Rizal found Mindanao a rich virgin field for collecting specimens. With his baroto (sailboat) and accompanied by his pupils, he explored the jungles and coasts seeking specimens of insects, birds, snakes lizards frogs shells and plants.
He sent these specimens to the museum of Europe especially the Dresden Museum. In payment for these valuable specimens, the European scientists sent him scientific books and surgical instruments.
Manila Lottery Winner
On September 21, 1892 the mail boat “Butuan” arrived in Dapitan carrying lottery Ticket No. 9736 jointly owned by Captain Carnicero, Dr Jose Rizal and Francisco Equilior won the second prize of P20,000 in the government-owned Manila Lottery.
Rizal’s share of the winning loterry was P6,200. He gave P2,000 to his father and P200 to his friend Basa in Hongkong and the rest he invested well by purchasing agricultural lands along the coast of Talisay about one kilometer away from Dapitan.
Rizal Discovered Rare Specimens
For four years during his exile in Dapitan, Rizal discovered some rare specimens which were named in his honor by the scientists. Among these were :
Draco Rizali—a flying dragon
ApogoniaRizali -a small beetle
RhacophorusRizali—a rare frog
byAmbrosio Brian F. Enciso
Quezon City Science High School
Have you ever heard of the Draco rizali, Apoganiarizali, or the Rhacophorusrizali?
In case you haven't, well they are the scientific names of animals and insects which our National Hero Jose Rizal discovered--yes, discovered--during his exile in Dapitan. The naming of these fauna after their discoverer is the greatest tribute to Rizal's scientific endeavors and expertise.
Rizal is venerated almost solely for helping form a national consciousness and for fighting for reforms in the Spanish rulers' governance in the hope for a better life for his people. Unfortunately,
his scientific accomplishments largely remain in the shadow of his writings, travels, supposed amorous affairs, and of course, martyrdom.
Aside from having been a linguist who mastered five languages; a prolific writer of numerous essays, letters, poems, and two novels; and a stubborn nationalist who died for what he believed in, Rizal early on displayed intellectual capabilities in the sciences as well.
Rizal was first educated by his mother and then by private school teachers in his hometown Calamba, and in Biñan, Laguna. Rizal's entrance into the Ateneo signaled the start of his streak of scholastic excellence.
Rizal as a Physician
After impressing the Jesuit friars and finishing his Bachelor of Arts with highest honors at the Ateneo, Rizal transferred to the University of Santo Tomas where he simultaneously took up Medicine and Philosophy and Letters.
In 1882, Rizal sailed for Spain and enrolled at the Universidad Central de Madrid. He received his licentiate in Medicine in 1884 and his licentiate in Philosophy and Letters the following year.
Because of his mother's failing eyesight, Rizal chose to specialize in ophthalmology and worked in the eye
clinic of Dr. Louis Weckert, a famous French ophthalmologist. After his four month training with Weckert, Rizal left for Heidelberg, Germany in February 1886 to work under the tutelage of Dr. Otto Becker, an eminent German ophthalmologist. Rizal completed his studies in ophthalmic surgery in this city.
Rizal himself became a skilled ophthalmologist, later making quite a name for himself in Hong Kong. His most famous patient was of course his mother, Doña Teodora, whom he saved from impending blindness.
Rizal as a Geographer
As a keen student of countries and races, Rizal realized the value of skills in geography. He knew that geography is an important shaper of history for it affects a people's way of life and the events that take place around them.
Rizal acquired his extensive knowledge of geography through his numerous travels abroad; by pouring over geography books and maps; and by mingling with the famous geographers of Europe, including Dr. W. Joest of Berlin. In recognition of his geographical expertise and his deep interest in geography, he was admitted in February 1887 as a member of the renowned Geographic Society of Berlin. He was the first Asian scholar to become a member of the society.
As a geographer, Rizal rendered valuable services to his Austrian friend, Professor Ferdinand Blumentritt. He furnished Blumentritt with vital information on Philippine geography that the latter needed in his ethnographic and linguistic studies. For instance, in November 1886, Rizal corrected Blumentritt's map of Mindanao in southern Philippines by adding Lake Lanao to it.
Rizal considered geography as one of the more useful disciplines and believed that it should be a required subject in school. In the curriculum he made for his proposed college in Hong Kong, he included geography as one of the main subjects together with mathematics, chemistry, physics, history, economics, law, religion, ethics, languages, and physical education.
While in exile in Dapitan, he taught a group of bright boys a
wide range of subjects including geography. It is interesting to note that Rizal planned to write a school textbook on geography for children. This was one of the more ambitious projects he failed to realize because of his execution in 1896.
Rizal's expertise in geography aided him in his historical, anthropological, and political researches. Among his writings which required a good grasp of geography were "Ma-yi" (December 1888), "Tawalasi of IbnBatuta" (January 1889), "The Philippines a Century Hence" (February 1890), "The Indolence of the Filipinos" (September 1890), "The People of Indian Archipelago" (no date), and "Notes on Melanesia, Malaysia, and Polynesia" (no date).
Rizal as a Naturalist
Upon his arrival from Europe in 1892, Rizal was promptly arrested and incarcerated at Fort Santiago. Soon after, he was exiled to Dapitan where he lived for four years. During this period, Rizal immersed himself in the study of nature.
Rizal was a dedicated naturalist. With the help of his Dapitan pupils, he collected numerous species of birds, insects, butterflies, shells, snakes, and plants. His collection of shells was said to be the richest private collection of conchology in the Philippines during his time. It consisted of over 340 shells representing more than 200 species.
Driven by curiosity and an eagerness to contribute to the pool of scientific knowledge, Rizal sent many specimens of animals, insects, and plants for identification to the museums of Europe, particularly the Anthropological and Ethnographical Museum of Dresden.
He however never accepted money for these specimens, only scientific books and magazines and surgical instruments which he needed in Dapitan. In October 1893 for instance, he sent Director A.B. Meyer of the Anthropological and Ethnographic Museum of Dresden 12 snakes, one sea horse, two scorpions, and several butterflies. In subsequent months, he sent more specimens for the museum, including various kinds of insects, birds, and lizards.
In payment for these specimens Rizal shipped to Dresden, Meyer sent him scientific books and journals , artificial eyes, microscopes, and surgical instruments.
Three rare specimens of animals discovered by Rizal earned him high praises from European scientists who named them in his honor: the Draco rizali, a small lizard popularly known as a flying dragon; Apoganiarizali, a rare kind of beetle; and the Rhacophorusrizali, a peculiar frog species.
Rizal as an Inventor
Rizal was not an inventive wizard like Thomas Edison but he did have a certain talent for invention. He invented a cigarette lighter, which he called sulpakan, and sent it to Blumentritt in 1887 as a gift. The lighter used a compressed air mechanism.
While in Dapitan, Rizal also invented a wooden machine for making bricks which turned out about 6,000 bricks daily.
Although Rizal spent much of his adult years in foreign lands, the Philippines remained his consuming passion. From this burning patriotism and love for his countrymen were born two novels,Noli Me Tangereand its sequel El Filibusterismo. These were the two novels for which Rizal paid the ultimate price--his life. Rizal is not revered because he fought in the battlefield and carried a gun--he was a pacifist to the very end. Rizal is the Philippine National Hero and the Greatest son of the Malay race because he was a great man who used his great heart for great purposes.
Bantug, J.P. Rizal: Scholar and Scientist. Manila: Bureau of Print, 1946
Craig, Austin. Lineage, Life, and Labors of Jose Rizal. Manila: Philippine Education Co., 1957.
Rizal: A Patriot who peered his world and time through science
By Alan C. Taule Science and Technology Information Institute
Education and science and technology were the means Dr. Jose Rizal, our National Hero, had intended to use to lift the Filipinos from the quagmire of poverty and ignorance.
The social iniquities that Rizal sought ardently to address was key in his relentless pursuit of the truththe universal truth, it must be added.
Rizal was a profound student of anthropology and ethnology. He was driven to master these studies by the boorish behavior of the colonial Spaniards, who treated Filipinos as though they were by nature inferior.
As a schoolboy, he was deeply insulted by their arrogance toward his people. He could not understand why he should be despised and looked down on because of his short stature and Malay features. In response, he took delight in standing at the head of his classjust to prove to himself that the Spaniards were no better than his own people.
Moreover, he observed that when Europeans came to our shores, they seemed to regard the natives as a class fit solely for menial service. What moral right, he once asked, has the white man to look down on the men who have similar thoughts, studies and abilities as they just because their skin is brown, or their nose is flat? He resolved to get to the bottom of the matter and see if there was any material basis for such claims.
While studying in Manila, he came to the conclusion that ability did not depend upon race or color. Yet even as a student abroad, Rizal kept his eyes open to see what truth there was in the view that he was an inferior being, which he found unacceptable. And he found none.
In Madrid, he grew bitter after observing the great contrast between the freedom that Spain enjoyed and the theocratic rule back in his homeland. He became disgusted with the selfishness of the Spanish colonial administrators.
Rizal, the Scientist
Rizal was drawn to the sciences because of its immutable laws, consistency, and predictive characteristicunlike the caprices and arbitrariness of a government of flawed individuals.
His study of ophthalmologic medicine had been thorough. His mother, who lost her eyesight in 1887, encouraged him to take advanced training in the field. Thus, even after finishing his medical degree at the University of Madrid in 1885, he traveled extensively throughout Europe and trained under the leading opthalmologists of his time.
He visited Paris in 1885. There he apprenticed under Dr. Louis de Wecker, a famous eye surgeon who, as Rizal wrote to his parents in 1886, can set in position crossed eyes in two minutes.
In 1882, Rizal successfully removed the cataract in his mother's left eye in Hong Kong. His patients grew in number that he had to put up small hospital houses around his property. Many of them came from as far as Iloilo, Cebu, Manila, and Hong Kong.
As a respected man of science, Rizal wrote his Austrian friend and mentor, Prof. Ferdinand Blumetritt, the following words in 1980: I have a big library; I shall have a house built on a hill. Then I shall dedicate myself to the sciences.
While in exile in Dapitan, he gave full vent to his scientific expertise. Rizal scholars agreed that what he did in his years in exile can be considered practical expressions of integrated development programs in agriculture, ecology, and public health.
To wit, he organized Dapitan's first association of farmers primarily to improve their farm produce and help them find better markets. At once instance, he personally sold abaca fiber in Manila incognito in order to find out and study its pricing system.
Also while in exile, he re-established connection with his scientist-friends.
He was a regular contributor of specimens of reptiles, mammals, birds, fish, insects, crustaceans and other invertebrates to the Dresden Museum. For this, he was recognized as a zoologist, leading to the naming of a flying lizard, a frog and a beetle after him. He also sent shells to Dr. A. B. Meyer, Director of the Royal Saxony Ethnographical Institute, in exchange for much-needed books.
Furthermore, it is well-established that Rizal was a respected member of the Anthropological and Ethnological Society of Berlin and the Geographic Society of Berlin. The membership in science organizations also provided the line of exchange of information that supported Dr. Rizal's medical practice and the technological need of his varied projects.
Not many people also know to this very day that the Philippine snail, which carries the parasite that causes schistosomiasis, is known as Oncomelaniacuadrasi. This was named after a certain Mr. Cuadrasi, a renowned naturalist based in Manila, to whom Rizal sent his specimen of insects and animals for identification.
Surveyor and Farmer
Moreover, another less-known fact about our National Hero is that he earned degrees in land surveying and agriculture from Ateneo Municipal before he enrolled at the Central Universidad de Madrid.
Indeed, let us recall that the Philippines of Rizal's time was based solely on agricultural production. Given his far-reaching insights, he knew if his country was to prosper economically, idle lands must be put to productive use to maximize yields.
As a scion of a landed family in Calamba, Jose Rizal understood large-scale farming. Hence, not satisfied with the small land area he acquired from the colonial government for his farm activities in Dapitan, he bought 16 hectares more of neglected land from a variety of absentee owners.
In just half a year, he had planted 5,000 pineapples and 1,400 coffee and 200 cacao trees on the land. Later on, he purchased additional land property to grow abaca and corn.
S&T Development in Europe and Elsewhere
One thing Rizal must have learned from his extensive study and travels in Europe and abroad is that since the Industrial Revolution, the growth of economies has been powered by continual technological innovation through the pursuit of scientific understanding and application of engineering solutions.
In the scientific aspect of his teachings, Rizal ranked high in public appreciation, higher indeed in other countries than in his own. He was recognized for his trailblazing work in the fields of ethnology, zoology, and botany in England and in the leading universities of Germany.
Upon hearing of his death by musketry, Prof. Virchow, at the time the most distinguished scientist in Germany, expressed his deep regret and indignation, saying the Spanish colonial government murdered the most prominent scientist it ever had.
One of Rizal's greatest service to humanity were those scientific impulses which he gave to the world as his study. His martyrdom was but another example of the determination of organized society in every age to eliminate those that, by the pure processes of reason, have arrived at new theories for the conduct and welfare of mankind.
From the day of Socrates, who was put to death by the citizens of Athens for teaching the youth to think for themselves, down to that morning in December 30, 1896, when Rizal was gunned down by firing squad at Bagumbayan, the pages of history have run red with the murder of men of science.
In the Middle Ages the names of Roger Bacon, Giordano Bruno, Galileo, Agrippa, Campanella, Kepler, Lavoisier, of Priestly, and many others of less distinction in the annals of history have shown that struggles the human mind has been called upon to endure, and to what stress the human body has been put in the efforts of science to liberate the human mind.
Liberating the human mind from the frailties and prejudices of convention was what Rizal has successfully achieved in his short yet eventful earthly existence. It is apparent that our National Hero was drawn to science because of its universality: it distinguishes neither political, religious, social, and racial boundaries.
Rizal is considered by scholars as a universalist in the truest tradition of the European Renaissance. Perhaps even more significant and relevant in the context of the world today is that Jose Rizal cannot be easily compartmentalized into either a symbol, representative of Asia, or, as some critics would have it, a mere Europhile.
For Rizal drank deeply from the culture of the West.
Having mastered the major languages of Europe, including its classical heritage of Greek and Latin, he became fully immersed in European science, culture, and intellectual tradition.
Yet he never lost touch with his Asian roots, having also mastered his own mother tongue, Tagalog, and other Eastern languages such as Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese, and Malay. Rizal was thus the product, perhaps the very first, of the synthesis between the civilizations of the East and the West. In his person, he embodied the ideals of both.
Today, more and more countries are recognizing the importance of Rizal's contributions to humankind. In Germany, Belgium, England, Russia, China, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and many other countries, Rizal has been immortalized through memorials, monuments, and dedicated halls.
Rizal on the Role of S&T in National Development
In many of his writings, Rizal inferred that a truly great nation requires more than simply economic power and the possession of military might.
In a truly great nation, freedom triumphs. Diversity is not just tolerated, but celebrated. The arts flourish alongside the sciences. And strength is used not to conquer, but to assist. Economic stability brings more than a high standard of living in the purely material sense. It also promotes quality of life in the broadest sense.
Rizal, through his writings and deeds, believed that pursuing freedom requires confidence about our ability to manage the challenges raised by our increasing technological capabilities.
Indeed, we at the Department of Science and Technology promote the idea that we must remain optimistic about the ability of science and engineering to help solve our problemsand about our own ability to control the application of technological solutions. We must all possess the tools necessary to remain in control of our lives so that fear of the unknown does not slow down the pursuit of science. Science and engineering must be used to expand freedom, not to limit it.
As a nation, we have much to be proud of. But we ought to be constantly seeking to improve. Science and technology can play important roles in driving this improvement. These beliefsthat we can do better and that improvement can come, at least in part, through a strong science and technology programare reflected in the vision that we pursue for a strong and democratic Republic.
At the Heritage Center of the DOST in Bicutan, the biggest picture you will see is that of Jose Rizal.
Rizal and Today's Environment
If Rizal were alive today, no doubt he would have been gravely concerned with the state of our environment brought about by reckless and unsustainable development strategies and imperatives.
In seeking to develop a comprehensive response to the challenge of environment, Rizal's thoroughness would have directed him to the address the technological, financial, and regulatory dimensions of specific problems. Yet I feel he would not have stopped at that.
Rizal would have pushed for consensus-building at a more profound level: through dialogue and exchange, sharing and examining our respective views on nature, on the relation between humanity and nature, on our values.
Through such dialogue, we can develop a shared vision of a society that will truly meet human needs and enable us to realize our most cherished aspirations. As we develop such consensus it will become possible through the creative application of science and technology, and drawing on the traditional wisdom nurtured in our respective lands to realize the goal of sustainable development.
It is here that the idea of creative symbiosis emerges as a key concept. Science and technology developmentand for that matter all human activitymust be conducted in such a way that neither the way we relate to each other as human beings nor our interactions with nature should be married by conflict and destructive competition.
Rather, we must honor and support one another in relations of creative coexistence and mutual flourishing, which was what Rizal actively promoted as a nationalist and a universalist. This, I feel, represents the world view and bedrock values on which the successful human society of the 21st century may be constructed.
Symbiosis is of course scientific, more specifically an ecological concept, and it was through these principles that the word entered our modern lexicon. Yet in Asian culturethe culture of the Philippines and of Southeast Asia as well as China, Japan and East Asia this idea has deep historical roots that many ultimately be traced it to what has been termed the region's forest culture.
By this we mean an ecologically harmonious culture where human beings coexist with nature within the context manifold life of the forest. In such a culture, humans, plants, and animalsindeed, all forms of lifeare sustained through their mutual interactions.
It is based on the understanding that harming or killing one life harms all life; that pain of one is experienced and felt by all. This kind of empathy is deeply related to idea of compassion, which Simone Weil held to be humankind's most universal value.
In sum, I have long held profound admiration for Dr. Jose Rizal's struggles against injustice and persecution through which he was able to lead the Philippines to freedom and independence. Dr. Rizal expressed the same spiritual outlook with these words: He who wants to help himself should help others, because if he neglects others, he too will be neglected by them.