The Life of Jose Rizal: Philippine Patriot HTML version
The Period of Propaganda
The city had not altered much during Rizal's seven years of absence. The condition of the
Binondo pavement, with the same holes in the road which Rizal claimed he remembered
as a schoolboy, was unchanged, and this recalls the experience of Ybarra in "Noli Me
Tangere" on his homecoming after a like period of absence.
Doctor Rizal at once went to his home in Kalamba. His first operation in the Philippines
relieved the blindness of his mother, by the removal of a double cataract, and thus the
object of his special study in Paris was accomplished. This and other like successes gave
the young oculist a fame which brought patients from all parts of Luzon; and, though his
charges were moderate, during his seven months' stay in the Islands Doctor Rizal
accumulated over five thousand pesos, besides a number of diamonds which he had
bought as a secure way of carrying funds, mindful of the help that the ring had been with
which he had first started from the Philippines.
Shortly after his arrival, Governor-General Terrero summoned Rizal by telegraph to
Malacanan from Kalamba. The interview proved to be due to the interest in the author of
"Noli Me Tangere" and a curiosity to read the novel, arising from the copious extracts
with which the Manila censors had submitted an unfavorable opinion when asking for the
prohibition of the book. The recommendation of the censor was disregarded, and General
Terrero, fearful that Rizal might be molested by some of the many persons who would
feel themselves aggrieved by his plain picturing of undesirable classes in the Philippines,
gave him for a bodyguard a young Spanish lieutenant, Jose Taviel de Andrade. The
young men soon became fast friends, as they had artistic and other tastes in common.
Once they climbed Mr. Makiling, near Kalamba, and placed there, after the European
custom, a flag to show that they had reached the summit. This act was at first
misrepresented by the enemies of Rizal as planting a German banner, for they started a
story that he had taken possession of the Islands in the name of the country where he was
educated, which was just then in unfriendly relations with Spain over the question of the
ill treatment of the Protestant missionaries in the Caroline Islands. This same story was
repeated after the American occupation with the variation that Rizal, as the supreme chief
and originator of the ideas of the Katipunan (which in fact he was not-he was even
opposed to the society as it existed in his time), had placed there a Filipino banner, in
token that the Islands intended to reassume the independent condition of which the
Spanish had dispossessed them.
"Noli Me Tangere" circulated first among Doctor Rizal's relatives; on one occasion a
cousin made a special trip to Kalamba and took the author to task for having caricatured
her in the character of Dona Victorina. Rizal made no denial, but merely suggested that
the book was a mirror of Philippine life, with types that unquestionably existed in the
country, and that if anybody recognized one of the characters as picturing himself or
herself, that person would do well to correct the faults which therein appeared ridiculous.