Ask anyone to name a Filipino hero and you’re sure to hear “Jose Rizal” as an answer. Obviously, this is thanks to his (unofficial) status as our National Hero, and his omnipresence in our lives 157 years after his birth. His profile is on the one peso coin—an indispensable piece of currency. Brands, streets, and a province bear his name. Almost every plaza has some statue or memorial to him—a measure of his stature in the national psyche. Historian Ambeth Ocampo writes (often): “Rizal’s greatest misfortune was becoming the National Hero of the Philippines. He is everywhere and therefore nowhere.” As words or statements lose their meaning when repeated, the same is true for Rizal. Or at least, it seems, to be so on the surface. We know him, what he did, and how he died for it—but do we really know the man behind the myth? Since we normal, non-academics have no direct access to what he left behind, it can be quite difficult to understand Rizal the man. Based on some secondary and tertiary sources though, I have come to the conclusion that Jose Rizal is not entirely the hero we often think he is.