by: Mrs. Conchita Teresa M. Olivares

The month of June is very significant to the Filipinos because it commemorates the 150th birth anniversary of the greatest Filipino of all time, Dr. Jose Rizal.

JOSE RIZAL, the national hero of the Philippines and pride of the Malayan race, was born on June 19, 1861, in the town of Calamba, Laguna. He was the seventh child in a family of 11 children (2 boys and 9 girls). Both his parents were educated and belonged to distinguished families.

More than being a hero, he was a genius, an architect, artists, businessman, cartoonist, educator, economist, ethnologist, scientific farmer, historian, inventor, journalist, linguist, musician, mythologist, nationalist, naturalist, novelist, opthalmic surgeon, poet, propagandist, psychologist, scientist, sculptor, sociologist, and theologian.

As a writer, his prowess on writing shone at the age 8, when he wrote a Tagalog poem, “Sa Aking Mga Kabata,” the theme of which revolves on the love of one’s language.

In March 1887, his daring book, NOLI ME TANGERE, a satirical novel exposing the arrogance and despotism of the Spanish clergy, was published in Berlin.

In 1890 he reprinted in Paris, Morga’s SUCESOS DE LAS ISLAS FILIPINAS with his annotations to prove that the Filipinos had a civilization worthy to be proud of even long before the Spaniards set foot on Philippine soil.

In September 18, 1891, EL FILIBUSTERISMO, his second novel and a sequel to the NOLI and more revolutionary and tragic than the latter, was printed in Ghent. Because of his fearless exposures of the injustices committed by the civil and clerical , he was imprisoned in Fort Santiago from July 6, 1892 to July 15, 1892.

Today, Jose Rizal is honored every year through the National Children’s Book  Day which is celebrated every third week of July. This event commemorates the anniversary of the publication of Jose Rizal’s “The Monkey and the Turtle” in Trubner’s Oriental Record in London.

As an author, Jose Rizal has proven that the pen is mightier than the sword, when he provoked the animosity of those in power and led the Filipino people into a deep sense of patriotism and nationalsim.


Google images. Retrieved July 2011 from

Jose Rizal: a biographical sketch. Retrieved July 7, 2011 from

Philippine Board on Books for Young People. (PBBY) Retrieved July 13, 2011 from


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