Get to know the women in Jose Rizal’s long list of ex-lovers
Dr. Jose Rizal is known as the national hero of the Philippines. Today, June 19, he is celebrating his 158th birth anniversary.
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KAMI learned that aside from being an ophthalmologist and the inspiration of the Philippine revolution against the Spaniards, Rizal was also popular for being bolero when it comes to women.
There were 9 different women recorded who captured the heart of Rizal, as reported by Inquirer Pop (author Tyne Villan).
Check Rizal’s long list of ex-lovers here:
1. Consuelo Ortiga y Rey
Rizal met Consuelo in Madrid on September 16, 1882. Their relationship did not work because his friend also had feelings for Consuelo, and he was still engaged to Leonor Rivera that time.
As written by Consuelo in her diary, Rizal spent a night at their house and entertained them with his intelligence and sense of humor. On the other hand, Rizal wrote a poem for Consuelo titled, “A La Se ñorita C.O. y R.”
2. Segunda Katigbak
Rizal was only 16 years old when he met Segunda, so most probably, she was his “puppy love.” They met at the house of Rizal’s grandmother in Trozo, Manila.
Things did not work out for them because Segunda got engaged. However, this was how Rizal described their relationship:
“Ended, at an early house, my first love! My virgin heart will always mourn the reckless step it took on the flower-decked abyss. My illusions will return, yes, but indifferent, uncertain, ready for the first betrayal on the path of love.”
3. Seiko Usui
Rizal wrote in his diary how much he loved Japan. But, the one thing that really captured his heart was a beautiful woman named Seiko Usui or O-Sei-San.
The two met in 1888. When the language barrier broke because they both spoke French and English, their relationship blossomed. However, it only lasted for two months because Rizal had to leave Japan for San Francisco.
4. Gertrude Beckett
Just the same year when Rizal and O-Sei-San ended their relationship, he met Gertrude in London. She was the daughter of his landlord, Charles Beckett.
Gertrude was madly in love with Rizal that she helped him with his works “Prometheus Bound,” “The Triumph of Death over Life,” and “The Triumph of Science over Death.”
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5. Suzanne Jacoby
Rizal went to Belgium in 1890 where he met Suzanne, the niece of the Jacoby sisters who ran his boarding house.
While Rizal did not mention Suzanne in his letters, she wrote him some that time. Rizal went back to Belgium but she did not meet with Suzanne.
6. Leonor Valenzuela
Leonor or “Orang” was 14 years old when he met Rizal. He was a sophomore medical student at the University of Santo Tomas that time, and Orang was his neighbor.
Rizal used to write letters for Orang using invisible ink. There were reports claiming that while courting Orang, Rizal was also trying to win the heart of his second cousin, Leonor Rivera.
7. Nellie Boustead
Nellie was the girl that almost got Antonio Luna and Rizal into a duel. Rizal met Nellie in Biarritz, France. Everyone was supportive of their relationship, except Nellie’s mother. Also, Nellie wanted Rizal to convert to Protestantism but he refused.
Even if their relationship did not work, the two remained friends. Nellie even wrote a letter for Rizal before he left Paris.
8. Leonor Rivera
Leonor was 13 and Rizal was 18 when they met. She was his second cousin. Their relationship lasted for 8 years even if Rizal was traveling overseas.
Leonor served as an inspiration for Rizal that he created the character Maria Clara based on her. However, it eventually ended when Leonor’s mother chose a British engineer over Rizal.
9. Josephine Bracken
Among all the girls Rizal loved, it was Josephine whom he reportedly married. While Rizal was exiled in Dapitan, the two fell in love. However, it became complicated because no priest would marry them for some unknown reasons.
Nonetheless, the two lived together. Josephine had a hard time because she was suspected to be a spy of the Spaniards and gave birth to a stillborn son.
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