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Rizal and the Development of Filipino Nationalism

CHAPTER 7: Formal Search for Knowledge at Ateneo Municipal Garcia C.C., De Viana, A.V., & Cruz, C.B.

Note. Ateneo Municipal was formerly called Escuela Pia, and was at that time, the most prestigious college for boys owing to its great teachers.

Enrollment at Ateneo

Rizal took the entrance exam at the Colegio de San Juan de Letran on June 10, 1872 (which covered reading, arithmetic, and Catholic doctrines).

The Dominicans exercised the power of inspection and regulation over Ateneo at that time.

At first he was refused entry because:


He was a late registrant


He was very frail and was undersized for his age

Fr. Magin Fernando the college registrar which was very firm in denying Rizal admission

Manuel Burgos due to his intervention, Rizal was finally admitted to Ateneo Municipal

However, since the name Mercado rung the bells to the ears of the authorities due to Pacianos association with one of the leaders of the secularization movement (Fr. Burgos). He used the surname Rizal.

The Atenean System of Education

At that time, Ateneo offered a six-year program that entitled a student to the academic title, Bachiller en Artes, and exposed students to five learning areas (i.e. Christian doctrines, Languages, History and Geography, Mathematics and Sciences, and Classic Disciplines).

It also offered vocational courses agriculture, commerce, mechanics and surveying.

It trained the character of every student through right discipline and religious instruction.

o They were required to hear masses in the morning and classes usually began and ended with prayers.

Atenean teachers enforced a program of dividing classes to stimulate the spirit of competition: the Romans and the Carthaginians.


The Roman Empire the boarding students at Ateneo


The Carthaginian Empire the non-boarding students

Both empires had their ranks and dignitaries:


The Emperor the highest,


The Decurion

or the best scholar


The Centurion


The Tribune


The Standard Bearer

The method of instruction Rizal was subjected to at Ateneo was the Ratio Studiorum a system of indoctrination under tight and constant discipline, with every incentive of compensation and award.

Atenean Education at that time pursued one aim Ad majorem Dei gloriam (For the greater glory of God). Thus, the ultimate goal of Jesuit teachers was to make lifelong Catholics

Rizal and the Development of Filipino Nationalism

CHAPTER 7: Formal Search for Knowledge at Ateneo Municipal Garcia C.C., De Viana, A.V., & Cruz, C.B.

His academic triumph can be attributed to three factors:


Racial Pride


Monastic Discipline


Seclusion of Boarding School Life

Extra-curricular Activities at Ateneo

He became a member and eventually an officer in the religious confraternities at Ateneo Sodality of Our Lady, and Apostleship of Prayer

He also joined the Academy of Spanish Literature and Academy of Natural Sciences.

Through the guidance of Fr. Francisco Paula de Sanchez, he succeeded in developing his skills in poetry writing.

He took special lessons in Spanish at the Convent School of Santa Isabel.

He also took painting lessons under Agustin Saez and sculpture lessons under Romualdo de Jesus.

He carved the image of the Virgin Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

He also sustained the physical fitness training he started under his Tio Manuel.

Literary Works at Ateneo

The first poem he wrote as a student was entitled Mi Primera Insipiracion (My First Inspiration) which was dedicated to his mother on the occasion of her natal day.

He also wrote Un Recuerdo de Mi Pueblo (In Memory of My Town) which was his way of paying homage to his birthplace, Calamba.

o He noted that he never forgot the beauty and tranquility of his hometown, which in effect had inspired him to love nature and to have trust and confidence in the Almighty God.

Al Ñino Jesus (To the Child Jesus) an ode written by Rizal to express his devotion to Catholicism, which his mother implanted in his heart and was strengthened by his schooling at Ateneo.

La Alianza Intima Entre Religion y La Buena Educacion (The Intimate Alliance Between Religion and Good Education) Rizal, here, gleaned the influence of the Catholic education he had at Ateneo.


He stressed the importance of religion to education.


For him, education not centered on God cannot be considered true education, since religion is what serves as a guide and nourishment to it.

Por La Educacion Recibe Lustre la Patria (Through Education The Country Receives

Light) Rizal revealed his ideas on education in this poem wherein he compared it to a lighthouse, considering that it can guide people in their behaviors and actions.


He showed that through education, the youth of the country can be directed towards the path of virtue and rectitude.


He said that the people have to seek knowledge.

Rizal and the Development of Filipino Nationalism

CHAPTER 7: Formal Search for Knowledge at Ateneo Municipal Garcia C.C., De Viana, A.V., & Cruz, C.B.

o He differentiated Prudent education from solely education which had three vital components: Education for truth and knowledge, Education for refinement, and Education for love of ones country.

Influences of Schooling at Ateneo on Rizal

He was conferred the degree of Bachiller en Artes on March 23, 1877.

He was imbibed with the Jesuit values of fairness, justice and reason.

As a result of the values he received and internalized, the quest of justice, equality and dignity became his lifetime work.