Jose Rizal Raises Chickens During Exile

Jose Rizal built three houses when he was exiled in Dapitan – the first was his home, the second was for his pupils and the third was for his chickens.


You read it right. The national hero of the Philippines has love for chickens.

In a letter dated December 19, 1893 addressed to his best friend, Ferdinand Blumentritt, Rizal shared his way of living during his exile.

“I shall tell you how we lived here. I have three houses-one square, another hexagonal, and the third octagonal. All these houses are made of bamboo, wood, and nipa. I live in the square house, together with my mother, my sister, Trinidad, and my nephew. In the octagonal house live some young boys who are my pupils. The hexagonal house is my barn where I keep my chickens,” Rizal told Blumentritt.

Rizal built those houses near the shore in Talisay, which is near Dapitan. He used the money he won from Manila Lottery and his earnings as farmer and merchant to buy a piece of land there.

His daily routine began with his passion, telling Blumentritt that he fed his chickens early in the morning before preparing their breakfast.

Apparently, Rizal didn’t just love to raise chickens. He loved to eat them, too.

Chicken tinola is said to be one of Rizal’s favorite dishes. There is one part in Noli Me Tangere where Crisostomo Ibarra, the main character in the book whose personality is rumored to be based on Rizal’s, was having a chicken tinola for his meal with the best parts served to him.

Watch this video on how to cook Jose Rizal’s Tinola

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