You are on page 1of 5



Noli Me Tangere
After seven years of study in Europe, young Juan Crisstomo Ibarra came back to
the Philippines. In his honor, Don Santiago de los Santos, also known as "Capitan
Tiago", a family friend, threw a welcome home party, attended by friars and other known
personalities. One of the guests is Padre Dmaso Vardolagas, the former parish priest of
San Diego, who belittled and insulted Ibarra.
The next day, Ibarra visits his beloved Mara Clara, the beautiful daughter of Capitan
Tiago. Before Ibarra left for San Diego in time for the town fiesta, Teniente Guevara, a
guardia civil, reveals to him what happened before the death of his father, Don Rafael
According to Guevara, Don Rafael was unfairly accused by Padre Damaso of being
a heretic because of Don Rafael's non-participation in the Sacraments, such as
Confession and Mass. Padre Dmaso's hatred towards Ibarra's father is intensified by
another incident when Don Rafael helped out in a fight between a tax collector and a
child, with the former's death being blamed on him, although it was not deliberate.
Suddenly, all those who thought ill of him surfaced with additional complaints. He was
imprisoned, and just when the matter was almost settled, he died of sickness in jail. His
remains, formerly buried at the local cemetery, were removed by the order of Padre
Ibarra, following his father's dream, builds a school, since he believed education
would be the way to the progress of the country. During the inauguration of the school,
Ibarra would have been killed in sabotage if Elas did not save him. Instead the hired
killer met an unfortunate incident and died.
After the inauguration, Ibarra hosted a luncheon which Padre Dmaso gate-crashed.
The friar again insulted Ibarra, who ignored the priest's rudeness, but when the latter
defamed the memory of his dead father, he was no longer able to restrain himself and
attacked Dmaso. Consequently, Dmaso excommunicated Ibarra for assaulting a
cleric, taking this opportunity to persuade the already-hesitant Tiago to forbid his
daughter from marrying Ibarra. The friar instead wanted Mara Clara to marry Alfonso
Linares de Espadaa, a Peninsulares who just arrived from Spain.
With the help of the Governador General, Ibarra's excommunication was lifted and
the Archbishop of Manila decided to receive him into the Church once again.
A revolt happened soon after, and both Spanish colonial officials and friars
associated Ibarra as its mastermind. Thus, he was arrested and detained, later despised
by those who had become his friends.

Meanwhile, in Capitn Tiago's residence, a party was being held to announce the
upcoming wedding of Mara Clara and Linares. Ibarra, with the help of Elas, took this
opportunity to escape from prison. Before leaving, Ibarra spoke to Mara Clara and
accused her of betraying him, thinking she gave the letter he wrote her to the jury. Mara
Clara explained that she would never conspire against him, but that she was forced to
surrender Ibarra's letter to Padre Salv, in exchange for the letters written by her mother,
Doa Pia, even before Mara Clara was born.
Mara Clara, thinking Ibarra had been killed in the shooting incident, was greatly
overcome with grief. Robbed of hope and severely disillusioned, she asked Dmaso to
confine her to a monastery. Dmaso hesitantly agreed when she threatened to take her
own life, demanding him to choose between taking her to the monastery and killing
herself. Unknown to her, Ibarra was still alive and able to escape, as it was Elas who
had taken the shots.
It was Christmas Eve when Elas woke up, fatally wounded, in the forest where he
had instructed Ibarra to meet him. Instead, Elas found the altar boy Basilio cradling his
already-dead mother, Sisa. The woman had lost her mind after learning that Basilio and
her other son, Crispn, were chased out of the convent by the sacristan mayor on
suspicions of stealing two gold pieces.
Elas, convinced he would die soon, instructs Basilio to build a funeral pyre and
cremate his and Sisa's corpses. He tells Basilio that, if nobody reaches the place, he
was to return later and dig as he would find gold. Elas then tells the boy to take the gold
and use it to get an education. In his dying breath, he instructed Basilio to continue
dreaming about freedom for his motherland.
In the epilogue, it was explained that Tiago became addicted to opium and was seen
to frequent the opium house in Binondo. Mara Clara became a nun and Salv, who had
lusted after her from the beginning of the novel, regularly, used her to satisfy his
lascivious desires. One stormy evening, a beautiful yet insane woman was seen on the
roof of the monastery, crying and cursing the heavens for the fate it had handed her.


El Filibusterismo
Thirteen years after leaving the Philippines, Crisostomo Ibarra returns as Simoun, a
rich jeweler sporting a beard and blue-tinted glasses, and befriended the CapitanGeneral. Abandoning his idealism, he becomes an enigmatic stranger, seeking revenge
against for those who are responsible for his misfortunes by plotting a revolution against
the government. Simoun insinuates himself into Manila high society and influences every
decision of the Capitan-General to mismanage the countrys affairs so that a revolution
will break out. He skeptically sides with the upper classes, encouraging them to be
corrupt so that the masses will plot a revolution against the government. His two reasons
for initiating a revolution are to rescue Mara Clara from the monastery and to get rid of
evils of the Filipino society. His true identity is discovered by a now grown-up Basilio
while visiting the grave of his mother, Sisa, as Simoun was digging near the grave site
for his buried treasures. Simoun spares Basilios life and asks him to join in his planned
revolution against the government, urging him on by bringing up the tragic misfortunes of
the latter's family. Basilio declines the offer as he still hopes that the countrys condition
will improve.
Basilio, at this point, is a graduating medical student at the Ateneo Municipal. After
the death of his mother, Sisa, and the disappearance of his younger brother, Crispn,
Basilio followed the advice of the dying boatman, Elas, and traveled to Manila to study.
Basilio was adopted by Capitan Tiago after Mara Clara entered the monastery. With the
help of the Ibarra's riches and Capitan Tiago, Basilio was able to go to Colegio de San
Juan de Letrn where, at first, he is frowned upon by his peers and teachers because of
his skin color and his ragged appearance but is able to win their favor after winning a
fencing tournament. Capitan Tiagos confessor, Padre Irene is making Capitan Tiagos
health worse by giving him opium even as Basilio tries hard to prevent Capitan Tiago
from smoking it. He and other students want to establish a Spanish language academy
so that they can learn to speak and write Spanish despite the opposition from the
Dominican friars of the Universidad de Santo Toms. With the help of a reluctant Padre
Irene as their mediator and Don Custodios decision, the academy is established but this
turns bad as they will serve, not as the teachers but as caretakers of the school.
Dejected and defeated, they hold a mock celebration at a pancitera while a spy for the
friars disguised as a poor man witnesses the proceedings. Basilio, however, was not
with them during the event.
Simoun, for his part, keeps in close contact with the bandit group of Kabesang Tales,
a former cabeza de barangay who suffered misfortunes at the hands of the friars. Once
a farmer owning a prosperous sugarcane plantation and a cabeza de barangay, he was
forced to give everything he had owned to the greedy, unscrupulous Spanish friars and
the Church. His son, Tano, who became a guardia civil, was captured by the bandits, his
daughter Jul had to work as a maid to get enough ransom money for his freedom, and
his father, Tandang Selo, suffered a stroke and became mute. Before joining the bandits,
Tales took Simouns revolver while Simoun was staying at his house for the night. As
payment, Tales leaves a locket that once belonged to Mara Clara. To further strengthen

the revolution, Simoun has Quiroga, a Chinese man hoping to be appointed consul to
the Philippines, smuggle weapons into the country using Quirogas bazaar as a front.
Simoun wishes to attack during a stage play with all of his enemies in attendance. He,
however, abruptly aborts the attack when he learns from Basilio that Mara Clara had
died earlier that day in the monastery.
A few days after the mock celebration by the students, the people are agitated when
disturbing posters are found displayed around the city. The authorities accuse the
students present at the pancitera of agitation and disturbing peace and have them
arrested. Basilio, although not present at the mock celebration, is also arrested. Capitan
Tiago dies after learning of the incident. But before he dies he signs a will, unknown to
him it was forged by Padre Irene. His will originally states that Basilio should inherit all
his property but due to this forgery his property is given in parts, one to Santa Clara, one
for the archbishop, one for the Pope, and one for the religious orders leaving nothing for
Basilio to be inherited. Basilio is left in prison as the other students are released. A high
official tries to interfere for the release of Basilio but the Capitan-General, bearing
grudges against the high official, coerces him to tender his resignation. Jul, Basilios
girlfriend and the daughter of Kabesang Tales, tries to ask Padre Camorra's help upon
the advice of Hermana Bali. The two travel to the monastery but things suddenly turn
horrible as Padre Camorra tries to rape Juli. Jul, rather than submit to the will of the
friar, jumps over the balcony to her death. Basilio is soon released with the help of
After hearing about Jul's suicide, Basilio finally joins Simouns revolution. Simoun
then tells Basilio his plan at the wedding of Paulita Gmez and Juanito, Basilios hunchbacked classmate. His plan was to hide an explosive which contains nitroglycerin inside
a pomegranate-styled kerosene lamp that Simoun will give to the newlyweds as a gift
during the wedding reception. The reception will take place at the former home of the
late Capitan Tiago, which was now filled with explosives planted by Simoun. According
to Simoun, the lamp will stay lighted for only 20 minutes before it flickers; if someone
attempts to turn the wick, it will explode and kill everyone inside the house including
important members of civil society and the Church hierarch. Basilio has a change of
heart and attempts to warn Isagani, his friend and the former boyfriend of Paulita.
Simoun leaves the reception early as planned and leaves a note behind:
Mene Thecel Phares.
- Juan Crisostomo Ibarra
At first thinking that it was simply a bad joke, Padre Salv recognizes the handwriting
and confirms that it was indeed Ibarras. As people begin to panic, the lamp flickers.
Padre Irene tries to turn the wick up when Isagani, due to his undying love for Paulita,
bursts in the room and throws the lamp into the river, sabotaging Simoun's plans. He
escapes by diving into the river as guards chase after him. He later regrets his impulsive
action because he had contradicted his own belief that he loved his nation more than
Paulita and that the explosion and revolution could have fulfilled his ideals for Filipino

Simoun, now unmasked as the perpetrator of the attempted arson and failed
revolution, becomes a fugitive. Wounded and exhausted after he was shot by the
chasing guardia civil, he seeks shelter at the home of Padre Florentino, Isaganis uncle,
and comes under the care of Dr. Tiburcio de Espadaa, Doa Victorina's husband, who
was also hiding at the house. Simoun takes poison in order for him not to be captured
alive. Before he dies, he reveals his real identity to Padre Florentino while they
exchange thoughts about the failure of his revolution and why God abandoned him,
when all he wanted was to avenge the people important to him that were wronged, such
as Elias, Maria Clara and his father, Don Rafael. Padre Florentino tells Simoun that God
did not forsake him and that his plans were not for the greater good but for personal
interest. Simoun, finally accepting Florentinos explanation, squeezes his hand and dies.
Florentino then takes Simouns remaining jewels and throws them into the Pacific Ocean
hoping that they would not be used by the greedy and that when the time came that it
would be used for the greater good.