Metro Manila · José Rizal (* 19 June 1861, † 30 December 1896)
Jose Rizal is the Philippines' National Hero. He was an eye doctor, artist, and writer. As a non-violent reformist, his written works inspired a revolution that led to the transformation of the Philippines into an independent democracy. He died a martyr, leaving behind a famous death poem entitled "Mi Ultimo Adios" or "My Last Farewell".
His peaceful methods to gain liberty made the Calamba native one of the early non-violent proponents of freedom in Asia, earning him the title “The Pride of the Malayan Race”. Together with contemporary Andres Bonifacio, he is is one of the Philippine national heroes recognized by the National Heroes Committee.
Rizal was born into a wealthy family and studied medicine in several European countries. With the novels "Noli Me Tangere" and "El Filibusterismo", including poems and essays, he became an important voice of the Filipinos during the struggle for independence in the late 19th century. By establishing the civic organization La Liga Filipina (The Philippine League), Jose Rizal came to be known as a political figure during his time. According to accounts, La Liga Filipina gave birth to Andres Bonifacio’s secret society Katipunan, the main force behind the revolution.
Although Rizal never supported a militant uprising, the Spaniards executed him on December 30, 1896. The date is now a national holiday - Rizal Day - to celebrate his contributions to the Philippines' culture and fight for independence.
If you want to learn more about Jose Rizal, visit the Rizal Shrine in Fort Santiago, Intramuros. This is where Rizal was incarcerated before his execution. The place is now a museum featuring original letters, accessories, clothes, drawings, pieces of arts, and other memorabilia.