Julia Segunda Katigbak Leonor Valenzuela Leonor Rivera Consuelo Ortiga Gertrude Beckette Nelly Boustead O Sei San Suzanne Jacoby Josephine Bracken
Rizal was only 15 when he first saw Julia by accident in a river in Los Baños a few days after Easter in 1877. She was wearing a red wraparound skirt. “Julia could not catch the butterfly she was chasing. Rizal, ever gallant, caught two,” Trillana wrote. Heart beating with strange fondness, Rizal offered her the butterflies and she laughed with innocent pleasure. He was instantly attracted to her. But for
Rizal next met Segunda Katigbak, acharming girl from Lipa, Batangas.She was his puppy love, accordingto Trillana. Unfortunately, his firstlove was engaged to be married to atown mate- Manuel Luz.
After his admiration for a short girlin the person of Segunda, then cameLeonor Valenzuela, a tall girl fromPagsanjan. Rizal send her love noteswritten in invisible ink, that couldonly be deciphered over the warmthof the lamp or candle. He visited heron the eve of his departure to Spain
Almost simultaneously, Rizal was meeting another Leonor. The girl, Leonor Rivera, would be his girlfriend for the next 11 years. The two were distant cousins. Rivera was to him his ideal woman, his model for Maria Clara, one of the main characters in his first novel, “Noli Me Tangere.” He was ready to marry her. Unfortunately, Rivera’s mother disliked Rizal who was then earning the reputation of being a dissident. The two last saw each other before Rizal left for Spain in May 1882. The mother hid from Rivera all the letters that Rizal was sending from Spain. After a passage of many years, thinking that Rizal had abandoned her, Rivera sadly consented to marry Henry Kipping, an Englishman who was her mother’s choice. Rizal was said to have cried shamelessly when news of the wedding reached him. Rivera never got to know that Rizal loved her just as much
Rizal met Consuelo Ortiga y Rey, the prettier of Don Pablo Ortiga’s two daughters, in Madrid. She fell in love with him after only a few dates. He dedicated to her “A la Senorita C.O. y R,” which became one of his best poems. The Ortigas residence in Madrid was frequented by Rizal and his compatriots. He probably fell in love with her and Consuelo apparently asked him for romantic verses. He suddenly backed out before the relationship turned into a serious romance, because he wanted to remain loyal to Leonor Rivera and
While Rizal was in London annotating theSucesos de las Islas Filipinas, he boarded inthe house of the Beckett family, withinwalking distance of the British Museum.Gertrude, a blue-eyed and buxom girl wasthe oldest of the three Beckett daughters. Shefell in love with Rizal. Tottie helped him inhis painting and sculpture. But Rizalsuddenly left London for Paris to avoidGertrude, who was seriously in love withhim. Before leaving London, he was able to
Rizal having lost Leonor Rivera, entertained the thoughtof courting other ladies. While a guest of the Bousteadfamily at their residence in the resort city of Biarritz, hehad befriended the two pretty daughters of hishost, Eduardo Boustead. Rizal used to fence with thesisters at the studio of Juan Luna. Antonio Luna, Juansbrother and also a frequent visitor of theBousteads, courted Nellie but she was deeply infatuatedwith Rizal. In a party held by Filipinos in Madrid, adrunken Antonio Luna uttered unsavory remarks againstNellie Boustead. This prompted Rizal to challenge Lunainto a duel. Fortunately, Luna apologized to Rizal, thusaverting tragedy for the compatriots.Their love affair unfortunately did not end in marriage. Itfailed because Rizal refused to be converted to theProtestant faith, as Nellie demanded and Nellies motherdid not like a physician without enough paying clienteleto be a son-in-law. The lovers, however, parted as goodfriends when Rizal left Europe.
On his second trip to Europe in1888, Rizal stopped by Japan wherehe met O Sei San, a lovely andintelligent daughter of a samurai. Ifall he wanted was a good life, hewould have married O Sei San andstayed on in Japan because aSpanish legation there was offeringhim a well-paying job. But he leftJapan because he thought he wasdestined for a greater task in the
In 1890, Rizal moved to Brusselsbecause of the high cost of living inParis. In Brussels, he lived in theboarding house of the two Jacobysisters. In time, they fell deeply in lovewith each other. Suzanne cried whenRizal left Brussels and wrote him when
While on exile in Dapitan, Zamboanga, in early February 1895, Rizal met an 18-year-old petite Irish girl, with bold blue eyes, brown hair and a happy disposition. She was Josephine Bracken, the adopted daughter of George Taufer who had traveled to Dapitan from Hong Kong to have his eye treated by Rizal. Rizal was immediately attracted to Josephine. He called her “dulce estranjera,” or sweet foreigner. The loneliness and boredom of exile may have taken its toll as he found himself falling in love quite easily. However, Rizal’s sisters suspected Josephine of being a spy for the Spanish authorities and a threat to his security. Rizal asked Josephine to marry him, but she was not yet ready to make a decision due to her responsibility to the blind Taufer. Since Taufers blindness was untreatable, he left for Hon Kong on March 1895. Josephine stayed with Rizal’s family in Manila. Upon her return to Dapitan, Rizal tried to arrange with Father Antonio Obach for their marriage.