Saturnina (1850-1913) married Manuel Hidalgo of Tanauan, Batangas. Their children were Alfredo (1883-1952), who married Aurora Tiaoqui; Adela (1886-1946), who married Jose Ver; Abelardo; and Amelia and Augusto, who both died young. In 1909 Doña Saturnina published Pascual Poblete’s Tagalog translation of the Noli Me Tangere.
Narcisa (1852-1939) married Antonino Lopez, a teacher and musician from Morong, Rizal. Their children were Emilio; Angelica, who married Benito Abreu; Antonio (1878-1928), who married Emiliana Rizal (the daughter of Paciano Rizal); Consuelo; Leoncio, who married Natividad Arguelles; and Isabel, Francisco, Arsenio, and Fidela, all of whom died young. It is said that Doña Narcisa could recite from memory almost all the poems of Rizal.
Olimpia (1855-1887) married Silvestre Ubaldo, a telegraph operator from Manila. Their children were Aristeo, who married Leonarda Limjap; Cesario and another boy, both of whom died young.
Lucia (1857-1919) married Mariano Herbosa of Calamba, Laguna. Their children were Delfina, first wife of Gen. Salvador Natividad and who helped Marcela Agoncillo make the first Filipino flag in Hong Kong; Concepcion; Patrocinio, who married Jose Battalones; Teodosio, who married Lucina Vitingco; Estanislao; and Paz, Victoria, and Jose, all of whom died young.
Maria (1859-1945) married Daniel Faustino Cruz of Biñan, Laguna. Their children were Encarnacion, who married Rosendo Banaad; Mauricio, who married Concepcion Arguelles; and Petrona, Paz, and Prudencio, who all died young.
Concepcion (1862-1865), who followed Jose, died when Rizal was four.
Josefa (1865-1945) and Trinidad (1868-1951) lived together until their deaths. Both became members of the Katipunan. Trinidad was the custodian of Rizal’s elegy, “Mi Ultimo Adios.”
Soledad (1870-1929) married Pantaleon Quintero of Calamba, Laguna. Their children were Trinitario, who married Maria San Mateo; Amelia, who married Bernabe Malvar (son of Gen. Miguel Malvar); Luisa, who married Jose Arguelles; and Serafin and Felix, both of whom died young. Soledad, who became a teacher, is said to have been “the best educated” among Rizal’s sisters.
His sisters’ families also became very much involved in Rizal’s life. Saturnina, Narcisa, and Lucia, along with their parents and Manuel Hidalgo and Mariano Herbosa, were ordered to be deported, charged with rousing the people to refuse to pay land rent, and with causing the unrest in Calamba. Hidalgo was first exiled “as a conspirator and representative of Jose Rizal,” and again, as Rizal observed, “without any accusation, without his knowing any crime of which he was accused, excepting that he was my brother-in-law.” Herbosa, who died of cholera in 1889, was denied a Christian burial because of his relation to Rizal. Rizal’s nephews were also known to have traveled with Rizal to Dapitan in 1893 or visited him there.
Rizal’s sisters figured largely in his life as much as his brother Paciano did. With Concepcion, Rizal shared games and stories made up by their governess. Rizal confided to Olimpia about his first sweetheart, Segunda Katigbak; and to Maria, he talked about wanting to marry Josephine Bracken, whom Rizal’s family apparently disapproved of. To support Rizal’s studies in Europe, the two older sisters pawned their jewelry and peddled clothes. All of Rizal’s sisters wrote to him about their parents and their own families as well as local occurrences such as the outbreak of cholera or the land taxes being imposed by the friars. They also visited him when he was exiled in Dapitan and right before his execution in 1896 (Trinidad had planned Rizal’s escape from Dapitan beforehand). Narcisa painstakingly searched the cemeteries in Manila for Rizal’s burial place. She had to bribe a gravedigger to place a marker on it, for she would not be allowed near the body, which had been buried without a box of any kind. Two years later, Rizal’s sisters dug up the body at the Paco cemetery. They found only the hero’s bones, shoes, and hat.
De Ocampo, Esteban A. The Rizal Family. Manila: Esteban A. de Ocampo, 1954.
Unson, Ben Cailles. The Sisters of Rizal. Clippings from the Manila Chronicle, June 1-23, 1959, bound for the Ayala y Compañia Library by Catholic Trade, Manila.
Photo caption: Teodora Alonzo with daughters Maria and Soledad