From my bookshelves: The First Filipino, a biography of Jose Rizal by Leon Ma. Guerrero (Guerrero Publishing, Manila: 1998)
Rizal is the Philippine’s national hero, a true Renaissance man – writer, physician, scholar, sculptor, farmer, amateur boxer, and much more besides. Along the way to his martyrdom at the hands of Spanish colonial forces in 1896, he found time to write two revolutionary novels, poetry, essays, and reams of correspondence, perform eye surgery on his patients, and fall in love with several women scattered in different countries.
A replica of Casa Redonda, Rizal’s octagonal hut in Dapitan that served as his eye clinic. Image here.
From a letter Rizal wrote while in Dapitan to his nephew Alfredo Hidalgo:
Go ahead, then; study, study, and think over well what you have studied; life is a very serious matter, and only those who have brains and a heart have a good life. To live is to be among men, and to be among men is to struggle. But this struggle is not an animal, material struggle, nor is it a struggle only with other men; it is a struggle with them but also with one’s self, with their passions but also with one’s own, with errors and with anxieties. It is an eternal struggle, [which one must sustain] with a smile on one’s lips, and tears in the heart. In this battlefield, a man has no better weapon than his intelligence, no greater strength than that of his own heart.