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How tall was José Rizal? Historian Ambeth Ocampo reveals new proof of his height

By John Patrick Magno Ranara Published Sep 01, 2022 10:54 am

Our national hero José Rizal was many thingsan admired novelist, a visual artist, an ophtalmologist, a hopeless romantic, and a short man. Or was he really?

There have been many debates and discussions regarding Rizal's exact height. Some teachers have told their students that the hero's height was 4'6", which would make him just one inch taller than Game of Thrones actor Peter Dinklage, who has a common form of dwarfism. 

However, some have also cited that Rizal's height was much taller than that. Filipino public historian Ambeth Ocampo told SPOT.ph that the national hero measured above five feet and was quite a muscular man.

And it seems that he was right as Ocampo took to Facebook on Aug. 31 to post new evidence that confirmed Rizal's height.

"There has always been a debate about Jose Rizal's height, with many people insisting, without evidence, that the hero stood at four feet eleven inches. This was even used in the Ayala Museum, since changed at my insistence," Ocampo wrote in his caption.

The historian said that his estimated height of 5'2", which was a result of measuring Rizal's clothing, was mistrusted by those who believe the 4'11" stature.

However, while filing scans of Rizal manuscripts, Ocampo unintentionally found definitive proof of the hero's height. 

"In one of his notebooks, RIZAL HIMSELF said that at 19-years-old and four days old, he stood at one meter 61 centimeters. That translates to 5.28 feet or almost 5'3"!" he revealed as he accompanied his post with a picture of the scanned notebook, where Rizal scribbled his height in Spanish.

"Serendipity is one of the thrills of research!" Ocampo wrote.

Many congratulated him for his new-found discovery that may help clear conflicting debates about Rizal's height.

"That settles all debates regarding Jose Rizal's height coming from our national hero himself. Thank you, Prof. Ambeth for the research[es] that you do," one user commented on the post.

Another one lamented that she was actually shorter than Rizal, "Here I was, smug in thinking I was taller than José Rizal, but congratulations for finding your proof Ambeth R. Ocampo!"

Others said that what Ocampo did was an example that certified historians do not depend on mere 'tsismis', "Kaya kids, ito ang nagagawa ng research. Nalalaman niyo ang TOTOO at hindi CHISMIS lang."