This chapter focuses on Rizal’s family and friends and how they played a part in the national hero’s life.
Teodora Alonso Quintos
She was married to Francisco Mercado where they had eleven children.
She was related to Jose Alberto of Biñan. Jose Rizal lived in Jose Alberto’s house when he was studying in Biñan.
Teodora’s father, Lorenzo Alberto Alonso, married Ilocana Paula Florentino in 1814. A few years later, the same Lorenzo Alberto Alonso was living with Brigida Quintos, Teodora’s mother. This relationship makes Teodora and Jose Alberto half-siblings. (38)
Born on March 7, 1851, Paciano Rizal was the second of the eleven Rizal children. He was 10 years older than Jose Rizal.
He had a fair complexion and rosy cheeks. He was handsome—more handsome than Rizal. He was tall, around 5’7’’ or 5’9’. Rizal admitted it himself and described Paciano as “more refined and serious” than him. (43)
Paciano studied at University of Santo Tomas but he had to drop out because he was associated with Father Jose Burgos, a filibustero. Father Jose Burgos, together with Father Mariano Gomez and Father Jacinto Zamora, were executed in 1872 for the Cavite Mutiny of 1872. Due to Paciano’s reputation at school, Jose used “Rizal” instead of “Mercado” at school to avoid being associated with his brother. (40)
It was Paciano who sent Rizal to Europe, corresponding with him, and sending him monthly allowance. When Rizal came home and insisted on marrying Leonor Rivera, Paciano discouraged him by saying, “Iniisip mo ang iyong sarili, ” (You’re only thinking about yourself) and sent him off to Europe again. (41)
Paciano courted a few women but never married. But he had a daughter, Emiliana, with Severina Decena. (41)
He died in Los Baños, Laguna on April 13, 1930.
There are only two photographs of Paciano Rizal: one taken without his consent and one when he was in his coffin. One of Paciano’s granddaughter said that their lolo didn’t liked to be photographed because “he was a wanted man in the past and if there were no photographs of him, then it would be hard for the authorities to arrest him. He could walk everywhere without being recognized.” (43)
Father Leoncio Lopez
Father Leoncio Lopez was the parish priest of Calamba, Laguna.
On August 23, 1891, when Rizal was writing to Ferdinand Blumentritt, he mentioned Father Lopez. Rizal described Fr. Lopez as an
indio, tall, straight, and distinguished; cultured but timid and tender… A friend of my father. He was related to my family. He was a just, liberal, and tolerant man. You will see his image in my new book [El Filibusterismo]; I call him Fr. Florentino. He was a musician, poet and naturalist. He never meddled in politics. He never had anything to do with the election of the gobernadorcillo. We were at peace. (46)
Aside from the inspiration of the character Father Florentino, how were the Rizals and Father Leoncio Lopez related? Father Lopez was related to the national hero because Rizal’s sister, Narcisa, married Antonino Lopez, Father Lopez’ son. (47)
Today, Blumentritt is a busy street in Santa Cruz, Manila. Blumentritt Road (or Blumentritt LRT Station) was named after Ferdinand Blumentritt, one of Rizal’s friends. He was also friends with painter Juan Luna and diplomat Felipe Agoncillo.
Ferdinand Blumentritt was an Austrian scholar who studied the Philippines. He and Rizal often wrote letters because they’re good friends. These letters make up almost two volumes of Epistolario Rizalino, a collection of Rizal’s letters. (48)
After Rizal died, he wrote to Higino Francisco from 1906 to 1913. Francisco, Rizal’s relative, smuggled copies of Noli Me Tangere into the Philippines. In their letters, Blumentritt mentioned that he attacked anti-Filipinos such as Quioquiap and Retana and American writer James Le Roy. (48)
Without these people, Rizal wouldn’t be Rizal. It’s unfortunate that these people were only mentioned in history books because of their relationship to the hero. It would’ve been better if Filipinos know more about them because the Philippines wouldn’t be what it is today without them.
Ocampo, Ambeth R. Rizal Without the Overcoat. Mandaluyong: Anvil Publishing, Inc. 2012. Print.
This is Part 3 of a 9-Part Rizal series of Ambeth Ocampo’s Rizal Without the Overcoat.