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.