Not many Filipinos are aware that Paciano Rizal, the older and only brother of José Rizal, was an active and passionate member of the Katipunan. As a katipunero, Paciano was no less heroic than his very famous brother.
So little is known of Paciano. Yet, he is one of the unsung heroes of the Katipunan. Paciano was Rizal's model for Pilosopong Tasio, one of the important and very interesting characters in his novel Noli me tangere. In his letter to Blumentritt dated 23 June 1888, Rizal wrote
I don't know why I forgot to introduce you to my brother. You who wish to know good men will find in him the most noble of the Filipinos. My friend Taviel de Andrade said that he was the only man in the Philippines - the young Philosopher Tasio. When I think of him, though an Indio, more generous and noble than all the present-day Spaniards put together.
As the the elder son, Paciano helped the family in managing their farm and was like a. Not only did he help finance Rizal's education in Europe, he did his best to save money to have his brother's two novels printed, collected financial contributions for the Propaganda Movement, and solicited subscription for the Diariong Tagalog, a nationalist newspaper. He also supported the Katipunan by propagating its ideals in Laguna.
When José was jailed in Fort Santiago in 1896, Paciano was also arrested and tortured to force him to give testimony that would prove his brother guilty of sedition. After Rizal's execution at Bagumbayan, Paciano went to Imus, Cavite to offer his services to Emilio Aguinaldo. He become the military commander of the revolutionary forces in Laguna and continued. He continued fighting as a katipunero in the Filipino-American War.
In an interview for an article featured in the Philippine Centennial in the Francisco Rizal Lopez, one of Paciano's grandsons, told of his grandfather's days a a revolucionario. Lopez said that Paciano nearly died of the torture.
"His whole body was swollen and bloody because of the torture he received. The authorities brought him to my grandmother Narcissa because they thought he was going to die. After a week, he recovered. But he was actually at deaths door."
"My aunt told us a story about my Lolo Paciano when he was a revolucionario. She told us that everyday, my Lolo and the other revolucionarios would count the money they had collected. One day, my aunt was so tired and her hands were malansa so she asked my grandfather, Puede po bang makakuha ng cinco centimo diyan para makabili ng sabon dahil malagkit po at malansa ang kamay namin? (Could we get five cents to buy soap because our hands are sticky and putrid?) My Lolo got very angry and he said, Huag ninyong galawin ang perang yan! (Dont ever touch that money. Thats for the revolution!)"
Sometime in 1900, Paciano was captured by the Americans and ordered to swear allegiance to the American flag. According to his grandson, Paciano said, "I cannot swear to any other flag because my allegiance belongs to the Filipino flag. But I can assure you, since we have lost and I have surrendered, I am going to leave you in peace."
After the revolution, it was almost impossible for the Rizals to live in Calamba.They have been stripped of everything they owned and they felt persecuted, so they chose to live in Los Baños, the town next to Calamba. Paciano Rizals home stands near the Los Baños municipal hall, beside the fire station. There he lived the rest of his life until he died of tuberculosis on April 30, 1930.
Francisco Lopez described Pacianos physical appearance and character, "My Lolo was a very humble, a very simple man. He never talked to us about his sacrifices in the Revolution. We did not even know up to the time of his death that he was a general in Aguinaldos army." Paciano was a very thrifty man but not with his nephews to whom he always gave money to buy "tsampoy". Of the two known pictures of Paciano, one was taken by one of Mr. Lopezs uncle and the other was a picture of him as lay in his coffin. Paciano had a daughter, Emiliana who is Francisco Lopez mother, but he was never married because he could not marry under the Dominican priest. Emiliana, married her first cousin, Antonio Lopez. He was Narcissa Rizals son.
Paciano lived a peaceful life during the American occupation. and kept his promise that he would leave the Americans in peace. He must have intensely disliked the Americans from an anecdote that Lopez told: " There was a certain Governor-General Leonard Wood and my grandfather did not like him. He had a dog and he named the dog Wood. So every time he felt like cursing the Americans, he would curse the dog"
Paciano Rizal was buried in Cementerio del Norte in Manila but his bones were transferred to his home in Los Baños in 1985. were he was given complete military honors.