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Selected Essays and Poems of Dr. Jose


Welcome to the ninth module of the course on the Life and Works of
Jose Rizal. This lesson provides a discussion of the significant
information about selected works of Dr. Jose Rizal and provides a
perspective of analysis and interpretation of these works. They
covered an array of topics such as education, politics, history,
philosophy and religion. Deeply embedded in his works are his ideas
on patriotism and nationalism. He had written what he had observed
on the prevailing conditions of society and proposed ways on how
these conditions should be mitigated, remedied or solved.

The following are the learning outcomes we are expected to achieve at
the end of the lesson:

Discuss the basic information/facts about essays, letterand

poems of Rizal
Identify the goals of Rizal in his essays, letter and poems
Analyze the historical context of the essays, letter and poems
written by Rizal
Form conclusions on the value of Rizal’s essays and poems at
Relate the essays, letter and poems to the present Philippine
society and politics


Accomplish the module execises. Read the some of Jose Rizal‟s selected

Selected Essays and Poems of Dr. Jose Rizal

I. Selected Essays of Jose Rizal

Three of Dr. Jose Rizal’s essays – The Philippines: A Century
Hence, On the Indolence of the Filipino and To the Young Women of
Malolos contain his ideas and thoughts about the prevailing conditions of
the Philippines under the Spanish colonial regime. He emphasized
through these works the pervasive effects of colonization to the
Philippines and Filipinos and how could these be addressed or
redressed. Rizal also used history as an effective tool to analyze the
prevailing social conditions in the Philippines; to rectify the errors and
misconceptions on the Filipinos insinuated by the Spaniards; and to
present the probable situations that will happen in the Philippines.

A. The Philippines: A Century Hence

It is originally entitled “Filipinas dentro de cien años” and was
published in the periodical La Solidaridad in four installments from 30
September 1889 to 31 January 1890. Through this essay, Rizal broaches
the question, “Will the Philippines continue to be a colony of Spain?” He
exposed the reasons for the failure of Spain to uplift the Philippine
economic and social conditions and projected the probable condition of
the Philippines. Rizal presented a historical analysis of the prevailing
social, economic and political conditions of the Philippines using a
tripartite view of the country‟s history. In this essay, he showed the
importance of studying history in understanding and analyzing the present
conditions of the society and „predict‟ possible stituations that would
happen within a century. It is important to note that Jose Rizal in this
essay and other works such as On The Indolence of the Filipino and his
Annotation of Antonio de Morga‟s Succesos de las Islas Filipinas that he
asserted that Filipinos have their own culture and history before the
Spanish conquest.

B. On the Indolence of the Filipinos

It was originally entitled “La Indolencia de los Filipinos” and
was published in the periodical La Solidaridad in five installments from
July 15 to September 15, 1890. It‟s a response of Jose Rizal to the
accusation of Spaniards that the indios (Filipinos) were indolent.

Part I. Introduction
Rizal defined the idea of indolence. He criticized that in the
Philippines indolence is blamed for shortcomings and misdeeds of a
person. He argued that indolence is not the cause of backwardness
and trouble but the effect of trouble and backwardness.


Jose Rizal admitted that Filipinos have the predisposition of laziness

but he attributed this to the tropical climate of the Philippines. He
maintained that indolence is natural and claimed that the Spaniards
and other Europeans were more indolent for they use climate as a
reason for them not to work as hard as the natives in their colonies.
They use the natives to do their work and enjoy their position and
manipulation of the situation.

Part II and III

Rizal asserted that the indolence of the Filipinos is a chronic malady
[illness] but it is not hereditary, for Filipinos have not always been
indolent. He used several accounts which prove that Filipinos before
the colonization of Spain were virtuous and industrious.

Part III
In this part, Jose Rizal explained the reasons for the indolence of the
Filipinos or the “abandonment of industry, agriculture and
commerce” by citing repressive policies implemented by the Spanish
authorities. He concluded that the Filipinos became indolent because
they didn‟t benefit from their hard works.

Part IV
In this part, Jose Rizal explained the conditions that foster/encourage
and sustain the indolence of the Filipinos. He explained thet these
conditions had made the Filipinos hopeless and uncertain of their
future. Having no reason and motivation to work, he remained
inactive, unproductive and indolent.

Part V
In this part, Jose Rizal explained the reasons of the indolence of the
Filipinos which emanates from them but was perpetrated by the
Spaniards. He also explained the causes and effects of the lack of
national sentiments of Filipinos arguing that due to the lack of national
sentiment and the prevailing social conditions in the Philippines that
causes great hardships and miseries, the Filipinos lost their hope and
motivation to work and became indolent. For Jose Rizal indolence of
the Filipinos and the backwardness of the Philippines were caused by
the Spaniards.

Selected Essays and Poems of Dr. Jose Rizal

C. To The Young Women of Malolos

It is a letter written by Dr. Jose Rizal in December, 1888 to the

young women of Malolos in response to the request of Marcelo H. Del
Pilar after learning that a group of twenty young women in Malolos
petitioned the Governor-general to open a „night school‟ to study
Spanish language. This was unheard of in the Philippines during those
times and had caused a stir in the country and in Spain. The petition
was opposed by the parish priest thus it was turned down by the
Governor. The young women of Malolos persisted until they were
allowed. The school lasted for three months.

Jose Rizal also explained in this essay the important role of

women in the society and the qualities of his ideal women. He gave
advice to the women of Malolos about the qualities of men that they
should look for. In this essay, Rizal stated his criticisms on religious
and Spanish clergies.

II. Selected Poems of Jose Rizal

A. To My Fellow Children
It is a Tagalog poem written allegedly by Jose Rizal when he was 8
years old. [Up to this day, the authorship is still debated.] Whether or not
it was written by Jose Rizal, the poem had inspired nationalism among
Ideas of Jose Rizal:
1. Love of one‟s language
2. The Tagalog language was equated by Jose Rizal to other languages
like the Spanish, English and Latin.

B. To The Filipino Youth

It is a poem submitted by Jose Rizal to a poetry contest which had
been organized for Filipinos by the Manila Lyceum of Art and Literature
in 1879. He won the first prize and received a silver pen.

In this poem, Rizal challenged the youth to study, and develop their
full potential for they are the fair hope of our motherland. They should
be able to think and act independently, seek solutions from within
themselves for the betterment of the country.

C. To the Flowers of Heidelberg

This poem was written by Jose Rizal in August, 1886 while he was in
Germany studying techniques of eye operations.

He was fascinated by the flowers in spring in Heidelberg and wrote
this poem with a feeling of deep longing for his family and his country.
This poem reflects Rizal‟s hopes for the betterment of the country and the
lives of the Filipinos.

D. MiRetiro
It is a poem dedicated by Jose Rizal to his mother. This poem
expresses his serene life in Dapitan. It also shows Rizal‟s acceptance of
his destiny and whatever justice will be given to him.

E. ‘Mi Ultimo Adios’

It is an untitled and undated poem written by Jose Rizal allegedly
hours before his execution. This poem expresses his undying love for the
Philippines and his loved ones. He reiterated that dying for one‟s
conviction and for the country is a great honor.

Read the full texts of Dr. Jose Rizal’s works in English

translation in the following websites:

Craig, Austin. Lineage Life and Labors of Jose Rizal Philippine Patriot
Ocampo, Ambeth R. (2000). Rizal Without the Overcoat. Pasig City: Anvil
Publishing Inc.,
Ocampo, Nilo S. (1995). Rizal: Makabayan at Martir. Diliman, Q.C.:
University of the Philippines Press
Quibuyen, Floro C. (1999). A Nation Aborted: Rizal, American hegemony
and Philippine nationalism. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila
University Press

Internet sources

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