Jose Rizal won the lotto, too -- in 1892

Posted at 11/30/2010 12:42 PM | Updated as of 11/30/2010 4:42 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Jose Rizal is not only a man of wisdom and courage. He's also one lucky guy.

The country's national hero won the loteria (Spanish word for lottery) in 1892 while he was on exile in Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte, according to the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).

He got P6,200, which he reportedly donated for an "educational project."

"This altruistic act gives an inkling of what could be done if the lottery was harnessed for charitable and social welfare projects," PCSO said in its website.

Local graphic design studio Team Manila gave a modern twist to the country's national hero.

PCSO noted that the Spanish government, under the auspices of private enterprises called Empresa de Reales Loteria Espanolas de Filipinas, conducted loterias as early as 1833 to generate revenues.

Here, the winning numbers were drawn by hand from a tambiolo (raffle drum), slightly different from the computerized draws done today.

"With the outbreak of the Philippine revolution, the loteria was forced to stop operations. And it was not until the early 1930s that the idea of holding lottery games was revived," PCSO said.

Recently, a lone winner from Subic Bay Freeport in Zambales got the biggest jackpot in the history of Philippine lottery. (Read story here.)

The P741-million prize was won after 6 months of thrice weekly draws, which started at P30 million.

A lottery addict?

But according to Dapitan.com, a website dedicated to the historical city, Rizal shared his lottery ticket with 2 others, which means that he only got a third of the total prize.

Ticket number 9736, said to be owned by Rizal, Spanish resident Francisco Equilior and a certain Captain Carnicero, won the second prize of P20,000 in the lottery.

Of his share of P6,200, Rizal reportedly gave P2,000 to his father, P200 to his friend in Hong Kong, and the remaining P4,000 for buying agricultural lands in nearby Talisay.

"On September 21, 1892, the mail boat Butuan was approaching the town of Dapitan carrying a lottery ticket number 9736," the website read. (Read story here.).

It continued, "Rizal's winning in the lottery reveals an aspect of his lighter side. He never drank hard liquor and never smoked but he was a lottery addict. 'This was his only vice,' commented Wenceslao Retana, his first Spanish biographer and former enemy."

Four years later, Rizal was executed by firing squad in Bagumbayan (now Rizal Park) for opposing Spanish colonialism mainly through his literary works.

E-mail the author at karen_flores[@]abs-cbn.com.