Wednesday, September 4, 2013

El Filibusterismo


For easy reading of this novel (
I. Historical Background

Rizal began writing El Filibusterismo in October 1887 while he was in Calamba. In London (1888), he revised the plot and some chapters. Rizal continued to work on his manuscripts in Paris. He later moved to Brussels, Belgium where the cost was cheaper and he would be less likely to be distracted by social events so he could focus on finishing the book. He finally completed the book on March 29, 1891 in Biarritz, France. It was published in September of that year in Ghent, partially funded by Rizal’s friend Valentin Ventura.

Rizal had to define the word filibuster to his German friend Ferdinand Blumentritt who did not understand his use of word in Noli me Tangere. In a letter, Rizal explained: “The word filibuster is little known in the Philippines. The masses do not know it yet. I heard it for the first time in 1872 when the tragic executions (of Gomburza) took place. I still remember the panic that this word created. Our father forbade us to utter it, as well as the words Cavite, Burgos (one of the executed priests), etc. The Manila newspapers and the Spaniards apply this word to one whom they want to make a revolutionary suspect. The Filipinos belonging to the educated class fear the reach of the word. It does not have the meaning of freebooters; it rather means a dangerous patriot who will soon be hanged or well, a presumptuous man.”

By the end of the 19th century, the word filibuster had acquired the meaning “subversive” in the Philippines, hence the book is about subversion.

The book is dedicated to the memory of GOMBURZA, three priests who were accused of being seditious and executed. in his dedication, Rizal audaciously expresses his conviction that their treatment at the hands of the Spanish authorities was unjust.

Given the reaction to his first book, Rizal tried to avoid allowing the second one to fall into the hands of the Spaniards. He had after all written El filibusterismo not for the Spaniards but for the Filipino people to read. After distributing the copies of the first edition to his friends in Europe, Rizal designated most of the remainder to be sent to the Philippines. The books were first sent to his residence in Hong Kong, to be smuggled to the Philippines by his friends. Upon shipment, the copies were immediately seized by the authorities, making it a rare book overnight.

The plot is similar to that of Alexander Dumas pere’s classic The Count of Monte Cristo. Both narratives revolve around a man’s determination to avenge himself and reclaim his beloved fiancée. The protagonist of each novel disguises his identity and comes up with an intricate plot of revenge and retribution.


§  Simoun a wealthy jeweler and the known protagonist of Noli, bent on starting a revolution.(RIZAL)
§  Basiliois Sisa’s son and an aspiring doctor.
§  Isaganiis a poet and Basilio’s best friend. Portrayed as emotional and reactive. Boyfriend of Paulita Gomez before being dumped for fellow student, JuanitoPelaez.
§  Kabesang Tales (Telesoforo Juan de Dios) is a former cabeza de barangay who resurfaced as the feared Luzon bandiutMatanglawin; his father, Old man Selo, dies eventually after his own son Tano, who became a guardia civil, unknowingly shoots his grandfather encounter. (Don Francisco Mercado)
§  Juli(Juliana de Dios) is the girlfriend of BAsilio and the youngest daughter of Kabesang Tales
§  Ben Zayb(Abraham Ibanez) is a journalist who thinks he is the only one thinking in the Philippines
§  PlacidoPenitenteis a student of UST who is always miserable and therefore controls his temper.
§  Quirogais a Chinese businessman who dreamed of being a consul of a “consulate of China” in the Philippines. he did Simoun’s weapons inside the house.
§  Old Man Selois father of Kabesang Tales. He raised the young and sick Basilio after his mother Sisa died.
§  Father Fernandez is the priest-friend of Isagani. He promised Isagani that he and the other priests will give the students’ demands.
§  Attorney Pasta is one of the greatest lawyers of mid-hispanic Manila
§  Capitan-General is the powerful highest official of the Philippines
§  Paulita Gomez is the girlfriend of Isagani and the niece of DonyaVictorina. In the end, she and JuanitoPelaez are wed and she dumps Isagani, believing that she will have no future if she marries him.
§  Father Florentinois Isagani’s godfather and secular priest was engaged to be married, but chose the priesthood instead, the story hinting at the ambivalence of his decision as he chooses an assignment to a remote place, living in solitude near the sea.
§  Padre Sibyla(Hernando de la Sibyla) is a Filipino friar and now vice-rector of the UST


Simoun, a wealthy jeweler has recently come to the Philippines. His wealth and connections – he is a friend of the Governor-General’s make him sought after in society and influential as well. He uses his influence to encourage government officials to become corrupt and further abuse the people.

Only Basilio, now a young medical student, recognizes his true identity. Simoun is actually Crisostomo Ibarra from Noli me Tangere, turned bitter and vengeful. He has returned after thirteen years to foment revolution and to rescue his beloved Maria Clara from the convent.

He tries to convince Basilio to join him. Basilio owes him a debt of gratitude for helping him bury his mother in the Ibarra forest. Furthermore, Simoun knows of what his family suffered at the hands of the authorities. He tries to convince Basilio to join him so that he may also take his revenge but Basilio refuses.

Simoun’s first attempt at revolution fails when he hears of Maria Clara’s death and break down. Then Basilio, along with other students, is arrested for forming an allegedly seditious organization. His sweetheart Juli goes to plead with an influential friar to assist her in securing Basilio’s release. She is killed trying to escape the friar’s amorous advances. When Simoun arranges for Basilio’s release, Basilio is now also bitter and vengeful, as well as grateful to Simoun. He offers his full support to Simoun’s second attempt at sparking a revolution and watches as Simoun plants a bomb at the house where the wedding reception of Paulita Gomez and JuanitoPelaez is taking place. There are many illustrious guets at this mansion, formerly the house of Noli Me Tangere’s Capitan Tiago, including Governor-General and Padre Salvi.

Seeing all of the people, most of them innocent guests who are about to be harmed, Basilio’sconsicience starts to bother him but he knows he has to escape. As he starts to run away, he sees his best friend Isagani standing disconsolately near the house. Isagani had been working toward reform and with his idealism, intelligence and eloquence had become something of a leader among the students, Until recently he had been the beautiful Paulita’s sweetheart.Paulita had been charmed by his poetic nature but she was bored by his patriotic ideals. The arrest of students convinced her that it would be more practical to marry Juanito, a rich businessman’s son who did not involve himself in such dangerous matters.

Basilio feels compelled to tell Isagani of the plot. Knowing that the woman he loves is inside, Isagani runs into the house. grabs the bomb and throws it into the river, averting the explosion and the revolution.

Simoun takes refuge in the home of a kind Filipino priest, Father Florentino, knowing it is only a matter of time before he is arrested. Having abandoned all hope, Simoun takes fatal poison. Before he dies, Padre Florentino hears his last confession. He expresses his conviction that Simoun’s plan failed because he chose to do them by unjust means. He assures Simoun that there is still hope for the liberation of the country. Upon Simoun’s death, the priest takes his jewels and commends them to the sea, praying that the wealth r=that was once used for bribery and corruption would one day be found by one who would use it for a just purpose.

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