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Dr. Jose Rizal “Connecting the Philippines and Germany”

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1. The working paper contains two keynote speeches:
A. Rotten Beef and Stinking Fish: Rizal and the Writing of Philippine History by Dr. Ambeth R. Ocampo B. Rizal and Germany: First Impressions and Lasting Influences by Bernhard Dahm 2. Dr. Ambeth R. Ocampo is a very well-known and authoritative historian in the Philippines. 3. Bernhard Dahm is a professor emeritus of University of Passau in Germany. He wrote a book entitled ‘Jose Rizal: Dec Nationalheld der Filipinos’ which immortalized the life and works of Rizal in Germany.

Rotten Beef and Stinking Fish: Rizal and the Writing of Philippine History

1. The focus is the annotated re-edition of Morga’s Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas (Events in the Philippine Islands). Also known as Rizal’s Morga. 2. It all started in February 1887 when Rizal was reflecting on his country’s history after completing Noli Me Tangere. 3. In April 1886, he sent a letter to Ferdinand Blumentritt asking him to write the Philippine history. 4. By August 1888, resigned that Blumentritt could not be persuaded to write the Philippine history, Rizal began to work in his own. 5. Rizal was then granted a reader’s pass to the British Museum. 6. While reading Morga’s book, Rizal was enraged because he was insulted by how Morga described Filipino food, “their beef and fish which they know is best when it has started to rot and stink.”

The fish that Morga mentions is bagoong. 7. Despite the racial slurs, Rizal still maintained mixed feelings for the Morga (the book) on its usefulness for his thesis that Spanish colonization retarded, rather than brought civilization to the Philippines and its inhabitants. 8. Rizal’s Morga may not have been widely read but its significance lies in the fact that with this edition, Rizal began the task of writing the Philippine History from the viewpoint of a Filipino. 9. Rizal’s Morga is the first history from the point of view of the colonized,
not the colonizer. 10. Rizal’s Morga remains largely unread due to the ff:

A. Pre-eminence of his other novels
B. Today’s scholars concentrate more on the primary sources
C. Obscurity of Rizal’s annotations
D. One could count with fingers of one hand the people who would read historical work like

Morga over the more entertaining Rizal novels

Morga’s Publication
1. Rizal was confident that Antonio Regidor, a wealthy country man would publish his work when completed. 2. He even promised to Rizal that as soon as he recovered his investment in the book, all profits would be divided equally between the author and publisher. 3. Rizal did not earn anything from the Morga. In fact, Regidor unexpectedly backed out of the venture without the courtesy of an explanation. 4. Rizal decided to publish the Morga himself. He went to Paris where printing costs were less than in London. 5. The book was published after four months of intense historical research, with a typically long Spanish title:

Sucesos de lasislas Filipinas por el Doctor Antonio de Morga. Obrapublicadaenmejicoen el año de 1609, nuevamentesacada a luz y anotadapor Jose Rizal, y precedida de un prologo del prof. Fernando Blumentritt (Events in the Philippine Islands by Dr. Antonio de Morga. A work published in Mexico in 1609, reprinted and annotated by Jose Rizal and preceded by an introduction by Professor Ferdinand Blumentritt)

Rizal chose Morga’s “Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas” because:
1. The original book was rare
2. Morga is a layman and not a religious chronicler
3. Morga is more objective than religious accounts, which included many miracle stories
4. Morga was more sympathetic than religious chroniclers
5. Morga was a primary source because he was an eye witness

1. The original book was rare
Sucesos was published on 1609 in Mexico with only 25 to less than 30 copies only. H.E.J. Stanley published an English translation of Morga in 1868 with the title: “The Philippine Islands, Moluccas, Siam, Cambodia, Japan and China at the close of 16th Century.” Rizal’s version of Morga was printed in 1889 through GarnierHermanos The Morga by Wenceslao Emilio Retana was published in 1909 which is more accurate Rizal was not satisfied to Stanley’s version of Morga due to the use of censorship by the latter

2. Morga is a layman and not a religious chronicler

Morga is the only secular general history of the Philippines in print for over 2 centuries Religious chroniclers dealt more with the church history than the history of Philippines Austin Craig pointed that the history of the Philippines written during the Spanish colonial period were just part of the larger history of Spain

3. Morga is more objective than religious accounts, which included many miracle stories Religious chroniclers aim not to record the history of the Philippines but rather, to document the achievements of their religious orders Ex. Spanish won over Chinese because St. Francis of Assisi protected Intramuros

4. Morga was more sympathetic than religious chroniclers

Friars were biased and racist unlike Morga who was humane at least to Indios.

5. Morga was a primary source because he was an eye witness
Morga was already present at the point of first contact with Spain

– Rizal believed that pre-Hispanic Filipinos had their own culture before the colonization of Spain. Hence, they were not saved from barbarism by the Spaniards.

– Rizal emphasizes that pre-Hispanic civilization had metallurgy, system of writing, etc. were ruined by the colonization

– Rizal’s assertions about pre-Hispanic were validated by further studies but there are some flaws

1. Assertion: PandayPira, an Indio of Pampanga can make cannons before the colonization. Flaw : A letter of Governor De Vera to the viceroy of Mexico requesting a cannon makers. This implies that if PandayPira or his sons knew how to make cannons, the Governor would’ve not requested for cannon makers.

2. Assertion: Filipino possess metallurgical knowledge.
Flaw: A recent archaeological research by Dr. Eusebio Dizon, wrote in his doctoral assertion on pre-Hispanic Philipine metal implements showed that the indios were a metal-using people but did not possess metallurgical knowledge. Rizal sometimes drew on imagination more than evidence.

Rizal’s Exaggeration
a. Morga describes Filipino boats large enough to carry “one hundred rowers of the border (vanda) and thirty soldiers on top (pelea)” Rizal: The country that at one time, with primitive means, built ships around 2,000 tons. 3. Assertion: Rizal states that there is a widespread use of pre-Hispanic writing and the written literature that presumably accompanied it. He also assumes that there is a great volume of written literature at the time the Spaniards arrived in the Philippines. – that the friars burned at destroyed the pre-Hispanic syllabary.

Flaw: Fr. Blancas de San Jose and Fr. Francisco Lopez studies Philippine languages and grammar, suggests that the friars documented and preserved rather than destroyed pre-Hispanic writings. Rizal’s annotation to Morga was that he tried to use history and historical revision not just to express his personal views on the historiography, but to create a sense of national consciousness and identity. Morga was officially banned in the Philippines.

First criticism coming from the introduction of the book by Blumentritt Rizal used history as a propaganda weapon against the abuses of the colonial Spaniards. Is he trying to be a scholar or a propagandist? Rizal draft the introduction given by Blumentritt. He deleted the notion of fraternal love between Spaniards and indios was liable to give the wrong impression. Isabelo de los Reyes (1864-1938)

Journalist, businessmen, labor leader, politician and prominent member of the schismatic Iglesia Filipina Independence (Philippine Independent Church) His fieldwork and compilations of folklore, history and customs have proven to be great ethnographic value for present-day scholars. In Historia de Ilocos that de los Reyes upsets Rizal .

De los Reyes called attention to the discrepancy between some of Rizal’s annotation vis-a vis his own research. Rizal accuses the de los Reyes using “unreliable” sources like Martin de Rada a sistent century friar who described indios as assassins, thieves, highwaymen, and cowards. Rizal claims he has read all the early accounts of the Philippines, cover to cover, except that of Plasencia. History must be used for a purpose, not only to enlighten but to make his countrymen “think correctly”, to see history not from the viewpoint of the Spanish chroniclers but from the indios’s point of view. Rizal’s patriotism made him over-sensitive or even intolerant of criticism.

Pardo de Tavera, in Biblioteca Filipina, describes de los Reyes’s work as “full of curious observations and can even be faulted for superficiality at times, [but] it cannot be said that de los Reyes falsified history or more or less propagated falsehood and absurdities in an attempt to glorify the ancient civilization of the Filipinos.” Rizal’s view of Philippine historiography is expressed in his annotations to Morga’s Sucesos, in his essay Filipinas dentro de cien anos (the Philippines within a century), and most clearly in an outline periodization of Philippine history which he prepared for the International Association of Philippinologists Pre Hispanic Philippines

Arrival of the Spaniards to the loss of Philippine autonomy and her incorporation into the Spanish nation. (1521-1808) Incorporation of the Philippines into the Spanish nation up to the Cavite mutiny (1808-1872) Linguistics

Rizal and Germany: First Impressions and Lasting Influences

PARIS TO BERLIN (1885-1887)
-Rizal went to Paris and Germany in order to specialize in ophthalmology—Rizal chose this branch of medicine because he wanted to cure his mother’s eye ailment and to learn the major European languages to be able to read scientific works or literature in French, English and German

IN GAY PARIS (1885-1886)

• Maximo Viola
– a medical student and a member of a rich family of San Miguel, Bulacan, Rizal’s friend

• November 1885 , Rizal was living in Paris where he sojourned for about four months

• Dr. Louis de Wecker (1852-1906)
– leading French ophthalmologist wherein Rizal worked as an assistant from November 1885 to February 1886


• February 1, 1886
– Rizal reluctantly left gay Paris fro Germany

• February 3, 1886
– Rizal arrived in Heidelberg, a historic city in Germany famous for its old university andromantic surroundings, His first impressions of Germany after having crossed the Franco-German border were disenchanting: “everywhere one sees only uniforms, militarism, in all Germany the railroad employees being all military men”

• Rizal found difficult to accept was their habit of eating potatoes. He writes “German food is not disagreeable, only it is full of potatoes: For everything pota-toes, day and night. Even at night they serve tea with potatoes and cold meat”

• when describing his first impressions about Germany and the Germans, he does not seem to be enthusiast about German women. I quote: “In general they are tall, big, not very blond, though fairly so. They are very amiable and very sincere”

• April 22, 1886
– Rizal wrote a fine poem “A Las Flores de Heidelberg” (To the Flowers of Heidelberg) In the spring of 1886, Rizal was fascinated by the blooming flowers along the cool banks of the Neckar River. Among them was his favorite flower—the light blue “forget-me-not”

• Dr. Otto Becker
– distinguished German ophthalmologist where Rizal worked— University Eye Hospital

• Wilhelmsfeld
– a mountainous village near Heidelberg where Rizal spent a three-month summer vacation

• Dr. Karl Ullmer
– a kind Protestant pastor where Rizal stayed, who became his good friend and admirer

• June 25, 1886
– Rizal ended his sojourn at Pastor Ullmer’s home

• July 31, 1886
– Rizal wrote his first letter in German (which he had improved after his stay with the Ullmers) to Professor Blumentritt, Director of the Ateneo of Leitmeritz, Austria

• August 6, 1886
– the famous University of Heidelberg held its fifth centenary celebration


• August 9, 1886
– Rizal left Heidelberg

• August 14, 1886
– boarded by a train. Rizal arrived in Leipzig. He arrived on August 15.

• Dr. Hans Meier
– German anthropologist, a friend of Rizal, editor of Meiers Universallexikon

• In Leipzig, Rizal translated Schiller’s William Tell from German into Tagalog so that Filipino might know the story of that champion of Swiss independence

• Rizal also translated into Tagalog for his nephews and niece Hans Andersen’s Fairy Tales

• Rizal found out that the cost of living in Leipzig was cheapest in Europe so that he stayed two months and a half, It was finally published half a year later in March 1887 in Berlin, after his friend Maximo Viola had arrived there from Madrid, who then borrowed him the money.

• Because of his knowledge of German, Spanish, and other European languages, Rizal worked as proof-reader in a publisher’s firm

• October 29, 1886
– Rizal left Leipzig for Dresden where he met Dr. Adolph B. Meyer, Director of the Anthropological and Ethnological Museum


• Rizal was enchanted by Berlin because of its scientific atmosphere and the absence of race prejudice

• Rizal met for the first time Dr. Feodor Jagor, celebrated German scientist-traveler and author of Travels in the Philippines, a book which Rizal read and admired during his student days in Manila

• Dr. Rudolf Virchow
– introduced to Rizal by Dr. Jagor; famous German anthropologist

• Rizal became a member of the Anthropological Society, the Ethnological Society, and the Geographical Society of Berlin, upon the recommendation of Dr. Jagor and Dr. Meyer

• Rizal lived in Berlin, famous capital of unified Germany for five reasons: (1) to gain further knowledge of ophthalmology (2) to further his studies of sciences and languages (3) to observe the economic and political conditions of the German nation (4) to associate with famous German scientists and scholars (5)to publish his novel, Noli Me Tangere

• Aside from the German women, Rizal admired the German customs which he observed well


• May 11, 1887
– Rizal and Viola left Berlin by train


• May 13, 1887
– the train, with Rizal and Viola on board, arrived at the railroad station of Leitmeritz, Bohemia-for the first time, the two great scholars—Rizal and Blumentritt—met in person

• Professor Blumentritt (1853 in Prague)
– a kind-hearted, old Austrian professor
– a unique expert in Philippine Studies in Europe

Rizal-Blumentritt Correspondence has been edited 1961 by the National Centennial Commission containing the hand written letters, most of them in
German Language and their English translation. Lasting influences of Rizal in Germany:

• The friendly reception by all these noted experts, who received and treated him as an equal and the lasting contact with them, which was held up by Rizal even during his exile on Dapitan • the thinking and convictions of Rizal came from the meeting with ordinary German people, their working-ethic, their modesty and simplicity, combined with honesty and reliability in contrast to the grandeur, glamour and greed for personal wealth that he had seen elsewhere. All this was for him a model, if the Filipinos, after having achieved their independence, wanted to grow as a nation, respected by others and living in peace and harmony • the friendship with Ferdinand Blumentritt, who admired him and defended him against all false accusations to the end of his life.

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