The Life of Jose Rizal: Philippine Patriot HTML version

Jagor's Prophecy
Rizal's first home in Manila was in a nipa house with Manuel Hidalgo, later to be his
brother-in-law, in Calle Espeleta, a street named for a former Filipino priest who had
risen to be bishop and governor-general. This spot is now marked with a tablet which
gives the date of his coming as the latter part of February, 1872.
Rizal's own recollections speak of June as being the date of the formal beginning of his
studies in Manila. First he went to San Juan de Letran and took an examination in the
Catechism. Then he went back to Kalamba and in July passed into the Ateneo, possibly
because of the more favorable conditions under which the pupils were admitted,
receiving credit for work in arithmetic, which in the other school, it is said, he would
have had to restudy. This perhaps accounts for the credit shown in the scholastic year
1871-72. Until his fourth year Rizal was an externe, as those residing outside of the
school dormitory were then called. The Ateneo was very popular and so great was the
eagerness to enter it that the waiting list was long and two or three years' delay was not at
all uncommon.
There is a little uncertainty about this period; some writers have gone so far as to give
recollections of childhood incidents of which Rizal was the hero while he lived in the
house of Doctor Burgos, but the family deny that he was ever in this home, and say that
he has been confused with his brother Paciano.
The greatest influence upon Rizal during this period was the sense of Spanish judicial
injustice in the legal persecutions of his mother, who, though innocent, for two years was
treated as a criminal and held in prison.
Much of the story is not necessary for this narrative, but the mother's troubles had their
beginning in the attempted revenge of a lieutenant of the Civil Guard, one of a body of
Spaniards who were no credit to the mother country and whom Rizal never lost
opportunity in his writings of painting in their true colors. This official had been in the
habit of having his horse fed at the Mercado home when he visited their town from his
station in Binan, but once there was a scarcity of fodder and Mr. Mercado insisted that his
own stock was entitled to care before he could extend hospitality to strangers. This the
official bitterly resented. His opportunity for revenge soon came, and was not
overlooked. A disagreement between Jose Alberto, the mother's brother in Binan, and his
wife, also his cousin, to whom he had been married when they were both quite young, led
to sensational charges which a discreet officer would have investigated and would
assuredly have then realized to be unfounded. Instead the lieutenant accepted the most
ridiculous statements, brought charges of attempted murder against Alberto and his sister,
Mrs. Rizal, and evidently figured that he would be able to extort money from the rich
man and gratify his revenge at the same time.