at the hands of the lay manager of the hacienda of Calamba. For a
fancied wrong, the lay manager increased by a third the canon of the real estate Rizals father had
under lease from the Dominican corporation, and in a few months doubled the rent he had been
paying. These events impressed Rizal very much. He became convinced that in his native
country, the Filipinos were not treated with justice because of being indios belonging to a
subjugated race. If he, a man of culture, educated and well-known could not obtain redress of a
grievance, what could not happen to the rest of his less fortunate fellow countrymen? The friar
and the civil guard! These two powerful institutions were the cause of the peoples misfortunes.

Against them he must fight if he was to save his countrymen from future vexations and abuses.
In his town every day, he saw unbridled force, violence and other excesses by those charged with
looking after public peace and outside the town he saw brigandage and captivity. He asked
himself many times what was on the other side of the seas. Whether one lived there in the same
manner; whether the peasant there on whom a mere suspicion fell was tormented with hard cruel
blows; whether there the home was respected; whether to live in peace one had to bribe the
tyrants? Were the Filipinos of an inferior race who deserved the treatment given them, or on the
contrary, was their abasement and demoralization the result of accidental and artificial causes?
This was the problem he had before him, which worried him all the time. It was necessary then
to leave, to travel, and to become educated, to contrast life at home with life abroad, to study the
causes and origins of the evils of the country and procure their remedies.
Rizal then traveled to Madrid, and witnessed people living in democracy where one can express
his ideas freely. He went to Paris where he started his novel Noli Me Tangere. He also went to
Heidelberg where he studied ophthalmology. His novel was finished in Berlin where he had
given the first published copy of it to his friend Resureccion Hidalgo. In his letter, Rizal
explained to Hidalgo why he had chosen Noli Me Tangere as the title for his novel. He said the
book contains things which no one has spoken up; they are so delicate that they cannot be
touched by anybody. He continued, I have unmasked hypocrisy which, under the guise of
religion came to impoverish and to brutalize us, I have distinguished true religion from the false,
from superstition, from that which traffics with the holy word to extract money, to make us
believe in sortileges, of which Catholicism would be ashamed if it were aware of them.

Philosophico-Religious Views
When Rizal was deported to Dapitan, the Jesuits tried to attract him to the bosom of the Church
and convert to the dogmas of Catholicism for some political purposes. But Rizal calmly rejected
them and remains steadfast with his principles. Some parish priests were trying to convince him
and some of them have been his professors during College. Accustomed to treat Rizal as a child,
Fr. Pastells accompanied the shipment with a letter to Fr. Obach, the parish priest of Dapitan for
the latter to read to Rizal the following paragraph:
Tell him to leave off the fatuity [majaderias] of trying to view his affairs through the prism of
his own judgment and self-esteem; nemo judex in causa propria. (No one is judge in his own
case.)
Rizal, with the refinement characteristic in him, sincerely expressed gratitude for the shipment
but felt hurt by the message and formulated an indignant protest in this respectful language:
..What exceedingly attracts my attention here is not the word fatuity but the fact that your
reverence considers it fatuous for anyone to try to view his affairs through the prism of his own
judgment and self-esteem. Because I do not really see the sense, I must be mistaken in thus
interpreting your words. Although I am entirely at a loss to know what acts of my life your
reverence is referring to, it does not seem to me so censurable for a person to view his affairs
through the prism of his own judgment and self-esteem, for God must have given these to him to
some end. If we were to do so through the prisms of others, aside from its being impracticable,
there being as many prisms as there are individuals, we would not know which prism to choose
and in the choice we would have to make use of our own judgmentunless we choose
infinitely, from which it would result that we shall be wise on account of others, they directing
our actions, and we theirs, and everything would be in confusion, unless we disown our
judgment and self-esteem on their own account, which in my humble opinion, is to offend God
by disdaining His most precious endowments.
On February 2, Fr. Pastells again wrote him a very long letter explaining the necessity of divine
revelation to which Rizal answered on April 4, 1893:

We are entirely in accord in admitting the existence of God: how can I doubt it when I am
convinced of my own existence? Who recognizes the effect recognizes the cause. To doubt God
would be to doubt ones own conscience and consequently, to doubt everything; and, then, what
is life for?
I do not believe revelation impossible. On the contrary I believe in it, but not in the revelation
or revelations which every religion or all religions pretend to possess.
Let us not make a God according to our image, poor inhabitants that we are of a little planet
lost in the infinite space. However sublime and brilliant our intellect maybe, it is hardly a little
spark that shines and is extinguished in a moment, and it can only give us ideas of that bonfire,
of that conflagration, of that ocean of light.
I believe in revelation, yes, but in that living revelation of nature which surrounds us
everywhere, in that potent voice, eternal, incessant, incorruptible, clear, distinct, universal like
the Being from which it originates, in that revelation which speaks to us and penetrates us from
the moment we are born until we die.
He came out free of the bombardment of Fr. Pastells but not of the assiduities of Fr. Sanchez,
whom he met almost every day, for as both were naturalists they went together to gather
specimens of plants and animals for their collections. Fr. Sanchez constantly took the offensive
and Rizal the defensive. They discussed warmly the dogmas of the Church, and Rizal many
times said when they separated:
You do not convince me, father; you do not convince me. I am sorry.
According to Retana, Rizal having ceased to be a Catholic never went to mass, but he
endeavored not to attack the piety of the believers. One day the parish missionary, Fr. Obach,
asked him personally to contribute something for the pintakasi (fiesta) which was being prepared
in honor of Sn. Roque, patron saint of the principal barrio of Dapitan. But, father, exclaimed
Rizal, how could your reverence wish me to contribute to the maintenance of a rival? The day
Sn. Roque does everything, I as a physician would be useless in the world. And he did not give
a cent for the fiesta of the saint.

Heroic Efforts to Make Rizal Believe What He had Belied


There had been an alleged claim that Rizal retracted during the last few moments before he was
executed. It was seven o clock in the morning of December 29, when Rizal was notified of the
death sentence against him, to be executed at the same hour on the following day.
The formula of the alleged retraction follows:
I declare myself a Catholic and in this religion, in which I was born and educated, I wish to live
and die. I retract with all my heart anything in my words, writings, publications, and conduct that
have been contrary to my character as a son of the Church. I believe and profess what it teaches,
and I submit to what it demands. I abominate Masonry as the enemy that it is of the Church and
as a society prohibited by the same.
The Diocesan Prelate, as the superior ecclesiastical authority, may make this spontaneous
manifestation of mine public in order to repair the scandal that my acts may have caused and in
order that God and men may forgive me.
Manila, December 29, 1896. Jose Rizal
Critical Examination
When a man has succeeded in forming a conviction by dint of his own efforts and reflections, he
does not resign himself to subjecting his reasons to that of others. He who is sure of possessing
the light is not going to renounce it to take that of others. On the other hand, let us consider what
harm could result to him if he was converted. It would stain his clean record and subject him to
the remorse of having become, at the last hour, a renegade to his own convictions. Considering
how firm Rizals character was, we think he could not do such a thing.
There was no moral motive for the conversion. The extraordinary or abnormal acts of a person
are always due to some reason or rational motive. Rizal was a man of character and he had
demonstrated it in many circumstances of his life. He was not likely to yield his ideas because
his former preceptors and teachers talked to him. They did it in Dapitan and did not obtain any
result. Why would he renounce his religious ideas for a few more hours of life?

All that make us fear in life is the idea of suffering or of dying. But in Rizal the thought of
suffering and of dying for his country was fixed; it constituted his obsession. When for the first
time they told him not to return to his country, he said, I prefer the death of the ant which bites
even in the moment of dying.
Conclusion
This excerpts from the biography of Dr. Jose Rizal written by Palma highlighted to us the
philosophico-religious views and the alleged retraction of our national hero before his execution.
It depicted the kind of character he had. He was a keen observer, and minds the condition of the
people and the society he inhabited. He was not contented with the things he witnessed, with the
kind of system he was born to. He studied more, analyzed more, compared and discerned truth
from hypocrisy and by his efforts, from the very truth he had found, made a heavy mallet,
destroyed the walls of injustice and pulpit of hypocrisy and successfully freed his countrymen.
The youth of today, and all people who still witness this modern era, it will not be useless to take
some ideas from these man we considered hero of our own race and reflect from them the kind of
society we have, the precepts we have been under to since the time we were born. It would not
be futile to ask ourselves, are we on the kind of society deserved by one whos living in
democracy? Are the nations resources not exploited by foreign countries? Are we not deprived
of our rights as human beings? Are we free to express ourselves and our own ideas? Are we not
deprived to speak? Are we not deceived by political manipulations? Do we exercise our minds to
think critically if things being imposed on us are of concrete bases? Or just be stagnant with the
kind of views, beliefs, traditions passed to us by our ancestors? Maybe it is high time already for
Filipinos especially to our youth to reflect on the mind setting we have, with the kind of mind,
attitude, virtues and character exhibited to by our national hero. He did not live just for his own
life and well-being. He thought of the welfare of his family, his community, and his country. And
did not just thought of the present, but of the future. We would also admire his self-esteem and
great courage to stand for truth even he knew he was to stand alone. When he knew very well he
was on the right track, he hold his principles tight until the end of his life.