From Pepe to Laong Laan: The Evolution of Jose Rizal’s Nicknames and Pseudonyms

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    Jayna AlanoJayna Alano

    Jose Rizal is known as the national hero of the Philippines, but did you know that he had several nicknames throughout his life? These nicknames and pseudonyms reveal different facets of his personality and accomplishments.

    One of his most well-known nicknames is “Pepe,” which was his childhood nickname given to him by his family and close friends. However, he also had other monikers that were associated with his writing career. For instance, during his university days, he used the pen name “Laong Laan.” This name was derived from a Tagalog phrase that roughly translates to “ever ready,” a reflection of his dedication to his studies.

    Later on, when he began writing for newspapers, Rizal used different pseudonyms to keep his identity anonymous. He used “Dimasalang” when he wrote for the La Solidaridad newspaper in Spain, and “May Pagasa” when he wrote for the Diariong Tagalog newspaper in the Philippines. These pseudonyms allowed him to freely express his views on colonialism and other social issues without fear of persecution.

    Aside from his pen names, Rizal also used initials as a form of identification when corresponding with his family and friends. He used “G.H.” and “C.K.” to sign letters to his sister and close confidant, respectively.

    Overall, the various nicknames and pseudonyms that Jose Rizal used throughout his life demonstrate his multi-faceted personality, intelligence, and dedication to his country. They also highlight his resourcefulness in navigating the constraints of his time and using creative means to achieve his goals.

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