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Essay About Filipino Heroes

“He who does not know how to look back at where he came from will never get to his destination.”(Jose Rizal) This quote best describes the life of this wonderful hero Jose Rizal. Born on a tiny island in the Philippines, Rizal studied under the church. Years later Rizal left to study medicine abroad, but also left for an unclear politically-related reason. He spent some of his time in Spain (which at the time occupied the Philippines with colonies) to study medicine and writing. He was a very talented writer who knew how to write in Spanish, Tagalog, German, French, English, and Italian and also knew Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. After Spain he continued traveling to see how the world treated each other. He took particular interest in the United States and how it freed itself from English rule. He wished the same would happen to save the poor and oppressed of his home land of the Philippines. He unloaded all his thoughts, feelings, and beliefs into two books that inspired the people to rise up. Jose Rizal deserves the sacred name hero because he never believed in violence to solve his problems, always helped others, and was brave beyond compare, and as a result he set an entire colony on the path of freedom.

Jose Rizal used his abounding skill of writing to move a whole country to free itself, and his overflowing selflessness and courage is why he holds the renowned title of hero. Jose Rizal traveled the world never forgetting the Philippines, he expanded his knowledge and skill on writing and medicine never forgetting the Philippines, he died with the future still on his mind, and he never forgot the Philippines. He reached his destination by remembering where he came from, and it’s a belief he held strong and close to his heart obviously for his whole life. The way that he selflessly devoted himself to his country’s wellbeing is what makes him a hero in my eyes. “He who does not know how to look back at where he came from will never get to his destination.”(Jose Rizal) this quote ties in with the title, because most Filipinos know what it means, but for those who don’t it’s a public statement of a Filipino’s pride of their country pride of being part of a people driven to freedom by this one man… Pinoy Pride was started by him. I am proudly Pinoy because this man had talents and he used them to the best he could for not only his dream, but for his whole country to the best of his ability selflessly and nonviolently, and I believe we all have that same power to inspire an entire country. He is my hero.

Works Cited

Bonoan, Raul J. "Jose Rizal, liberator of the Philippines." America 7 Dec. 1996: 18+. Gale Student Resources In Context. Web. 6 Jan. 2011.

"José Rizal." Encyclopedia of World Biography. Detroit: Gale, 1998. Gale Student Resources In Context. Web. 6 Jan. 2011

Fernandez-Armesto, Felipe. "Times and tides." History Today 46.7 (1996): 10+. Gale Student Resources In Context. Web. 6 Jan. 2011.

This is the original cover of one of Rizal's book (http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_nxUb2kYKSvI/Sjrvt1iBGeI/AAAAAAAASMc/fC220aElIaA/s400/Noli+book+original.jpg)

Jose Rizal was determined to have his people free themselves through his words and writings instead of fighting; he was always wise and looking forward as he led his people to independence. He stands by nonviolence but knows it may sometimes be necessary, and his wise words are always well respected as: “Increasingly Rizal warned of separation and independence and alluded to ‘the great law of history’--that colonies eventually declare themselves independent. While Rizal did not categorically rule out violent revolution, he articulated in his second novel a philosophy of nonviolence--admittedly not as developed as Gandhi's. The Filipino people, he said, must be worthy of their liberties and prepare themselves for independence, principally through education and moral regeneration. ‘Only love can work wonders, only virtue can redeem.... What is the use of independence if the slaves of today will be the tyrants of tomorrow?’” (“Jose Rizal, Liberator of the Philippines”) he is like the Slim from “Of Mice and Men” of the Philippines his ideals were always held above the rest since his writings spread of the injustices of the Philippines. He hated how oppressed and beat down they were treated by the Spanish and knew that independence would come as long as they fought for it, but change doesn’t come unless they brought it with their own hands. Rizal continued to search the world for ways he could push his people to bring up independence and when his knowledge was enough he wrote books that pushed the people to bring the revolution because he’s: “What Victor Hugo did for les miserables of France and Charles Dickens for the wretched of London, Rizal wanted to do for the poor and oppressed of his own country. In 1887 his first novel, Noli Me Tangere, was published by a small printing press in Berlin. It diagnosed the Philippines' ailment as a malignant cancer in so advanced a stage that the slightest touch produced the acutest of pains. The title, Latin for ‘Do Not Touch Me,’ echoes the words of Christ to Mary Magdalene in John 20:17. Copies of the novel were smuggled into the country and read surreptitiously behind closed doors or at night by candlelight. The effect was nothing short of cataclysmic. What Abraham Lincoln said to Harriet Beecher Stowe--that her Uncle Tom's Cabin caused the Civil War--may be applied with equal truth to Rizal's novel and its sequel. They set the fires of revolution” (“Jose Rizal, Liberator of the Philippines”) he was considered by his people someone to hope in, someone to carry their dreams as they strive to make his wishes come true. Is that not what a hero is? Someone we can look to and aspire to be more like? This man was a hero that was one who looked at his home, to the world, then back at his home and said that something’s wrong. He used his pencil instead of his sword to push the inevitable change and took full responsibility until the end.

This is the cite of Rizal's exicution on 30 Decem (http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2397/1753164578_86269c2ff1.jpg)

Rizal always wanted the best to others, always kept his ideals in mind, and his courage knew no bounds. Here the man again displays his bravery and defends his beliefs, but more than that he defends his people as he asks: "Does your Excellency know the spirit of (my) country? If you did, you would not say that I am "a spirit twisted by a German education," for the spirit that animates me I already had since childhood, before I learned a word of German. My spirit is "twisted" because I have been reared among injustices and abuses which I saw everywhere, because since a child I have seen many suffer stupidly and because I also have suffered. My "twisted spirit" is the product of that constant vision of the moral ideal that succumbs before the powerful reality of abuses, arbitrariness, hypocrisies, farces, violence, perfidies and other base passions. And "twisted" like my spirit is that of hundreds of thousands of Filipinos who have not yet left their miserable homes, who speak no other language except their own, and who, if they could write or express their thoughts, would make my Noli me tangere very tiny indeed, and with their volumes there would be enough to build pyramids for the corpses of all the tyrants..." (José Rizal, in an open letter to Barrantes published in La Solidaridad, regarding his novel, Noli me tangere) By the way he questions the very foundations on which the government was built displays his extensively rooted in his belief of freedom and rights. The way he uses the ruler’s own words against him by turning the perspective infers that he adamantly stands by his beliefs and that what they said about him is wrong. The way he compares himself to his fellow Filipinos as he portrays himself as the one who speaks for the nation, and how his book does not compare to the number of those who are behind him. When Rizal was exiled for his books and the commotion it spread he never dwelled on his misfortune, he always used his talents to help those around him and: “For 4 years Rizal remained in exile in Dapitan, where he practiced ophthalmology, built a school and waterworks, planned town improvements, wrote, and carried out scientific experiments. Then he successfully petitioned the Spanish government to join the Spanish army in Cuba as a surgeon; but on his way to Spain to enlist, the Philippine revolution broke out, and Rizal was returned from Spain, imprisoned, and tried for false charges of treason and complicity with the revolution. His enemies in the government and Church were operating behind the scenes, and he was convicted. The day before he was executed he wrote to a friend: ‘I am innocent of the crime of rebellion. So I am going to die with a tranquil conscience.’" (“Jose Rizal, Liberator of the Philippines”) He wanted change but never led it he only showed them the way. He always tried to help his people in exile or abroad he always remembered where he came from so he knew where he needed to go. He kept on helping and expanding his talents, never dwelling on what happened but what can happen. By the way he came to term with his fate before the end came, but he wanted to be the master of his own death to show he was unafraid for: “IN THE EARLY MORNING of Dec. 30, 1896, 35year-old Jose Rizal, an indio with strong oriental features but the bearing of a Western intellectual, wearing a black suit and hat, stood erect and calm in an open field by Manila Bay. Ministering to him were two Jesuit priests. Wanting to be master of his own execution, he refused to kneel and be blindfolded. He asked to face the firing squad but was forced by the officer in charge to turn his back. A military doctor took his pulse. It was, strangely, normal. At 7:03 the bark of bullets rent the air. Rizal fell and so, virtually, did Spanish colonial rule.” (“Jose Rizal, Liberator of the Philippines”) This man wrote two books that inspired a nation, he expanded his talents to help those of his home, and now he looked into the face of death and fear and said “I have no regrets, and I am not afraid.” This man spent his short life chasing his dream of showing his home the way forward by the rights of all men to the way that was best for them. Rizal always knew the consequences of his actions, but still kept striving for his dream. That is the difference between bravery and foolishness. Foolishness is when someone dives into something when they don’t know how his actions will affect himself or others, and bravery is when someone knows the consequences of his actions and decides that it is worth the risk. He knew that what he’s going to do will probably end in his death but he knew as long as his home is freed from the tyranny of the Spanish so he took the risk and without fear know that the good will outweigh the bad.

A national hero of the Philippines is a Filipino who has been recognized as a hero for his or her role in the history of the country. Loosely, the term may refer to all Filipino historical figures recognized as heroes, but the term more strictly refers to those officially designated as such. In 1995 the Philippine National Heroes Committee officially recommended several people for the designation, but this was not acted upon. Currently, no one has ever been officially recognized as a Philippine national hero.[1]

The reformist writer Jose Rizal, today generally considered the greatest Filipino hero and often given as the Philippine national hero, has never been explicitly proclaimed as the (or even a) national hero by the Philippine government.[1] Besides Rizal, the only other Filipinos currently given implied recognition as national heroes are revolutionary Andres Bonifacio[1] and SenatorBenigno Aquino, Jr. While other historical figures are commemorated in public municipal or provincial holidays, Rizal, Bonifacio and Aquino are commemorated in public nationwide (national) holidays and thus are implied to be national heroes.[1]

The National Heroes Committee recommended Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, Emilio Aguinaldo, Apolinario Mabini, Marcelo H. del Pilar, Sultan Dipatuan Kudarat, Juan Luna, Melchora Aquino (no relation to Benigno Aquino), and Gabriela Silang to be recognized as national heroes on November 15, 1995:[1] As of today, no action has been taken for these recommended National Heroes.

In August 2009, shortly after the death of former PresidentCorazon Aquino, widow of Benigno Aquino, legislative measures have been filed calling for her official recognition as a national hero.[2][3] In 2003, her husband, Beningno Aquino Jr. was already officially declared as one of the national heroes by then President Gloria Arroyo through an executive order.[4]

A bill filed by Congressman Rene Relampagos from Bohol in February 2014 sought, among other things, to declare Jose Rizal as the sole Filipino national hero.[5] According to the bill, he was a nationalist and well known for his Philippine reforms advocacy during the Spanish colonial era.[6] As of 1 January 2017[update], the status of the bill was "Pending with the Committee on REVISION OF LAWS since 2014-02-19".[7]


According to the 1993 Technical Committee, the National Hero shall be:[citation needed]

  • Those who have a concept of nation and thereafter aspire and struggle for the nation’s freedom.
  • Those who define and contribute to a system or life of freedom and order for a nation. Heroes are those who make the nation’s constitution and laws.
  • Heroes are those who contribute to the quality of life and destiny of a nation.

Three more criteria were added in 1995[citation needed]

  • A hero is part of the people’s expression. But the process of a people’s internalization of a hero’s life and works takes time, with the youth forming a part of the internalization.
  • A hero thinks of the future, especially the future generations.
  • The choice of a hero involves not only the recounting of an episode or events in history, but of the entire process that made this particular person a hero.



Already admired in his lifetime for his nationalistic writings and activities, Jose Rizal was executed for treason on December 30, 1896 by the Spanish colonial government. His writings had helped inspire the Philippine Revolution against colonial rule. On December 20, 1898, Emilio Aguinaldo, President of the Philippine government, decreed December 30 of every year a day of national mourning in honor of Rizal and other victims of the revolution. Henceforth, December 30 has been celebrated as Rizal Day.[1]


By the start of the 19th century, the Philippines had become a territory of the United States. Rizal was given special attention as a hero by the American colonial administration. This was because Rizal was interpreted to represent peaceful political advocacy, unlike more radical people whose ideas could inspire resistance against American rule.[8][9] Rizal was selected over the revolutionaries Andres Bonifacio, who was viewed as too radical, and Apolinario Mabini, who was considered unregenerate.[9] In June 1901, Act No. 137 of the Taft Commission reorganized the district of Morong into the Province of Rizal.[1]


On February 23, 1918, the Philippine Legislature issued Act No. 2760 which promoted the creation, maintenance, and improvement of national monuments, particularly the creation of a monument in memory of Andres Bonifacio, leader of the Katipunan secret society which spearheaded the Philippine Revolution.[1]


On February 16, 1921, the Philippine Legislature enacted Act No. 2946, which made November 30 of each year a legal holiday to commemorate the birth of Andres Bonifacio, henceforth called Bonifacio Day.[1]


On October 28, 1931, the Philippine Legislature enacted Act No. 3827, declaring the last Sunday of August of every year as National Heroes Day.[1]


By or even before 1960, Rizal was already held in such esteem that he was referred to as the Philippine national hero, even though no legislation had been passed making it official. That year, historian Teodoro Agoncillo wrote in his History of the Filipino People that the Philippine national hero, unlike those of other countries, was not "the leader of its liberation forces".[10] Agoncillo noted the sentiments of certain quarters calling for Rizal's replacement as the national hero by Andres Bonifacio, since Rizal was interpreted as ultimately a reformist content to be under Spain, not a revolutionary wishing for independence. A distant relative of Emilio Aguinaldo who took over the reins of revolutionary power from Bonifacio and ordered the "execution" of the former, Agoncillo opined that Bonifacio should not replace Rizal as the national hero but be honored alongside him.[10]


Historian Renato Constantino, building upon sentiments noted by Agoncillo, wrote in his 1970 essay Veneration Without Understanding that Rizal was unworthy of his high status since he was a "United States-sponsored hero".[8]


In 1990, historian Ambeth Ocampo stated that Rizal was a "conscious hero" stating that he is projected himself as a national figure prior to his execution and that he was deemed as the national hero by Bonifacio, noting naming Rizal as the honorary president of the Katipunan, long-before being given reverence by the American colonial administrators.[11]

President Fidel V. Ramos formed the National Heroes Committee on March 28, 1993 under Executive Order No. 75, titled "Creating the National Heroes Committee Under the Office of the President". The National Heroes Committee was tasked to study, evaluate and recommend Filipino national heroes to recognize their heroic character and remarkable achievements for the country.[1]

On November 30, 1994 (Bonifacio Day), President Ramos issued Proclamation No. 510 which declared the year 1996 (the centennial of the Philippine Revolution) as the Year of Filipino Heroes.[1]

The National Heroes Committee recommended the following nine individuals to be recognized as national heroes on November 15, 1995:[1]

Their report was submitted to the Department of Education, Culture and Sports on November 22 of that year. However, no action was taken afterwards. It was speculated that any action might cause a number of requests for proclamation or trigger debates that revolve around the controversies about the concerned historical figures.[1]


On July 24, 2007 President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo approved Republic Act No. 9256, which declared the Monday nearest August 21 a nationwide special holiday in honor of Senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino, Jr., called Ninoy Aquino Day. August 21 is Aquino's death anniversary.[12] On the same date President Macapagal-Arroyo also approved Republic Act No. 9492, which decreed that National Heroes Day be celebrated on the last Monday of August, Bonifacio Day on the Monday nearest November 30, and Rizal Day on the Monday nearest December 30.[13]

Following the death of President Corazon "Cory" Aquino on August 1, 2009, two resolutions, House Joint Resolution Nos. 41 and 42, have been filed proposing her official recognition as a national hero with her birthdate January 25 as Cory Aquino Day.[2][3]

Only three Filipinos were celebrated with their own National Days namely: Andrés Bonifacio, José Rizal and Benigno Aquino, Jr.. Furthermore, the total of nine historical figures had been selected for recommendation as national heroes.[14]


Some of the persons selected for recommendation as national heroes:[14]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

  1. ^ abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvw* "Selection and Proclamation of National Heroes and Laws Honoring Filipino Historical Figures"(PDF). Reference and Research Bureau Legislative Research Service, House of Congress. Archived from the original(pdf) on June 4, 2011. Retrieved 9 August 2009. 
  2. ^ abAvendaño, Christine; Salaverria, Leila (5 August 2009). "2 Lawmakers urge: 'Declare Cory Aquino a national hero'". INQUIRER.net. Philippine Daily Inquirer. Archived from the original on 7 August 2009. Retrieved 9 August 2009. 
  3. ^ abAger, Maila; Dalangin-Fernandez, Lira (6 August 2009). "Bids to make Aquino a hero gain support". INQUIRER.net. Philippine Daily Inquirer. Archived from the original on 9 August 2009. Retrieved 9 August 2009. 
  4. ^Villanueva, Marichu (8 November 2003). "Ninoy officially a national hero". philstar.com. The Philippine Star. Retrieved 17 September 2015. 
  5. ^"House Bill No. 3926: An Act Declaring the National Symbols of the Philippines"(PDF). Philippines House of Representatives. 
  6. ^"House Bill No. 3926 - Philippine National Symbols Act of 2014"(PDF). Philippine House of Representatives. Government of the Republic of the Philippines. Archived from the original(PDF) on 20 July 2014. Retrieved 1 April 2014. 
  7. ^"LEGISLATIVE INFORMATION SYSTEM". House of Representatives, Republic of the Philippines. Retrieved December 31, 2016.  (search for the status of 16th Congress bill number HB03926)
  8. ^ ab*Constantino, Renato (1980) [1970], "Veneration without Understanding", Dissent and Counter-consciousness, Quezon City: Malaya Books, pp. 125–145. 
  9. ^ ab*Friend, Theodore (1965), Between Two Empires: The Ordeal of the Philippines, 1929-1946, Yale University Press, p. 15. 
  10. ^ ab*Agoncillo, Teodoro (1990) [1960], History of the Filipino People (8th ed.), Quezon City: Garotech Publishing Inc., p. 160, ISBN 971-10-2415-2. 
  11. ^Ocampo, Ambeth R. (2011) [1990], Rizal without the Overcoat (6th ed.), Quezon City: Anvil Publishing, Inc., p. 239, ISBN 978-971-27-2631-6. 
  14. ^ ab"Selection And Proclamation Of National Heroes And Laws Honoring Filipino Historical Figures". National Commission for Culture and the Arts. May 18, 2015. Retrieved 20 August 2016. 

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