Rizal as Teacher

            Since boyhood Rizal knew the  value  of  good  educa- tion. His exile in Dapitan gave him the opportunity to put into practice  his  educational  ideas.  In 1893,  he esta- blished a school which existed until the end of his exile in July 1896. It began with three pupils  and in the course of time the enrollment increased  to 16 and later 21.  In his letter to Blumentritt on March 13, Rizal said  that he  had 16 pupils in his school and these pupils did not  pay  any tuition. Instead of charging them, he  made them work in his garden, fields and construction projects in the community.

            Rizal  taugh this  boys  reading,   writing,  languages (Spanish and English),  geography,  history,  mathematics arithmetic and geometry),  industrial work,  nature study, morals and gymnastics.  He  trained them how to  collect specimens of  plants  and  animals, to love work,  and  to "behave like men".

            Formal classes were conducted between 2:00 to 4:00 P.M. In Ateneo, the best pupil  was  called  an  "emperor" and he sat at the head of the bench whereas the poorest pupil occupies the end of the bench.

            During recess the pupils built fires in  the  garden  to drive  away  the  insects,  pruned  the  fruit  trees,  and manured the soil.

            Outside the class hours,  Rizal  encouraged  them  to play games in order to strengthen their bodies. They had gymnastics, boxing, wrestling, stone-throwing, swimming, arnis (native fencing), and boating.

 Hymn to Talisay

                In honor of Talisay, he wrote a poem entitled "Himno A Talisay" for his pupils to sing:



At Dapitan, the sandy shore
And rocks aloft on mountain crest
Form thy throne, O refuge blest,
That we from childhood days have known.
In your vales that flowers adorn
And your fruitful leafy shade,
Our thinking power are being made,
And soul with body being grown.

We are youth not long on earth
But our souls are free from sorrow;
Calm, strong men we'll be tomorrow,
Who can guard our families' right.
Lads are we whom naught can frighten,
Whether thunder, waves, or rain
Swift of arm, serene of mien
In peril, shall we wage our fights.

With our games we churn the sand,
Through the caves and crags we roam,
On the rocks  we make our home,
Everywhere our arms can reach.
Neither dark nor night obscure
Cause us fear, nor fierce torment
That even Satan can invent
Life or death? We must face each!

"Talisayans", people call us!
Mighty souls in bodies small
O'er Dapitan's district all
No Talisay like this towers.
None can march our reservoir.
Our diving pool the sea profound!
No rowing boat the world around
For the moment can pass ours.

We study science  exact;
The history of our motherland;
Three languages or four command;
Bring faith and reason in accord.
Our hands can manage at one time
The sail and working spade and pen,
The mason's maul - for virile men
Companions - and the gun and sword.

Live, live, O leafy green Talisay!
Our voices sing thy praise in chorus
Clear star, precious treasure for us.
Our childhood's wisdom and its balm.
In fights that wait for every man,
In sorrow and adversity,
Thy memory a charm will be,
And in the tomb, thy name, thy calm.

Hail, O Talisay!
Firm and untiring
Ever aspiring,
Stately thy gait.
Things, everywhere
In sea, land and air
Shalt thou dominate.  


 Contributions to Science

            Rizal found Mindanao a rich virgin field  for  collecting specimens. With his baroto (sailboat)  and  accompanied by his pupils, he explored thejungles and coasts, seeking specimens of insects, birds, snakes, lizards, frogs, shells, and plants. He sent these specimens  to  the  museum of Europe especially  the  Dresden Museum.  In payment for these  valuable  specimens,  the European Scientist  sent him scientific books and surgical instruments.

            During his four year exile in Dapitan,  Rizal built up a rich collection of concology which consisted of  346 shells representing 203 species.

            Rare specimens  were  discovered  and  named  after him:  Among  these  were  Draco Rizali  (a flying dragon), Apogonia rizali (a small beetle),and Rhacophorus rizali (a rare frog).

            Rizal also conducted anthropological, ethnographical, archeological, geological,  and  geographical  studies  as revealed by scientist friend in Europe. There was no limit to his scientific versatility.

 Linguistic Studies

            A born  linguist,   Rizal  continued  his  studies  of languages. In Dapitan he learned the  Bisayan, Subanon, and Malay languages.

            On April 5, 1896, his last year of exile in Dapitan, he wrote to Blumentritt: "Iknow already Bisayan and I speak it quite well.  by  this  time,  Rizal  could  rank  with  the worlds great linguists. He knew 22 languages, as follows: Tagalog,  Ilokano,  Bisayan,  Subanon,  Spanish,  Latin, Greek, English, French, German,  Arabic,  Malay,  Hebrew, Sanskrit,  Dutch,  Catalan,  Italian,  Chinese,  Japanese, Portuguese, Swedish, and Russian.

 Artistic Works in Dapitan

            As an artist he contributed  his  painting skills to the Sisters of Charity who were preparing the sanctuary of the Holy  Virgin  in  their  private  chapel.   For  the  sake  of economy,  the  head  of  the image  was  "procured  from abroad".  The vestments  concealing  all the  rest of  the figure  except  the  feet,  which  rested  upon  a   globe encircled by a snake  in whose mouth is an  apple,  were made by the sisters.  Rizal modeled the right foot of  the image, the apple and the serpent' head. He also designed the exquisite curtain, which was painted in oil by an artist Sister under his direction.

            In  1894  he  modeled  a  statuette  representing the mother-dog killing the crocodile by  way of  avenging  her lost puppy and called it "The Mother's Revenge".

            Other sculptural works of Rizal in Dapitan were a bust of  Father  Guerrico   (one of  his  Ateneo  professors),  a statue of a girl called "The Dapitan Girl", a woodcarving of Josephine Bracken (his wife), and a bust of St. Paul which he gave to Father Pastells.

 Rizal as Farmer

            In Dapitan,  Rizal  bought  16  hectares  of  land  in Talisay, where he built his home, school, and hospital and planted    cacao, coffee,  sugarcane,  coconuts  and  fruit trees. "My land"' he wrote to his  Sister Trinidad,  "is half an  hour  from  the  sea.   It  is  very   poetic  and   very picturesque. If you and our parents come I will build a big house we can all live in".

            Later, the total  land  holdings reached  70  hectares containing 6,000 hemp plants, 1,000  coconut trees,  and numerous fruit trees, sugarcane, corn, coffee and cacao.

            He  introduced  modern  agricultural  methods  to Dapitan farmers and imported agricultural machinery from the United States.

 Rizal as Businessman

            Rizal engaged in business in partnership with Ramon Carreon on May 14, 1893, a Dapitan Merchant which has a profitable business ventures in  fishing, copra, and  hemp industries. He invited his relative Saturnia and Hidalgo to come to Mindanao for some business opportunities.

            In a letter to Hidalgo,  dated  January  19,  1893,  he expressed   his plan to  improve  the  fishing  industry  in Dapitan and instructed Hidalgo to help him buy a big  net for  trawl  fishing  (pukutan)   and  send  him  two  good Calamba fisherman who  could  teach  the  Dapitan  folks better methods of fishing.

            One of his profitable business venture was the hemp industry.  To break the Chinese Monopoly  on business in Dapitan  Rizal  organized  on  January  1,  1895  the Cooperative Association of Dapitan Farmers and according to its constitution, its purpose were "to improve the farm products, obtain better outlets for them, collect funds for their purchases and workers by establishing a store where in they can buy prime commodities at moderate prices.

 Rizal's Inventive Ability

            Rizal was also an inventor and to  remember  that  in 1887 while practicing medicine in Calamba, he invented a cigarette lighter which he sent to Blumentritt and called it "sulpukan" made of wood and its  mechanism is based on the principle of compressed air.

            In  Dapitan,  he i nvented  a  wooden   machine  for making  bricks. This  machine  could  manufacture  about 6,000 bricks daily.


 "My Retreat"

                In February, Doņa Teodora returned to Manila. During her long stay in Dapitan she saw how  busy his  talented son was and regretted that he had  neglected  the Muses. She requested him to  write poetry again, a  poem  about his serene life as an exile in Dapitan and on October 22, 1895 he wrote "Mi Retiro" (My Retreat) which is acclaimed by literary critics as one of the best ever penned by Rizal. It is as follows;


(The original version is in Spanish.)

    By spreading beach where the sands are soft and  fine     
At the foot of the mouth in its mantle of green
    I have built my hut in the pleasant grove's confine;
    From the forest seeking peace and a calmness divine,
    Rest for the weary brain and silence to my sorrow's   keen.

      Its roof of the frail palm-leaf and its floor the cane.
      Its beams and posts of the unhewn wood;
      Little there is of value in this hut so plain,
      And better by far in the lap of the mount to have lain,
      By the song and the murmur of the high seas flood.
      A purling brook from the woodland glade
      Drops down o'er the stones and around it sweeps,
      Whence a fresh stream is drawn by the rough  cane's aid;
      That in the still night its murmur has made,
      And in the day's heat a crystal fountain leaps.
      When the sky is serene how gently it flows,
      And its zither unseen ceaselessly plays;
      But when the rains fall a torrent it goes
      Boiling and foaming through the rocky close,
      Roaring unchecked to the sea's wide ways.

      The howl of the dog and the song of the bird,
      And only the kalao,s hoarse call resound;
      Nor is the voice of vain man to be heard;
      My mind to harass or my steps to begird;
      The woodlands alone and the sea wrap me round.

      The sea, ah, the sea! for me it is all,
      And it massively sweeps from the world's apart;
      Its smile in the morn to my soul is a call,
      And when in the evening my faith seems to pall,
      It breathes with its sadness on echo to my heart.

      By night an arcanum; when translucent it glows,
      All spangled over with its millions of lights,
      And the bright sky above resplendent shows;
      While the waves with their sighs tell of their woes -
      Tales that are lost as they roll to the heights.

      They tell of the world when the first dawn broke,
      And the sunlight over their surface played;
      When thousands of beings from the nothingness woke,
      To people the depths and the heights to cloak,
      Wherever its life-giving kiss was laid.

      But when in the night the wild winds awake,
      And the waves in their fury begin to leap,
      Through the air rush the cries that my mind shake;
      Voices that pray, songs  and moans that partake
      Of laments from the souls sunk down in the deep.

      Then from their heights the mountains groan,
      And the trees shiver tremulous from great unto least;
      The groves rustle plaintive and the herds utter moan,
      For they say that the ghost of the folk that are gone
      Are calling them down to their death's merry feast.

      In terror and confusion whispers the night,
      While blue and green flames fit over the deep;
      But calm reigns with the morning's light,
      And soon the bold fisherman comes into sight,
      And his bark rushes on and the waves sink to sleep.

      So onward glide the days in my lonely abode;
      Driven forth from the world where once I was known,
      I muse o'er the fate upon me bestowed;
      A fragrant forgotten that the moss will corrode,
      To hide from mankind the world in me shown.

      I live in thought of the loved ones left,
      And of their names to my mind are borne;
      Some have forsaken me and some by death are reft;
      But now 'tis all one, as through the past I drift,
      That past which from one never be torn.

      For it is the friend that is with me always,
      That ever in sorrow keeps the faith in my soul;
      While through the still night it watches and prays,
      As here in my exile in my one hut it stays
      To strengthen my faith when doubts o'er me roll.

      That faith I keep and I hope to see shine
      The day when the Idea prevails over might;
      When after the fray and death's show decline.
      Some other voice sounds, far happier than mine,
      To raise the glad of the triumph of right.

      I see the sky glow, refulgent and clear,
      As when it forced on me my first dear illusion;
      I feel the same wind kiss my forehead sore,
      And the fire is the same that is burning here
      To stir up youth's blood in boiling confusion.

      I breathe here the winds that perchance have pass's
      O'er the fields and the rivers of my own natal shore;
      And mayhap they will bring on the returning blast
      The sighs that loved being upon them has cast -
      Messages sweet from the love I first bore.

      To see the same moon, all silver's as of yore.
      I feel the sad thoughts within me arise;
      The fond recollections of the troth we swore.
      Of the field and the bower and the wide seashore,
      The blushes of joy, with the silence and sighs.

      A butterfly seeking the flowers and the light,
      Of other lands dreaming of vaster extent;
      Scarce a youth, from home and love I took flight,
      To wander unheeding, free from doubt of affright -
      So in foreign lands were my brightest days spent.

      And when like a languishing bird I was fain
      To the home of my fathers and my love to return,
      Of a sudden the fierce tempest roar'd amain;
      So I saw my wings shattered and no home remain,
      My trust sold to others and wrecks round me burn.

      Hurl'd out into exile from the land I adore,
      My future all dark and no refuge to seek;
      My roseate dreams hover, round me once more,
      Sole treasure of all that life to me bore;
      The faiths of youth that with sincerity speak.

      But not as of old, full of life and of grace,
      Do you hold out hopes of undying reward
      Sadder I find you; on your lov'd face,
     Though still sincere, the pale lines trace
      The marks of the faith it is yours to guard.

      You offer now, dreams, my gloom to appease,
      And the years of my youth again to disclose;
      So I thank you, O storm, and the heaven-born breeze,
      That you knew of the hour my wild flight to ease,
      To cast me back to the soil whence I rose.

      By the spreading beach where the sands are soft and fine,
      At the foot of the mount in its mantle of green;
      I have found a home in the [leasant grove's confine,
      In the shady woods, that peace and calmness divine,
      Rest for the weary brain and silence to my sorrow keen.  

MayorRuiROCKD.jpg (125360 bytes)
Dapitan City Mayor Joseph Cerick O. Ruiz

 Rizal and Josephine Bracken

            In the silent house of the night after the  days  hard work, Rizal was often  sad.  He  missed  his  family  and relatives,   his   good   friends   in   foreign   lands,   the exhilarating life in the cities of Europe and his happy days in Calamba. The death of  Leonora Rivera  on  August 28, 1893  left  a  poignant  void  in  his  heart.   He  needed somebody to cheer him up in his lonely exile.

            In God's own time, Josephine Bracken  an Irish girl of sweet eighteen,  "slender,  a  chestnut  blond,  with  blue eyes, dressed with elegant simplicity, with an atmosphere of light gayety", born in Hong Kong on  October 3,1876 of Irish parents  James  Bracken,  a  corporal in the   British garrison, and Elizabeth Jane MacBride  which  died during her childbirth and so Josephine was an adopted daughter by Mr. George Taufer who later became blind.

            No ophthalmic specialist in Hong Kong could cure Mr. Taufer's blindness and so Mr. Taufer and Josephine seek the services of the famous ophthalmic surgeon, Dr. Rizal.

            They presented to Rizal a card of introduction by Julio Llorente, his friend and schoolmate.

            Rizal and Josephine fell  in  love  with  each other  at first sight. After a whirlwind romance of  one month, they agree  to  marry  but  for  Fr.  Obach,  priest  of  Dapitan, refused to  marry  them  without  the  permission  of  the Bishop of Cebu.

            When Mr. Taufer heard of their projected marriage, he flared up in violent rage trying to commit suicide but Rizal prevented  him  from  killing  himself.  To  avoid  tragedy, Josephine went away  with Taufer  to  Manila.  The  blind man  went  away  uncured   because  his   ailment   was venereal in nature, hence, incurable.

            Mr. Taufer   returned  alone  in   Hong Kong  and Josephine stayed in Manila with Rizal's family. Later she returned to  Dapitan  and  since  no  priest  would  marry them, they held hands together and married  themselves before the eyes of God. They lived as man and wife.

            Rizal and Josephine lived happily in Dapitan and for him Dapitan was a heaven of bliss.

            Rizal wrote a poem for Josephine which runs as follows:


Josephine, Josephine
Who to these shore have come
Looking for a nest, a home,  
Like a wandering swallow;

If your fate is taking you
To Japan, China or Shanghai,
Don't forget on these shores
  A heart for you beats high.  


In the early  part of 1896  Rizal  and  Josephine  was expecting a baby but unfortunately she prematurely gave birth to an eight month old baby boy  who lived  only  for three hours. The lost son was named "Francisco" in honor of Don Fraancisco (the hero's father) and was buried in Dapitan.

 Rizal and the Katipunan

            While Rizal  was  mourning  in  the  loss  of  his  son, ominous  clouds  of  revolution  darkened  the  Philippine skies.  Andres  Bonifacio,  the  "Great  Plebeian,"  was showing  the  seeds  of  an  armed  uprising.  The  secret revolutionary society called  Katipunan which he  founded on July 7, 1892 was gaining more and more adherents.

            Dr. Pio Valenzuela was  the emissary  to  Dapitan  to inform  Rizal  of  the  plan  of  the Katipunan to launch a revolution for freedom's sake. On June 15, Dr. Valenzuela together  with  a  blind man  Raymundo  Mata  (to solicit Rizal's expert medical advice)  left  Manila  on  Board the Steamer Venus.

            Dr. Valenzuela arrived  in Dapitan on  June  21, 1896 and he told Rizal of the Katipunan plan but Rizal objected to Bonifacio's  project  to  plunge  the country  in  bloody revolution for two  reasons: (1) the people are not  ready for the revolution (2) arms and  funds  must be  collected before raising the cry of the revolution.

 Volunteers as Military Doctor in Cuba

            Rizal offered his services as a military doctor in Cuba due to the throes of a  revolution and the ranging  yellow fever epidemic knowing from Blumentritt that there was a shortage  of  physicians  to  minister  the  needs  of  the Spanish troops and the Cuban people.

            Rizal wrote to Gov. General  Ramon  Blanco  on  Dec. 17, 1895 offering his services as a military doctor in Cuba. Months passed and a letter from  Gov. Blanco  arrived  in Dapitan  dated   July  1,   1896  notifying  him  of  the acceptance of his offer and at the same time to give Rizal a pass so that he could come to Manila where he would be given a safe-conduct to Spain and his  medical  opera- tions in Cuba.

                Great was  Rizal's  joy  in  receiving  the  news  from Malacanang that at last, he was free! once more to travel to Europe  and  then  to  Cuba.   From  this he  wrote  a heart-warming poem  "El Canto del Viajero" (The Song of the Traveler) which runs as follows:



      Like to a leaf that is fallen and withered,
      Tossed from the tempest from pole unto pole;
      Thus roams the pilgrims abroad without purpose,
      Roams without love, without country or soul.
      Following anxiously treacherous fortune;
      Fortune which e'en as he grasps at it flees,
      Vain though the hopes that his yearning is seeking
      Yet does the pilgrim embark on the seas.
      Ever impelled by the invisible power,
      Destined to roam from the East to the West;
      Oft he remembers the faces of loved ones,
      Dreams of the day when he, too, was at rest.

      Chance may assign him tomb on the desert,
      Grant him a final asylum of peace;
      Soon by the world and his country forgotten,
      God rest his soul when his wandering cease!

      Often the sorrowing pilgrim is envied,
      Circling the globe like a sea-gull above;
      Little, ah, little they know what a void
      Saddens his soul by the absence of love.

      Home may the pilgrim return in the future,
      back to his loved ones his footsteps he bends;
      Naught will he find out snow and the ruins,
      Ashes of love and the tomb of his friends.

      Pilgrim, bygone! Nor return more hereafter,
      Dry are the tears that a while for thee ran;
Pilgrim, bygone! And forget thane affliction
     Loud laughs the world at the sorrows of man.  


  Adios, DAPITAN

            On July 31, 1896, Rival's four-year  exile  in  Dapitan came to an end. At  midnight of that date, he  embarked on board the steamer Espaņa.

He  was  accompanied  by  Josephine,  Narcisa,  Angelica (Narcisa's daughter),  his three  nephews, and six  pupils. Almost all  Dapitan folks,  young  and  old , were  at  the shore to bid him goodbye. Many wept especially the other pupils who were poor to accompany their beloved teacher to  Manila.  As  farewell  music,  the  town  brass  band strangely played the dolorous Funeral March of Chapin.

            As the steamer pushed out into the sea, Rizal gazed for the last time on Dapitan waving in  farewell salute to its kind and hospitable folks and with a crying heart filled with tears  of  nostalgic  memories.   When he  could  no longer see the dim shoreline , he sadly went to his cabin and wrote in his diary: "I have been  in  that district  four years, thirteen days, and a few hours".

            "I have always loved my poor country, and I am sure that I shall love her until  death,  if  by chance  men  are unjust to me; and I shall enjoy the happy life, contented in the thought  that all  I  have   suffered,  my past,  my present and my future, my life, my loves, my pleasures, I have sacrificed all of these for love of her.  Happen  what may, I shall die blessing her and desiring the dawn of her redemption."

                                  Jose Rizal


            "Not only is Rizal the most famous man  of  his  own people, but the greatest man the Malayan race has produced."

                         Ferdinand Blumentritt


           "Dr. Jose Rizal was an exceptional  man,  unsurpassed by other Filipino heroes in talent, nobility of  character  and  patriotism. His  exile  in  Dapitan possesses  a  keen sense of  history  and  an  aura  of destiny. He  himself  kept and preserved his numerous poetical and prose writings personal and travel diaries, scientific   treatises  and  hundred  of  letters  written to,  and  received  from, his parents, brothers, sisters, relatives, friends and enemies.  Indeed,  Rizal  was  a man of excellence, discipline and disposition........."