excursions as much as I wished, for I was preparing for my final examinations. At night, I sometimes accompanied him to theCafé Pelayo -- gathering place of the Filipino expatriates -- and sometimes to other amusement centers, including casas de polomas de bajo vuelo (in Pilipino, kasa ng mga kalapatingmababa ang lapid); in English brothels whose ways, luxury or poverty, and other customs of refinement of vice were unknownto him in Madrid. In as much as he was eager to know everything, because the day when, as a writer, he would have tocombat such a vice in its diverse manifestations for beingunnatural an anti-psycological, according to him, he would beinformed of its cause the better to correct it. It must be noted that in these excursions, rather of a character more inquisitorial than voluptious, he always hinted to me thathe had never beenin favor of obeying blindly the whims of nature when theeir call was not duly justified by a natural and spontaneous impulse."
The original Spanish is florid and corny, so much the better toveil Rizal's "educational-observation" trips to the brothels. I usea translation by the José Rizal Centennial Commission because if I translate these notes to their bare essentials, it will appear as if I were trying to denigrate Rizal. What one should keep in mindwhile reading Viola is that these recollections were not written in1886 but in 1913, so many years after the actual events. Rizalwas already the national hero and so, Viola had to paint adignified picture of his friend. It is because of writings like thesethat Rizal has become a figure of myth to today's Filipinios.Viola says that the brothels
"were unknown to him (Rizal) at Madrid."
But if you take the time to read the volumes of Rizal'scorrespondence, hyou will find a letter of Rizal to his brother,Paciano, from Madrid dated 13 February 1883 (three years beforehe visited Viola in Barcelona). Rizal says:
"Women abound evenmore (here in Madrid) and it is, indeed, shocking that in many places they intercept men and they are not the ugly ones either."
I have seen these dark esquintitas in Madrid, like Calle de laMontera, where my sisters were always warned never to go aftersix. Here you find pretty young things (but it's hard to be seen in