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By Telephone

by Dimas Alang (Jos Rizal)


In this article Rizal writes as if from the future and, with satire and irony, condemns
the rule of the friars in his day. Rizal sent his manuscript to Mariano Ponce and,
under his direction, it was published in Barcelona in 1889. F. Salvador Font, who
censored Rizal's Noli Me Tngere,occasioned this ridicule.

Por Telefono
Por Telepono or By Phone is a play written by Philippine national hero, Jose Rizal.
It discusses social issues and plans for the Philippines by two Friars.
It was published in 1889 as a reply to a friar named Fr. Salvador Font in connection
to his discrimination about Noli Me Tangere and for initiating the banning of Noli in
the fall of 1889. The first pamphlet was printed in Barcelona under the authorship
of Dimas Alang.
Por Telefono is a satirical comedy about Father Font, who was at Madrid speaking
with a provincial priest in San Agustin Monastery using a telephone line that is
spear-headed by The Trans-Oceanic Telephone Co.
Por Telepono is full of symbolism. It unveils how friars lived their lives and how
they give thanks for the donations given by ilustrados. Every line that has been
uttered in Madrid is like an echo that fills the corners of the Philippines.

In the year 1900 the Philippines was for the first time connected with the
Motherland by means of a Telephone Line by an English-Catalonian firm called The
Trans-Oceanic Telephone Company, well known in its time for its truly enterprising
spirit.
Thanks to the perfection of the instruments, there could be heard in Madrid the
mystical sighs of the friars here as they prayed with great piety before the sacred
images, likewise their humble talk, their words of conformity and resignation, and
even their thanksgiving for the alms of rice and fish which the people gave out of
compassion for their fasting and abstinence. Such was the perfection of the
telephone that even the silence which prevailed in the refectories could be
transmitted, and from the noise of mastication, it could be definitely known that the
most gluttonous of the friars did not eat over five mouthfuls a day.
How poor and virtuous these priests are! exclaimed he affected democrats in
Madrid.

How poor and virtuous these priests are! repeated the telephone in the
Philippines, and this was circulated everywhere, in the convents, churches, and so
forth.
Upon learning this, the friars reduced further the quantity of their morels fearing
that there might be a hungry native. They taught the youth how to read and write
and forcibly also instructed them in the Spanish language, not seldom suffering
insults and fist-blows from the parents of the youths for daring to open their eyes.
God be praised! the friars would answer, turning the other cheek saying: All for
the sake of God and Mother Spain!
Thus they continued to teach just as soon as the despotic native had gone away, if
the Government, impelled by the parents, would not institute action against them
for teaching an offense constituting a great crime by endangering the integrity of
the country.
By request of the natives, the Overseas Minister, the Procurator of the Augustinian
friars one day telephoned from Madrid to Manila, is offering our Order
an hacienda in order that the friars might not die of hunger but live with a certain
comfort. What shall I answer him?
The telephone transmitted the offer to the Augustinian convent.
O Jesus, my Jesus! Holy God, might Saint, immortal Saint! May God protect us from
all temptation exclaimed all the friars, and on hearing this news, they dropped on
their knees and covered their ears.
Lord, Lord! cried the Provincial beating his breast soundly, and not as one who
would only deceive the faithful to get money from them.
I have ruined the little soul of Salvadorcito by sending him to Madrid as the
Procurator! He was so good, so humble, so simple, so ingenuous, so silent, so
chaste, and so frank when he was here! Now he is ruined! Imagine giving such
proposals, such sinful ones! Alas! Alas! Domine quare deleriquiste eum? Oh, Lord,
why didst thou forsake him?
All the inmates of St. Augustine groaned, and all the friars were beating their
breasts and scourging one another to do penance and to bring the soul of little
Salvadorcito Tont to the right path.
All this consternation in the convent of St. Augustine was heard in Madrid by
telephone, and Salvadorcito Tont exclaimed with the simple air of a good boy:
I wonder if they have imprisoned all my brothers for failing to read all the
pamphlets which the natives published against them, insulting them with

ecclesiastical approval! After all, this has been rightly done. Who commands to
answer and counter?
If they insult us in the booklets we, as imitators and ministers of Christ, should be
compelled to read them all, especially if there are indulgences, and they should
prohibit us from answering them and defending ourselves. That is why we have
vows of haughtiness. . . . I am going immediately to see the Minister and ask him to
flog any priest of my religion who through pride, will not say Amen to everything
and regard the truth; he will thus see that, although a simpleton, I do not lack love
of Justice. . .
Then he looked for his shoes with holes in the soles because what he had on had no
soles. The good Augustinian had to go on foot to the Ministry, as he does not even
have carfare, notwithstanding his vow of wealth!
Salvadorcito, Salvadorcito! called the telephone.
Salvadorcito recognized the voice of the Provincial and began to tremble, as he was
very obedient.
At your orders, Father! he answered and he knelt down by the telephone in order
to be in a more respectful position, although this was forbidden by his vow of
haughtiness.
How did you permit yourself to be tempted by the enemy of evil into accepting for
a moment the offer to give us a hacienda? My son, did you not perceive that this
was only a trap laid by the enemy, inspired, no doubt, by that damned soul, Rizal,
so that we may thus become rich, haughty, powerful, and licentious because that
wretch from Calamba desires nothing better than that we practice our vows of
wealth, haughtiness, and licentiousness which the sacrilegious founders have
imposed upon us all? Dont you dare again listen to such offers. Here we not only
work and construct our churches with our hands, we not only sow and help the poor,
but what little they give us, we, in turn, hand over to the rich and proud in order
that they may tyrannize us more so that their greed may be increased and they
may exploit and ruin us the more, put us in prison, exile us, and so forth. . . Thus we
spread the law of Christ everywhere in the islands were we are exiled; then there
will be more imitators. . . There is not one faithless Igorot left, not even a single nonChristian in the mountains; all have been baptized and they all exploit us as good
Christians. What you should propose to the Minister in order that our doctrine may
triumph, is that he emulate the Roman praetors [= a Roman magistrate rly] and
send us cruel and bloodthirsty governors to violate the laws and persecute us. Thus
will the dormant one awaken, the lukewarm be strengthened, and the attention of
the indifferent who are now so many be aroused. . . Remember that in order to
make a cause triumph, it is necessary that it be persecuted. Let them go ahead and
persecute us! Thus will the dormant one awaken, the lukewarm be strengthened
and the attention of the indifferent who are now so many be aroused. . .

Remember that in order to make a cause triumph, it is necessary that it be


persecuted. Let them go ahead and persecute us! In the meantime, I impose as a
penance upon you, who are neither vain nor insincere, to have your picture taken in
several positions, but always in the attitude of meditating, or as if writing a sermon,
with pen in hand, and beside a lamp, wearing eyeglasses, even though you dont
need them; do you understand? You will exhibit these photographs in public so that
everyone will say, even if it is not believed, What a thinker he is; what a great
orator Salvadorcito Tont must be! He is always writing sermons and has to time
even to have his picture taken! This will make you miserable, because even if you
have the vows of wealth, haughtiness and licentiousness, you pay no attention to
them. . . Dont forget to have your picture taken in a pensive mood and as a
comedian! God be with you!
Thy will be done! sighed Salvadorcito resignedly, and his whole house resounded
with laments.
Salvadorcito was so humble that he was tortured by the idea of appearing in public,
even if only in a photograph, and that is why, whenever he had to preach, he
assumed a hollow and cavernous voice to make his hearers afraid and see if they
would leave him alone.
Salvadorcito, Salvadorcito! again shouted the telephone.
At your orders, the good procurator answered, and this time he fell on his hands
and knees so that he could listen more reverently to his Provincial.
Request the Minister not to make Fr. Rodriguez a bishop. Tell him that he is very
busy researching and looking for words deriving fromCalamba, such as Calamban,
Calambanian, Calamian, Calam, etc. Imagine what a task this is fro him! He is
sweating to beat the band! He has no time to be a bishop, although he would make
a good one, because he is condemned by our Father, St. Augustine, to be stupid all
his life. For Gods sake, dont let them make him a bishop!
It is not the Minister who wants to make him a Bishop, but the Dominicans who
wish to avoid the office, owing to the spirit of haughtiness! answered Salvadorcito.
Then tell the Minister that there is nobody like the Dominicans for bishops. I know
one here who is so friendly to the natives and an enemy of our faith that he does
not let the Chinese take part in ceremonies, although he knows very well that as
soon as they leave the country they give up Christianity. They take to Christianity
for convenience. Among Chinese, the worst Christians they are the better persons
they become. The Dominicans know this and even if the Chinese offer to give them
money, they would not accept it. No, sir! They manage to prevent the natives from
quarreling with the mestizos and the latter from quarreling with the Chinese, all
against the express mandate of Jesus Christ to divide in order to rule. For this
disobedience, they ought to be made bishops. They should be made to carry miters

on their heads as symbol of pride, like the Assyrian and Persian priests who wore
such ornaments. These people follow Machiavelli, that accursed Machiavelli, who
said that peace and harmony should be preached.
Talking about harmony, do you know, Salvadorcito, that Father Baldomero and
another one went to visit the college bearing the same name, which is a school for
girls, if you dont remember well. . . Of course, they did not visit the dormitories
while the girls were dressing and changing their clothes, neither did they talk with
the prettiest girls, and the few words they exchanged with them were not said in the
dark nor behind doors far from other people. . . Oh, but what misery they suffered!
They who were so chaste, so virtuous and so pure-minded! The Sisters were so
aloof, so unaccommodating and so intolerant! All the time they were there they
talked only of God always assuming a penitent and solemn mood!
Alas, alas!
Why, whats the matter, Salvadorcito?
Please take me away from the Office of Procurator, because here I am suffering
what Baldomero and the other fellow must have suffered in the girls College. What
a lot of beautiful girls and women. . . Oh, my! I wish to go back to Manila! Madrid is
doomed!
Here the natives will imprison and exile you without trial! For simply writing a
secret report they will. . .
Never mind!
You will die of hunger and will not ride a coach!
I travel on foot here.
I warn you that you will have to salute the natives, otherwise they will file an
administrative case against you, and exile you.
I dont care! I prefer all that to living among beautiful. . . women.
Remember that if you do not accommodate the gobernadorcillo, he will accuse you
of being anti-Spanish. . ..
I will protest and say that I love Spain.
They wont believe you, because the natives are very rich and they publish
pamphlets against the friars with permission of the authorities.
Then what shall I do? Oh, what shall I do?
Remain there as Procurator.

Oh, my!
Present Chinese and Japanese gifts to the Ministers, the Delegates, and the
Senators in order to promote our ends.
Yes, thats it, the Chinese! And what else?
Wait until they make you a Bishop.
Oh, my!
And later, a Cardinal!
Alas
But in the meanwhile, you must have the government award crosses, estates, and
offices to our enemies.
And suppose they will engineer a revolt and claim that it is we who are behind it
because we are bistirufels?
Silence.
What shall I say about bistriufelism?
Silence.
Bistirufelism did you say? answered a voice at last. You tell the Minister that it
does not exist, but if he wants it to exist, just let him think about it and it will. Tell
him that we have already suffered too much, that we suffer now and will suffer
more. However, as nothing is eternal in this life, our sufferings will some day come
to an end, that day when we are convinced that the Government is with our
enemies.
A Translate.com Guest asked:
Por Telepono or By Phone is a play written by Philippine national hero, Jose Rizal. It
discusses social issues and plans for the Philippines by two Friars. It was published
in 1889 as a reply to a friar named Fr. Salvador Font in connection to his
discrimination about Noli Me Tangere and for initiating the banning of Noli in the fall
of 1889. The first pamphlet was printed in Barcelona under the authorship of Dimas
Alang. Por Telefono is a satirical comedy about Father Font, who was at Madrid
speaking with a provincial priest in San Agustin Monastery using a telephone line
that is spear-headed by The Trans-Oceanic Telephone Co. Por Telepono is full of
symbolism. It unveils how friars lived their lives and how they give thanks for the
donations given by ilustrados. Every line that has been uttered in Madrid is like an
echo that fills the corners of the Philippines.

FILIPINOTranslate.com Guest was given:

Por Telepono o Sa pamamagitan ng telepono ay isang pag-play na isinulat ng


Philippine pambansang bayani, Jose Rizal. Tinatalakay ito ng mga social na plano at
mga isyu para sa Pilipinas sa pamamagitan ng dalawang Friars. Ito ay nai-publish sa
1889 bilang isang tugon sa isang prayle na pinangalanang Fr. Salvador Font na may
kaugnayan sa kanyang mga diskriminasyon tungkol sa Noli Me Tangere at para sa
pagpapasimuno ng pagbabawal ng Noli sa pagkahulog ng 1889. Ang unang pamplet
ay naka-print sa Barcelona sa ilalim ng pag-akda ng Dimas Alang. Por Telefono ay
isang satirical comedy tungkol sa Ama Font, na naging sa Madrid nagsasalita na
may panlalawigan pari sa San Agustin Monastery gamit ang isang linya ng telepono
na sibat buhok sa pamamagitan ng trans-oceanic Telepono Co. Por Telepono ay
puno ng simbolismo. Unveils nito kung friars nakatira ang kanilang buhay at kung
paano sila bigyan salamat para sa mga donasyon na ibinigay ng ilustrados. Ang
bawat linya na na-uttered sa Madrid ay parang isang echo na sasakop ang mga
sulok ng Pilipinas.