This mission which Rizal conceived with the approval of his older brother Paciano was to observe keenly the life and culture, languages and customs, industries and commerce, and governments and laws of the European nations in order to prepare himself in the mighty task of liberating his opressed people from Spanish tyranny. This was evidenced in his farewell letter which was delivered to his parents shortly after his departure for Spain.
• Secret Departure for Spain
Rizal’s departure for Spain was kept avoid detection by the spanish authorities and friars. Even his own parents did not know because he knew they, especially his mother, would not allow him to go. Only his older brother (Paciano), his uncle (Antonio Rivera, father of Leonor Rivera), his sisters (Neneng and Lucia), the Valenzuela family (Captain Juan and Capitana Sanday and their daughter Orang), Pedro A. Paterno, his compadre Mateo Evangelista, the Ateneo Jesuit fathers, and some intimate friends, including Chengoy (Jose M. Cecilio). The kind Jesuit priests gave him letters of recommendation to the members of the society in Barcelona. He used the name Jose Mercado, a cousin from Biῆan. *May 3, 1882. Rizal departed on board the Spanish steamer Salvadora bound Singapore.
During the voyage to Singapore he carefully observed the people and things on board the steamer. The ship captain, Donato Lecha, from Asturias Spain. *May 8, 1882. While approaching Singapore, Rizal saw a beautiful island. Fascinated by its scenic beauty, he remembered “Talim Island with the Susong Dalaga”. *May 9, 1882. The Salvadora docked at Singapore. Rizal landed, registered at Hotel de la Paz, and spent two days on a sightseeing soiree of the city, which was a colony of England. He saw the famous Botanical Garden, the beautiful Buddhist temples, the busy shopping district, and the statue of Sir Thomas Standford Raffles (founder of Singapore).
• From Singapore to Colombo
In Singapore Rizal transffered to another ship Djemnah, a French steamer, which left Singapore for Europe on May 11. It was a larger and cleaner vessel which carried more passengers. *May 17, 1882. The Djemnah reached Point Galle, a seacoast town in Southern Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).
• First Trip Through Suez Canal
From Colombo, the Djemnah continued the voyage crossing the Indian Ocean to the Cape of Guardafui, Africa. At the next stopover—in Aden – Rizal went ashore to see the sight. From Aden, the Djemnah proceed to the city of Suez, the Red Sea terminal of the Suez Canal. It took the Djemnah five days to traverse the Suez Canal. At Port Said, the Mediterranean terminal of Suez Canal, Rizal landed in order to see the intersting sights.
• Naples and Marseilles
From Port Said, the Djemnah proceed on its way to Europe. On June 11, Rizal reached Naples. On the night of June 12, the steamer docked at the French harbor of Marseilles. He visited the famous Chateau d’If, where Dantes, hero of The Count of Monte Cristo, was imprisoned. He had enjoyed reading this novel of Alexander Dumas when he was a student at the Ateneo. He stayed two and a half days in Marseilles, enjoying every day of his sojourn.
On the afternoon of June 15, Rizal left Marseilles by train for the last lap of his trip to Spain. After the passport inspection at Port- Bou, Rizal continued his trip by rail, finally reaching his destination – Barcelona on June 16, 1882.
• “Amor Patrio”
In progressive Barcelona, Rizal wrote a nationalistic essay entitled “Amor Patrio” (Love of Country), his first article in Spain’ s soil. He sent his article to his friend in Manila, Basilio Teodoro Moran, publisher of Diariong Tagalog, the first Manila bilingual newspaper (Spanish and Tagalog). Rizal’s “Amor Patrio”, under his pen- name Laong Laan, appreared in print in Diariong Tagalog on August 20, 1882. It was published in two texts – Spanish (originally written by Rizal) and Tagalog (translated ny Marcelo H. del Pilar.
• Manila Moves to Madrid
Rizal received sad news about the cholera that was ravaging Manila and the provinces. Many people had died and more were dying daily. According to Paciano’s letter, dated September 15, 1882, the Calamba folks were having afternoon novenas to San Roque and nocturnal processions and prayers so that God may stop the dreadful epidemic, which the Spanish health authorities were impotent to check. Another sad news from the Philippines was the chatty letter of Chengoy recounting the unhapiness of Leonor Rivera, who was getting thinner beacause of absence of love. In one of his letters (dated May 26, 1882). Paciano advised his younger brother to finish the medical course in Madrid. Evidently, heeding his advise, Rizal left Barcelona in the fall of 1882 and established himself in madrid, the capital of Spain.