About POP!

POP! is INQUIRER.net’s premier pop culture channel, delivering the latest news in the realm of pop culture, internet culture, social issues, and everything fun, weird, and wired. It is also home to POP! Sessions and POP! Hangout,
OG online entertainment programs in the
Philippines (streaming since 2015).

As the go-to destination for all things ‘in the now’, POP! features and curates the best relevant content for its young audience. It is also a strong advocate of fairness and truth in storytelling.

POP! is operated by INQUIRER.net’s award-winning native advertising team, BrandRoom.

Contact Us

Email us at [email protected]


MRP Building, Mola Corner Pasong Tirad Streets, Brgy La Paz, Makati City

Girl in a jacket

Jose Rizal’s long list of ex-lovers ranked from ‘marupok’ to ‘badass’

During José Rizal’s time, he was admired for being skilled in a myriad of things. He was a polyglot, a polymath, a sculptor, a writer, and of course, a nationalist who led the revolution against the Spanish Government. Aside from being the epitome of greatness and nationalism of Filipinos, he was also known for having “a long list of ex-lovers.”

Since Rizal was also well-traveled, he met and fell in love with all sorts of women from different parts of the world. So, here’s a definitive list of Rizal’s ex-lovers ranked depending on their level of “badassery.”

Consuelo Ortiga y Rey

Consuelo and Rizal first met in Madrid, Spain on September 16, 1882. She was the daughter of Don Pablo Ortiga y Rey, a former mayor of Manila who later became vice-president of the Council of the Philippines in the Ministry of Colonies. Because Consuelo’s father was very supportive of the Filipinos studying in Madrid, their house became a meeting place of Circulo Hispano-Filipino members like Rizal. 

Obviously, Rizal wanted a relationship with her but he had to back off because of two reasons: his friend also had feelings for Consuelo and he was still engaged to Leonor Rivera.

So why is she #marupok?  Consuelo wrote in her diary that Rizal spent a night at their residence when he entertained them with his wit, intelligence, and sense of humor. In an attempt to express his feelings to Consuelo, Rizal also wrote a poem for her entitled A La Señorita C.O. y R. 

Gertrude Beckett

After Rizal’s agenda in the United States, Rizal headed to London and stayed in a boarding house owned by Charles Beckett, an organist at Saint Paul’s Church. During his stay, he became friends with one of Mr. Beckett’s daughters named Gertrude Beckett.

So why is she #marupok?  Sources say she wanted to be more than just a friend to Rizal, she would always help him with his paintings and sculptures. Basically, Gettie was “friendzoned” by our guy.

Suzanne Jacoby

Rizal, together with his friend Jose Albert, arrived in Brussels, Belgium on February 2, 1890. They stayed in a boarding house ran by the two Jacoby sisters, Suzanne and Marie. During his six-month stay in the city, he had a “transitory romance” with the landladies’ niece named Suzanne or “petite Suzanne.”

So why is she #marupok?  Suzanne was probably the most marupok of them all. Upon knowing that Rizal had already left Brussels, she cried buckets of tears and didn’t even touch the chocolates that our “little bad boy” had given her. Two months later, she wrote him a letter saying, “Don’t delay too long writing us because I wear out the soles of my shoes for running to the mailbox to see if there is a letter from you.” 

Segunda Katigbak

Segunda Katigbak was probably Rizal’s “puppy love.” He was only 16 years old when he met this lovely “colegiala” at his grandmother’s house in Trozo, Manila. Since Segunda also studied in the same college as his sister, he had another valid reason to see her every day. Rizal vividly described the young lady as having “eloquent eyes, rosy cheeks, and a smile that reveals very beautiful teeth.”

So why is this woman a badass? Rumor has it that Segunda courted Rizal and after a few encounters, Rizal started to fall in love with her.

Leonor Valenzuela

While studying medical studies at the University of Santo Tomas, he stayed next door to the Valenzuela family. Captivated by Orang’s elegance, our lover boy would always send her love letters using invisible ink–which can only be read by heating it over a candle or lamp so the letters would appear.

So why is this woman a badass? Although Rizal may have been infatuated with Orang, there were rumors that he was also pursuing Leonor Rivera at the time–hence, the invisible ink. But Orang, a natural badass, didn’t even shed a tear and just went on with her life.

Thank u, next!

Leonor Rivera-Kipping

Leonor was only 13 years old when she met Rizal in Manila. In the book, Rizal: Philippine Nationalist and Martyr, historian Austin Coates, described Leonor as an attractive woman with soft, wavy hair, engaging dimples, and a captivating singing voice. Without a doubt, our national hero fell in love with her, but the catch was: they were cousins. Despite being blood-related, they kept their relationship going even though Rizal was outside the country. 

So why is this woman a badass? Leonor was Rizal’s greatest inspiration while he was working on his two novels. In fact, she was even immortalized as the character Maria Clara in Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo. However, their 8-year relationship didn’t last as her mother chose a British engineer named Charles Henry Kipping over Rizal.

Leonor was probably Rizal’s “the one that got away.”

Seiko Usui

Rizal met Seiko Usui or O-Sei-San while he was working at the Spanish Legation in Tokyo. Their friendship started when Rizal asked a gardener to introduce him to this charming Japanese woman. Much to his surprise, O-Sei-San was conversant in two languages, including English and French. 

So why is this woman a badass? Although they had a happy month-long relationship, Rizal had to leave for San Francisco in April 1888. O-Sei-San–just like Leonor Valenzuela–went on with her life and later married Alfred Charlton, British chemistry teacher of the Peer’s School in Tokyo.

Nellie Boustead 

Nellie and Rizal met at the Boustead’s vacation home in Biarritz, France. When the two got in a relationship, everyone was very supportive of them, including Antonio Luna, who at the time, also had feelings for her. Although it was an ideal relationship to many, Nellie’s mother didn’t think Rizal could be a good provider to her daughter. Also, Nellie wanted Rizal to be converted to Protestantism.

So why is this woman a badass? Because Rizal refused to be converted to Protestantism, they ended up parting ways. But after all the drama, they remained good friends.

Nellie and Rizal were the perfect example of “pinagtagpo pero ‘di tinadhana.”

Josephine Bracken

Josephine Bracken, who Rizal fondly called as his “dulce extranjera,” was the daughter of  James Bracken and Elizabeth MacBride. During Rizal’s exile in Dapitan, he met this elegant Irish woman whom he described as “slender with blue eyes, dressed in elegant simplicity with an atmosphere of light gaiety.”

So why is this woman a badass? Although she was the “legal wife,” Josephine lived a rather tragic life. She was suspected to be a spy of the Spaniards and then gave birth to a stillborn son. After all the adversities, she remained by Rizal’s side.

Despite his overwhelming achievements, Jose Rizal was just as human as the rest of us and his love story is proof of that.


Read more from InqPOP!: 

The dark origins of Valentine’s Day and how it became the celebration of love we know today

Valentine’s Day memes that are way too perfect for single people

7 Romantic films you can watch to get into the Valentine’s Day mood

5 Must-read books for every girl who can’t stand Valentine’s Day

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

[forminator_form id="331316"]
About Author

Related Stories

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

Popping on POP!