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Birth and Family Life

Jose Rizal was born on June 19, 1861.  It was a Wednesday evening in Calamba, Laguna, and his mother nearly died in the process.  He was baptized three days later, on June 22, by the parish priest of the Catholic church in his town, Fr. Rufino Collantes from Batangas.  His godfather, Fr. Pedro Casanas, was a close family friend.  Rizal's mother named him after St. Joseph, to whom she was ardently devoted.


His baptismal certificate reads:

"I, the undersigned parish priest of Calamba, certify that from the investigation made with proper authority, for replacing the parish books which were burned September 28, 1862, to be found in Docket No. 1 of Baptisms, p.49, it appears by the sworn testimony of competent witnesses that Jose Rizal Mercado is the legitimate son, and of lawful wedlock, of Don Francisco Rizal Mercado and Dona Teodora Realonda, having been baptized in this parish on the 22nd day of June in the years 1861, by the parish priest Rev. Rufino Collantes, Rev. Pedro Casanas being his godfather. -- Witness my signature."

(Signed): Leoncio Lopez


Francisco Mercado Rizal was born on May 11, 1818 in Binan, Laguna.  He was a graduate of the College of San Jose in Manila, studying Latin and Philosophy.  Francisco moved to Calamba to become a tenant-farmer of a hacienda owned by the Dominicans.  He died at the age of 80 on January 5, 1898 in Manila. About his father, Jose Rizal says that he is "a model of fathers."
Teodora Alonso Realonda was born on November 8, 1826 in Manila.  She was a graduate of the College of Santa Rosa.  She died at the age of 85 on August 16, 1911 in Manila. About his mother, Jose Rizal says, "My mother is a woman of more than ordinary culture; she knows literature and speaks Spanish better than I. She corrected my poems and gave me good advice when I was studying rhetoric. She is a mathematician and has read many books."

Rizal is the seventh of eleven children:
  1. Saturnina
  2. Paciano
  3. Narcisa
  4. Olimpia
  5. Lucia 
  6. Maria
  7. Jose
  8. Concepcion
  9. Josefa
  10. Trinidad
  11. Soledad
Rizal's family was a mixture of races.  They were a combination of Negrito, Malay, Indonesian, Japanese, Chinese, and Spanish, though Jose was predominantly Malayan.


Mercado was the original surname of the Rizal family.  Domingo Lamco, Jose's great-great-grandfather, adopted the name Rizal in 1731 and it became a second surname of the family.  In Jose's letter to Ferdinand Blumentritt, he says:

"I am the only Rizal in because at home my parents, my sisters my brother, and my relatives have always preferred our old surname Mercado. Our family name was in fact Mercado, but there were many Mercados in the Philippines who are not related to us.  It is said that an alcalde mayor, who was a friend of our family added Rizal to our name.  My family did not pay much attention to this, but now I have to use it.  In this way, it seems that I am an illegitimate son."

-- But of course, we all know that he is not.

To view the Rizal family's genealogy and bloodline, click here. 


  1. this is helpful .thank you :)

  2. Thank you so much!! I haven't been so interested in his story but because of this it'll be more interesting.

    1. That's very good to know! You're very welcome.

  3. this is really could help me study jose rizal.

  4. splendid! thankie :) so helpful

  5. Why is it different from the tv series of ILUSTRADO . Dr. Jose rizal mother was died nearly died in the process hiw could it be ? That from the tv serye the mother of Jose rizal was alive and take good care of him until he grows up .

    1. nearly died lang naman hindi naman tuluyang namatay.

    2. nearly died nga po eh . nearly po meaning malapit.. sa tagalog ang nearly died ay malapit mamatay. hehe nagkakaintindihan po ba tayo?

    3. nearly died, it means "halos mamatay" so hindi siya namatay.gets?
      "Halos mamatay" siya dahil sa panganganak.

  6. Why is the birthdate of Rizal's parents different from other sites? I'm really confused which is reliable.

  7. It helps a lot for my report. THANK YOU

  8. Thank you very much...
    Very helpful

  9. How can they have a mixture of races when their parents did not separate nor remarry?


  11. Once you start asking questions, all the info that we learned about Jose Rizal from grade school to college doesn't add up...
    There is more to it than what we have been told...


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