Chapter Summaries of “El Filibusterismo”

El Filibusterismo (Spanish for The Filibustering), also known by its English alternate title The Reign of Greed, is the second novel written by Philippine national hero Dr. José Rizal. It is the sequel to Noli Me Tangere and like the first book, was written in Spanish. Rizal began the work in October 1887 while practicing medicine in Calamba. In London (1888), he made several changes to the plot and revised a number of chapters. Rizal continued to work on his manuscript while in Paris, Madrid, and Brussels, finally completing it on March 29, 1891 in Biarritz. It was published the same year in Ghent.  Chapter 1: On the Upper Deck (The Summary of “El Filibusterismo”) The novel begins with the steamship Tabo sailing on the Pasig River on its way to Laguna. While the passengers on the upper deck discuss subjects regarding the lake and the slow pace of ship travel, readers are gradually introduced to some characters of the novel such as the jeweler Simoun, Doña Victorina, Ben Zayb, Don Custodio, Padre Irene, Sibyla, Camorra, and Salvi.  Chapter 2: On the Lower Deck (The Summary of “El Filibusterismo”) On the lower deck of the steamship Tabo, Basilio and Isagani converse with Don Basilio. The two students tell the Don the plan of the students to establish a Spanish academy. Although the two students are hopeful that the academy would be approved by the GovernorGeneral, Don Basilio expresses his pessimism.  Chapter 3: Legends (The Summary of “El Filibusterismo”) The wealthy passengers of the steamship amuse themselves by telling stories and legends of interesting places and spots along the river. Padre Florentino recounts the legend of Doña Jeronima, while Padre Salvi narrates the story of a Chinese infidel who was saved from the caymans by asking St. Nicholas for help. Ben Zayb then asks the captain the exact spot where a man named Ibarra was killed. While pointing to the exact spot, Ben Zayb observes that Simoun is silent and thoughtful. Chapter 4: Cabesang Tales (The Summary of “El Filibusterismo”) Cabesang Tales with his family and father cultivate a piece of land. From the hardship the experience and sickness they experience, Tales's wife and eldest daughter die. When he is about to harvest his crops, a religious order lays claim to the land and demands an annual rent. Tales eventually agrees to the arrangement, but every year the rent keeps going up until he has had enough. He goes to the courts and demands that the religious order present some proof of their ownership of the land. After a long and expensive litigation, Tales loses the case. He is unfortunately abducted by bandits demanding ransom. Not enough money is raised for the ransom, so Juli, the daughter of Cabesang Tales, borrows money from Hermana Penchang. To pay the debt, Juli agrees to work for the Hermana as a servant. Chapter 5: A Cochero’s Christmas Eve (The Summary of “El Filibusterismo”) On the way to the town of San Diego, a cochero endures abuse and maltreatment from the Guardia Civil. He is hit with a rifle butt when he tells them he has forgotten to bring his cedula with him. He is detained and beaten up again when the light of his carromata goes out. Basilio arrives at San Diego and, after making his way to Capitan Tiago's house, he receives the news that Cabesang Tales has been abducted by bandits. Chapter 6: Basilio (The Summary of “El Filibusterismo”) At Christmas Eve, Basilio enters the forest previously owned by the Ibarra family but has been sold to Capitan Tiago. In the middle of the forest stands a Balete tree, where he visits the grave of his mother Sisa and a stranger (Elias). He remembers that thirteen years ago, a second stranger (Ibarra) had helped him cremate and bury his mother and the stranger. Through Capitan Tiago’s help, he is now studying to be a doctor and plans to marry his sweetheart, Juli. Chapter 7: Simoun (The Summary of “El Filibusterismo”) Basilio is about to leave the forest when he sees someone approach and starts digging near the Balete tree. He announces his presence and is surprised that the man turns out to be Simoun the jeweler, who is none other than Crisostomo Ibarra. Simoun convinces Basilio to cooperate in his plans of avenging the death of his mother (Sisa) and his younger brother (Crispin) but Basilio remains steadfast saying that revenge would never bring back his brother and mother. Chapter 8: Merry Christmas! (The Summary of “El Filibusterismo”) It is Christmas day and Juli wakes up early to pack her things to go to Hermana Penchang. She forgets to greet his grandfather Tata Selo a Merry Christmas. After Juli leaves, Tata Selo is preoccupied with thoughts of his pretty granddaughter with her delicate hands working as a servant, of his son Cabesang Tales still held by bandits, and of being alone on Christmas Day. Dwelling on all these misfortunes, he discovers that he has become dumb.


Leeds' show. Isagani volunteers to persuade Señor Pasta to support and to endorse their project. Mr. the ashes come to life and the Sphinx named Imuthis narrates his sad story. Chapter 13: The Class in Physics (The Summary of “El Filibusterismo”) Placido enters the class in physics conducted by Padre Millon. Chapter 9: Pilates (The Summary of “El Filibusterismo”) The gossip about the misfortunes of Tata Selo and his family spreads around town. Afterwards. Seeing the parallelism between Imuthis' story and that of Crisostomo Ibarra. From disgust and frustration. Not wishing to provoke the friars who are against the project. the Governor-General asks his advisers' opinion about the students' proposal to put up a self-sufficient Spanish academy. Placido Penitente walks out of the class. he would never have been abducted by the bandits. Hermana Penchang merely says that God brought down hardships on Tata Selo’s family because they had not taught Juli to pray properly. Placido Penitente walks out of the class. Chapter 15: Señor Pasta (The Summary of “El Filibusterismo”) Isagani approaches Señor Pasta to persuade him to support and endorse the students' project. as well as the new tenant and his wife. a Chinese businessman. Simoun asks Quiroga to store some rifles in his warehouse as exchange for the portion of the debt that the Chinese merchant owes him. The friar who has taken over Cabesang Tales's comments that if Tales had remained at home. Chapter 12: Placido Penitente (The Summary of “El Filibusterismo”) Placido enters the class in physics conducted by Padre Millon. Isagani's rich and beautiful sweetheart. Placido learns that Simoun is organizing a revolution in order to rescue Maria Clara from the convent. the Governor-General orders the release of Tata Selo. Imuthis was then arrested but was killed in a lake while trying to escape. Chapter 17: The Quiapo Fair (The Summary of “El Filibusterismo”) Twelve people leave Quiroga's house to watch Mr. Padre Camorra ogles the young women at the fair. together with some friars. and gets more excited when he sees Paulita Gomez. The following day Simoun discovers that his revolver has been stolen by Tales. At a class recitation. a lawyer. Chapter 11: Los Baños (The Summary of “El Filibusterismo”) On the last day of December. he says. gives a dinner in his house. and a number of people are claiming that they are not to blame for these misfortunes. who has been arrested by the Guardia Civil in place of his son. Padre Salvi faints when the Sphinx starts calling him murderer. Cabesang Tales. while the instruments bought by the university are never used. Makaraig announces that the decision to issue the permit for building the academy has been passed to a commission headed by Don Custodio. he was implicated in a rebellion. A piece of paper with the word “Tales” written in blood is found near the dead tenant’s wife. Señor Pasta decides to oppose it and to convince Isagani instead to focus on his studies. From disgust and frustration. Friars. Chapter 16: The Tribulations of a Chinese (The Summary of “El Filibusterismo”) Quiroga. Chapter 14: In the House of the Students (The Summary of “El Filibusterismo”) Arriving at the school dormitory. Padre Salvi. soldiers. After the game of cards. and hypocrite. so no decision is made. slanderer. Chapter 10: Wealth and Want (The Summary of “El Filibusterismo”) Simoun visits Cabesang Tales's house to sell his jewelry to the rich inhabitants of San Diego and Tiani. The Alferez of the Guardia Civil says that he was just following a government order to collect all firearms in town. The students then devise schemes to influence Don Custodio or Señor Pasta. Padre Camorra. to give a favorable decision. Chapter 18: Legerdemain (The Summary of “El Filibusterismo”) Ben Zayb. A priest. Placido argues with the professor when he gets a bad mark even if he had been marked as being absent. Leeds to watch his show. the Governor-General and his advisers. and merchants attend the dinner. Chapter 19: The Fuse (The Summary of “El Filibusterismo”) Placido Penitente meets and joins Simoun in his trip around the city. Upon shouting a magic word.           2 . was in love with his sweetheart and in order to eliminate him. At a class recitation. while the instruments bought by the university are never used. Placido argues with the professor when he gets a bad mark even if he had been marked as being absent. are taking a rest in Los Baños. There is a disagreement of opinions. News circulates in the town that three persons have been murdered: the friar administrator. Leeds presents to them a box containing some ashes that had been found in one of the pyramids of Egypt. The class has no laboratory equipment. and others enter the tent of Mr. government officials. Cabesang Tales is convinced to sell his daughter’s locket but decides to get his daughter's permission first. The class has no laboratory equipment.

to the pope. Isagani is revealed to be an idealist who envisions progress and economic development of his country. Chapter 29: Exit Capitan Tiago (The Summary of “El Filibusterismo”) Capitan Tiago dies. and Padre Irene becomes the executor of his will. he arrives at a decision. Basilio informs Simoun that Maria Clara is dead. Juanito Pelaez pretends to understand French in order to impress Paulita Gomez but is embarrassed when he mistranslates some French words. Don Custodio is also present at the show. A student informs him that seditious and revolutionary posters are found at the university implicating the student organization. Chapter 20: The Arbiter (The Summary of “El Filibusterismo”) Don Custodio studies his decision regarding the proposal of the university students. cooperation between Spaniards and Filipinos. He argues that people who aspire to be educated are branded as filibusters. In their conversation. and the imminent commercial trade. watches the show and applauds one of the French actresses. but he and Makaraig are arrested by soldiers. Chapter 26: Pasquinades (The Summary of “El Filibusterismo”) Basilio goes to the hospital but sees students acting as if classes are suspended.          3 . In his decision. Simoun leaves the house weeping. Simoun adds that a revolution is necessary to rescue Maria Clara at the Sta. since he wants to please the friars who are against the proposal while at the same time desires to give the students a chance to study the Spanish language. Gossip about arrested students being shot and deported is circulated. During the show. the city is adrift with rumor and gossip. Chapter 22: The Performance (The Summary of “El Filibusterismo”) Humorous incidents happen at the show. the students led by Makaraig learn about Don Custodio' s decision. Chapter 24: Dreams (The Summary of “El Filibusterismo”) Isagani meets Paulita at Malecon. After much contemplation. He says that education can only be bestowed to a deserving and ready people. He is undecided. Chapter 23: A Corpse (The Summary of “El Filibusterismo”) Basilio reads some medical books when Simoun arrives at Capitan Tiago's house. While walking near the Teatro he sees some men suspiciously loitering around. who is from a prominent family in Spain. Their discussion centers on the policy of the friars in educating students. Chapter 25: Smiles and Tears (The Summary of “El Filibusterismo”) The students organize a banquet at a panciteria to honor Don Custodio and his decision about the Spanish academy. but they they do not not give him a concrete answer. Basilio then goes to the house of Makaraig to ask for a loan. He converses with Paulita about railway expansion. Chapter 21: Manila Types (The Summary of “El Filibusterismo”) The people of Manila gather in the Teatro de Variadades to watch Les Cloches de Corneville. The government has also issued the arrest of all its members and students who participated in the banquet at the panciteria. Clara. Simoun convinces Basilio in vain to assist in the revolution initiated by the jeweler. Camarrocido. is poorly dressed and is employed in putting up posters of upcoming shows of the Teatro. Señor Pasta and Pepay the dancer have been consulted. Clara nunnery. to the archbishop. and to religious corporations. He finds out that Simoun is ordering the men to stop a civil unrest. while rumor exists that members of the student association had connived with bandits and the German ships to bring down the government. in a disguise. Isagani argues that the friars are deliberately teaching antiquated education in order to inhibit the aspiration of the people to be free. Chapter 27: The Friar and the Filipino (The Summary of “El Filibusterismo”) Padre Fernandez calls Isagani to discuss his involvement at the banquet in the panciteria. Capitan Tiago has willed his properties to Sta. falsely claiming that he watching the show to judge if it is indecent or not. the academy must come under the supervision of the Dominican order and the students would simply collect contributions for the proposed school. Chapter 28: Tatakut (The Summary of “El Filibusterismo”) Because of the seditious posters found in the university. tormented and bereaved. Paulita dismisses these thoughts saying they are unattainable dreams. Padre Fernandez replies that he has done what he could and that not all friars are backward and against the idea of educating the people. Padre Irene.

he assumes that this is the crucial gathering mentioned by Simoun. Chapter 31: The High Official (The Summary of “El Filibusterismo”) high official convinces the Governor-General in vain to release Basilio who he believes is innocent. Tadeo. News circulates that a band of tulisanes have attacked a friar country house. Upon approaching the dead. while Juanito gets engaged in his father’s business. Chapter 36: Ben-Zayb’s Afflictions (The Summary of “El Filibusterismo”) The Governor-General prohibits any mention of the events that have taken place at the wedding fiesta of Juanito Pelaez and Paulita Gomez. constant work. Because of this disagreement. Simoun befriends Don Timoteo Pelaez. and suffering. Basilio learns the sad news of Juli’s death. He passes Calle Anloague where the wedding fiesta of Juanito Pelaez and Paulita Gomez is being held. Chapter 32: Effect of the Pasquinades (The Summary of “El Filibusterismo”) Because of the revolutionary and seditious posters. The Governor-General insists that innocent individuals must suffer in order to restore order and to cow the people into submission. and Hermana Bali convince Juli to ask Padre Camorra to intercede for Basilio.          4 . The description given by the robbers perfectly fits Simoun. He directs Basilio to meet Cabesang Tales at a designated time to acquire the rifles that are hidden in Quiroga’s warehouse. Chapter 30: Juli (The Summary of “El Filibusterismo”) The news of Basilio’s imprisonment deeply troubles Juli. Capitan Toringoy. Chapter 35: The Fiesta (The Summary of “El Filibusterismo”) Basilio sees Simoun placing the lamp at the center of the house. Simoun is pleased that Basilio will join his cause. and Chichoy. Chichoy divulges that Simoun is the mastermind behind storing the sacks of gunpowder in order to kill all the people at the wedding feast. Sensia. quickly throwing the lamp into the river to prevent it from exploding. He also adds that the lamp was to start the fire and ignite the gunpowder. and the important visitors that would be coming. The town clerk. the number of guards. After taking a poison. Hermana Pechang. bravely fight the bandits. who is now busy preparing for the wedding of his son to Paulita Gomez. one of the members of the Guardia Civil and the son of Cabesang Tales. In a rare act of love and loyalty to Paulita. saying that freedom cannot be won through violence and bloodshed but by education. Chapter 37: The Mystery (The Summary of “El Filibusterismo”) The events of the previous night are discussed by Isagani. Padre Florentino reprimands Simoun. Chapter 39: Conclusion (The Summary of “El Filibusterismo”) wounded and exhausted Simoun goes to Padre Florentino's house to hide from the Guardia Civil that are out to arrest him. Pecson. Capitana Loleng. When news reaches Tiani that Basilio is about to be shot. She is hesitant to approach the friar since he is known to be frolicsome and fond of women. Basilio is about to leave the place when he sees Isagani. The robbers who are caught describe a Spanish mestizo as the one who ordered them to attack the city at a designated signal. Juli is compelled to ask the friar’s help. he recognizes that the old man that he has shot is none other that his grandfather. Chapter 38: Fatality (The Summary of “El Filibusterismo”) A group of prisoners are being escorted by the soldiers when they are ambushed. he boldly rushes to the house. Chapter 34: The Wedding (The Summary of “El Filibusterismo”) Basilio walks aimlessly in the streets of Manila to wait for the agreed signal for the revolution. Tata Selo. Simoun is to place at an important gathering a dynamite-laden lamp that would then explode to signal the attack. he informs Padre Florentino of his true identity. Chapter 33: La Ultima Razón (The Summary of “El Filibusterismo”) Basilio is released from prison and immediately approaches Simoun in order to help him initiate a revolution. He says that he is the fugitive Juan Crisostomo Ibarra and that his was the unsuccessful attempt to corrupt the government in order to start a revolution that would free the country. Tadeo burns his books. In jail. the high official resigns and goes back to Spain. He tries to convince Isagani to stay away from the house and explains that the lamp from Simoun would explode killing everybody in the house. and Juanito Pelaez are suspended from their classes. killing with a spear the bandits' leader and an old man. Carolino. After seeing the rich decorations.