Jose Rizal studied Spanish in San Juan de Letran College and later at the University of Santo Tomas.
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Jose Rizal, the Philippine national hero, studied Spanish in San Juan de Letran College and later at the University of Santo Tomas. As a student, he excelled in the Spanish language, which would become instrumental in his advocacy for Philippine independence.
According to the official website of the Philippine Consulate General, “Rizal was a brilliant student in Letran College when he was still at the primary grade level, he continued his education in Ateneo Municipality of Manila, and in Madrid, Spain, where he studied at Central University of Madrid.” In Madrid, he also frequented the Spanish national library and the Museo del Prado to deepen his knowledge of the country’s language and culture.
Rizal’s dedication to mastering the Spanish language was no accident. He recognized that it was necessary to understand the language of the oppressor to be able to fight for the rights of his fellow Filipinos. As he put it in a letter to Ferdinand Blumentritt in 1886, “We can learn Spanish thoroughly to unite ourselves thoroughly and to have with greater force, and with the aid of knowledge, better prospects for the happiness and welfare of our country.”
Here are some interesting facts about Jose Rizal and his study of Spanish:
- Rizal was a polymath who was proficient in 22 languages, including Spanish, French, German, and Japanese.
- Rizal was introduced to the Spanish language at the age of 3 by his mother, who was a Filipina of Chinese-Spanish descent.
- Rizal’s desire to learn Spanish was also fueled by his father, who was a well-educated man and a staunch advocate for reform in the Philippines.
- Rizal’s first published work, “El Consejo de los Dioses,” was in Spanish and appeared in the Madrid-based publication La Solidaridad in 1889.
- Rizal’s two most famous novels, “Noli Me Tangere” and “El Filibusterismo,” were both written in Spanish and became influential works in the Philippine nationalist movement.
- Rizal’s language skills became so advanced that he was able to write letters in Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilonggo, and other Philippine languages using the Spanish alphabet.
A table summarizing the key points:
|Education||Studied Spanish in San Juan de Letran College and at the University of Santo Tomas. Continued his education in Ateneo Municipality of Manila and the Central University of Madrid.|
|Relevance of Spanish||Recognized the importance of understanding the language of the oppressor to fight for the rights of Filipinos.|
|Language skills||Polymath proficient in 22 languages, including Spanish.|
|First published work||“El Consejo de los Dioses” in Spanish, appeared in the Madrid-based publication La Solidaridad in 1889.|
|Novels||“Noli Me Tangere” and “El Filibusterismo” were written in Spanish and became influential works in the Philippine nationalist movement.|
|Mastery of language||Wrote letters in Philippine languages using the Spanish alphabet.|
As Rizal himself said, “He who does not know how to look back at where he came from will never get to his destination.” Rizal’s dedication to mastering the Spanish language was a critical part of his journey towards fighting for Philippine independence and remains an inspiration to Filipinos today.
Response via video
The “Virtual Walking Tour of Rizal’s Madrid” takes viewers on a tour of the Filipino hero’s academic and intellectual life while studying in Madrid. From Rizal’s experiences as a medical student at Facultad de Medicina de San Carlos, to his involvement with La Solidaridad, the newspaper he helped create to serve as a voice for Filipinos, the tour highlights how Rizal’s exposure to liberal ideas in Madrid led him to cultivate his intellectual, literary, artistic, and scientific pursuits. Rizal’s heroism was later recognized with the erection of a monument in his honor at the Avenida de Filipinas in Madrid, and his ideologies remain a foundation for nation-building in the Philippines.
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Rizal studied at the Ateneo, a private high school, and then to the University of St. Thomas in Manila. He did his post graduate work at the University of Madrid in 1882.
Santa Isabel College
To improve his Spanish, Jose Rizal took private lesson in Santa Isabel College during the noon recess while students were playing and doing leisure activities. He placed second at the end of the year although his grades were marked excellent.
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Later, an old man named Leon Monroy, a former classmate of Rizal’s father, became the boy’s tutor. This old teacher lived at the Rizal home and instructed Jose in Spanish and Latin.
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