20 Rare Photos of Jose Rizal Through the Years

Look back at Jose Rizal's life in photos.

Jose Rizal is many things to Filipinos: a hero, patriot, martyr, novelist, and even a god. Over the course of his life, the national hero had plenty to share, including novels, poems, and essays. But, it's about time we explore the few photos of Rizal that exist.


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Sure, we already have his first selfie but nothing beats seeing how Rizal was like in his rare and most casual moments. In fact, according to leading experts on Rizal such as Renato Constantino and Ambeth Ocampo, the first step to appreciating his heroism is to appreciate his humanity, limitations, shortcomings, sins, and quirks.

On what would have been his 159th birthday, we pay tribute to Jose Rizal with 20 rare photos of him through the years. Check them out below.

A young Jose Rizal

Born in Calamba, Laguna on June 19 in 1861, Jose Rizal learned to read and write by age five.


Rizal at age 14

Rizal during his teenage years

jose rizal photos

Rizal received his secondary education in the city of Manila, and then traveled overseas to study philosophy and medicine at the University of Madrid, the University of Paris, and the University of Heidelberg.

More: The 15 Best Jose Rizal Quotes

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One of the national hero's most iconic portraits

jose rizal photos
Photo by COURTESY.

Jose Rizal on a picnic in Paris with friend Juan Luna and wife Paz Pardo de Tavera

While he was living in Europe, Rizal began publishing a series of works including Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, which established him as a leading voice for reform in his homeland.


A group photo with Jose Rizal at center

jose rizal photos

More: Jose Rizal's First Selfie Has Resurfaced in a Private Collection

A close-up of Jose Rizal

jose rizal photos

Another close-up of the national hero

An undated photo of Jose Rizal

More: The Tragic Story of Leonor Rivera, Jose Rizal's Most Significant Love and Heartbreak

Jose Rizal with Sixto Lopez in Hong Kong

Rizal with Sixto Lopez in Hong Kong.


According to the Presidential Museum and Library, the photograph of Sixto Lopez and Jose Rizal was taken on during Rizal's return from Europe in 1891. Lopez, a relative and a good friend, was also active in the Propaganda Movement.

Rizal, the avid fencer

En garde! A testament to his cosmopolitan ways, Rizal was an avid fencer.

In the photo, Rizal poses with friends Valentin Venture and Juan Luna in Luna's home in Paris.

Dr. Jose Rizal treating a patient

Dr. Jose P. Rizal, seen here treating a European patient as a lady watches on.

"Rizal was an eye doctor who received his medical degree from the Universidad Central de Madrid at the age of 23, and pursued further studies in the field of ophthalmology in France and Germany," the Presidental Museum and Library says.

More: The 5 Timeless Leadership Lessons Everyone Can Learn from Dr. Jose Rizal

Jose Rizal and María de la Paz Pardo de Tavera with friends

Jose Rizal (standing 1st from the left) and María de la Paz Pardo de Tavera (standing 2nd from the left) and friends.

Jose Rizal, Trinidad Hermenegildo, Pardo de Tavera, and Felix Pardo de Tavera posing for a Juan Luna portrait

Jose Rizal (front) with friends Trinidad Hermenegildo Pardo de Tavera (right) and Fe?lix Pardo de Tavera (back) posing for a Juan Luna portrait.


Jose Rizal with Marcelo H. del Pilar and Mariano Ponce


More: This Is How the World Mourned Jose Rizal

Jose Rizal with Juan Luna and Félix Resurección Hidalgo

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Jose Rizal in London

Photograph of Jose Rizal in London.

According to historians, Rizal stayed in London for 10 months from May 1888 to March 1889. There, he lived with the Beckett family at 37 Chalcot Crescent in Primrose Hill.

A rare photo of Jose Rizal smiling

Rare photo of Jose Rizal, smiling.

The student residents of Casa Tomasina

Student residents of the Casa Tomasina in 1879. Rizal is standing besides his easel.


First row: Silvestra Rivera, Gregoria Peña, Honorio Lasam, Placido; Second row: Standing, Prudencio Ruiz, Simplicio Lopez, Jose Rizal, Antonio Rivera, Julian Afable, Deogracias Duque, child Pelayo Cabrera, Jorge Bauzon, Leoncio Bauzon, Crisanto Aguilar, Pascual Lopez, Sixto Lopez; Third row: seated, Pedro Ferrer, Vicente Gella, Leon Apacible, Mariano Lopez, Galicano Apacible, Jose Ma. Cecillo, Semeon Dadivas, Feliciano Cabrera, Clemente Sol, Florentino Buhay, Pedro Bachine; Fourth row: seated on the floor, Juan Bauzon, Ireneo Afable, Manuel Valois, Simeon Espina.

A rare photo of Rizal's last moments

Execution of Dr. Jose Rizal at Bagumbayn (Luneta - Rizal Park), Manila, Philippines, December 30, 1896

On the morning of December 30, 1896, Jose Rizal was executed in Bagumbayan, just outside the walled city of Intramuros, on charges of masterminding a rebellion. Read more here.

More: All the Most Absurd Rumors About Jose Rizal

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About The Author
Paolo Chua
Associate Style Editor
Paolo Chua is the Associate Style Editor at Esquire Philippines, where he writes about fashion and grooming. Before joining Esquire Philippines, he was a writer at Town & Country Philippines.
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