Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Who Was Jose Rizal

Letters and Figures
by RmOlano

The photo of a young man claimed to be Jose Rizal decked with Masonic regalia of decorated apron and sash is somewhat intriguing indeed. Another interesting point is that the photo is incidentally missing from the collection of photographs in the official Jose Rizal website maintained by the Jose Rizal University. Though this writer is not trained in the art of facial recognition, the physical difference from other photos of youthful and latter aged subject are striking. Comparing the 16-year old Universidad de Santo Tomas student photo and the photo taken at Madrid with Marcelo del Pilar and Graciano Jaena, I am not fully convinced of the validity of the Masonic photo.

It is possible that Jose Rizal may have been initiated to the Craft before joining with other Brethren in the Filipino dominated La Solidaridad Lodge in Madrid during 1890. According to the website, Jose graduated from Ateneo Municipal de Manila at the age of 16 and passed the Surveyor exam the following year. He enrolled in medicine in UST in 1878 and then sailed to Madrid in 1882 using a passport of "Jose Mercado"--- which is his real name or his father last name not Rizal.

During my school days, we have read about Mao-Tse-Tung and Peking, now the same subjects are known as Mao Zedong and the Capital of China is called Bejing. Europeans known Bro Jose as Rizal and for many convenient reasons, the Nation went along with the notion. Maybe it is about time to call a spade –a spade. Maybe it is about time to call him with his real name and doing so also honoring his family, his older brother-- Revolutionary General Paciano Mercado, sisters Josepa and Trinidad who also joined the revolutionary army after Joses's execution and most especially his father—Francisco Mercado.

We should remember Bro Jose with his real name--- Jose Alonzo Mercado or in contemporary practice Jose "Rizal" Mercado. He used an alias—Rizal to hide his real identity from those who might want to harm him and his family. Over one hundred years had passed, the Nation and the World knew what he did and stood for---there is no need to hide who really was Dr. Jose "Rizal" Mercado from Calamba, Laguna.



Ang Kuwago said...


It is indeed insightful that our national hero is continually being addressed by his alias rather than his familial surname. One question that remains is how he came about with the name "Rizal". It would definitely be interesting to understand how he came about with the name especially if it had some deeper meaning or symbolism rather than if it had been some name he simply cooked up randomly.

Happy New Year!

Bro. Bubong Antonio
"Ang Kuwago"
Subic Bay ::361

toymatz21 said...

Yes I strongly agree.I always see this particular picture in books and even numerous websites. I thought I was the only one who took notice because in my own but strong opinion. That is not Rizal. More like a member of the free mason and taken sometime 1920’s or 1930’s. Rizal did not sport that that kind of hairstyle in his younger years like during his Ateneo or UST days. That light suit is more likely from the American era. Even his features defer very much from what we usually see in in his more famous photographs. Rizal had wider forehead, his nostrils did not project forward like in this picture and certainly his lips did not look like this. Oh, he was a freemason no doubt, but but the authenticity of this photo is highly questionable.