About Segunda Solis Katigbak
At a young age, Segunda Solis Katigbak was sent by her parents to Manila's best school for girls, the Colegio de la Concordia in Paco where she became an interna to the nuns. Going to Manila from Lipa meant taking the carromata to Calamba, and the boat to Manila via Laguna de Bay and Pasig River. Elder brother Mariano was sent to the Ateneo de Municipal in Intramuros where he became a good friend to Jose Mercado Rizal. She on the other hand, became close to Pepe's sister Olimpia who was her classmate and good friend at the colegio. Segunda first met Rizal in a party of a relative of Rizal in Manila. Pepe's frequent visits to Olimpia led him to befriend Segunda. For about seven months, he became infatuated with her that he showered her with much attention, writing romantic poems and catching her beauty in his sketches. Pepe immortalizes Segunda's beauty with his words, "(She was) short, with expressive eyes, ardent at times and drooping at other times, pinkish, a smile so bewitching and provocative that revealed some very beautiful teeth; with an aura of sylph, I don't know what alluring something was all over her being..." His regular visits to Segunda at the Concordia were often marked with silence. In 1882, Rizal wrote his Memorias de Un Estudiante where he narrates his infatuation for her, sketching her beautifully, and in exchange Segunda giving him a white paper flower which again, was very symbolic. He wrote again, "Her looks were glorious in their sweetness and expressiveness; her voice was melodious and I thought an enchantment accompanied every movement. Langour penetrated my heart, and I had feelings I had never known before..."
This childish infatuation did not blossom into romance as she was engaged to a tall man also from Lipa, Manuel Luz. Manuel was more acceptable to her family since the predominant practice at that time was for maidens to marry men within the same social circle in the locality. Resigning to fate, Rizal wrote of his first love: “Ended at an early hour, my first love! My virgin heart will always mourn the reckless step it took on the flower-decked abyss. My ilusions return, yes, but indifferent, uncertain, ready for the first betrayal on the path of love”.
Source: Lipa City Tourism and Heritage