Monday, July 15, 2019

Was Jose Rizal a Descendant of Lakandula?

Once every few years the question "Was Rizal descended from Lakandula?" pops up. There are just a few scholarly works in recent years that claim this and so far none have been able to prove this claim.

Taken from Austin Craig's book
In more recent references to Rizal's claimed descent from the great Tondo ruler, there is always a consistency that this descent was through his mother, Teodora Alonso. The book Jose Rizal's Immortal Legacy states that "Teodora Alonzo Rizal, was a descendant of the last Malayan king, Lakandula" (Rivera, 1997) while another book, Sa Ningas ng Apoy: Si Rizal ang Dakilang Manunubos ng Kalayaan Henyo, Makabayan, Bayani at Martir (1861-1896), states that . . ."the heroism of Dr. Jose Rizal is inherited from his family and that his strength and courage is from his ancestor Lakandula" (Ramos, 2001). An older reference to this claimed ancestry can be found in The Maranao, which said "Way back in 1571 A.D., the Manila Bay area, the banks of the Pasig, the shores of Batangas were predominantly the site of Muslim communities. A confederation of barangays in Manila area was once ruled by Muslims - Rajah Soliman and Rajah Lakandula from whome Dr. Jose Rizal, the Great Malayan Filipino, is said to have been descended" (Saber and Madale, 1975).

Obviously, these references to Lakandula simply make a passing reference to the alleged connection between Rizal and the great king. It is interesting to note that Jose Rizal, while interested in genealogy at an early age, never mentioned his supposed descent from Lakandula. He was, however, interested in the ancient Tagalog nobles, as attested through his unfinished novel or story, The Ancient Tagalog Nobility and Sinagtala and Maria Maligaya. The latter story tells the story of twins Sinagtala and Maligaya whose mother, Isabel, was the granddaughter of Lakandula (Ocampo, 2008). 

The earliest reference by a renowned scholar with regard to Rizal being a Lakandula descendant was made by American author Austin Craig. In his book Lineage, Life, and Labors of Jose Rizal, Filipino Patriot, he wrote that all branches of Teodora Alonso's family tree were richer than that of her husband's and several names of these related families belong among the descendants of Lakandola, as traced by Mr. Luther Parker in his study of the Pampangan migration...(Craig, 1914).  He later elaborates on this connection in a 1928 article in the Philippine Education Magazine where he wrote that the Castro connection of the Alonsos, though no longer verifiable, ran back to the old Bisayan rajahs of Manila, the family of Rajah Matanda, Soliman, and Lakandula (Craig, 1928). Unfortunately for Austin Craig, he also does not have any irrefutable proof of how Rizal descended from Lakandula. 

Austin Craig's 1928 article on Rizal's lineage
In recent times, it would seem that scholars and historians have accepted that without further proof, one cannot continue this claim. However, there is a need to point out that in the online commercial genealogy and social networking website Geni, the master profile of Jose Rizal can be traced back to Lakandula definitively (see illustration below as taken from Geni):

Fake Descent of Rizal from Lakandula
While Geni is an interesting and a helpful site to many genealogists whether amateurs or experts, the illustration above of Rizal's descent from Lakandula is one of the website's downsides. The relationship as shown above is clearly not just erroneous, but very illogical and impossible.

First error: assuming that the Alonso line of Rizal is related to Lakandula simply because Maria Poloin, Lakandula's only daughter, married a man named Alonso Talabos. Obviously, those who connected Maria Poloin to the Alonso family did so using the flimsiest connection between the last name Alonso (for the family of Rizal's mother) and the first name Alonso for Lakandula's son-in-law. 

The second error in this tree is the alleged son of Maria Poloin, Jose Alonso. Where did this person come from? Austin Craig's painstaking tracing of Jose Rizal's family tree showed that the earliest traceable Alonso was Don Gregorio Alonso who died in 1794. He was Rizal's great-great-grandfather. The family tree of Lakandula as reconstructed by the late Luciano P.R. Santiago clearly does not show a Jose Alonso as one of Maria Poloin's children. In fact, she and her husband Alonso Talabos only had daughters, who were Juana Malay and Monica Bina. So, this Jose Alonso is very clearly an anomaly.

The final and most obvious error in this online connection is the generational anomaly. Simple math and a whole lot of logic would show us that there is no way that Rizal was separated by only 7 generations from Lakandula. As seen in the generation chart below, even when Lakandula had married and had children when we was 40 years of age, the timeline would still not allow for Rizal to be just 7 generations away from Lakandula. So it would mean, and it would also completely invalidate the above family tree, that Lakandula would have to have been in his 60s when he married if we want to force the 7-generation gap between Lakandula and Rizal. So very obviously, the connection of Rizal to Lakandula in Geni is not only wrong, it is misleading to many people who believe in the website. The connection was made using flimsy and illogical connections and is bereft of concrete evidence.

So, once again, we ask the question. Was Rizal a descendant of Lakandula?

It is unfortunate that the complete set of archival documentation on Lakandula's, Matanda's, and Soliman's descendants in the archives have been lost or cannot be retrieved for now. But what we have for the moment does not show the Alonsos in any of the branches of the Lakandula family tree. 

So, the answer to above's question is simple. No one can really tell. And until evidence is found, no, Rizal WAS NOT Lakandula's descendant.


  1. Filomena V. Rivera. Jose Rizal's Immortal Legacy. Manila: National Book Store, 1997.
  2. Victor C. Ramos. Sa Ningas ng Apoy: Si Rizal ang Dakilang Manunubos ng Kalayaan Henyo, Makabayan, Bayani at Martir (1861-1896). Manila: Rex Bookstore, Inc., 2001.
  3. Mamitua Saber and Abdullah T. Madale. The Maranao. Manila: Solidaridad Pub. House, 1975.
  4. Ambeth R. Ocampo. "The Ancient Tagalog Nobility" and "Sinagtala and Maria Maligaya". Makamisa. Manila: Anvil Publishing, 1992.
  5. Austin Craig. Lineage, Life, and Labors of Jose Rizal: Filipino Patriot. Manila: Philippine Education Company, 1913.
  6. Austin Craig. "Rizal's Lineage Typically Filipino", The Philippine Magazine (formerly Philippine Education Magazine). Manila: Philippine Education Company, Inc., 1928, pp. 11, 67-68.
  7. "José Protacio Alonso Realonda Mercado Rizal (1861-1896)" <>. Geni. (August 1, 2008). Retrieved July 12, 2019.
  8. "Bunao Dula (1503 - 1575)" <>. Geni. (December 29, 2009). Retrieved July 12, 2019.

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