JOSE RIZAL, the martyr-hero of the Philippines, was born in Kalamba, on the southwest shore of the picturesque Laguna of Bay in Luzon, June 19,1861. His father's family began in the Philippines with a Chinaman named Lam Co who came from the Amoy District to Manila possibly because of the political trouble, which followed the conquest of his country, by the Manchu invaders. It was in 1697 that this ancestor whoâ€™s Christian name was Domingo was baptized in the Parian church of San Gabriel
At first a merchant, he finally made up his mind to stay in these Islands, and turned farmer to escape the bitter anti Chinese prejudice, which then existed in Manila. Rather late in life he married the daughter of a countryman - who was a dealer in rice and moved into Laguna province to become a tenant on the Dominican Friars' estate at BiÃ±an.
His son, Francisco Mercado y Chinco, apparently owed his surname to the Chinese custom of looking to the appropriateness of the meaning. Sangley, the name throughout all the Philippines for Chinamen signifies "traveling trader" and the Spanish of the Islands "mercado" was used for trader. So Lamco evidently intended that his descendants should stop traveling but not cease being traders.
Francisco Mercado was a name held in high honor in La Laguna for it had belonged to a famous sea captain who had been given the encomienda of Bay for his services and had there won the regard of those who paid tribute to him by his fairness and interest in their welfare.
Francisco's son was Captain Juan Mercado y Monica and he took advantage of his position to expunge from the municipal records the designation "Chinese mestizo" after the names of himself and family. Thus he saved the higher fees and taxes which Chinese mestizos then were compelled to pay.
The Captain died when his youngest son, Francisco Engracio Mercado y Alexandra, was only nine years old. An unmarried sister, Potenciana, twenty years o