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A Virtuous Man

A man with many splendid talents, richly hallowed by God with superb moral, physical
and intellectual qualities. Truly, a virtuous man. But unlike other “almost perfect guy” he
consecrated his God-given qualities and even sacrificed his own life for the redemption and welfare
of his people. Verily, Jose Rizal is the epitome of greatness and excellence of Filipino people.
Ferdinand Blumentritt, a good friend of our great hero once said, “Not only is Rizal the
most famous man of his own people, but the greatest man the Malayan race produced. His memory
will never perish in his fatherland, and future generations of Spaniards will yet learn to utter and
his name with respect and reverence.” Certainly, firm evidences of this statement are the hundreds
of monuments of Rizal built all over the country and dozen others all over the world.
Why? Is it because of his prediction during his childhood? Or because of his great deeds,
achievements and life that inspire each and everyone? I believe, the later. Even clearly uttered by
him in his last breathe, “consumamatum est” meaning “it is finished” his thoughts still ranging in
our ears. His immortality influence will never fade. It will live within the heart and grace soul of
the one who reads his works and study his life. Jose Rizal is a heroic because of his numerous
articles and reforms that had awaken the Filipino spirit and courage during the time of Spanish
colonialism and oppression. His exemplary novels Noli Me Tangere and El FIlibusterismo served
as a wake-up call to the inhabitants of the Philippines and re-correct the misdoings of the rulers.
Rizal’s love and devotion to his fellowmen were evident to his works such as To The Filipino
Youth, translations of Children Stories, and his Annotated Edition of Morga’s Succesos. He also
wrote Filipinas dentro de cien aňos (The Philippines within a Century) – an essay predicting the
increase influence of the US in the Philippines which most likely happen for our country to be the
next colonizer.
Furthermore, with Rizal’s influence, most of the Filipino people started to strive really hard
for their education to have a successful life. Dr. Jose P. Rizal’s concept of the importance of
education is clearly shown in his work entitled Instruction, wherein he sought improvements in
the schools and in methods of teaching. He knows that the backwardness of his country during
Spanish era was not due to the Filipinos’ indifference apathy of indolence as claimed by the rulers,
but to the neglect of the Spanish authorities in the islands which is enclosed in his work Sobre La
Indolencia de los Filipinos (On the Indolence of the Filipinos). For Rizal, the mission of education
is to elevate the country to the highest seat of glory and to develop the people’s mentality. An
example is the Schools he built in Dapitan and where he also taught different areas.
Speaking of Dapitan, where he was exiled, even he was in a midst of a gloomy
circumstance his civic and missionary works did not end. During his exile, he was able to attribute
significant features of the town. He led an exemplary life, fruitful of achievements and idyllic; to
the practice of medicine; to his artistry; literacy; educationa; linguistic and scientific pursuits; to
his agricultural business activities; to certain civic projects such as water system and lighting
system or lamp post along the dark streets in Dapitan. Not only that, he also once an inventor. He
invented a cigarette lighter which he called salpukan then later send as a gift to his dearest friend
Blumentritt.
Indeed, his life made a great impact for Filipinos- in the past to the present generation for
he said, “I do not write for this generation. I am writing for other ages. The generation which
interprets these writings will be an educated generation; they will understand me and say; Not all
were asleep in the night time of our grandparents.” His early death may give us the feeling of
dismay but remember those meaningful quotes he left for comfort; “One only die once and if one
does not do well, a good opportunity is lost and will not present itself again.”

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