A Tribute to Andres Bonifacio
By Alex Moises
July 3, 1892: Jose Rizal organized the Liga Filipina in Tondo, Manila. He met a man named Andres Bonifacio who became one of the founding members of the organization.
Jose Rizal was born on June 19, 1861 in Calamba, Laguna. His family belonged to the upper middle class of Philippine society, which was a colony of Spain. Like all Filipinos during this period in Philippine history, Rizal was a second-class citizen in his own country. However, the socio-economic status of his family afforded him the kind of education which he needed. He was a mentally-gifted individual. He completed his elementary education at the top of his class and, during this stage in his development, he wrote a poem on love of one’s native language, which was Rizal’s earliest expression of nationalistic sentiment. He obtained a bachelor of arts degree with the highest honor, wrote a patriotic poem in which he exhorted the Filipino youth to apply their genius to the various fields of human work since they (the youth) were the hope of the Fatherland, and earned a medical degree at the University of Santo Tomas.
He continued to study abroad. He went to Spain and he obtained degrees in medicine and philosophy and letters at Universidad Central de Madrid. He went to Germany in 1886 in order to specialize in ophthalmology. During his stay abroad, he involved himself with the work of the Filipino Propaganda Movement which was composed of Filipino reformists who advocated for reforms in the Philippines. Among the Filipino reformists in Spain and the Philippines, Rizal produced the most outstanding literary pieces on Philippine nationalism and, consequently, exerted a profound influence on it. It was the novel, “Noli Me Tangere” (Touch Me Not”) which made Rizal an enemy of the Spanish friars and political administrators. The novel was a socio-political study of the Philippine society under Spanish colonial administration.