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El Filibusterismo

El Filibusterismo

Translated by Ma. Soledad Lacson-Locsin
Edited by Raul L. Locsin
Copyright Date: 2007
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  • Book Info
    El Filibusterismo
    Book Description:

    El Filibusterismo (The Subversive) is the second novel by José Rizal (1861–1896), national hero of the Philippines. Like its predecessor, the better-known Noli Me Tangere, the Fili was written in Castilian while Rizal was traveling and studying in Europe. It was published in Ghent in 1891 and later translated into English, German, French, Japanese, Tagalog, Ilonggo, and other languages. A nationalist novel by an author who has been called "the first Filipino," its nature as a social document of the late-nineteenth-century Philippines is often emphasized. For many years copies of the Fili were smuggled into the Philippines after it was condemned as subversive by the Spanish authorities. Characters from the Noli (Basilio, Doña Victorina, Padre Salvi) return while new ones are introduced: Simoun, the transformed Ibarra; Cabesang Tales and his struggle for justice; the nationalist student Isagani; the Indio priest Padre Florentino. Through them the colonial milieu is expanded—its officialdom, education, legal system, power plays, social patterns—and seen anew as context for conflict and insight. Translator Soledad Lacson-Locsin is the first to have worked from facsimile editions of the original manuscripts. The result is the most authoritative and faithful English translation to date, one which attempts to preserve in English the cadence and color of the original.

    eISBN: 978-0-8248-6231-2
    Subjects: Law

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[vi])
  2. To the Filipino People and their Government
    (pp. [vii]-[viii])
    The Author
  3. To the Memory of the priests: Don Mariano Gomez (85 years old), Don Jose Burgos (30 years old), and Don Jacinto Zamora (35 years old).
    (pp. [ix]-[x])
    J. RIZAL
  4. Introduction
    (pp. [xi]-[xvi])

    Asequel to theNoli Me Tangere, theEl Filibusterismois a book for all seasons for peoples existing under oppressive regimes. It begins where theNolileaves off, where love, romance, heroism, idealism and tragedy turn to hate, bitterness, anger, disillusionment and vengeance.

    Unlike theNoli, which is largely a narration of events and the softer emotions, theFiliis dominated by dialogue, ideology and the angrier passions. How to capture the nuances of a language of almost a century gone by, in today’s English and with the same rage, is itself a story.

    TheFili, according to the...

  5. Table of Contents
    (pp. [xvii]-[xviii])
  6. 1 On Deck
    (pp. 1-10)

    One December morning the steamship TABO was arduously sailing upstream through the winding course of the Pasig, carrying numerous passengers to the province of Laguna. It was a ship of heavy build, almost round like thetabúor water-dipper from which she derives her name, rather dirty despite her pretensions to whiteness, majestic and solemn in her slow calm.¹ For all that, the region had a certain fondness for her, perhaps for her Tagalog name, or for exuding a character peculiar to things native, something akin to a triumph over progress—a steamship that was not quite a steamship, a...

  7. 2 Below Deck
    (pp. 11-18)

    Below deck, other scenes are taking place.

    Seated on benches and small wooden stools, among suitcases, boxes, baskets andtampipis,¹ two paces away from the machine, the heat of the boilers, amid human stench and the pestilent odor of oil are the majority of passengers.

    Some silently contemplate the varied landscape on the bank; some play cards or converse in the midst of the clatter of paddlewheels, the noise of the machine, the hissing of the escaping steam, the roar of moving waters, the hooting of the horn. In a corner, piled up like corpses, sleeping or trying to sleep,...

  8. 3 Legends
    (pp. 19-24)

    When Padre Florentino greeted the little group there were no longer traces of the ill humor of the past discussions. Perhaps they were influenced by the spirits, by the charming houses of the town of Pasig, the glasses of sherry they had taken to whet the appetite, or the prospects of a good meal; whatever the reason, they were laughing and jesting, even the gaunt Franciscan whose smiles were like the grimaces of the dying.

    “Bad times! bad times,” said Padre Sibyla laughing.

    “Come on! don’t say that, Vice-Rector!” replied the canon Irene, pushing the chair in which the other...

  9. 4 Cabesang Tales
    (pp. 25-34)

    Those who have read the first part of this story will remember, perhaps, an old woodcutter who lived in the thick of the forest.

    Tandang(Old) Selo still lives, and although his hair has all turned white, he nevertheless is still in good health. He no longer hunts or cuts down trees. Since his fortunes improved, he spends his time making brooms.

    His son Tales (short for Telesforo) had first worked as a tenant in the lands of a capitalist, but later, owning two carabaos and a few hundred pesos, he wanted to work on his own helped by his...

  10. 5 A Cochero’s Christmas Eve
    (pp. 35-40)

    Basilio reached San Diego just as the Christmas Eve procession¹ was traversing the streets. He was delayed in his journey, losing many hours because thecocheroor rig driver, who had forgotten hiscedulaor identification, was detained by theguardia civil, hit with some rifle butts and taken to the barracks to face the commandant.

    Now the carriage had been detained anew to allow the procession to go through, and the pummelled cochero reverently uncovered himself and prayed onepadre nuestrobefore the first image on wheels, which seemed to be that of a great saint. It represented an...

  11. 6 Basilio
    (pp. 41-47)

    When the bells were beginning to peal for the midnight mass and those who preferred a good sleep to feasts and ceremonies woke up grumbling against the sounds and the bustle, Basilio cautiously went downstairs and doubled back two or three times along various streets and, convinced that nobody was watching or following him, took the unfrequented paths towards the forest of the Ibarras, which had been acquired by Capitan Tiago when these properties were confiscated and sold.

    Since in that year the Nativity coincided with a moon on the wane, there reigned absolute darkness. The ringing of the bells...

  12. 7 Simoun
    (pp. 48-58)

    These things were in Basilio’s thoughts when he visited his mother’s grave. He was about to leave and return to town when he thought he saw a brightness filtering among the trees and heard a crackle of branches, the sound of footsteps, the rustle of leaves…The light dimmed, but the sound became more distinct, and soon he saw a shadow appear in the midst of the enclosure and march directly to where he stood.

    Basilio was not by nature superstitious, and even less so after having dissected so many cadavers and assisted so many dying, but the ancient legends about...

  13. 8 Merry Christmas
    (pp. 59-62)

    When Juli opened her grief-stricken eyes, the house was still in darkness. The cocks were crowing. The first thing that came to mind was that perhaps the Virgin had caused a miracle, and that the sun was not going to rise despite the cocks invoking it.

    She arose, crossed herself, recited with much fervor her morning prayers and, trying to make as little noise as possible, she went out to thebatalan

    There was no miracle; the sun was going to come out; the morning promised to be magnificent; the breeze was deliciously cool; the stars in the eastern sky...

  14. 9 Pilates
    (pp. 63-65)

    The news of that misfortune soon spread within the town. Some were sorry; others shrugged their shoulders. No one was to blame, and no one carried it on his conscience.

    Thetenienteof theguardia civilwas not even moved. He had orders to seize all weapons, and he had done his duty. He pursued thetulisanesalways, whenever he could, and when they kidnapped Cabesang Tales, he immediately organized a team and brought to town handcuffed, elbow to elbow, five or six peasants who seemed suspicious to him. If Cabesang Tales failed to appear, it was because he could...

  15. 10 Wealth and Misery
    (pp. 66-75)

    The following day, to the great surprise of the barrio, Simoun the jeweler sought lodging in the house of Cabesang Tales, followed by two servants each carrying canvas-covered suitcases. In the midst of his misery, Cabesang Tales did not forget the good old Filipino customs, and was very much upset at the thought that he had nothing with which to express hospitality to the stranger. But Simoun had brought everything with him: servants and provisions, and only wanted to spend a day and a night in that house for being the most comfortable in the barrio, and for finding it...

  16. 11 Los Baños
    (pp. 76-89)

    His Excellency, the Capitan General and Governor of the Philippine Islands, had been out hunting in Bosoboso.¹ But because he had to go accompanied by a brass band—since such an exalted personage could be no less esteemed than the wooden images carried in processions—and since Saint Cecilia’s divine art had not yet been popularized among the stags and wild boars of Bosoboso, His Excellency, with the music band and his cortege of friars, military men and bureaucrats, was not able to bag a single mouse or one solitary bird.

    The first authorities of the province foresaw future layoffs...

  17. 12 Plácido Penitente
    (pp. 90-97)

    Unwillingly and with almost tearful eyes, Plácido Penitente was going through the Escolta to get to the University of Santo Tomás.

    It has hardly been a week since he arrived from his town, and he has already written his mother twice, reiterating his desire to leave his studies, return home and go to work. His mother had answered him, saying that he should be patient, that he should at least become a graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree because it was a pity to abandon his books after four years of expenses and sacrifices on his part and hers....

  18. 13 A Class in Physics
    (pp. 98-108)

    The classroom was a broad rectangular space with large grilled windows which gave abundant access to air and light. Along the walls could be seen three wide seats of stone covered with wood, filled with students arranged in alphabetical order. At the end, opposite the entrance under a portrait of Saint Thomas of Aquinas, rose the chair of the professor, elevated, with a small stairway on each side. Except for a beautiful narra-framed blackboard hardly used, since on it still remained written thevivawhich appeared on the first day, nothing was to be seen there by way of furniture,...

  19. 14 A Students’ Lodging House
    (pp. 109-119)

    It was worth visiting the house where Macaraig lived.¹

    Large and spacious, with two mezzanine floors provided with elegant gratings, it looked like a school during the first hours of the morning, and like pandemonium from ten o’clock onward. During the boarders’ recreation hours, from the spacious entrance hall up to the main floor, there bustled laughter, tumult and movement. Youths in scanty house clothes playedsipa,² did gymnastic exercises making use of improvised trapezes, while the staircase supported a fencing match among eight or nine armed with canes, pikes, crooks and lassoes, but neither the attackers nor the attacked...

  20. 15 Señor Pasta
    (pp. 120-127)

    Isagani presented himself at the residence of the lawyer, one of the most gifted minds of Manila, whom the friars consulted in their gravest concerns.¹ The young man had to wait for some time because of the many clients, but finally his turn came, and he entered the study orbufete, as it is usually called in the Philippines.

    The lawyer received him with a slight clearing of the throat, looking furtively at his feet; he did not stand up nor bid him take a seat, but continued writing. Isagani had occasion to observe and study him well. The...

  21. 16 The Tribulations of a Chinaman
    (pp. 128-137)

    In the evening of that same Saturday, Quiroga, the Chinaman who aspired to set up a consulate for his nation, was hosting dinner at the top floor of his large bazaar on Escolta Street. His feast was very well attended: friars, bureaucrats, officers, merchants, all his customers, partners or sponsors, were in attendance. His store provided the parishes and convents with all their needs; he accepted thevalesor IOUs of all employees, had loyal attendants, active and eager to please. The friars themselves did not disdain to stay in his store for hours, sometimes in full view of the...

  22. 17 The Quiapo Fair
    (pp. 138-142)

    The night was lovely, and the plaza offered a most lively aspect. Taking advantage of the freshness of the breeze and the splendid January moon, the people crowded into the Fair to see, to be seen and to amuse themselves. The music from the cosmoramas and the lights from the lanterns communicated animation and merriment to everyone.

    Long rows of booths glittering with tinsel and colored decorations, displayed clusters of balls, masks strung through the eyes, tin toys, trains, little carts, tiny mechanical horses, carriages, steamships with their diminutive boilers, porcelain tableware of Lilliputian size, small Nativity cribs of pine...

  23. 18 Deceptions
    (pp. 143-150)

    Mr. Leeds, a genuine Yankee, dressed completely in black, received them with great deference. He spoke Spanish well, having stayed for many years in South America. He raised no opposition to our visitors’ ruse; he said they could examine all, everything, before and after the show, requesting them only to maintain silence while it was going on. Ben Zayb smiled, and savored the discomfiture which he had in store for the American.

    The sala was draped entirely in black, illumined by ancient lamps nourished with the spirit of wine. A rail draped in black velvet divided the place in two...

  24. 19 The Fuse
    (pp. 151-160)

    Plácido Penitente left class, his heart spilling bitterness, somber tears in his gaze. He was most worthy of his name when he was not shaken up, but once irritated, he was a veritable torrent, a wild beast stopped only by dying or killing. So many affronts, so many pinpricks which, day by day, had made his heart tremble, hoarded within himself to sleep the sleep of benumbed vipers, were now awakened and agitated, roaring with fury. The hisses resounded in his ears, along with the sneering words of the professor, phrases in the language of the marketplace, and he seemed...

  25. 20 The Ponente
    (pp. 161-169)

    What Padre Irene had said was true: the question of the Academy of Spanish, pending for so long, was on its way to a solution. Don Custodio, the active Don Custodio, the most energetic of all theponentesor arbitrators of the world, according to Ben Zayb, was occupied with it, and was spending days reading theexpedienteor documents and falling asleep without having decided anything, then awakening on the following day, doing the same, going back to sleep again, and so on for successive days on end.

    How the poor man labored, the most active of all the...

  26. 21 Manila Characters
    (pp. 170-180)

    That night there was a grand performance at the Teatro de Variedades.¹

    The French operetta company of Mr. Jouy was giving its first performance,Les Cloches de Corneville, and he was going to exhibit to the eyes of the public his elite troupe whose fame the newspapers had been proclaiming for days. It was said that among the actresses was one with a very beautiful voice, a figure even more beautiful and, if rumors were to be believed, whose amiability surpassed even her voice and figure.

    By seven-thirty in the evening there were no more tickets, not even for Padre...

  27. 22 The Performance
    (pp. 181-193)

    The theater presented a most lively aspect; it was full to the brim: in the general admission section and in the aisles many people were standing, struggling to draw aside a head or place an eye between a neck and an ear. The open boxes, occupied mostly by ladies, looked like baskets of flowers whose petals were shaken by a light breeze (I speak of the fans), and in which hummed a thousand insects. Yet, as there are flowers of delicate and strong fragrance, flowers that kill and flowers that console, in these baskets of our theater similar scents are...

  28. 23 A Corpse
    (pp. 194-201)

    Simoun, in fact, did not go to the theater.

    Since seven in the evening he had gone from his house, troubled and gloomy. His servants saw him return twice accompanied by different individuals. At eight o’clock Macaraig met him roving along the street of the Hospital,¹ near the cloister of Santa Clara, at the time when the bells of the church were tolling. At nine o’clock Camaroncocido saw him again in the surroundings of the theater talking to one who looked like a student, opening the door and again leaving, disappearing among the shadows of the trees.

    “And what is...

  29. 24 Dreams
    (pp. 202-211)

    The following day, a Thursday, a few hours before sunset, Isagani was on his way along the beautiful Paseo de María Cristina headed for the Malecon¹ to keep an assignation which that morning Paulita had granted him. The young man did not doubt that they were going to talk about that which had occurred the night before, and because he was resolved to ask her for explanations, and knowing how proud and overbearing she was, he foresaw a breakup. Anticipating this eventuality, he had brought with him the only two notes he had from Paulita, two scraps of paper with...

  30. 25 Laughter and Tears
    (pp. 212-219)

    The dining hall of the Panciteria Macanista de Buen Gusto that night offered an extraordinary sight.

    Fourteen young men from the principal islands of the Archipelago, from the pureIndio(if there be those that are pure) to the Spanish peninsular, were gathered together to celebrate the banquet that Padre Irene had proposed in view of the decision given on the matter of the teaching of Spanish. They had reserved for the occasion all the tables, ordering added lights and placing on the wall beside the Chinese landscapes and picture scrolls this curious verse:


  31. 26 Pasquinades
    (pp. 220-225)

    Basilio rose very early in the morning to go to the hospital. He had his plans traced out: he would visit his patients, then go to the University to make inquiries about his degree, and finally see Macaraig about the expenses that this would entail. He had used up a great part of his savings to ransom Juli and get her a house where she could stay with her grandfather, and he dared not ask Capitan Tiago’s help, fearing that he might interpret the request as an advance on the inheritance he was always promising him.

    Distracted with these thoughts,...

  32. 27 The Friar and the Filipino
    (pp. 226-235)

    We left Isagani haranguing his friends. In the midst of his enthusiasm, acapistaapproached to tell him that Padre Fernandez, one of the eminent professors, wanted to speak to him.

    Isagani’s face changed. Padre Fernandez was for him a highly respectable person; he was the one he always excepted when an attack on the friars was made.

    “And what does Padre Fernandez want?” he asked.

    Thecapistashrugged his shoulders; Isagani reluctantly followed him.

    Padre Fernandez, the friar we saw in Los Baños, waited in his cell, grave and sad, with knitted brows, as though meditating. He stood up...

  33. 28 Panic
    (pp. 236-244)

    Ben Zayb had a prophet’s inspiration when he maintained, days earlier in his newspaper, that education was insidious, highly insidious, for the Philippine Islands. Now, in the light of the events of that Friday concerning the posters, the writer was crowing and singing his triumph, leaving crushed and confused his adversaryHoratius, who had dared ridicule him in a section ofPirotecniain the following manner:

    From our colleagueEl Grito:

    Education is disastrous, absolutely disastrous for the Philippines.


    For some time nowEl Gritohas believed itself to be representing the Filipino people;ergo…as Fray Ibañez would say...

  34. 29 Last Words about Capitan Tiago
    (pp. 245-248)

    Capitan Tiago had a good end, that is, a funeral equalled by few. It is true that the parish priest remarked to Padre Irene that Capitan Tiago had died without confession, but the worthy cleric, laughing mockingly, rubbed the tip of his nose and replied:

    “Come on, don’t give me that! If we are to deny funeral rites to those who die without confession, we should forget theDe Profundis. Those rigidities, as you well know, are observed when the impenitent is also insolvent, but with Capitan Tiago!…Off with you! you have buried Chinese infidels, and with a requiem mass!”...

  35. 30 Juli
    (pp. 249-258)

    The death of Capitan Tiago and Basilio’s imprisonment were soon known in the province, and to the credit of the simple inhabitants of San Diego, we will say that they felt more for the latter and spoke almost only of it. As was to be expected, the news took on various forms, was given sad, even dreadful details, that which was not understood was explained, the gaps were filled with conjectures. These passed for deeds done, and the phantasms thus created terrorized their very creators.

    In the town of Tiani, it was said that, at the very least, the young...

  36. 31 The High Official
    (pp. 259-264)

    The newspapers in Manila were so preoccupied with the report of a celebrated murder committed in Europe, with the panegyrics and bombast of various preachers in the capital, with the success, each time more clamorous, of the French Operetta, that they could scarcely devote one or the other article to the misdeeds committed in the provinces by a band oftulisanesled by a terrible and fierce chieftain who was calledMatanglawinor Hawkeye.¹ Only when the victim was aconventoor a Spaniard would copious articles come out, giving fearful details and asking for a state of siege, forceful...

  37. 32 Consequences of the Posters
    (pp. 265-269)

    In the wake of the events narrated, many mothers called their sons to leave their studies immediately,¹ and dedicate themselves to indolence or to agriculture.

    When examinations came, suspensions abounded, and rare was he who passed the course who had pertained to the notorious association, to which no one returned in involvement. Pecson, Tadeo, and Juanito Pelaez were all suspended. The first received thecalabazasor failures with his clownish laughter, and promised to enter as a clerk in whatever court. Tadeo, truant to the end, rewarded himself with illumination by lighting a bonfire with his books. The others did...

  38. 33 The Final Argument
    (pp. 270-276)

    The day came at last. Simoun, since morning, had not left his house, occupied in putting in order his weapons and his jewels. His fabulous treasure was already locked up in the great chest of steel with a canvas cover. There remained a few caskets which contained bracelets and brooches; doubtless, gifts that he expected to give away. He was leaving finally with the Capitan General, who in no way cared to prolong his command, fearful of what people might say. The malicious were insinuating that Simoun dared not stay in the country alone, that, losing his support, he would...

  39. 34 The Wedding
    (pp. 277-281)

    Once on the streets, Basilio thought of how he could occupy himself until the fateful hour arrived; it was not later than seven. It was vacation time, and all the students were in their hometowns. Isagani was the only one who did not wish to go home, but he had disappeared since that morning and his whereabouts were not known. This was what Basilio had been told when, coming out of prison, he went to visit his friend to ask for shelter. Basilio did not know where to go; he had no money, he had nothing but the revolver. The...

  40. 35 The Fiesta
    (pp. 282-289)

    At seven o’clock in the evening those invited began to arrive: first the minor divinities, lowly employees, business executives, merchants, etc., with greetings more ceremonious and with graver airs at the onset, as if they had been newly learned; so much light, so much drapery, so much glassware, imposes something. Afterwards, they grew more familiar, and made feigned fists, little slaps on the belly, and some even administered familiar slaps on the neck. Some, it is true, adopted a disdainful attitude to let it be seen that they were accustomed to better things, of course, if they were not! One...

  41. 36 The Predicaments of Ben Zayb
    (pp. 290-295)

    As soon as he learned of the incident, as lights were brought in and he saw the less dignified postures of the startled gods, Ben Zayb, full of indignation and armed with the approval of the censor of the press,¹ went running to his home—a basement room which he shared with others—to write the most sublime article that would ever be read under Philippine skies. The Capitan General would leave disconsolate if he could not read in advance his exaggerated eulogies and this, Ben Zayb, who had a good heart, could not allow. He therefore sacrificed dinner and...

  42. 37 The Mystery
    (pp. 296-300)

    Notwithstanding and despite so many precautions, the rumors reached the public, although somewhat altered and mutilated. They were the theme of comments on the following night in the household of the family of Orenda, a wealthy jewel merchant in the industrial suburb of Santa Cruz.¹ The numerous friends of the family were occupied only in it. They were not playingtres-siete² or playing the piano, and little Tinay, the youngest of all the señoritas was bored playingchonka³ alone, unable to explain the interest awakened by assaults, conspiracies, sacks of gunpowder, when she had so many beautifulsigayesor cowries...

  43. 38 A Trick of Fate
    (pp. 301-305)

    Matanglawin was the terror of Luzon. His band would suddenly appear in a province where it was least expected, just as it would invade another which was preparing to resist it. It would burn a sugarmill in Batangas, lay waste the crops; the following day assassinate thejuez de pazof Tiani; another day take by surprise a town in Cavite and seize the arms in the town hall. The central provinces, from Tayabas to Pangasinan, suffered from the band’s depredations, and his name reached as far as Albay in the south, and in the north, as far as Cagayan....

  44. 39 The Final Chapter
    (pp. 306-316)

    In his solitary retreat by the shores of the sea, whose shifting surface could be seen through the open windows extending far away to lose itself in the horizon, Padre Florentino distracted his solitude, playing on his reed organ grave and melancholy airs which served as accompaniment to the repeated sonorous clamor of the waves and the murmur of the branches in the nearby woods. Long notes, full, plaintive as a prayer but without lacking vigor, would escape the old instrument; Padre Florentino, who was an accomplished musician, improvised and, because he found himself alone, gave free rein to the...

  45. Notes
    (pp. 317-342)