We always think about history as a chronicle of what happened in the past but what happened in the past is also a consequence of the decisions made by historical figures that resulted in outcomes our history books are written. But what about the history of "what ifs" wherein a single change of detail and circumstances that diverged the entire timeline and chain of events?
Let's talk about the speculative outcomes of what would have happened if important events in Philippine history went the other way around. Assessing a different chain of event is harder to contemplate since such an alternate historical scenario never happened and it is also open to different interpretations.
What if Jose Rizal's son survived?
Josephine Bracken, the "common-law wife" of Jose Rizal, gave birth to a premature baby boy named Francisco (after his father Francisco Mercado) who sadly died a few hours later. It is widely believed according to some sources that Rizal played a prank on Bracken during her pregnancy, causing her to hit her stomach on an iron stand.
What Would Have Happened
Francisco would have been taken cared by her mother and may have been passed to her aunts in Calamba in order to protect him from his father's enemies - the Spanish clergy and colonial authorities. He would have been old enough to know his father's execution in Bagumbayan and with that knowledge he will grow up hating the colonial authorities (Spanish and later, the Americans).
Paciano, Jose Rizal's older brother, would have taken young Francisco under his wing during the height of the Filipino-American War. He will see his uncle killed in one of the many pitch battles against the Americans. The war would continue to ravage the countryside but the Filipino nationalists under General Emilio Jacinto (Emilio Aguinaldo was killed in the Battle of Tirad Pass by the Americans with the help of the Macabebe scouts) would continue the fight when they knew that Jose Rizal's son is alive.
Hoping to gain support in the other provinces, he was sent to Cebu to be with his mother who by now remarried to Antonio Abad. Local leaders, like Arcadio Maxilom of Cebu and Francisco Delgado of Negros, used Francisco to drum up support in the revolution and so the entire Visayas rose up in open rebellion and was soon followed by those in Mindanao. However, the Americans gained more grown as reinforcements (including Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders) had arrived after the successful Cuban campaign.
Eventually, the Americans captured Jacinto in Palanan on May 28, 1909. Succeeding leaders like Miguel Malvar and Macario Sakay were also captured or killed one by one. Francisco chose to return to Cebu to be with his ailing mother, who has contracted tuberculosis. A few months later, her mother died and he was soon captured by the Americans. In 1909, he was exiled to a penal colony in Guam.
General Artemio Ricarte, one of the generals who refused to pledge allegiance to the Americans, has sent agents to smuggle Francisco out of Guam. He managed to escape and went on to live with Ricarte in Yokohama. In October 12, 1922, he married Miya Seiko (the daughter of his father's ex-girlfriend O-sei-san).
Francisco went on to study at the Imperial Military Academy where he excelled so well that the Japanese made him a liaison officer to the Philippines. When World War 2 broke out after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in September 11, 1940, he was sent to the Philippines to drum up support for the Japanese and fight against the Americans. Unfortunately, things didn't go well as Japanese were not really interested in an independent Philippines. They just replaced the Americans as the new colonial masters.
But his close sympathies with the Japanese in the beginning of the war has made him a marked man by the guerrillas. Nowhere to go and disillusioned, he tried to escape and managed to pass as a German doctor in a passenger ship bound for Hong Kong. He survived the war and never returned to the Philippines ever again. He died a poor man in Kowloon on July 5, 1958.