Getting To Know

9th of May, 2014

Dear Journal,

Because “Once Upon a Time” is too overrated to be used in telling stories like that of Rizal’s, we started discussing Rizal’s life in the century wherein he lived – the 19th century. As Rizal grew up in that long and in general miserable century, he was exposed to the varying conditions of Philippines then including the economic, social, law and order and environmental.

Philippine economy was manipulated then by the Spanish and generally the Indios were impoverished and taken advantage over by the Spaniards specially the farmers in the domain of haciendas who are used to just having a barter of goods with other Indios but were suddenly forced to use picetas.

Luckily, technological advancement made its presence felt particularly for the transportation, communication and production of products like sugar, tobacco, abaca and coffee.

Ilustrados

At this time, the Filipino concept was brought up that did not only pertain to the identity of the inhabitants of the land but also to the religion, in the name of secularization wherein Filipino priests start to gain in number and to the national spirit plus literacy. Discrimination of social classes was heightened through the introduction of the “middle class”.

As the Spanish became more opportunistic in grabbing riches from Filipinos, more crimes were being “committed” by the Filipinos which gave rise to the Guardia Civil who took care of the matters.

Guardia Civil

For the environmental concern, diseases like cholera that killed his brother-in-law became rampant and as more forests are being turned into agricultural sites, deforestation and effects occurred.

Upon realizing the epoch when Rizal lived, it would be easier to understand Rizal’s life which Quebuyen outlined to only five major points putting emphasis on the turning point of Rizal’s life – the Calamba Hacienda Case. In such transition, Rizal turned from a liberal person to a radical one. He then started to write many literary pieces including his essays issued in La Solidaridad and his two novels, Noli and Fili. Personally, I admired Rizal for being able to maintain his native self amidst the numerous strong foreign influences around him; moreover, I was amazed that he really was aware that whatever he was doing then most importantly inspiring other heroes and the masses is already leading him to his martyrdom and eventual recognition as a hero.

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