Chapter 2 Childhood Days in Calamba
Jose Rizal, just like Filipino boys, had many beautiful memories of childhood. • His was a happy home, filled with parental affection, impregnated with family joys, and sanctified by prayers. • In the midst of such peaceful, refined, God-loving family, he spent the early years of his childhood.
Calamba, “Cradle of a Genius” • Rizal loved Calamba with all his heart and soul. In 1876, when he was 15 years old and was a student in Ateneo, he rememebered his beloved town. Accordingly, he wrote a poem Un Recuerdo A Mi Pueblo ( In Memory of My Town)
Earliest Childhood Memories. • The first memory of Rizal, in his infancy, was his happy days in the family garden. • Because he was frail, sickly, and undersized child, he was given the most tender care by his parents.
His father built a nipa cottage in the garden for him to play in the daytime.
Another childhood memory was the daily Angelus prayer. By nightfall, Rizal related, his mother gathered all the children at the house to pray the Angelus.
With nostalgic feeling, he also remembered the happy moonlit nights at the azotea after the rosary. • The aya realted stories to Rizal children many stories about fairies; tales of buried treasure and trees with blooming diamonds, and other fabulous stories.
Sometimes, when he did not like to take his supper, the aya would treaten him that the aswang, the nuno, the tigbalang, or a terrible bearded Bombay would come to take him away if he would not eat his supper.
Another memory of his infancy was the nocturnal walk in the town, especially when there was a moon.
Recounting this childhood experience, Rizal wrote: • “Thus my heart fed on sombre and melancholy thoughts so that even still a child, I already wandered on wings of fantasy in the high regions of the unknown.
FIRST SORROW • The Rizal children were bound together by the ties of love and companionship. • Their parents taught them to love one another, to behave properly in front of elders, to be truthful and religious, and to help one another.
Jose was jokingly called Ute by his brother and sisters. The people in Calamba knew him as Pepe or Pepito.
Of his sisters, Jose loved most little Concha. He was one year older than Concha. He played with her, and from her, he learned the sweetness of brotherly love.
Unfortunately, Concha died of sickness in 1865 when he was 3 years old. • Jose, who was very fond of her, cried bitterly to lose her.
Devoted Son of Church • Young Rizal was a religious boy. A scion of a Catholic clan, born and bred in a wholesome atmosphere of Catholicism, and possessed of an inborn spirit, Rizal grew up a good Catholic.
At the age of 3, he began to take part in the family prayers. • When he was five years old, he was able to read haltingly the family bible.
He loved to go to church to pray, to take part in novenas, and to join the religious processions. It is said that he was so seriously devout that he was laughingly called Manong Jose by the Hermanos and Hermanas Terceras.
One of the men he esteemed and respected in Calamba during his boyhood was the scholarly Father Leoncio Lopez, the town priest.
Pilgrimage to Antipolo • On June 6, 1868, Jose and his father left for Calamba to go on a pilgrimage to Antipolo, in order to fulfill his mother’s vow which was made when Rizal was born.
It was the first trip of Jose across Laguna de Bay and his pilgrimage to Antipolo. • He was thrilled, as a typical boy should, by his first lake voyage. He did not sleep the whole night as the casco sailed towards the Pasig River because he was awed by “ the magnificence of the watery expanse and the silence of the night.
After praying at the shrine of the Virgin of Antipolo, Jose and his father went to Manila.
First Education from Mother • Jose’s first teacher was his mother.
At the age of 3, Jose learned the alphabet and prayers from her. • Seeing Rizal had a talent for poetry, she encouraged him to write poems. She gave her all her love and all that she learned in college.
The story of the Moth. • Of the story told by Dona Teodora to Jose, it was that of the young moth made the profoundest impression on him.
The tragic fate of the young moth, which died a martyr to its illusions, left a deep impress on Rizal’s mind.
Rizal’s Three Uncles • There were 3 uncles, brothers of his mother, who played a great part in the early education of Rizal.
Uncle Gregorio was a lover of books. He instilled into the mind of his nephew a great love for books. He taught him to work hard, to think for himself, and to observe life keenly.
Uncle Jose, who had been educated at Calcutta, India, was the youngest brother of Dona Teodora. He encouraged his nephew to paint, sketch, and sculpture.
Uncle Manuel was a big, strong, and husky man. He looked after the physical training of his sickly and weak nephew. He encourage Rizal to learn swimming, fencing, wrestling, and other sports, so that in later years Rizal’s frail body acquired agility, endurance, and strength.
Artistic Talents • Since early childhood Rizal revelaed his god-given talents for the arts.
He drew sketches and pictures on his books of his sisters, for which reason he was scolded by his mother.
He carved figures of animals and persons out of wood. Even before he learned to read, he could already sketch pictures of birds, flowers, fruits, rivers, mountains, animals and persons.
Rather an introvert child, with a skinny physique and sad dark eyes, he found great joy looking at the blooming flowers, the ripening fruits, the dancing waves of the lake, and the milky clouds in the sky; and the listening to the songs of the birds, the chirpings of the cicadas, and the murmurings of the breezes.
He loved to ride on a spirited pony ( which his father bought for him) or take long walks in the meadows for him) or take long walks in the meadows and lakeshore with his big black dog named Usman.
In his room, he kept many statuettes which he made out of clay and wax. • At one time, his sisters teased him: “Ute, what are you doing with so many statuettes?” He replied: “ Don’t you know that people will erect monument and statues in my honor for the future?”
Prodigy of the pen • Not only was little Jose skilled in brush, chisel, and pen-knife, but also in pen. He was born poet. His mother encouraged him to write poetry. At an early age when children usually begin to learn ABC, he was already writing poems.
The first known poem that he wrote was a Tagalog poem entitled Sa Aking Mga Kababata (To My Fellow Children).
Before he was eight years old, he wrote a Tagalog drama. This drama was stages in Calamba in connection with the town fiesta.
Lakeshore Reveries • During the twilight hours of summertime, Rizal, accompanied by his dog, used to meditate at the shore of Laguna de Bay on the sad conditions of his oppressed people.
Young that he was, he grieved deeply over the unhappy situation of his beloved fatherland. The Spanish misdeeds awakened in his boyish heart a great determination to fight tyranny.
Influences on Hero’s Boyhood • In the lives of all men there are influences which cause some to be great and others not. In the case of Rizal, he had all favorable influences, which no other chilld in our country enjoyed.
1. Hereditary Influence • 2. Environmental Influence • 3. Aid of the Divine Providence