Unraveling the Journey of Jose Rizal: Exploring the Influence of Place on a Writer’s Reality

Map of Jose Rizal's travel around Europe

by: Cole Yokingco

Have you ever wondered how a writer’s environment shapes their reality and impacts their work? In my map collection, titled Fictional Reality, I delved into the significance of place in storytelling by examining maps of fictional worlds. However, this time, I decided to take a leap from fiction to reality. I sought to showcase how places can influence a writer’s reality and, consequently, leave a mark on their literary creations.

For my latest project, I chose to map the journey of an iconic writer from the Philippines, Jose Rizal. Throughout his life, Rizal penned numerous remarkable works and embarked on extensive travels to various countries. I was intrigued by the evident influence of these places and the people he encountered on his literary masterpieces, particularly in his two significant works, Noli mi Tangere and its sequel El Filibusterismo.

To present Rizal’s journey in a comprehensive manner, I divided my maps into two sets. The first set showcases his initial tour of Europe, while the second set portrays his second tour. Each set comprises four maps, beginning with a reference map and followed by three narrative maps. Through the reference maps, I aimed to provide a clear understanding of the significance of each marker, the duration of Rizal’s stay in each country, the path he traversed, and the years in which he embarked on each tour. On the other hand, the narrative maps offer a more intricate depiction of Rizal’s journey, delving into the specific details of his travels.

It is important to note that the paths and locations depicted in the maps are somewhat generalized. I chose to focus on specific locations that held great importance in Rizal’s journey. The paths were designed to showcase the order in which he moved, highlighting the places where he stayed for extended periods. However, the maps do not reflect short visits, and the total length of stay per country is represented in terms of accumulated months.

These maps were created with the intention of providing a broad overview of Jose Rizal’s remarkable journey. In the Philippines, Rizal’s books and life are integral parts of our education. Therefore, I also crafted these maps to assist students currently studying Rizal’s life, offering a visual aid that brings his journey to life.


  • The locational coordinates utilized in the creation of these maps were derived from Google Earth.
  • The places, paths, and accumulated length of stay were obtained from the Jose Rizal website.
  • The text featured in the narrative maps was derived from Leon Guerrero’s “The First Filipino: A Biography of Jose Rizal.”

(Click on the thumbnails for full-sized images)

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