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Byline: Ambeth R. Ocampo
BEFORE THERE was electricity, Filipinos used candles and oil lamps to light their homes. When everyone went to bed, one lamp was usually left burning the whole night. This was done so people who walked about during the night would not trip or bump into things. On one such night in the late 1860s, in a large stone house in Calamba, Laguna, Jose Rizal and his mother, Teodora Alonso, were sitting by a table dimly lit by a coconut oil lamp.
Lolay, as she was known to everyone, was teaching her son to read from a book in Spanish titled "El Amigo de los Ninos" or "The Children's Friend." The book was old and tattered. Its cover was lost and was replaced by a blue sheet of paper and a piece of cloth. Contrary to popular belief, Rizal was reading …