A Letter to his Parents

Jose Rizal bids his family farewell — "It is better to die than to live suffering" — How he wishes to be buried.

The letter bears no date. (1)

To my family,

I ask you for forgiveness for the pain I cause you, but some day I shall have to die and it is better that I die now in the plentitude of my conscience.

Dear parents and brothers: give thanks to God that I may preserve my tranquility before my death. I die resigned, hoping that with my death you will be left in peace. Ah! It is better to die than to live suffering. Console yourselves.

I enjoin you to forgive one another the little meanness of life and try to live united in peace and good harmony. Treat your old parents as you would like to be treated by your children later. Love them very much in my memory.

Bury me in the ground. Place a stone and a cross over it. My name, the date of my birth and of my death. Nothing more. If later you wish to surround my grave with a fence, you can do it. No anniversaries. I prefer Paang Bundok. (2)

Have pity on poor Josephine.

(1) This letter was among the Rizal documents presented to the Republic of the Philippines by Spain through her ministers of foreign affairs, Martin Artajo on 26 February 1953. It has no date, but it must have been written at Fort Santiago shortly before he was led to his execution on Bagumbayan, Manila. These documents are published in one volume, Documentos Rizalinos, Manila 1953, by the Philippine government.
(2) Paang Bundok literally means foot of the mountain. It is the place in the north of Manila where are the North Cemetery, a municipal cemetery, and the Chinese Cemetery. Rizal was buried, not in a humble place in Paang Bundok, as he wished but in the Cemetery of Paco. On 30 December 1912, the Commission on the Rizal Monument, created by virtue of Law No. 243, transferred his remains to the base of the monuments erected on the Luneta, very near to the place where he was shot.