Jose Rizal is 153 years old today and to celebrate the birthday of our beloved national hero, here is a list of things about Rizal that your history teachers probably never taught you at school:
- Rizal was suspected of being a serial killer
On the 24th of May 1888, Rizal was in the London British Library to copy the book “Sucesos de las Islas de Filipinas” by hand. Incidentally, this was also the time where the notorious ‘Jack the Ripper’ terrorized the city, killing more than five victims. On January 1889, the killings suddenly stopped. This was also the exact time that Rizal left London to publish the book. But that’s not the only reason why he’s suspected of being Jack the Ripper. According to the investigation, the intricate method of killing suggests that only a person with a medical background could do it. We’re all very much aware that Rizal was a doctor. And also, they both have the initial J and R. Though it wasn’t proven, this is one of the most interesting things that Rizal got involved in. Oh and by the way, Jack the Ripper’s identity remains unknown till this day.
- Rizal was a cheapskate
As told by historian Ambeth Ocampo on his book “Rizal without the Overcoat”, there was a time when our hero was invited to a party and was assigned to bring the champagne. Despite his protest, he did bring the champagne but he also lectured his friends and the guests against drinking and womanizing. After his agonizing sermon, he then passed around his hat and asked everyone to chip on for the champagne he bought for the party. You can say he is indeed a penny-pincher but he was on a tight budget of P50 a month and on a foreign land. You would do the same if you’re in his shoes.
- Rizal is kind of a Psychic
Well, not really but he once had a nightmare that terrified him so badly. He wrote in his journal that he had a frightful nightmare in which he died. In his dream, he was portraying an actor who dies in a scene and that he felt vividly that his breath was failing. This incident happened on December 30, 1882, the same day of his execution 13 years later. He also wrote that in the future, he can see that the Philippines will have a massive transport system like trains that will go around the city, making transportation easier for everyone. We did have that eventually, however, if Rizal were to ride the MRT or LRT today, he’ll probably send an angry letter to the management.
- Rizal is a not actually a Straight-A Student
Yes, we all know that our national hero possesses multiple intelligence and no one doubts he’s a genius but did you know that he wasn’t always the excellent student we thought he was? Jose Rizal’s grades and performance were all just average. And all though he graduated sobraseliente , he received that award along with eight other classmates. His grades in UST weren’t so good either. He had a few passing marks because according to him, “the subjects are a bore and the discussions are dry”.
- Rizal is still a Mystery
According to Ocampo, there are still a lot of things that we don’t know about Rizal. For instance, it was said that Rizal distracted himself from depression and self-pitying by writing scribbles. However, none of those scribbles were found. Also, on the eve of his execution on December 29, 1896, Rizal stuffed some papers in his pants and shoes, thinking that his body will be given to his family after he died. Of course, the Spanish government did the opposite and they dumped his body on an unmarked grave at the Paco cemetery. His body was exhumed two years later but the papers he wrote were already destroyed. No one knows what’s written in those papers and no one ever will.