You are on page 1of 30


o Name: Joyce Ann Napatang Prof. Loida Suarez

Course: BSBA-FM Schedule: TF 4:00-5:30 Pm
C 1.)
u The Reign of Greed
(Chapter Summaries and Analysis)
s Chapter 1: On Deck

t The novel opens with the steamship Tabo heading up the Pasig river on its way to La Laguna one
December morning. Take note of the possible parallelism between the ship and the
government ruling in the Philippines during Rizal‘s time:

o full of hot air, tyrannical, pretentious. We meet Doña Victorina, the only lady in the European group on
the upper deck (guess who have to stay below deck). She is depicted as a foul-mouthed, extravagant,
heavily made-up, disdainful, and insufferable Indio who tries to pass herself off as a European through
d her wigs and clothes. She is accompanied by her niece, the beautiful and rich Paulita Gomez. Doña
Victorina is the wife of Don Tiburcio de Espadaña, who left her after many years of marriage and who

i was now hiding (maybe) in Laguna. Among the other characters introduced are: Don Custodio, an
official counsellor; Ben Zayb, an exceedingly intelligent (in his own mind) writer whose pseudonym is
an anagram of the surname Ybañez; Father Irene, the canon; and the jeweller Simoun who sports long,
o white hair and a sparse black beard and who wears a pair of huge blue-tinted sunglasses (in the 1800s?
Hmmm.). Anyway, Simoun‘s great influence over His Excellency, the Capitan General was known in
Manila. Thus, people held him in high regard. Discussing the issue of the lake and the slowness of ship
: travel were Ben Zayb, Padre Camorra, and Padre Salvi, a Franciscan. Simoun cuts in and offers a rather
radical solution: dig a new river channel and close the Pasig even if it means destroying villages and

K committing people to forced and unpaid labor. What follows is a debate between Simoun and Don
Custodio on whether the indios were going to revolt or not. Padre Sibyla, a Dominican, was concerned
that the people might rise up as before, but Simoun dismissed the possibility with a "what are you friars
a for if the people can rise in revolt?"
After Simoun left the fuming group, Don Custodio offers his own solution: Get people to raise ducks.

Since ducks feed on snails, the people will help deepen the river as they will remove or dig up the
sandbars which contain the snails. Doña Victorina
wasn‘t exactly fond of the idea since she considers balut (duck) eggs disgusting.

u Chapter 2: Lower Deck

Below deck we find those belonging to the lower rungs of the social ladder. Unlike the airy upper deck,
l the conditions below deck are far from comfortable because of the heat from the boilers and the stifling
stench of various nose crinkling scents. (The descriptions in the novel are much more vivid, so please

read it.) The reader‘s attention is focused on two characters:
Basilio, a student of medicine and Isagani, a poet from the Ateneo. Conversing with them is the rich
Capitan Basilio. The main point of discussion is the establishment of an academy for the teaching of

h Spanish. While Capitan Basilio is convinced that such a school will never be set-up, Isagani expects to
get the permit, courtesy of Father Irene. Father Sibyla is also against this, which is why Father Irene is
on his way to Los Baños to see the Governor General. To support the funding of the project, every
student was asked to contribute fifteen centavos. Even the professors offered to help (half were
Filipinos and half were Spaniards from Spain). The building itself will be one of the houses of the
wealthy Makaraig. (Note: Some people in Spain were in favor of teaching Spanish to the Filipinos.
Compare them with Spaniards based in the Philippines who did not want the Filipinos to learn their
language.) Isagani is in love with Paulita Gomez, but his uncle, Father Florentino is against it. Father
Florentino would rather not go on deck because he might bump into Doña Victorina who might
ask him about her husband, Don Tiburcio (who happens to be hiding in Father Florentino‘s
house). Coming from the upper deck, Simoun finds Basilio who then introduces Isagani to him. Isagani
takes offense when Simoun talks about the poverty in Basilio‘s province. (Read their resulting
argument about water and beer.)
After Simoun leaves, Basilio chastises Isagani for treating the jeweller that way. Basilio
emphasizes Simoun‘s position in society be calling him the
Brown Cardinal, or Black Eminence of the Governor-General. This is in reference to His Grey
Eminence, a Capuchin adviser of Cardinal Richelieu, a once all-powerful Prime Minister of France.
They are interrupted when Isagani is informed by a servant that his uncle, Father Florentino needed
him. Take note of the description of Fr. Florentino as well as the story of how he lost the woman he
loved because he became a priest.
Additional background info: Father Florentino retired from his parish soon after the Cavite Mutiny of
1872 fearing that the revenues from his parish would attract attention. He was possibly worried by the
fact that he was a Filipino priest and that in the Cavite Mutiny, three Filipino priests identified with the
movement to turn the parishes over to the native clergy were charged and executed. The legend-loving
skipper of the vessel sees Fr. Florentino and asks him to go on deck lest the friars assume this Filipino
priest did not want to mingle with them. Fr. Florentino then instructs Isagani not to go near the lounge
because that would be tantamount to abusing the hospitality of the skipper who would surely invite
Isagani. Actually, Isagani felt it was his uncle‘s way of preventing him from speaking with Doña

Chapter 3: Legends
Padre Florentino sees the guests laughing above deck. The friars are complaining about the increasing
social awareness of the Filipinos and about the investigation on the finances of the church. Simoun
arrives and is told how unfortunate he is to have missed seeing the places the ship had passed. Simoun
replies that places are worthless, unless there are legends associated with them. The Kapitan of the ship
then relates the Legend of the Wide Rock, a place considered sacred by the natives of long ago; the
abode of some spirits. During the time of bandits, the fear of spirits disappeared, and criminals
inhabited the place. The Kapitan also talks about the Legend of Doña Geronima. Padre Florentino is
asked to give the details: Doña Geronima had a lover in Spain, who later became an archbishop in
Manila. The woman goes to see him to ask that he fulfill his promise of marrying her. Instead, he sends
the woman to live in a cave near the Pasig river. Ben Zayb liked the legend. Doña Victorina grew
envious because she also wanted to live in a cave. Simoun asks Padre Salvi
if it wouldn‘t have been better if the woman were placed in a monastery such as Sta. Clara. Padre Salvi
explained that he cannot judge the actions of an archbishop. To change the topic, he narrates the legend
of St. Nicholas (San Nicolas) who rescued a Chinese from a crocodile. Legend has it that the crocodile
turned to stone when the Chinese prayed to the saint. When the group reached the lake, Ben Zayb asked
the Kapitan where in the lake a certain Guevarra, Navarra or Ibarra was killed.
(Refer to the Noli Me Tangere)
The Kapitan shows the spot, while Doña Victorina peers into the water, searching for any trace of the
killing (thirteen years after the event occurred). Padre Sibyla adds that the father is now
with the corpse of the son (in the Noli Me Tangere, the corpse of Ibarra‘s father–
Don Rafael was thrown in the lake). That‘s the cheapest burial, quips Ben Zayb. People laugh. Simoun
pales and does not say anything. The Kapitan thinks Simoun is just seasick.
Some Notes
Here you will see the disappearance of the ancestral belief in spirits and superstitions, only to be
replaced by modern (but even more bothersome) superstitions such as religion.
Read the legends of both Doña Geronima and St. Nicholas. Questions and Answers
1. Why did talk center on legends on the deck of the ship?
This was deliberate on the part of Simoun. He was familiar with the legends about the Pasig river and
he hoped that one of the legends that pertaining to Doña Geronima will be mentioned. Simoun wanted
to use that legend to ease his anger towards the holier-than-thou Padre Salvi, whom Simoun suspected
of taking advantage of Maria Clara in the Sta. Clara Convent.
2. How is the Legend of Wide Rock (Malapad na Bato) similar to the history of the Philippines?
Before, Wide Rock was considered a home for spirits (good and evil), as well as a nest of superstitious
beliefs. The Philippines was also like that before the Spaniards came. People believed in supernatural
beings (i.e., kapre, tiyanak, tikbalang, aswang). When Wide Rock became the hideout of thieves,
people realized that there was no such thing as evil spirits because nothing bad happened to the
criminals who lived at Wide Rock. Boatmen traveling on the Pasig river feared instead the bandits who
would block and kill those who ventured near Wide Rock. The Philippines, through the introduction of
Christianity, stopped believing in spirits and superstitions (really?). The Spaniards represent the bandits
whom the people now fear, and in the story of Cabesang Tales you‘ll understand why.

Chapter 4: Kabesang Tales

Selo, who adopted Basilio in the forest, is now quite old. His son, Cabesang Tales, is the father of
Lucia. Cabesang Tales, the head of the barangay, grew rich through hard work and perseverance. He
started by partnering with an investor. After saving some money, Cabesang Tales inquired about a place
in the forest and, after verifying that there were no owners, planted sugarcane there. He wanted to send
Juli to college in order to match the educational attainment of Basilio, her sweetheart.
After Cabesang Tales‘ plot of land was developed, the friars wanted to grab it. The friars taxed
Cabesang Tales and kept raising the tax rate until Cabesang Tales could not pay anymore. He brought
the friars to court and asked them for proof of land ownership. No proof was presented, but the courts
still ruled in favor of the friars. When his son, Tano was drafted into the army, Tales did not ransom his
son. Instead, he spent the money on lawyers in hopes that he would win the land case. Besides, if Tales
did not win the case, then he felt that he won‘t need his son anyway.
Tales built a fence around his property and patrolled it (he was armed with a rifle). No one could get
near because Tales was known for his skill in marksmanship a formidable sharpshooter. When rifles
were outlawed, Tales carried a bolo. When that was banned, he then carried an axe. Since he only
carried an axe, the armed bandits kidnapped him and demanded ransom. Juli sold all her jewelry to
raise funds. All, that is, except for a locket given to her by Basilio. Not enough funds were raised,
though, so Juli borrowed money from Hermana Penchang. To secure the debt, she agreed to work for
the Hermana as a companion (aka: maid or slave). Her first day of work was to commence on
Christmas Day. No wonder Juli had bad dreams on Christmas eve. (Selo must have had worse
nightmares. Imagine, here was his granddaughter, the prettiest in the barrio, and now… forced to
become a maid. Basilio, on the other hand, is about to meet a hapless cochero, or horse rig driver.)
Some Notes
* Maria Clara (in the Noli Me Tangere) became a nun after she was not allowed to marry Ibarra. She
gave a locket to a leper who later gave it to Basilio after he treated the leper. Basilio, in turn, offered the
locket to his sweetheart, Juli (Juliana).
Questions and Answers:
Why was it hard to be a cabeza de barangay in the past?
He was in charge of collecting taxes. If someone in the barangay could not pay, the cabeza had to
advance the tax.
2. Why did Cabesang Tales say that we are like the land and that we were unclothed when we were
He meant that we should not fear death because death comes to everyone. We should also not fear
poverty because we were born poor: without clothes, without anything.
3. What law upheld the friars in their bid to own the land of Cabesang Tales?
Nothing but the Law of Self-Preservation (of the court scribes who feared the frailocracy). Although
the Spanish laws were good, it was the implementors who did the wrong things. Hence, some Filipinos
did not want to work hard lest the fruits of their labors be easily taken away by others.
4. Why did Old Man Selo refuse to speak to his son, Cabesang Tales, for quite some time?
He was mad at Tales for allowing Tano (son of Tales) to be drafted into the Spanish guardia civil,
instead of paying the fee which waived drafting.
5. Why did Cabesang Tales say that if he lost the court case, he will not have any need for his children?
He felt that losing the case would mean he had nothing left to leave to his children.
That‘s why he had to do everything to win the
case, in order to bequeath the land to his children.
6. To what did people liken the case of Cabesang Tales?
They said it was like a pot of clay banging against a pot of iron; or like an ant that bites the heel,
knowing it will just be crushed.
7. Why was Cabesang Tales kidnapped by bandits just when he no longer had any more money?
It was only at that time when Cabesang Tales no longer carried a shotgun or a bolo, but was only
armed with an axe (definitely no match against the guns of the bandits).
8. What did Juli do which the author, Jose Rizal, criticized?
Rizal criticized Juli‘s reliance on miracles. Juli placed the money she raised at the feet of the image of
the Virgin Mary hoping it would double the following day. The friars had conditioned the Filipinos to
just rely on miracles instead of on their own perseverance and effort.

Chapter 5: A Cochero's Christmas Eve

It was evening when the Christmas Eve (noche buena) procession commenced, when Basilio arrived in
San Diego. He got delayed along the way because the cochero or rig driver (the guy who drives the
karitela or horse-driven carriage) forgot his cedula (Residence Certificate). Why the delay? The
Guardia Civil had to beat up the cochero first. The image of Methusalem (Methuselah
, world‘s oldest person) was paraded during the
procession, followed by the three magi (wise men). The cochero asked Basilio if Bernardo Carpio was
able to free his other leg from the mountains of San Mateo (nope, not in California). Following the
procession were sad-faced kids holding torches. They were followed by San Jose,
and then kids holding ―parol‖ or Christmas lanterns. And the end of the procession was the
Blessed Virgin Mary. The procession ended and the
guardia civil noticed that there was no light in the cochero‘s
carriage. The guards again beat up poor old Sinong. Basilio decided to just walk. (Can you blame him?)
Among the houses Basilio passed, it seemed that only the house of Capitan Basilio appeared lively.
Chickens were being slaughtered and Basilio espied the Capitan speaking with the parish priest, the
alferes and with Simoun. Capitan Basilio agreed with Simoun that they will go to Tiani
to examine Simoun‘s jewelry. The alferez asked for a watch
chain, while the parish priest asked for a get this pair of earrings! Basilio found Simoun unbearable
because Simoun was able to do business in the Philippines unlike other people. Basilio is well-
respected in the home of Capitan Tiago, especially by the elder household help who saw Basilio
perform surgery with extreme calmness. The old man tried to give Basilio some fresh news
an old man who took care of the forest died of old age and the parish priest didn‘t
want to give him burial as a poor man. Basilio was disheartened to learn that someone died because of
old age; he wanted to perform autopsies on those who died of sickness.
(Sicko doctor. Made me lose my appetite…)
Then the old household help told Basilio about the kidnapping of Cabezang Tales. Basilio lost his
Some Notes
* Basilio is one of Capitan Tiago‘s trusted men.
* The assets and properties of Ibarra were taken by the government and the church and were sold to a
few people. Capitan Tiago was the one who purchased the forest of Ibarra. It was that forest which was
cared for by the man who died of old age.
Questions and Answers
Why did Sinong , the rig driver, say that there probably were no guardia civiles during the time of the
What a funny guy… Methusalem wouldn‘t have lived to such a ripe old age if
guardia civiles were constantly beating him up. In addition, Melchor (the dark-skinned magus) would
not have been allowed to travel in between the two fair-skinned magi. 2. Why did the ignorant indios
strongly believe in the legend of Bernardo Carpio? The Spaniards allowed this tale to spread. Bernardo
Carpio is a mythical figure adopted from Mexican folklore (Bernardo Del Carpio?). He is chained
between two mountains in San Mateo in Montalban, Rizal but is slowly freeing himself. He is said to
have already freed his arms and his left leg, each struggle causing earthquakes. Indios believed that
when Carpio finally frees his right leg, he will lead the Filipinos in a revolution against the Spaniards.
We do not know if this myth was started by the natives or by the parish priests. All we know is that the
Spaniards allowed this tale to spread and even helped propagate it. They taught the indios that bearing
sufferings and hardships is good and will lead them to heavenly salvation. Stories like this dampened
the desire of Filipinos to find solutions to their oppressed situation. They preferred, instead, to just wait
for Bernardo Carpio.

Chapter 6: Basilio
It is almost time for Christmas Eve midnight mass when Basilio secretly makes his way to the forest
previously owned by the Ibarra family. He does not want anyone to see him. Recall that thirteen years
had passed since he buried his mother, Sisa, in that same forest. Thirteen years ago, he was hunted as a
fugitive along with his brother Crispin (now dead). In the Noli Me Tangere, Padre Salvi was after these
two sacristans. In the El Fili, Padre Salvi still wields considerable power.
Basilio could get hold of it so that Tiago can smear the metal gaffs of his fighting cocks with poisoned
blood. (Strange. Why
didn‘t he simply use rat poison?)
In Basilio‘s third year at medical school, he started to cure people. This provided him with funds
for savings and for elegant clothes. Basilio healed a leper who gave him a locket in payment. Recall
that that locket was given by Maria Clara when she saw the leper begging in the streets. That locket
will be given by Basilio to Juliana. (During this time, people believed that leprosy is contagious and
could not be cured. Perhaps Rizal believed otherwise.) Enough of the fl
ashback… So Basilio is in the forest. He is in his last year of studies and will be
a physician in a couple of months. He plans to retire in his hometown and to marry his sweetheart
Juliana. We see here a reversal of fortunes: the boy who used to wander the streets, dirty, unkempt and
disdained by society, is now about to become a respected physician. In fact, he had been selected to
deliver the valedictory address a message, not about himself, but about the needy students of the future.
What a way to make his first mark in the world, right?
Chapter 7: Simoun
(This is one of the more powerful chapters of Jose Rizal‘s
El Filibusterismo
. Take note of conversation between Basilio and Simoun.
You simply have got to read the book, folks.)
Basilio is about
to leave his mother‘s grave when he notices someone approaching the balete
tree. Remember, it is deep in the night and Filipinos attribute supernatural things to balete trees which
are believed to house evil spirits and other creatures of middle earth. The newcomer turns out to be
Simoun, the jeweler. He has a spade and begins digging for the treasure buried thirteen years ago.
Basilio tries to figure out whether Simoun is Elias or Ibarra. Basilio never did go for the treasure all
these years because the stranger (Elias) told him that he could get the treasure only if no one else came
looking for it. On the night Elias died, Crisostomo Ibarra (refer to the Noli Me Tangere) went to the
forest and helped Basilio bury Sisa and cremate Elias. Without waiting to be discovered, Basilio
announces his presence and acknowledges Simoun as the person who helped Basilio bury his mother,
Sisa more than a decade ago. Simoun points a revolver at Basilio. (Kids, never startle anyone working
in the wee hours of the morning, near a silent and foreboding balete tree.)
Fortunately for Basilio, Simoun does not pull the trigger even if he realizes that Basilio‘s
newfound knowledge jeopardizes the plans of Simoun. He figures that Basilio will not squeal on him
because Basilio is still a fugitive while Simoun, the rich jeweler, is still in favor with the government
and the frailocracy. Besides, Simoun reasons that since they are both victims of injustice, they should
help one another. Simoun reminisces and waxes poetic about t
hat great and noble soul who wished to die for
him. He was most likely referring to Elias. Simoun narrates how he worked hard to save money so that
he could come back to the Philippines to hasten the destruction of the religio-political system by
inciting greed and corruption, among others. But before Simoun succeeds in corrupting the government
and thus turn the Filipinos against
the powers that be, he points out how frustrated he is with Basilio‘s call for
Hispanization and parity rights.
I‘m particularly pierced by Simoun‘s:
What will you be in the future? A people without character, a nation without liberty. You are asking to
be Hispanized and you do not blanch with shame when it is denied you!
(Hmmm… do we Filipinos lack a culture that
is uniquely ours? Or are we a confused blend of Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, American and other
cultures? Then again, I guess we still have
truly Filipino qualities. Take language, for example. Does anyone know what ―pitik‖ is in
English? Or what other culture points to far away objects by pursing their lips? Sheesh.) Basilio has
good intentions, though. He believes that knowing Spanish can unite the people not
only with the Government, but with other peoples in other islands. Take note of Simoun‘s
Spanish will never be the common language in the country; the people will never speak it because for
the ideas of its mind and the sentiments of its heart there are no words in that idiom.
(Take note that Rizal‘s Spanish
-speaking Filipino characters Doña Victorina and Doña Consolacion cannot speak Spanish well.)
Simoun allows Basilio to live hoping this message can be spread to other students pushing for
Hispanization. What follows is a discussion between Science (or medicine) and Politics (or the
aspiration to be an independent nation). Recall that Basilio studied to become a doctor and feels that he
is powerless to do anything about the political situation. Simoun fails to convince Basilio to change his
mind so he instead tries to provoke Basilio by asking about Sisa and Crispin (the dead younger
brother). Basilio explains there is no way he can obtain justice. Besides, even if Simoun were to
provide support, revenge cannot bring back
Basilio‘s mom and brother.
Before dawn, Simoun sends Basilio away
but invites him to go to Simoun‘s house in
Escolta in case Basilio changes his mind and decides to seek help in avenging his mom‘s and brother‘s
deaths. The chapter closes with Simoun asking the spirits of Don Rafael (his father) and Elias to have
patience. Simoun explains that while his means differ from that of Elias, the results will come faster.
There is some foreboding that Simoun will die in his attempt to help the Philippines gain independence
note that line about him personally bringing news of freedom to the spirits of his dad and friend.
(Elias was also for independence of the nation, but he did not support violent methods. Simoun is
Machiavellian in the sense that he believes that the end justifies the means. Remember that Simoun
uses his wealth to corrupt those in government and to tempt them to harm the Filipinos. Simoun hopes
that this will anger the Filipinos enough to make them rise up in revolt against the Government. It is a
tactic Elias would never have approved of.) Soon, it will be Christmas.
1. The dark forest symbolizes the many secrets kept by Simoun from the public. 2. Basilio symbolizes
the Filipino youth, whom Rizal (through Simoun) advises to be more nationalistic (i.e., love your own
language, fight for your
country‘s freedom)
Lessons Learned:
1. People who are so different will cling to their own beliefs. Simoun wants a bloody revolution, while
Basilio prefers to search for knowledge because this will lead to the attainment of justice. 2.
Knowledge is better than politics/nationalism. (Basilio) 3. The above point can be attained only in an
environment where there is neither oppressor nor oppressed. To achieve such an environment, only has
to change the present system even if it requires a bloody revolution. (Simoun)
4. One‘s painful past (Basilio‘s) can be set aside by some people. Others (Simoun), however,
will never rest until they have their revenge. 5. If you cannot stop a corrupt government, then support it
and help it spread its corrupt ways until the oppressed people rise up in revolt
. (Simoun‘s strategy)

Chapter 8: Merry Christmas

The miracle that Juli expected did not happen
there was no money at the foot of the statue of
the Blessed Virgin Mary. All that remained there were Juli‘s prayers. As a result, Juli resigned herself to
serving as Hermana Penchang‘s maid. Apparently, Juli‘s mindset shows how the friars controlled the
Philippine population. The friars
convinced the people that being a good Catholic means:

religiously praying and putting complete and total faith on saints (or their icons)

learning to just accept and bear whatever hardships fate hands to them

(Just like Pontius Pilate

washing his hands of the matter concerning Christ‘s crucifixion.)
Now take note of the following key points…
[To recap: Cabesang Tales' land was being unjustly taken away, so he decided to patrol his property.
Although he was armed, eventually his weapons were confiscated. Since he was no longer armed, some
bandits kidnapped him. To raise money for ransom, Juli decided to become the maid of Hermana
Penchang in exchange for a loan.]
Anyway, on to the Pilates of the chapter…
The alferez or lieutenant of the guardia civil said he was merely following orders when he confiscated
the weapons of Cabesang Tales. It was not his fault if Tales was subsequently kidnapped.
The person grabbing Tales‘ land said that if Tales remained at
home (and not patrolled the land), he would not have been kidnapped. And what about Hermana
Juli‘s new master/mistress? She does not feel responsible either for Juli‘s circumstances. Instead, she
Old Man Selo because he does not know how to pray (and neither did he teach Juli how to pray
properly). Hence, Hermana Penchang took it upon herself to teach Juli; she also asked Juli to read the
book Tandang Basiong Macunat, a late 1800s Tagalog narrative about how Indios should trust only in
the friars and shun learning (because it leads to sin).
It‘s funny to read how Hermana Penchang appears scandalized when Juli does not pause at the
―proper‖ words in the Hail Mary, or when Juli stresses the wrong syllable in some Latin prayers
(i.e., Juli says menTIbus instead of MENtibus). Anyway, Cabesang Tales does show up in his house.
He discovers that his dad no longer speaks, that his land is being taken away, that he is being evicted
from his home, and that Juli is now a lowly maid. Great. Can you blame him for just sitting down
beside his dad and not saying anything the entire day? (The next chapter talks about wealth and
Chapter 10: Wealth and Misery
Simoun visits the house of Cabesang Tales (located between the towns of San Diego and Tiani). Tales
is impoverished, but Simoun brings food and other necessities, along with cases of jewelry. (Simoun
did this because he wanted to get to know Tales better.) So, what did Simoun do next..? Simoun shows
off his revolver or pistol to Tales. Soon, the jewelry buyers arrive: Capitan Basilio (father of Sinang),
Capitana Tika (mom of Sinang), Sinang (and her husband and child), and Hermana Penchang (who
wants to buy a diamond ring for the Blessed
Virgin at Antipolo). It‘s

some kind of status symbol for them ~ they can say that they bought jewelry from the adviser of
the Capitan Heneral. Ah, the travails of ―branded‖ fashion…
Simoun opens the two pieces of luggage filled with jewelries of different types, shapes and histories.
Tales looks at the riches and feels that Simoun is using those to make Tales feel more
miserable about his situation. To think all this was happening on the eve of Tales‘ eviction. All it
would take was but one tiny diamond t
o ransom Juli from her employer and to sustain Tales‘ old
father, Selo, till the end of his days. Tales feels insulted, to say the least. (
Folks, please read the description of the jewelry
Note also the “speech” Simoun made
in not-so-good Tagalog. He mus
t’ve looked really weird with his blue
-tinted glasses and
fiery speech about how a handful of his jewels can “drown in tears all the inhabitants of the
Geez. Weirdo.) Some of the jewelry mentioned: * Necklace of Cleopatra * Rings found in the ruins of
Carthage * Some treasures brought back by Hannibal after the Battle of Cannae * Ring of Sulla *
Earrings found in the villa of Annius Mucius Papilinus in Pompeii * Sapphire from Ceylon, emeralds
from Peru, ruby, turquoises from Persia, diamonds (black, rosy, green) * Ring of the Princess of
Lamballe * Pendants to a lady-in-waiting of Marie Antoinette * Oriental mother-of-pearl * Others from
the Golconda mines None of the buyers were interested in the old, historical jewels, so Simoun brought
out the modern ones. No appreciation for antiquity, it seems. How can you blame the buyers? There
weren‘t even enough museums at that time.

(This is probably Rizal‘s way of showing the lack of ―culture‖ prevalent in Philippine society at that
time. Hmmm… at
that time? Heh.) Simoun also wanted to buy something, so he asked Cabesang Tales if he had any
jewelry for sale. Sinang reminds Tales about the locket given to Juli (recall that this locket was given
by Maria Clara to a leper, who gave it to Basilio, who
then gifted it to his sweetheart Juli… Whew!).
Simoun immediately offered Five Hundred Pesos (afterall, that was the locket of his love, Maria Clara,
who had since become a nun). He alternatively offered any other jewel. Hermana Penchang reminds
Tales that Juli chose to become a maid/slave over selling that locket, so Tales decides to consult first
with Juli. Tales goes out to meet his daughter, but along the way sees the friar and the new tenant of
Tales‘ land. Those insensitive two lau
gh at Tales when they see him. Tales felt as if some guy took his wife to a private room and laughed at
him before entering the room. Tales does not go to see his daughter. Instead, he follows those two men.

The following day, Tales is missing. And so is

Simoun‘s revolver!
In the holster, Simoun finds a note from Tales (aka Telesforo Juan de Dios). Tales apologized for
taking the revolver and explained he needed it because he was joining the bandits. Aside from the note,
Tales also left

as payment

the locket Simoun wanted.
Simoun muses that he has finally found the man he‘s been looking for: a man of action, a man
of integrity, a man who can keep his end of the bargain. (When Tales swore that his land will be taken
away over his dead body, his act of gun-stealing
shows that Tales doesn‘t simply make threats; he keeps promises.)
Simoun orders his servants to proceed to Los Baños via the lake. He, on the other hand, decides to
travel on land (along with his precious gems) because he hopes to meet the bandits so that he can invite
them to his cause (revolution). Simoun is delighted to discover that the guardia civil have arrested Old
Man Selo. He realizes that this will anger Tales even more. It turns out that Tales murdered three people
the previous evening: the friar, the new tenant,
and his wife. It was a gruesome murder: their mouths were filled with soil, the wife‘s neck was slashed,
and the other two had been shot in the head.Beside the wife‘s corpse was a note with Tales‘ name
-traced in blood. The chapter ends with a sarcastic assurance to the citizens of Calamba that they will
not be blamed for the crime committed by Tales. Rizal was hinting that these citizens were NOT the
equivalent of Tales… for they had suffered more than Tales.
But these citizens are like Tales in the sense that they still have not obtained justice. There is also some
reference to Mariano Herbosa
, husband of Rizal‘s sister Lucia. Mariano‘s eldest
daughter was Delfina Herbosa de Natividad (1879 to 1900) who, at the age of 7, helped sew the first
Philippine flag! (Mariano died from cholera, but was not buried in the town cemetery because he did
not receive
the Last Sacraments. Yeah, right. How convenient that Rizal‘s brod
-in-law, because of some timing issue, had to be buried out of town [on the hillock Lichiria].)

Chapter 11: Los Baños

The Capitan Heneral tried to hunt in Bosoboso. The accompanying band probably scared off the prey.
The local government officials wanted to suck up to the Capitan Heneral considered getting someone to
dress up as a deer. After the unsuccessful hunt, the Capitan Heneral returns to Los Baños. It was the
31st of December.
Check out the following notes…

Anyway, please read the ―debate‖ between Señor Pasta and Isagani. Classic example of
idealism versus becoming practical. I wonder when I
sagani will come to grips with reality…

Chaper 16: Travails of a Chinaman

The main theme of this chapter is use and be used. (Reminds me what my barkada said when she saw
this person who only approached her for
favors: ―Use your friend in a sentence.‖)

Now let‘s meet one of the key characters of the El Fili…

In this chapter, we meet Quiroga, a Chinese businessman who wants to open a Chinese consulate in
the Philippines and head it as consul. Although he knows a number of people despise him and talk
behind his back, he still invites them to a dinner party above his bazaar in Escolta. Unlike Kapitan
Tiago (dinner, Noli Me Tangere), Quiroga smiles at his guests while secretly despising them deep
Hmmm… I wonder why Rizal depicts the Chinese this w
ay? He even mentions that Quiroga keeps his indio of a wife locked in a room much like Chinese
women. You can probably guess
what‘s the main point of keeping a wife, right?

Among those who hate Quiroga‘s guts are the columnist G. Gonzales (alias PITILI) who‘s mad
at the incoming Chinese; a thin, brown-skinned guest who did not receive money from Quiroga;
and someone who was against Quiroga‘s jueteng operations… because he was losing in the
jueteng game. So why do these adversaries get together for dinner? Like I said earlier: Use and be
used. Dinner ends, and Simoun arrives. Businessmen complain about the poor economic environment
and hint that Simoun should ask the Kapitan Heneral to do something about it. Don Timoteo Pelaez
complains about corruption in customs (adwana). Quiroga wanted to get into the good graces of a
woman because she had a government official wrapped around her finger. So he offers her three pieces
of jewelry to choose from. Unfortunately, she chooses ALL three. So now, Quiroga owes the jeweller
Simoun P9,000 which was a princely sum back then.
(I wonder if Rizal rode some time machine and viewed the Philippines of today…)
Why do you suppose Simoun ―lent‖ those three pieces of jewelry to Quiroga? Yep, use and be
used. Now Quiroga owes Simoun. Instead of asking for the entire sum, Simoun just asks for P7,000. He
also asks Quiroga to send money-borrowing soldiers and government officials to him. He further
instructs Quiroga to send those owing Quiroga money to Simoun instead.

lastly, Simoun asks Quiroga to store some rifles in Quiroga‘s warehouse.
All that for a 22.2% discount off the P9,000 price tag. Otherwise, Quiroga will have to pay Simoun
the entire amount right away. To sweeten the deal, Simoun promises that Quiroga will be allowed to
bring in contraband items through customs. How can Quiroga refuse, right? Yep, use and be used. Don
Custodio talks about a commission sent to India to study the Shoe Program for soldiers. No shoes for
indio soldiers. Spanish soldiers may wear shoes. (I wonder if Rizal, like Simoun, was trying to stoke
the feelings of his countrymen with this.) Ben Zayb and P. Camorra talk about magnetism and magic.
Juanito Pelaez speaks about the talking head in the fair/carnival of Mr. Leeds. Simoun suggests that
they all see the talking head of the famous Sphinx to settle once and for all if it truly is the work of the
devil, or just a trick with mirrors. Twelve people leave the house of Quiroga to see the show of Mr.
Leeds in the Quiapo fair. (Simoun is such a master manipulator. He really knows how to set people up.
Maybe he
should‘ve been a Reality TV Host?)

Chapter 17: The Quiapo Fair

It is the month of January, and twelve people leave the house of Quiroga. They make their way through
the Quiapo fair, towards the tent of Mr. Leeds. The chapter describes the lewd behavior of Padre
Camorra, who ogles the young lasses. He gets more excited when he sees the beautiful Paulita Gomez,
escorted by the overly jealous Isagani and Doña Victorina.
But there‘s

The slightly tipsy group visits various stalls in the fair, and they make fun of each other by saying that
such-and-such sculpture looks like so-and-so.
Padre Camorra and Ben Zayb talk about a display called ―The Philippine Press ‖, but they think the
word ―press‖ refers to the flat iron held by a disheveled old woman.

They see a picture of someone who looks like Simoun, and that‘s when they notice that he is no
longer with the group. What facet of the Philippines did Rizal feature in this chapter? Rizal focused on
sculptors of figurines or images.
What does ―La Prenza Filipina‖ (‖The Philippine Press‖) represent? It represents the state of
journalism in the Philippines: * Old / Old-fashioned * Blind in one eye / lack of truth in reporting *

Even the journalist Ben Zayb did not understand that it was actually an attack on Philippine
Please take note of the image called ―Abaca Country‖: The Filipinos in the Philippines, a land of
abaca, are tied by foreigners using abaca, a natural resource of the country. Who do you think made that
image? Was it an artist in the Quiapo fair, or was it something Rizal
created in his own mind, and expressed as a political statement ―hidden‖ in the novel?
Anyway, Simoun is missing because he‘s pr
eparing for the next chapter, when the group gets drawn into the mysterious tent of Mr. Leeds.
Chapter 18: Deceptions
Mr. Leeds meets the group of twelve, and allows them to inspect the tent and equipment used to display
the Sphinx. He makes fun of the skeptical Ben Zayb, because Ben Zayb was unable
to find the hidden mirrors. Mr. Leeds brings the ashes to life by shouting ―Deremof! ‖, which is
probably an anagram of the word…

(Rizal is so Pinoy if he indeed made use of this form of wordplay.) Imuthis, the Sphinx, comes to life
and narrates his lifestory. His life is similar to that of Ibarra:

Both studied abroad.

Both got into trouble with the religious orders.

Both had a foe who was a priest, who was in love with their girlfriend.

Both had a girlfriend who was the daughter of a priest.

Both ―died‖ in a lake.

Both their girlfriends were raped in a temple/convent by their enemy priest.

Both returned to their country to seek revenge/justice.

Both returned under a different identity: Imuthis became

―The Sphinx‖ while Ibarra became ―Simoun‖.
Padre Salvi quickly saw the parallelism. He felt alluded to when the sphinx called him a
murderer. Perhaps it was Simoun‘s voice?
What does Cambyses in the story of the Sphinx symbolize? It represents their failed government. To
cover this fact up, both governments went after them. How was the Sphinx set-up? Simoun is a good
friend of Mr. Leeds. In the previous chapter,
you‘ll note that Simoun was nowhere to be found in the Quiapo fair. He probably slipped away
early enough to set-up the tent, so that he can give Padre Salvi the scare of his life. Imagine, an old
enemy of 13 years ago has come to life. How was the image of the Sphinx produced? The mirrors were
hidden in the legs of the table which supported the Sphinx. Perhaps Rizal was already thinking of
holograms way back then? Where did Mr. Leeds go after the show? He went straight to Hong Kong,
just in case Padre Salvi decided to do something to Mr. Leeds.
Basilio did not watch the show either. He was at studying at home. Simoun visits Basilio and they talk
about Kapitan Tiyago. They continue discussing when Simoun realizes it's almost 10:00pm. He berates
Basilio for not reading the materials Simoun gave him, and accuses Basilio of not loving his country.
Simoun warns Basilio that within one hour's time (11pm?), the revolution will begin and there will no
longer be any classes the following day. There will be no university, only killing in the streets. Simoun
asks Basilio to choose: Death or a Future. Basilio asks Simoun what he has to do, and when Simoun
reveals the plan to rescue Maria Clara, Basilio reveals the unfortunate news that Maria Clara had
already died. Simoun freaks out. When he found out that Maria Clara was dead, it was as if he were
also dead. He runs out of the house. Simoun forgets to give the signal for the revolution to begin. (What
did the Green Goblin say when it comes to fighting Spiderman? First, attack his heart.) Why did
Basilio still take care of the terminally ill Kapitan Tiyago, a patient who was giving Basilio such a hard
time? Believe it or not, Basilio is an upright person who believes in doing what is honorable. Why did
Simoun liken Kapitan Tiyago to the Philippine government? Just as the poisonous opium has already
spread throughout the body of the dying Kapitan Tiyago, so has the poison
of corruption spread through the ―dying‖ Philippines.
Why does Simoun need Basilio? Aside from Simoun and Kapitan Tiyago, Basilio is the only one who
can recognize Maria Clara, whom they have to rescue from the nunnery at Saint Claire. Simoun can't
do it, because he has to command the groups during the revolution. What can be said about Simoun's
revolution? It's not really for the good of the Philippines; rather, it is for the benefit of Simoun. He is
doing it out of revenge, and also as a way of allowing him to get Maria Clara out of the Sta. Clara
convent. Why did Kapitan Tiyago cry in front of and ask forgiveness from the portrait of Maria Clara
after he found out that she had died? He was sorry for allowing her to be put into the convent. He was
aware of the hardships that she would suffer, but he gave in to the orders of the frailes. Why did the
poison quickly spread through the body of Kapitan Tiyago? When Basilio was not around, Padre Irene
would give Kapitan Tiyago a lot of opium. This is similar to Simoun harming the Philippines by
engaging in evil deeds. Padre Irene wanted Kapitan Tiyago to die quickly, so that he can inherit all of
the old man's
property. Simoun wanted the Philippines to ―die‖ so that he can mount a revolution, backed by
the Filipinos who have had enough of the government's corruption and oppression. Who are the four
groups of people involved in Simoun's revolution? Group 1: The soldiers who were convinced by
Simoun that the Kapitan Heneral ordered the attack on the convents of the frailes. This is to help the
Kapitan Heneral hang on to power even if he was being sent back to Spain.

Group 2: The frailes' supporters whom Simoun convinced to defend themselves from the attack of the
soldiers. These people believe that the frailes are here to stay, and that the government officials (e.g.,
Kapitan Heneral) just come and go. Group 3: The bandits (under the leadership of Kabesang Tales).
They wanted to attack both the soldiers and the fraile supporters because of various social injustices
done to the people.
Hmmm… NPA?
Group 4: The regular people, such as Basilio. Simoun will try to convince them to fight either the
government or the revolutionaries. As Camarroncocido had observed, the theater was surrounded by
Simoun's men who were ready to kill everyone inside. Since the Heneral was in the theater, his death
would leave the Spaniards leaderless, and Simoun would succeed.
Well, at least that's Simoun's dream…

Chapter 24: Dreams

The jealous Isagani is fuming because of what he saw at the theater, and he plans to give
Paulita a piece of his mind when they meet in Luneta. But Paulita turns the tables on him…
(Take note of the symbolisms used in this chapter.) She acts as if she were jealous, and accuses him of
staring at the French girls. She explains that she agreed to go with Juanito, so that she will be able to
meet Isagani. She adds that it is Donya Victorina who is in love with Juanito. Paulita and Isagani both
How‘s that for girl power, eh?
Anyway, they discuss their dreams and hopes for the future. Isagani talks about settling in the
provinces; Paulita prefers to travel by train. Isagani describes a future of a network of train tracks
spanning the country, of bays and rivers filled with commercial ships, of a Philippines as progressive as
England, thanks to the support of Spain.
Paulita scoffs at Isagani‘s dreams. She says that according to her Tia Torina, the country will remain
enslaved. Isagani counters that Paulita‘s aunt thinks that way, because she cannot live
without slaves. Isagani holds on to his dreams. He is too in love with Paulita. That same love makes
him spout romantic notions of a wonderful future for the country. Their dream-like conversation comes
to an abrupt end with a shout from Donya Victorina. Isagani gets to ride with Paulita in the carriage,
and he starts daydreaming (or it is nightdreaming because it is evening?) and hardly hears the questions
of Donya Victorina.
He was probably still fantasizing about Paulita and staring at her, that he didn‘t realize they had
already reached Plaza Santa Cruz.

This chapter contrasts the two kinds of youth: those who care about their country, and those who think
only of themselves. Rizal uses Isagani as a symbol of the Filipino youth who has dreams of progress
and greatness for their beloved country, the Philippines. Does this mean that Paulita symbolizes the
You‘ll also find here Rizal‘s prediction that the forested areas of Quezon City and Mandaluyong would
someday be developed. He should‘ve also gone into real estate, don‘t you think?

Chapter 25: Laughter and Tears

The 14 students decide to gather and ―celebrate‖ at the Panciteria Macanista de Buen Gusto, a
restaurant whose name roughly translates to ―yummy Chinese foods from Macau.‖ It must have
been a small resto because they were able to reserve all the tables. There are written signs, and the you
can tell from the way the students were talking that they were let down and were feeling hurt by what
Don Custodio did (or rather, did not do for them). The students invited Basilio in hopes that they can
get him drunk enough to share the inside story about a missing child and a nun.
Dinner is served and they offer the ―pansit langlang‖ in honor of Don Custodio. The other food
items are given descriptions, and are likened to certain key characters. The students force Tadeo to give
a speech even if Tadeo was unprepared. Pecson also gives a speech where he lashes out at the frailes.
They see one of the servants of Padre Sibyla, the vice-rector of the university. The servant rides the
carriage of Simoun.
Questions and Answers
1. Why were the students celebrating?
They were being sarcastic. They were faking their agreement with Don Custodio‘s proposal.

2. How many students were there? Who were they?

There were 13 Filipino students, plus 1 Spanish student (Sandoval). Isagani arrives later, increasing
their number to 15. Makaraig, Tadeo and Pecson were there. Basilio was a no-show.
3. What really happened to Simoun?
He forgot to give the signal (a shot), so his teams got confused. Perhaps one of the team
members hurt Simoun, because he was angry at Simoun‘s indecision (which lead to the failure
of the revolution).
4. Why does Makaraig think that “pancit” is actually a Filipino creation?

Pancit is not known in Japan or China (even if those two countries have noodles). Rizal thinks
―pancit‖ was invented by the Chinese living in the Philippines.

5. Why did Pecson say that the life of a Filipino begins and ends with the fraile?

According to the katedratiko Basilio got to speak with, Simoun had nothing to do with these things. In
fact, Simoun had been bed-ridden for the past two days.
3. Who saw the paskils?
None of those talking actually saw anything. The Vice Rector Sibyla has these taken down and sent to
the civil government as proof against the students whom the Vice Rector was certain were behind all
4. What did the katedratiko mean when he said that Capitan Tiago smells like a corpse?
He noted that Padre Irene and Simoun were visiting Capitan Tiago more often. And since they will
benefit from the demise of Capitan Tiago, those two regular visitors were like crows and vultures (birds
who linger near those who are about to die).
5. Why did Isagani look pale during his speech?
He was feeling extremely angry and hurt because his groupmates started panicking, fearful of the
recent events.
6. Who was behind those signs (paskil)?
Most likely it was the frailes. They wanted to frame the students. Most likely, it was Vice Rector Sibyla
who was behind all these.
7. Why did Makaraig call Basilio an honorable friend?
Makaraig thought that Basilio, who did not join their group during the past good times, was now
willing to be with them in the midst of the crackdown by the government on the students. Well,
that‘s what Makaraig thought.

Chapter 27: The Friar and the Filipino

―Vox populi, vox Dei‖

Padre Fernandez
asked a a

(―bright poor student leader who did not pay tuition, board

and lodging, but served the priests during mass and in the refectory‖) to summon

. Padre Fernandez was heard the speech that Isagani delivered, and asked Isagani if he was present at
the dinner. He was impressed that Isagani could speak face to face with those he criticized, unlike most
students who would just complain from afar. He revealed that Isagani was his favorite student, and that
Isagani may freely speak about anything in his class.
(By the way, you really ought to read the exchange between Isagani and the friar Padre
Fernandez, to gain an appreciation of Isagani’s independent way of thinking.)
Key Points


Friar-professor, or someone who teaches at the university.

Isagani is in his freshman year at UST. He came from the Ateneo.

Philippine population at that time: 8 million.

The Dominicans were the religious order that had the right to teach in the Philippines at that time (UST
and San Juan de Letran).

What did Isagani mean when he said that the friars did nothing except ration out old ideas?
He meant that the friars would give out so few ideas at a time, and that these ideas were
outdated. Apparently, Isagani got in touch with people who had traveled to Europe, and that‘s
how he got to know about more modern ideas.
What did Rizal observe about the Dominicans having the sole right to teach the Filipinos?
Rizal likened the situation to a government that auctions off to the highest bidder the right to teach.
This is similar to businesspeople who bid to get the right to feed those who are in jail. In
other words, it‘s something highly commercialized, but not really that effective.

What does
Vox populi, vox Dei
It means that the voice of the people is the voice of God. Sounds like democracy, right?
Why, according to Isagani, did not a single student dare to speak out against the friars face-to-face?

the students were scared that they will be persecuted by those in power.
What did Isagani say the students wanted from the friars?
The students wanted the friars to treat them well, and to give the students every opportunity to learn.
As in,
How did Isagani liken the religious orders to business people who fed prisoners?
The business folks would give very little food to the prisoners (it helps keep their costs down).
Likewise, the friars would give very little knowledge to the students. In both cases, those in power
simply wanted to increase their profits.
What did Isagani tell Padre Fernandez about the sculptor and the poor quality of his materials (clay)?
They were debating about whether or not Filipinos should be taught by the friars (sculptors) even if
Filipinos (clay) were not really serious about studying. The debate turned into a series of
―it‘s the fault of the clay‖ –

―no, it‘s the fault of the sculptor‖ argument.

From the Lacson-Locsin translation: Still more stupid is he then, because, knowing that it is bad, he
does not reject the material and
continues wasting time…and he is not only stupid, he cheats and ste
als, because knowing the
uselessness of his work he cotinues it in order to receive compensation…and he is not only
stupid and a thief, but also a villain because he prevents another sculptor from exercising his skill to see
if he might produce something worthwhile! The lamentable jealousy of incompetence!
Whoa… Isagani released quite a mouthful, don‘t you think? That shows how quick his mind is.
Padre Fernandez was not able to get a word in during that flurry of sentences.
What did Padre Fernandez mean by
quien manda, manda, y cartachara al canon
Quien manda, manda

―Orders are orders‖

Cartachara al canon

―Load the cannons with bullets/shells‖

Padre Fernandez was, in effect, saying: ―Hey, don‘t blame us for our teaching style. We‘re just
following th
e orders of the government.‖

What did Padre Fernandez say was the source of the bad habits of the Filipinos?

It‘s in the genes. It‘s natural for Filipinos to be lazy, according to P. Fernandez.
Obviously, that sweeping generalization about Filipinos being lazy is not true because here you are,
studying hard to get higher grades in your Filipino class.:-)
What did Padre Fernandez say was the equivalent of suicide (for friars)?
Allowing anyone to teach is the equivalent of friar-suicide, because the friars would then lose
their monopoly on ―education.‖

What did Isagani say?

He said that it is not suicide. It is merely a way of keeping the friars from getting run over by the
movement of students who are clamoring for freedom in how they get their education.
What did P. Fernandez say the Filipinos should study?
Farming. The friar hopes that withholding education from the Filipinos will give those who are
educated more power over those who just labor and toil in the fields.
Padre Fernandez thinks that Isagani gained his ideas from the Jesuits in Ateneo. The Jesuits, however,
deny that it came from them. So, where did Isagani get his thoughts?
According to Rizal, Isagani got those from his own genius, which is a gift from God. (Rizal is
inserting into this story his experience with the Jesuits who disowned him after Rizal wrote the
. Padre Faura told Rizal to never set foot again in the college. Anyway, it‘s good to
see that some modern Atenistas are proud that Rizal is from the Ateneo.)
Chapter 28: Tatakut
With prophetic inspiration Ben-Zayb had been for some days past maintaining in his newspaper that
education was disastrous, very disastrous for the Philippine Islands, and now in view of the events of
that Friday of pasquinades, the writer crowed and chanted his triumph, leaving belittled and
overwhelmed his adversary
, who in the
had dared to ridicule him in the following manner: From our contemporary,
El Grito
―Education is disastrous, very disastrous, for the Philippine Islands.‖
Admitted. For some time
El Grito
has pretended to represent the Filipino people

, as Fray Ibañez would say, if he knew Latin. But Fray Ibañez turns Mussulman when he writes, and we
know how the Mussulmans dealt with education.
In witness whereof
, as a royal preacher said, the Alexandrian library! Now he was right, he, Ben-Zayb! He was the only
one in the islands who thought, the only one who foresaw events!

―On account of the operetta,‖ added another workman.

―Aha!‖ exclaimed one who had a foolish face, ―I told you so!‖

―Ahem!‖ rejoined a clerk, in a tone of compassion, ―the affair of the pasquinades is true, Chichoy,
and I can give you the explanation.‖
Then he added mysteri
ously, ―It‘s a trick of the Chinaman Quiroga‘s!‖

―Ahem, ahem!‖ again coughed the silversmith, shifting his quid of buyo from one cheek to the
―Believe me, Chichoy, of Quiroga the Chinaman! I heard it in the office.‖

, it‘s certain then,‖ exc
laimed the simpleton, believing it at once.
―Quiroga,‖ explained the clerk, ―has a hundred thousand pesos in Mexican silver out in the bay.
How is he to get it in? Very easily. Fix up the pasquinades, availing himself of the question of the
students, and, while every-
body is excited, grease the officials‘ palms, and in the cases come!‖

―Just it! Just it!‖ cried the credulous fool, striking the table with his fist. ―Just it! That‘s why Quiroga
did it! That‘s why—‖ But
he had to relapse into silence as he really did not know what to say about Quiroga.
―And we must pay the damages?‖ asked the indignant Chichoy.

―Ahem, ahem, a
hem!‖ coughed the silversmith, hearing steps in the street.
The footsteps approached and all in the shop fell silent.
―St. Pascual Bailon is a great saint,‖ declared the silversmith hypocritically, in a loud voice, at the
same time winking to the others. ―St. Pascual Bailon—‖
At that moment there appeared the face of Placido Penitente, who was accompanied by the
pyrotechnician that we saw receiving orders from Simoun. The newcomers were surrounded and
importuned for news.
―I haven‘t been able to talk with the prisoners,‖ explained Placido. ―There are some thirty of them.‖

―Be on your guard,‖ c

autioned the pyrotechnician, exchanging a knowing look with Placido.
―They say that to
night there‘s going to be a massacre.‖

―Aha! Thunder!‖ exclaimed Chichoy, looking about for a weapon. Seeing none, he caught up his
blowpipe. The silversmith sat down, trembling in every limb. The credulous simpleton already saw
himself beheaded and wept in anticipation over the fate of his family.

―No,‖ contradicted the clerk, ―there‘s not going to be any massacre. The adviser of‖—
he made a mysterious gesture
—―is fortunately sick.‖


―Ahem, ahem, a
Placido and the pyrotechnician exchanged another look.
―If he hadn‘t got sick—‖

―It would look like a revolution,‖ added the pyrotechnician negligently, as he lighted a cigarette in the
lamp chimney. ―And what should we do then?‖
―Then we‘d start a real one, now that they‘re going to massacre us anyhow—‖
The violent fit of coughing that seized the silversmith prevented the rest of this speech from being
heard, but Chichoy must have been saying terrible things, to judge from his murderous gestures with
the blowpipe and the face of a Japanese tragedian that he put on.
―Rather say that he‘s playing off sick because he‘s afraid to go out. As may be seen—‖
The silversmith was attacked by another fit of coughing so severe that he finally asked all to retire.
―Nevertheless, get ready,‖ warned the pyrotechnician. ―If they want to force us to kill or be
Another fit of coughing on the part of the poor silversmith prevented further conversation, so the
workmen and apprentices retired to their homes, carrying with them hammers and saws, and other
implements, more or less cutting, more or less bruising, disposed to sell their lives dearly. Placido and
the pyrotechnician went out again.
―Prudence, prudence!‖ cautioned the silversmith in a tearful voice.

―You‘ll take care of my widow and orphans!‖ begged the credulous simpleton in a still more
tearful voice, for he already saw himself riddled with bullets and buried. That night the guards at the
city gates were replaced with Peninsular artillerymen, and on the following morning as the sun rose,
Ben-Zayb, who had ventured to take a morning stroll to examine the condition of the fortifications,
found on the glacis near the Luneta the corpse of a native girl, half-naked and abandoned. Ben-Zayb
was horrified, but after touching it with his cane and gazing toward the gates proceeded on his way,
musing over a sentimental tale he might base upon the incident. However, no allusion to it appeared in
the newspapers on the following days, engrossed as they were with the falls and slippings caused by
banana-peels. In the dearth of news Ben-Zayb had to comment at length on a cyclone that had
destroyed in America whole towns, causing the death of more than two thousand persons. Among other
beautiful things he said:

The sentiment of charity
who, influenced by that same feeling, sacrificed himself for
humanity, moves (sic)
us to compassion over the misfortunes of our kind and to render thanks that
in this country
, so scourged by cyclones, there are not enacted scenes so desolating
as that which the inhabitants of the United States mus have witnessed!‖

did not miss the opportunity, and, also without mentioning the dead, or the murdered native girl, or the
assaults, answered him in his
―After such great charity and such great humanity, Fray Ibañez—
I mean, Ben-Zayb

brings himself to pray for the Philippines. But he is understood.
Because he is not Catholic, and the sentiment of charity is most prevalent,‖ etc.
Chapter 29: Exit Capitan Tiago
Talis vita, finis ita Capitan Tiago had a good end

that is, a quite exceptional funeral. True it is that the curate of the parish had ventured the observation
to Padre Irene that Capitan Tiago had died without confession, but the good priest, smiling sardonically,
had rubbed the tip of his nose and answered:
―Why say that to me? If we had to deny the obsequies to all who die wit
hout confession, we should forget the
De profundis
! These restrictions, as you well know, are enforced when the impenitent is also insolvent. But Capitan
—out on you! You‘ve buried infidel Chinamen, and with a requiem mass!‖
Capitan Tiago had named Padre Irene as his executor and willed his property in part to St. Clara, part
to the Pope, to the Archbishop, the religious corporations, leaving twenty pesos for the matriculation of
poor students. This last clause had been dictated at the suggestion of Padre Irene, in his capacity as
protector of studious youths. Capitan Tiago had annulled a legacy of twenty-five pesos that he had left
to Basilio, in view of the ungrateful conduct of the boy during the last few days, but Padre Irene had
restored it and announced that he would take it upon his own purse and conscience.
In the dead man‘s house, where were assembled on the following day many old friends and
acquaintances, considerable comment was indulged in over a miracle. It was reported that, at the very
moment when he was dying, the [284] soul of Capitan Tiago had appeared to the nuns surrounded by a
brilliant light. God had saved him, thanks to the pious legacies, and to the numerous masses he had
paid for. The story was commented upon, it was recounted vividly, it took on particulars, and was
doubted by no one. The appearance of Capitan Tiago was minutely described

of course the frock coat, the cheek bulged out by the quid of buyo, without omitting the game-cock and
the opium-pipe. The senior sacristan, who was present, gravely affirmed these facts with his head and
reflected that, after death, he would appear with his cup of white
, for without that refreshing breakfast he could not comprehend happiness either on earth or in heaven.

It was reported that his Excellency had been thus advised: ―It‘s necessary that there be some
one, so that the prestige of authority may be sustained and that it may not be said that we made a great
fuss over nothing. Authority before everything.
It‘s necessary that some one be made an
example of. Let there be just one, one who, according to Padre Irene, was the servant of Capitan Tiago
—there‘ll be no one to enter a complaint—‖

―Servant and student?‖ asked his Excellency. ―That fellow, then! Let it be he!‖

―Your Excellency will pardon me,‖ observed the high official, who happened to be present, ―but I‘ve
been told that this boy is a medical student and his teachers speak well of him. If he remains a prisoner
he‘ll lose a year, and as this year he

The high official‘s interference in behalf of Basilio, instead of helping, harmed him. For some
time there had been between this official and his Excellency strained relations and bad feelings,
augmented by frequent clashes.
―Yes? So much the
greater reason that he should be kept prisoner; a year longer in his studies, instead of injuring
[301]him, will do good, not only to himself but to all who afterwards fall into his
hands. One doesn‘t become a bad physician by extensive practise. So much
the more reason that he should remain! Soon the filibustering reformers will say that we are not looking
out for
the country!‖ concluded his Excellency with a sarcastic laugh.

The high official realized that he had made a false move and took Basilio‘s case to heart. ―But it
seems to me that this young man is the most innocent of all,‖ he rejoined rather timidly.

―Books have been seized in his possession,‖ observed the secretary.

―Yes, works on medicine and pamphlets written by Peninsulars, with the leaves
uncut, and besides, what does that signify? Moreover, this young man was not present at the banquet in
, he hasn‘t mixed up in anything. As I‘ve said, he‘s the most innocent—‖

―So much the better!‖ exclaimed his Excellency jocosely. ―In tha
t way the punishment will prove more salutary and exemplary, since it inspires greater terror. To govern
is to act in this way, my
dear sir, as it is often expedient to sacrifice the welfare of one to the welfare of many. But I‘m
doing more

from the welfare of one will result the welfare of all, the principle of endangered
authority is preserved, prestige is respected and maintained. By this act of mine I‘m correcting my own
and other people‘s faults.‖
The high official restrained himself with an effort and, disregarding the allusion, decided to take
another tack. ―But doesn‘t your Excellency fear the—responsibility?‖

―What have I to fear?‖ rejoined the General impatiently. ―Haven‘t I discretionary powers? Can‘t I
do what I please for the better government of these islands? What have I to fear? Can some menial
perhaps arraign me before the tribunals and exact from me responsibility? Even though he had the
means, he would have to consult the Ministry first, and the Minister
[302] He waved his hand and burst out into laughter.
―The Minister who appointed me, the devil knows where he is, and he will feel honored in being able
to welcome me when I return. The present one, I don‘t even think of him, and the devil take
him too! The one that relieves him will find himself in so many difficulties with his new duties that
he won‘t be able to fool with trifles. I, my dear sir, have nothing over me but my conscience, I act

according to my conscience, and my conscience is satisfied, so I don‘t care a straw for the
nions of this one and that. My conscience, my dear sir, my conscience!‖

―Yes, General, but the country—‖

―Tut, tut, tut, tut! The country—
what have I to do Avith the country? Have I perhaps contracted any obligations to it? Do I owe my
office to it? Was
it the country that elected me?‖
A brief pause ensued, during which the high official stood with bowed head. Then, as if reaching a
decision, he raised it to stare fixedly at the General. Pale and trembling, he said with
repressed energy: ―That doesn‘t matter, General, that doesn‘t matter at all! Your Excellency has
not been chosen by the Filipino people, but by Spain, all the more reason why you should treat the
Filipinos well so that they may not be able to reproach Spain. The greater reason, General, the greater
reason! Your Excellency, by coming here, has contracted the obligation to govern justly, to seek the

―Am I not doing it?‖ interrupted his Excellency in exasperation, taking a step forward. ―Haven‘t I
told you that I am getting from the good of one the good of all? Are you now going to give me
lessons? If you don‘t understand my actions, how am I to blame? Do I compel you to share my

―Certainly not,‖ replied the high official, drawing himself up proudly. ―Your Excellenc
y does not compel me, your Excellency cannot compel me,
to share
responsibility. I understand mine in quite another way, [303]
and because I have it, I‘m going to speak—I‘ve held my peace a long time. Oh, your Excellency
needn‘t make those gestures, because the fact that I‘ve come here in this or that capacity doesn‘t mean
that I have given up my rights, that I have been
reduced to the part of a slave, without voice or dignity.
―I don‘t want Spain to lose this beautiful empire, these eight millions of patient and submissive
subjects, who live on hopes and delusions, but neither do I wish to soil my hands in their
barbarous exploitation. I don‘t wish it ever to be said that, the s
lave-trade abolished, Spain has continued to cloak it with her banner and perfect it under a wealth of
specious institutions. No, to be great Spain does not have to be a tyrant, Spain is sufficient unto herself,
Spain was greater when she had only her own territory, wrested from the clutches of the Moor. I too am
a Spaniard, but before being a Spaniard I am a man, and before Spain and above Spain is her honor, the
lofty principles of morality, the eternal principles of immutable justice! Ah, you are surprised that I
think thus, because you have no idea of the grandeur of the Spanish name, no,
you haven‘t any idea of it, you identify it with persons and interests. To you the Spaniard may be
a pirate, he may be a murderer, a hypocrite, a cheat, anything, just so he keep what he has

but to me the Spaniard should lose everything, empire, power, wealth, everything, before his honor!
Ah, my dear sir, we protest when we read that might is placed before right, yet we applaud when in
practise we see might play the hypocrite in not only perverting right but even in
using it as a tool in order to gain control. For the very reason that I love Spain, I‘m speaking
now, and I defy your frown!
―I don‘t wish that the coming ages accuse Spain of being the stepmother of the nat
ions, the vampire of races, the tyrant of small islands, since it would be a horrible mockery of the noble
principles of our ancient kings. How are we carrying out their sacred legacy? They promised to these
[304]islands protection and justice, and we are playing with the lives and liberties of the inhabitants;
they promised civilization, and^we are curtailing it, fearful that they may aspire to a nobler existence;
they promised them light, and we cover their eyes that they may not witness

our orgies; they promised to teach them virtue and we are encouraging their vice. Instead of peace,
wealth, and justice, confusion reigns, commerce languishes, and skepticism is fostered among the
―Let us put ourselves in the place of the Filipinos and ask ourselv
es what we would do in their place. Ah, in your silence I read their right to rebel, and if matters do not
mend they will rebel some day, and justice will be on their side, with them will go the sympathy of all
honest men, of every patriot in the world! When a people is denied light, home, liberty, and justice

things that
are essential to life, and therefore man‘s patrimony—
that people has the right to treat him who so despoils it as we would the robber who intercepts us on the
highway. There are no distinctions, there are no exceptions, nothing but a fact, a right, an aggression,
and every honest man who does not place himself on the side of the wronged makes himself an
accomplice and stains his conscience.
―True, I am not a soldier, and the years are cool
ing the little fire in my blood, but just as I would risk being torn to pieces to defend the integrity of
Spain against any foreign invader or against an unjustified disloyalty in her provinces, so I also assure
you that I would place myself beside the oppressed Filipinos, because I would prefer to fall in the cause
of the outraged rights of humanity to triumphing with the selfish interests of a nation, even when that
nation be called as it is called

―Do you know when the mail

boat leaves?‖ inquire
d his Excellency coldly, when the high official had finished speaking. The latter stared at him fixedly,
then dropped his head and silently left the palace.[305]
Outside he found his carriage awaiting him. ―Some day when you declare yourselves
,‖ he said somewhat abstractedly to the native lackey who opened the carriage
door for him, ―remember that there were not lacking in Spain hearts that beat for you and struggled
for your rights!‖

―Where, sir?‖ asked the lackey, who had understood nothing

of this and was inquiring whither they should go. Two hours later the high official handed in his
resignation and announced his intention of returning to Spain by the next mail-steamer.[306]
Chapter 32. Effect of the Pasquinades
As a result of the events narrated, many mothers ordered their sons immediately to leave off their
studies and devote themselves to idleness or to agriculture. When the examinations came, suspensions
were plentiful, and he was a rare exception who finished the course, if he had belonged to the famous
association, to which no one paid any more attention. Pecson, Tadeo, and Juanito Pelaez were all alike

the first receiving his dismissal with his foolish grin and declaring his intention of becoming an officer
in some court, while Tadeo, with his eternal holiday realized at last, paid for an illumination and made a
bonfire of his books. Nor did the others get off much better, and at length they too had to abandon their
studies, to the great satisfaction of their mothers, who always fancy their sons hanged if they should
come to understand what the books teach. Juanito Pelaez alone took the blow ill, since it forced him to
leave school for his father‘s store, with whom he was thenceforward to be associated in the

society. Now he had it before him, transparent and slightly yellowish, poured with great caution into
the artistic pomegranate. Simoun looked to him like the jinnee of the
Arabian Nights
that sprang from the sea, he took on gigantic proportions, his head touched the sky, he made the house
tremble and shook the whole city with a shrug of his shoulders. The pomegranate assumed the form of
a colossal sphere, the fissures became hellish grins whence escaped names and glowing cinders. For the
first time in his life Basilio was overcome with fright and completely lost his composure. Simoun,
meanwhile, screwed on solidly a curious and complicated mechanism, put in place a glass chimney,
then the bomb, and crowned the whole with an elegant shade. Then he moved away some distance to
contemplate the effect, inclining his head now to one side, now to the other, thus better to appreciate its
magnificent appearance.
Noticing that Basilio was watching him with questioning and suspicious eyes, he said, ―Tonight
there will be a fiesta and this lamp will be placed in a little dining-
kiosk that I‘ve had constructed
for the purpose. The lamp will give a brilliant light, bright enough to suffice for the illumination of the
whole place by itself, but at the end of twenty minutes the light will fade, and then when some one tries
to turn up the wick a cap of fulminate of mercury will explode, the pomegranate will blow up and with
it the dining-room, in the roof and floor of which I have concealed sacks of powder, so that
no one shall escape.‖

There wras a moment‘s silence, while Simoun stared at his mechanism and Basilio scarcely
―So my assistance is not needed,‖ observed the young man.

―No, you have another mission to fulfill,‖ replied Simoun thoughtfully. ―

At nine the mechanism will have exploded and the report will have been heard in the country round, in
the mountains, in the caves. The uprising that I had arranged with the artillerymen was a failure from
lack [316]of plan and timeliness, but this time it
won‘t be so. Upon hearing the explosion, the wretched and
the oppressed, those who wander about pursued by force, will sally forth armed to join Cabesang Tales
in Santa Mesa, whence they will fall upon the city,
while the soldiers, whom I have made to believe that the General is shamming an insurrection in order
to remain, will issue from their barracks ready to fire upon whomsoever I may designate. Meanwhile,
the cowed populace, thinking that the hour of massacre has come, will rush out prepared to kill or be
killed, and as they have neither arms nor organization, you with some others will put yourself at their
head and direct them to the warehouses of Quiroga, where I keep my rifles. Cabesang Tales and I will
join one another in the city and take possession of it, while you in the suburbs will seize the bridges and
throw up barricades, and then be ready to come to our aid to butcher not only those opposing the
but also every man who refuses to take up arms and join us.‖
―All?‖ stammered Basilio in a choking voice.

―All!‖ repeated Simoun in a sinister tone. ―All—

Indians, mestizos, Chinese, Spaniards, all who are found to be without courage, without energy. The
race must be renewed! Cowardly fathers
will only breed slavish sons, and it wouldn‘t be worth while to destroy and then try to rebuild with
rotten materials. What, do you shudder? Do you tremble, do you fear to scatter death? What is death?
What does a hecatomb of twenty thousand wretches signify? Twenty thousand miseries less, and
millions of wretches saved from birth! The most timid ruler does not [317]hesitate to dictate a law that
produces misery and lingering death for thousands and thousands of prosperous and industrious
subjects, happy perchance, merely to satisfy a caprice, a whim, his

pride, and yet you shudder because in one night are to be ended forever the mental tortures of many
helots, because a vitiated and paralytic people has to die to give place to another, young, active, full of
―What is death? Nothingness, or a dream? Can its specters be compared to the reality of the
agonies of a whole miserable generation? The needful thing is to destroy the evil, to kill the dragon and
bathe the new people in the blood, in order to make it strong and invulnerable. What else is the
inexorable law of Nature, the law of strife in which the weak has to succumb so that the vitiated species
be not perpetuated and creation thus travel backwards? Away then with effeminate scruples! Fulfill the
eternal laws, foster them, and then the earth will be so much the more fecund the more it is fertilized
with blood, and the thrones the more solid the more they rest upon crimes and corpses. Let there be no
hesitation, no doubtings! What is the pain of death? A momentary sensation, perhaps confused, perhaps
agreeable, like the transition from waking to sleep. What is it that is being destroyed? Evil, suffering

feeble weeds, in order to set in their place luxuriant plants. Do you call that destruction? I should call it
creating, producing,
nourishing, vivifying!‖
Such bloody sophisms, uttered with conviction and coolness, overwhelmed the youth, weakened as he
was by more than three months in prison and blinded by his passion for revenge, so he was not in a
mood to analyze the moral basis of the matter. Instead of replying that the worst and cowardliest of
men is always something more than a plant, because he has a soul and an intelligence, which, however
vitiated and brutalized they may be, can be redeemed; instead of replying that man has no right to
dispose of one life for the benefit of another, that the right to life is inherent in every individual like the
right to liberty and to [318]light; instead of replying that if it is an abuse on the part of governments to
punish in a culprit the faults and crimes to which they have driven him by their own negligence or
stupidity, how much more so would it be in a man, however great and however unfortunate he might
be, to punish in a wretched people the faults of its governments and its ancestors; instead of declaring
that God alone can use such methods, that God can destroy because He can create, God who holds in
His hands recompense, eternity, and the future, to justify His acts, and man never; instead of these
reflections, Basilio merely interposed a cant reflection.
―What will the world say at the sight of such butchery?‖

―The world will applaud, as usual, conceding the right of the strongest, the most violent!‖ replied

Simoun with his cruel smile. ―Europe applauded when the western nations sacrificed millions of
Indians in America, and not by any means to found nations much more moral or more pacific: there is
the North with its egotistic liberty, its lynch-law, its political frauds

the South with its turbulent republics, its barbarous revolutions, civil wars, pronunciamientos, as in its
mother Spain! Europe applauded when the powerful Portugal despoiled the Moluccas, it applauds
while England is destroying the primitive races in the Pacific to make room for its emigrants. Europe
will applaud as the end of a drama, the close of a tragedy, is applauded, for the vulgar do not fix their
attention on principles, they look only at results. Commit the crime well, and you will be admired and
have more partizans than if you had carried out virtuous actions with modesty and

―Exactly,‖ rejoined the youth, ―what does it matter to me, after all, whether they praise or
censure, when this world takes no care of the oppressed, of the poor, and of weak womankind?
What obligations have I to recognize toward society when it has recognized none toward me?‖

―That‘s what I like to hear,‖ declared the tempter triumphantly.

[319]He took a revolver from a case and gave it to Basilio, s
aying, ―At ten o‘clock wait for me in front of the church of St.

Sebastian to receive my final instructions. Ah, at nine you must be far, very far from Calle
Basilio examined the weapon, loaded it, and placed it in the inside pocket of his coat, then took
his leave with a curt, ―I‘ll see you later.‖
Chapter 34: The Wedding
Once in the street, Basilio began to consider how he might spend the time until the fatal hour
arrived, for it was then not later than seven o‘clock. It was the
vacation period and all the students were back in their towns, Isagani being the only one who had not
cared to leave, but he had disappeared that morning and no one knew his whereabouts

so Basilio had been informed when after leaving the prison he had gone to visit his friend and ask him
for lodging. The young man did not know where to go, for he had no money, nothing but the revolver.
The memory of the lamp filled his imagination, the great catastrophe that would occur within two
hours. Pondering over this, he seemed to see the men who passed before his eyes walking without
heads, and he felt a thrill of ferocious joy in telling himself that, hungry and destitute, he that night was
going to be dreaded, that from a poor student and servant, perhaps the sun would see him transformed
into some one terrible and sinister, standing upon pyramids of corpses, dictating laws to all those who
were passing before his gaze now in magnificent carriages. He laughed like one condemned to death
and patted the butt of the revolver. The boxes of cartridges were also in his pockets. A question
suddenly occurred to him

where would the drama begin? In his bewilderment he had not thought of asking Simoun, but the latter
had warned him to keep away from Calle Anloague. Then came a suspicion: that afternoon, upon
leaving the prison, he had proceeded to the former house of Capitan Tiago to get his few personal
effects and had found it transformed, prepared for a fiesta

the wedding of Juanito Pelaez! Simoun had spoken of a fiesta. At this moment he noticed passing in
front of him a long line of carriages filled with ladies and gentlemen, conversing in a lively manner,
and he even thought he could make out big bouquets of flowers, but he gave the detail no thought. The
carriages were going toward Calle Rosario and in meeting those that came down off the Bridge of
Spain had to move along slowly and stop frequently. In one he saw Juanito Pelaez at the side of a
woman dressed in white with a transparent veil, in whom he recognized Paulita Gomez.
―Paulita!‖ he ejaculated in surprise, realizing that it was indeed she, in a bridal gown, along with
Juanito Pelaez, as though they were just coming from the church. ―Poor Isagani!‖ he murmured,
―what can have become of him?‖
He thought for a while about his friend, a great and generous soul, and mentally asked himself if it
would not be well to tell him about the plan, then answered himself that Isagani would never take part
in such a butchery. They had not treated Isagani as they had him. Then he thought that had there been
no imprisonment, he would have been betrothed, or a husband, at this time, a licentiate in medicine,
living and working in some corner of his province. The ghost of Juli, crushed in her fall, crossed his
mind, and dark flames of hatred lighted his eyes; again he caressed the butt of the revolver, regretting
that the terrible hour had not yet come. Just then he saw Simoun come out of the door of his house,
carrying in his hands the case containing the lamp, carefully wrapped up, and enter a carriage, which
then followed those

Mautang, one of the sadistic Filipino guardia civil, relishes the scene. He is countered by another
soldier, a more even-tempered Carolinian named Tano. Mautang explains that he wants to goad the
prisoners into escaping, so that the guardia civil would finally have a reason to shoot the fugitives
down. One of the farmers says that these Filipino guards are more cruel than their Spanish counterparts,
when he is not allowed to relieve his full bladder. The guards explained that they were not in a safe
area, because they were surrounded by tall mountains. Typical ambush
scenario, so you know what's coming next…
A shot is fired. Mautang is hit in the chest, blood spurts out of his mouth. The cabo or superior of the
soldiers points to the farmers and orders his men to shoot them.
―Fuego!‖ The farmers are gunned down.
The guardia civil rush up the mountain while being fired upon by the hidden ambushers. A man
appears in the talampas, or plateau of the mountain, and waves his gun. Tano is ordered by the cabo, or
head of the guardia civil, to shoot the man, after the three other soldiers failed to kill the shouting man.
No one could understand what the man was shouting. Tano is surprised when he sees the man. He
hesitates. The cabo points his gun to the sharpshooter Tano, and once again orders him to shoot. Tano
follows the order, the man falls and rolls away from the plateau. He shouts something, which stuns
Tano. The bandits run away, and the guardia civil rush up the mountain. Another man appears in the
plateau, and raises his spear. The soldiers gun him down. A guardia civil finally reaches the top of the
mountain, sees a dying old man, and bayonets him. The old man does not even wince. He just looks at
Tano and points to an area behind the plateau.
Key Points
At that time, people were already aware of the prison in cold Siberia, Russia (the Soviet Union). Rizal
wanted to paint a harsher scene, where Filipino prisoners are subjected to intense heat and cruelty.
Rizal also uses this chapter to point out the stupidity and cruelty of the Filipino guardia civil. (Actually,
this tends to happen when people are placed in situations where you have prisoners
and guards. No matter what your nationality is, if you play the role of a ―prison guard‖ there's a
pretty high possibility that you will turn sadistic.) Tano is called Carolino because he served in the
Carolinas or Caroline Islands.
This poignant chapter can be compared with the Noli Me Tangere's ―Noche Buena.‖ It talks
about families separating in times of adversity, and reuniting in tragedy. The twist of fate or irony
(parikala) is shown when Tano ends up killing his own father, Kabesang Tales.
Questions and Answers
1. Why did Matanglawin kill the judge in Tiani?
That judge ruled that the Dominicans owned the land of Kabesang Tales.
2. Why was Kabesang Tales successful as a bandit?
Since the indios were not allowed to bear arms or carry weapons, they simply left their village
whenever they heard that Matanglawin was attacking a nearby village.
3. What did the banditry of Kabesang Tales accomplish?
Just as Simoun planned, the Philippines suffered even more. People lived in fear, farmlands were left
unproductive, businesses failed, the destabilized government was shown to be inept, injustice was done
to the inn
ocent farmers…
In other words, all that made the country ripe for a revolution.
4. Why were the guardia civil treating the prisoners inhumanely?
Mautang wanted to tempt the prisoners into fighting or escaping, and that would give the soldiers a
reason to shoot the prisoners.
5. Why do you think Rizal named this character Mautang?
That's the Tagalog word which
means ―deep in debt.‖

6. Who was Tandang Selo pointing out to Tano?

Tandang Selo was the old man who was bayoneted by one of the guardia civil. He was pointing to a
spot behind the plateau where Kabesang Tales was felled by the bullet of Tano. If you remember, the
bandits scampered away after Tano shot a man.
7. What was Kabesang Tales shouting before he got shot?
We can only guess. Perhaps he was shouting the name of his son, Tano. (How's that for drama, eh? If
Rizal were to write teleseryes today, would the Filipino viewing public patronize stories with sad
Chapter 39 (Conclusion)
Simoun, wounded and exhausted, goes to the house of Padre Florentino to hide from the civil guards
who are sent to arrest him and take him into custody. Simoun drinks a poison, then reveals his true
identity to Padre Florentino

that he, Simoun the jeweler, is in fact Juan Crisostomo Ibarra, the fugitive believed to have died in the
river years ago. He admits that everything is his futile attempt to corrupt the government and the
society so that he could start a revolution to free the country from the bonds of Spain. Padre Florentino
corrects Simoun, telling him that freedom cannot be won by violence and the shedding of innocent
blood but by proper education, hard work, and long-suffering.
Points of Note:
Both the last chapter of the Noli and the last chapter of the El Fili are untitled. The sun is about to set
when Simoun reveals his true identity and life story to Padre Florentino.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Why did Simoun go to Padre Florentino?

Answer: Simoun felt that the priest was the one who could understand him more than anyone else.
What could have caused Simoun’s wounds?
Answer: He could have gotten it from the tulisanes who thought they were being played again
by Simoun in the jeweler‘s plan to revolt.

Read what Padre Florentino says: ―

--- from the hands
of those you urged you have been given punishment for your wrongs.‖
What was the mystery behind Simoun’s sad and cynical smile wh
en he learned he was to be arrested that night?
Answer: He has made up his mind to end his own life. The three disappointments in the life of Simoun
happened when: (1) Simoun failed to save Maria Clara, (2) Simoun's lack of care in certain events, and
(3) someone removed the lamp from the house, and thus foiled the plans of Simoun. On the question of
whether God allows evil in the world, Padre Florentino (similar to Balagtas) simply says that evil is
"just there."