His complete name was Dr. José Rizal Protasio Mercado y Alonso Realonda.Many wonder why he used “Rizal” while his father was Francisco Mercado. He should have been Jose Mercado right? So why did Rizal’s surname becomeRizal instead of Mercado?
Some of the explanations with this are:
Jose’s real last name, Mercado, during those times was a hot name, targeted by the Spaniards. He changed his surname to protect his identity. So he just used his middle name, Rizal, instead, which was considered as illustrado during the Spanish time and entails the benefits a Spaniard can get. Second, there was Spanish law to change the last name of Filipinos those times.Mercado sounded a common name and there were lots of people having that surname already who were not really relatives of Rizal.