Originally authored on August 30, 2015
“A friend in need is a friend indeed!” The original manuscript of Rizal’s first novel, Noli Me Tangere could not have seen the light of day due to financial constraint if not for the timely assistance of Viola. He funded the first 2,000 copies for publication. In deep gratitude, Rizal gave him the last galley proofs and the first published copy wherein it was written: “To my dear friend, Maximo Viola, the first to read and appreciate my work. Jose Rizal March 29, 1887, Berlin.”
Born in Barrio Sta. Rita, San Miguel, Bulacan, he was an only child of Isabel Sison of Malabon and Pedro Viola of San Miguel. After his early education in his hometown, he finished a degree in Colegio de San Juan de Letran and sailed to Spain to study Medicine in University of Barcelona where he met other Filipino students, notably Jose Rizal with whom he developed a close friendship. He finished his doctoral degree in 1886 and before returning to the Philippines, together with Rizal, they toured Germany, Hungary, Austria, and Switzerland where he met Ferdinand Blumentritt, a foreigner friend and supporter of Rizal.