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“Ah, Tender Childhood, Lovely town, Rich fount of my felicities.

”--- Jose Rizal

Jose Rizal, like many 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 suc
peaceful, refined, God-loving family, he spent the early years of his childhood. The beauties of Calamba
impressed him as a growing child and deeply influenced his mind and character. The happiest period of
his life was truly his childhood days in his natal town.

Calamba, “Craddle of a Genius.” The town of Calamba is situated on a verdant plain by the rippling
Laguna de Bay. A few kilometers to the south looms the legendary Mt. Makiling, and beyond this
mountain lies the coffee-producing Batangas. North of the town spreads the Laguna de Bay, “a lake of
poems and songs”, with many sailboats gliding by the somnolent Talim Island and numerous birds flying
in the azure skies. Beyond the lake, to the far distance in the north, is Antipolo, the famous mountain
shrine of the miraculous Lady of Peace and Good Voyage.

                Calamba, with its fertile fields of rice and sugarcane, its evermore green meadows of
innumerable fruit trees and bananas, its singing birds abounding in lake, river, and fields, its starry nights
‘filled with the poetry of sadness,” it’s lovely sunrises over lake and mountains, and its charming
panoramic views, is a fit place to nurture a growing child. So it came to pass that it became the “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 remembered 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 when he was three
years old. Because he was a frail, sickly, and undersized child, he was given the tenderest care by his
parents. His father built a little nipa cottage in the garden for him to play in the daytime. A kind old
woman was employed as an AYA (maid) to look after his comfort. At times, he was left alone to muse on
the beauties of nature or to play by himself. In his boyhood memoirs, he narrated how he at the age of
three, watched from his garden cottage the culilan, the maya, the culae, the maria-capra, the martin,
the pipit, and other birds, listening “with wonder and joy” to their twilight songs.

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 nightly
rosary. The aya related to the Rizal children (including Jose) many stories about the fairies; tales of
buried treasure and trees blooming with diamonds, and other fabulous stories. The imaginary tales told
by the aya aroused in Rizal an enduring interest in legends and folklore. Sometimes when he did not like
to take his supper, the aya would threaten him that the asuang, the nuno, the tigbalang, or a terrible
bearded and turbaned Bombay would come to take him away if he would not eat his supper.

Another memory of his infancy was the nocturnal walk in town, especially when there was a moon. The
aya took him for a walk in the moonlight by the river, where the trees cast grotesque shadows on the
bank. Recounting this childhood experience, Rizal wrote: “Thus my heart fed on somber and melancholy
thoughts so that even while 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 ties of love and companionship. They were well-bred, for
their parents taught them to love one another, to behave properly in the presence of elders, to be
truthful and religious, and to help one another. They affectionately called their father Tatay and their
mother Nanay.

                Of his sisters, Jose loved most the little Concha(Concepcion). 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 she was only three years old. Jose, who
was very fond of her, cried bitterly to lose her. “When I was four years old,” he said, “I lost my little
sister Concha, and then for the first time I wept tears of love and grief….” The death of little Concha
bought him his first sorrow.

*Search :Pilgrimage to Antipolo*

*Search:The Story of the Moth*

INFLUENCE ON HERO’S BOYHOOD

                Hereditary Influence

                Environmental Influence

                Aid of Divine Providence

RIZAL’S UNCLES WHO HELP HIM A LOT IN HIS DEVELOPMENT

                GREGORIO – Was a lover of books. He instilled into the mind of his precocious nephew*Jose) a
great love for books. He taught him to work hard, to think for himself, and to observe life keenly.

                JOSE – Who had been educated at Calcutta, India, was the youngest brother of Doña Teodora.
He encouraged his nephew to paint, sketch, and sculpture.

                MANUEL – Was a big, strong, and husky man. He looked after the physical training of his sickly
and weak nephew. He encouraged young Rizal to learn swimming, fencing, wrestling and other sports,
so that in later years of Rizal’s frail body acquired agility, endurance and strength.