Author: Patricia Laurel
At 12 Joselito had just gone through all the schooling available in his tiny hometown of Dapitan and wondered what awaited him in life without further education. Then one night he saw a stranger disembark on the shore accompanied by soldiers headed for the Casa Real. Later it was rumored that the stranger was a dangerous man, best for all to stay away from. But curious and observant from a distance, Joselito came to believe otherwise, and pleaded with his parents to approach the man.
Jose Rizal went on to open a secondary-level school for boys in Dapitan and did all the teaching himself until his exile in that town came to an end.
This is the story of a young person’s discovery of the wondrous world of knowledge and the unjust world of men. Joselito left Dapitan with his maestro and kept daily service to him in prison at Fort Santiago. He witnessed the execution on the field of Bagumbayan.
This, too, is the story of Rizal’s last years in life, from 1892 to 1896, quietly prodigious and magnanimous to the townsfolk, stimulating and inspiring to his students, ultimately self-sacrificing to his nation, as intimately witnessed and shared by the Dapitan schoolboy.