Rizal's Exile in Dapitan and Correspondence with Fr. Pablo Pastells.
DAPITAN A remote town in
Mindanao which was
under the missionary
jurisdiction of the
Jesuits from 1892-
A 3rd class city in the
Zamboanga del Norte.
Cebu- Steamer which
brought Rizal to
Fr. Pablo Pastells
Father Superior Pastells informed Father
Obach that Rizal could live at the parish convent
on the following conditions:
1."That Rizal publicly retract his errors concerning
religion, and make statements that were
clearly pro-Spanish and against revolution".
2."That he perform the church rites and make a
general confession of his past life".
3.That henceforth he conduct himself in an
exemplary manner as a Spanish subject and a man
WINS IN MANILA LOTTERY
On September 21, 1892, Dapitan’s mood burst in
hectic excitement. As the mail boat Butuan brought
the news about Rizal, winning in the lottery.
LOTTERY TICKET NO. 9736
Total Lottery Prize: P20000.00
Rizal’s Share Allocation
Given to his father: P 2000
To his friend, Basa: P 200
Allocated for investment: P 4000
Rizal’s total share: P 6200
Rizal never drank hard liquor and never
smoked, but he was a lottery addict. He always
invested at least three pesetas every month in
Peseta- the currency of Spain between 1869 and
CHALLENGING THE RELIGION: A DEBATE WITH
Fr. Pablo Pastells- Jesuit priest who attempted to
persuade Rizal to return to orthodox Roman
Catholic by way of correspondence.
Father Pastells tried his best to win Rizal back to
the faith but fortunately or unfortunately, in vain.
These series of debate ended inconclusively in
which neither of them convinced the other of his
The debate started when Fr. Pastells sent Rizal a
book by Sarda, with advice that the latter (Rizal)
should desist from his majaderas (foolishness) in
viewing religion from the prism of individual
judgment and self esteem.
Rizal was bitter against the friars because they
commit abuses under the cloak of religion.
Fr. Pastells tried to bring back to Catholicism Rizal
by telling him that human intelligence is limited,
thus he needs guidance from God.
Dapitan, 1 September 1892
Very Reverend Fr. Pastells
My ever esteemed Father:
Though I have not had the honor of meriting a letter from
Your Reverence, the precious gift that you have deigned to
send me through my beloved professor, Fr. Sanchez, and all
the lines that you devote to me in your letter to Fr. Obach
place me under obligation to write you, for I have no one in
Manila whom to ask to thank Your Reverence on my behalf. I
have known for a long time the writings of Mr. Sarda for
having read them in college and in my humble opinion he is
the most skillful polemicist in diffusing in a certain social class
the ideas he upholds...... I only regret that being an exile in a
poor town like Dapitan, I have nothing with which to return
your kindness, but I hope I shall have an opportunity to do so
some day if we shall still be alive and if not, I will say to you
like the Bisayos: Dios magbayad! (God repay you!)
-Letter for Dr. Pastells
Mission of the Society of Jesus in the Philippine Islands
Mr. José Rizal
My most beloved in Christ Don José,
I received on time your very esteemed letter of the 9th
January. I appreciate the gift that in honor of St. Paul you have
deigned to send me. The said image will continually remind
me that I ought to pray to God for you through such a powerful
mediator. Likewise I appreciate the undeserved confidence
you place in me which I shall try to return with the same
-In reply to Dr. JoseRizal
Dapitan, 4 April 1893
Very Rev. Fr. Pablo Pastells
My very Reverend Father,
I received in time your gift, the work of Mgr. Bougand,
which I am reading most attentively and with the greatest interest
[Emile Bougand, Le Christianisme et le temps présents - rly]. It is
one of the best works of its kind that I have seen as much for its
lucidity as for its eminently Christian and conciliatory spirit, as for the
light that animates its author as well as for his convictions. If the
work of Mr. Sarda is that of a champion of a polemicist, that of Mgr.
Bougand is of a prelate in the most beautiful meaning of the word.
Let us see if its perusal will modify my faith, or if the faith that Your
Reverence misses is reborn; if not, we have to content ourselves
with what God furnishes each one.
-In reply to Fr. Pastells
Escuela Normal de Manila
Manila, 28 April 1893
Mr. José Rizal,
I am glad that you are getting to like the work of
Mgr. Bougand. May your faith be reborn with its perusal,
the faith that we are missing in you. Faith cannot be
called the result of rationalization; it is a supernatural gift
of God our Lord, because faith, being the beginning and
root of justification, cannot be acquired through natural
forces only. It needs besides the aid of divine grace. My
most beloved in Christ Don José,
-In reply to Dr. Rizal
Very Rev. Fr. Pablo Pastels
Director of the Escuala Normal
My dear Very Reverend Father:
I deeply appreciate your desire to enlighten me and
illumine my path. But I fear it is a useless task. Lest I make you
waste your time, I rather tell you now: let us leave to God the things
that are God’s and to men the things that are men’s. As Your
Reverence says, the return to the faith is God’s work.
Again I express to you my sincere gratitude and I beg you to forgive
me for not having seen earlier the impossibility of this undertaking.
-In reply to Fr. Pastells
Behind the debate, Pastells
and Rizal were friends as
evidently pictured when:
Pastell gave Rizal a copy of
Imitacion de Cristo by Fr.
Thomas a Kempis.
Rizal gave Pastells a
bust of St. Paul
which he had made
Rizal continued to
hear mass and
CHALLENGES A FRENCHMAN TO A DUEL
Mr. Juan Lardet – a
French businessman whom
Rizal had a conflict.
Estudios sobre la lengua
tagala– manuscript which
Rizal gave to Sanchez on
his birthday (study of the
IDYLLIC LIFE IN DAPITAN
During his exile, Rizal was visited by the
following folks since August 1893:
2.His sisters (Trinidad, Maria and Narcisa)
3.Nephews (Teodosio, Estanislao, Mauricio and
Describing his life in Dapitan, Rizal wrote to
Blumentritt on December 19, 1893.
Rizal built a house
by the seashore of
by the following:
A school for boys,
A hospital for his
AS A PHYSICIAN
Rizal provided free medicine to his
patients, most of them were
underprivileged. However, he also had
wealthy patients who paid him well enough
for his excellent surgical skill. Among them
were Don Ignacio Tumarong who gave
Rizal 3000 pesos for restoring his sight, an
Englishman who gave him 500 pesos, and
Aklanon haciendero, Don Francisco
Azcarraga who paid him a cargo of sugar.
His skill was put into test in August 1893
when his mother, Dona Teodora Alonzo,
was placed under opthalmic surgery for
the third time. The operation was a
success, however, Alonzo, ignored her
son's instructions and removed the
bandages in her eyes which lead to
irritation and infection.
AS AN ENGINEER
Rizal applied his knowledge through
the waterworks system he
constructed in Dapitan. Going back
to his academic life, Rizal obtained
the title of expert surveyor (perito
agrimensor) from the Ateneo
Municipal. From his practical
knowledge as agrimensor, he
widened his knowledge by reading
engineering-related books. As a
result, despite the inadequacy of
tools at hand, he successfully
provided a good water system in the
AS AN EDUCATOR
Rizal established a school in Dapitan (1893-1896) which
was attended by 16 young boys from prominent families.
Instead of charging them for the matriculation, he made
the students do community projects for him like
maintaining his garden and field. He taught them
reading, writing in English and Spanish, geography,
history, mathematics, industrial work, nature study,
morals and gymnastics. He encouraged his students to
engage in sports activities to strengthen their bodies as
well. There was no formal room, like the typical
classroom nowadays. Classes were conducted from 2
p.m to 4 p.m. with the teacher sitting on a hammock
while the students sat on a long bamboo bench.
HYMN TO TALISAY
Rizal wrote a poem in honor of Talisay
which made his pupil sing. Here’s the
chorus part of the song.
“Hail, Talisay, firm and faithful,
Ever forward march elate!
You, victorious, the elements —land, sea and air—
shall dominate! “
AS AN AGRICULTURIST
Rizal devoted time in planting important crops and fruit-
bearing trees in his 16-hectare land (later, reaching as
large as 70 hectares). He
planted cacao, coffee, sugarcane, and coconuts, among
many others. He even invested part of his earnings from
being a medical practitioner and his 6000-peso winnings
from a lottery on lands. From the United States, he
imported agricultural machinery and introduced to the
native farmers of Dapitan the modern agricultural
methods. Rizal also visualized of having an agricultural
colony in Sitio Ponot, within the Sindañgan Bay. He
believed that the area was suitable for cattle-raising and
for cash-crops as the area had abundant water.
Unfortunately, this plan did not materialized.
AS A BUSINESSMAN
The adventurous Rizal, with his partner, Ramon
Carreon, tried his luck in the fishing, hemp and
copra industries. In a letter to his brother-in-law,
Manuel T. Hidalgo, he pointed out the potential of
the fishing industry in the province (as the area was
abundant with fish and good beach). He also
requested that two good Calamba fishermen be
sent to Dapitan to teach the fisher folks of the new
fishing methods, using a big net called pukutan. But
the industry in which Rizal became more successful
was in hemp, shipping the said product to a foreign
firm in Manila.
AS AN INVENTOR
Little was known of
Rizal. In 1887, during his
medical practice in
Calamba, he invented a
special type of lighter
called sulpukan which he
sent to Blumentritt as a
gift. According to Rizal,
the wooden lighter's
mechanism was based
on the principle of
compressed air. Another
of his inventions was the
wooden brick-maker can
manufacture about 6,000
bricks a day.
AS AN ARTIST
He had contributed his talent in the Sisters of Charity who
were preparing for the arrival of the image of the Holy
Virgin. Rizal was actually the person who modeled the
image's right foot and other details. He also conceptualize
its curtain, which was oil-painted by a Sister under his
instruction. He also made sketches of anything which
attracted him in Dapitan. Among his collections were the
three rare fauna species that he discovered
(dragon/lizard, frog and beetle) and the fishes he caught.
He also sculptured the statuette called “The Mother's
Revenge” which represented his dog, Syria, avenging her
puppy to a crocodile which killed it.
AS A LINGUIST
Rizal was interested in the languages used in
Dapitan, thus, studied and made comparisons of
the Bisayan and Malayan languages existing in the
region. In fact, Rizal had knowledge in 22
languages: Tagalog, Ilocano, Bisayan, Subanun,
Spanish, Latin, Greek, English, French, German,
Arabic, Malayan, Hebrew, Sanskrit, Dutch, Catalan,
Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, Swedish
AS A SCIENTIST
Rizal shared his interest with nature to his
students. With his boys, they explored the jungles
and searched for specimens which he sent to
museums in Europe, particularly in Dressed
Museum. In return, scientific books and surgical
instruments were delivered to him from the
European scientists. He also made a bulk of other
researches and studies in the fields of ethnography,
archaeology, geology, anthropology and geography.
However, Rizal's most significant
contribution in the scientific world was his
discovery of three species:
Draco rizali – flying dragon
Apogonia rizali – small beetle
Rhacophorus rizali – rare frog
AS A CIVIC WORKER
Upon arriving in the province, he noticed its
He drained the marshes of Dapitan to get rid of
He also provided lighting system – coconut oil
lamps posted in dark streets – in the province out of
what he earned from being a physician.
He beautified Dapitan by remodelling the town
plaza, with the aid of his Jesuit teacher, Fr.
Francisco Sanchez, and created a relief map of
Mindanao (footnote: using stones, soil and grass)
right in front the church.
WATER SYSTEM FOR DAPITAN
As a perito agrimensor (expert surveyor), Rizal
applied his engineering knowledge by constructing
a system of waterworks to furnish clean water to
Mr. H.F. Cameron –American engineer who praised
Rizal for his engineering ingenuity.
A POEM FOR HIS MOTHER
In February, 1895, upon restoring her
eyesight, Dona Teodora returned to Manila.
Seeing how busy Rizal is, she regretted
neglecting her muses. She requested Rizal
to write poetry. As a response, Rizal wrote
“Mi Retiro” (My Retreat) relating his serene
life as an exile in Dapitan.
AFFAIR IN DAPITAN
The death of Leonor Rivera (August 28, 1893)
left a poignant void in Rizal’s heart. In his
loneliness, he met Josephine Bracken, an 18 y/o
Irish girl who, to Wenceslao Retana's words, was
“slender, a chestnut blond, with blue eyes, dressed
with elegant simplicity, with an atmosphere of light
Born in Hongkong on
October 3, 1876.
Daughter of James
Bracken and Elizabeth
Her mother died in
childbirth. And she was
adopted by Mr. George
Mr. Taufer became blind so he sought
for an ophthalmic specialist. This is
how Josephine and Rizal met.
Manuela Orlac – Filipina companion
who accompanied Josephine Bracken
Rizal and Josephine Bracken decided to get
married but Father Obach refused to marry them
without the permission of Bishop of Cebu.
To avoid a tragedy, Josephine accompanied Mr.
Taufer back to Manila. Mr. Taufer returned to Hong
Kong alone while Josephine stayed with the Rizals
Having no priests to marry them, Rizal and
Josephine married themselves before the eyes
The two were happy for they were expecting
for a baby. However, Rizal played a prank
on Josephine making her give birth to an
eight-month baby boy. The baby lived for
only three hours. He was named
“Francisco” in honor of Rizal’s father.
RIZAL AND THE KATIPUNAN
Pio Valenzuela –
emissary to Dapitan in
order to inform Rizal of
the plan of Katipunan
during the meeting at a
little river called
Venus – steamer
Valenzuela boarded to
Raymundo Mata – blind man who
came withValenzuela to camouflage
Rizal objected Bonifacio’s project
1.The people are not ready for a
2.Arms and funds must first be
collected before raising the cry of
AS A VOLUNTEER MILITARY DOCTOR
When Cuba was
under revolution and
raging yellow fever
offering his services
as military doctor.
Governor Blanco later notified Rizal of the
acceptance of the offer. The notification
came along with an instruction of acquiring
first a pass for Manila from the politico-
military commander of Dapitan.
THE SONG OF THE TRAVELLER
Upon receiving the acceptance of his offer to go to
Europe then to Cuba to help in the curing
of patients suffering yellow fever, he wrote a poem
“El Canto del Viajero”
July 31, 1896- Rizal’s four-year exile has ended.
España – steamer which brought Rizal to Manila
Rizal was accompanied by Josephine, Narcisa,
Angelica (Narcisa’s daughter), his three nephews
and six pupils.
As farewell, the town brass of Dapitan played the
dolorous Funeral March of Chopin.
He stayed in Dapitan for four years, thirteen days
and a few hours.