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Rizal as a Farmer in Dapitan
To prove to his people that farming is a good a profession as medicine, Rizal became a farmer in Dapitan. In a letter to his sister, Lucia, on February 12, 1896, he said: "We cannot all be doctors; it is necessary that there would be some to cultivate the soil."

During the first year of his exile (1893), Rizal bought an abandoned farm in Talisay, a barrio near Dapitan. This farm had an area of sixteen hectares and was rather rocky. It lay beside a river that resembled the Calamba River-clear fresh water, wide and swift current. In his letter to his sister Trinidad on January 15, 1896, Rizal said: "My land is half an hour’s walk from the sea. The whole place is poetic and very picturesque, better than Ilaya River, without comparison. At some points, it is wide like the Pasig River and clear like the Pansol, and has some crocodiles in some parts. There are dalag (fish) and pako (edible fern). If you and our parents come, I am going to build a large house where we can all live together."

On this land in Talisay, Rizal actually built a permanent home. With the help of his pupils and some laborers, he cleared it and planted cacao, coffee, coconuts, and fruit trees. Later, he bought more lands in other barrios of Dapitan. In due time, his total land holdings reached 70 hectares. They contained 6,000 abaca plants, 1,000 coconut palms, many coffee and cacao plants and numerous kinds of fruit trees.

On his lands, Rizal introduced modern methods of agriculture which he had observed during his travels in Europe and America. He encouraged the Dapitan farmers to replace their primitive system of cultivation with these modern methods. These modern methods of farming consisted of the use of fertilizers, the rotation of crops, and the use of farm machines. Rizal actually imported some farm machines from the United States.

Rizal dreamed of establishing an agricultural colony in the sitio of Ponot near Sindangan Bay. This region contained plenty of water and good port facilities. He believed that it could accommodate about 5,000 heads of cattle and 40,000 coconut palms. It was also ideal for the cultivation of coffee, cacao, and sugar cane because of its fertile soil and favorable climate.

He invited his relatives and friends in Luzon, especially those in Calamba, to colonize the Sindangan Bay area. Unfortunately, his plan of founding an agricultural colony in Sindangan Bay did not materialize, like that of his former project to colonize North Borneo. He did not get the support of the Spanish government.

Before Rizal was exiled in Dapitan, he already knew many languages. These languages were: Tagalog, Ilokano, Spanish, Latin, Greek, English, French, German, Arabic, Hebrew, Sanskrit, Catalan, Dutch, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, Swedish, and Russian-19 in all.

His knowledge of many languages was one aspect of Rizal’s amazing genius. Few men in history were gifted by God with such ability to learn any language easily. And one of these rare men was Rizal.

To learn a new language, Rizal memorized five root words every night before going to bed. At the end of the year, he learned 1,825 new words. He never forget these foreign words because of his retentive memory. 

Rizal made a good use of his knowledge of many languages in his travels in Europe and America, in communicating with foreign scholars and scientists, and in his writings. Many times during his travels abroad, he acted as interpreter for his fellow travelers who belonged to various nationalities-Americans, British, French, German, Italians, Spaniards, Japanese and others.

During his exile in Dapitan, Rizal increased his knowledge of languages. He studied three more languages- Malay, Bisayan and Subanun. On April 5, 1896, he wrote to his Austrian friend, Professor Blumentritt: "I know Bisayan already, and I speak it quite well. It is necessary, however, to know other dialects."

By the end of his exile in Dapitan on July 31, 1896, Rizal had become one of the world’s great linguists. He knew 22 languages, namely, Tagalog, Ilokano, Spanish, Portuguese, Latin, Greek, Sanskrit, English, French, German, Arabic, Hebrew, Catalan, Dutch, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Swedish, Russian, Malay, Bisayan, and Subanun.

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