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El Fili Chapter 11: Los Baos

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 Baos. It was the 31st of December. Check out the following notes The Dominicans dominated the schools. They were in fierce competition with the Jesuits. Padre Sibyla is a rector at UST. The Dominicans are against the plans to build a school. The youth are relying on Padre Irene to support their plan. Bosoboso has an elevation of 185 meters (606 feet), according to http://www.calle.com/world/philippines/Bo.html If you want to see the view 5.7 km (3.5 miles) ESE of Bosoboso, Southern Tagalog, Philippines, please see: http://www.confluence.org/confluence.php?id=9813 Why wasnt the Capitan Heneral able to shoot any deer or birds in the forest? He had a band that played loud music wherever he went. What social ill did Rizal describe using the Capitan Heneral? Officials wanted to ingratiate themselves to those in power. Take note of the musical band plus the plan to dress someone up as a deer for erhunting purposes. Why was Padre Camorra angry with the card game of the two priests and the Capitan Heneral? He was not aware that the two priests were deliberately losing the game to make the Capitan Heneral happy, so that they may obtain the ruling they want regarding the school. Why did Simoun order his servant to transport his gems/jewels via banca on the lake, while he carried the even more expensive treasures with him as he traveled on land? He planned to meet the rebels, and intended to give some of his treasures to the leader of the bandits or tulisans, as proof that he trusts them. He was even willing to travel by himself. What Philippine institution was Rizal making fun of, in hopes that he wounds or stirs the social conscience of the Filipinos? Sabong or cockfighting. The size of the arena, money spent on bets rather than on education or tuition, cages of cocks are sometimes nicer than the homes of the sabungeros.

What did Rizal refer to as contradicting desires in Chapter 11? Filipinos want to learn Spanish (but this will enslave them even more) while the Spaniards dont want to grant the wish of the Filipinos. Why was Padre Fernandez, a Dominican, in favor of the youths plan to put up a school? He was unlike most Dominicans, and had met a number of bright students at the University. Meanwhile, get ready to meet Placido Penitente

El Fili Chapter 12: Placido Penitente


The University of Sto. Tomas (UST) during the Spanish period was in Intramuros, near the College of San Juan de Letran. During the American period, UST transferred to Espaa in Manila. Practically all the schools then were in Intramuros Letran and Ateneo. Christmas Break was over, and the students were returning to their schools and dreading their Physics class. So you might be wondering Why did Placido wish to stop his schooling? After four years of school, he was not known nor noticed by his teachers. He was disillusioned because he was bright and wished to lean. In his town, he was admired for his intellect. What does his name mean? Placid or Peaceful. Penitent, or one who suffers in silence. Why did Pelaez hint that Padre Camorra has his way with women in Tiani? The friars threatened the women, and told them that their brothers/parents would be jailed or banished if they did not yield to the desires of the friars. Why would Juli eventually fall into the hands of Padre Camorra? Pelaez was well-aware of what Padre Camorra was capable of doing. What did Rizal say about the youth of that time? Most of them learn nothing because (a) They didnt bring books, (b) The classes were too big (too many students), (c) Teachers held the students in low-esteem, and (d) There were too many No Class days.

El Fili Chapter 13: Physics Class


What can we say about Padre Millon? Take note of the following characteristics
y y y y y y y

Finished Philosophy and Theology, dabbles in metaphysics (theory), teaches Chemistry and Physics. Haphazardly skims through books on Chemistry and Physics. He does not believe in the things he reads about science, and handles the course as if it were about Philosophy. He is contemptuous of both subject matter and students. He asks questions but does not like to be asked. He takes pleasure in the failings of his students, and gets peeved when they are able to answer correctly. He forces students to blindly memorize lessons which he does not even explain well. He curses at students. He probably reminds us of one or more teachers we ve encountered in the past. Looks like there really is such a thing as reincarnation, eh?

Why does Padre Millon use broken Spanish in class? Thats his way of disrespecting his students whom he considers ignorant. How can one tell that the students wont learn much just by looking at the Physics classroom? There are no pictures, equipment or lecture notes on the blackboard. The few equipment available are locked up, never to be handled. The only thing written on the board is VIVA(written on the first day of school and has not been erased nor written over since). Please note that it is now January. And finally, the teaching method is purely lecture, which is suited to a class in Philosophy, not Physics. What can we say about the points Rizal raised regarding teaching? Rizals principles of teaching still apply today:
y y y y y

Class sizes should be small. Teachers should not humiliate students. A teacher should be technically competent about the subject matter being taught, and he/she should teach with love. Too many vacation breaks can ruin the momentum of a student, and can make them seek nonacademic forms of recreation. No one should watch Cartoon Network, Myx, MTV, Darna or Pinoy Big Brother. (Just kidding!)

What can we say about Placido, based on his behavior in this chapter? He is like a typical Filipino a pacifist who prefers to suffer in silence. Will sacrifice and keep quiet just to avoid trouble, but when pushed too far, is capable of getting openly angry and taking action. For now, lets move on over to the students lodging house

El Fili Chapter 14: A Student's Lodging House


The students want to learn Spanish in their first year of college so that they can easily learn their lessons. Isagani is the epitome of the idealistic and honorable Filipino youth. He would rather get the support of others (i.e., Seor Pasta) through legitimate means (i.e., face to face talk) rather than by appealing to their baser nature (i.e., by using women). What can we say, on the other hand, about Pelaez? Pelaez is opportunistic, Machiavellian, and easily switches sides when the going gets rough. He voices his support for his fellow students, but when threatened with the possibility of being called a subversive, he wavers. Macaraig is rich and nationalistic. He allows students to live in his lodging house for free. Pecson is ever the skeptical pessimist. He always thinks things through. Sandoval is a Spaniard who supports the Filipinos. This is Rizals way of showing that in an academic setting, political and racial barriers can come crashing down. In this chapter, Rizal gives us a glimpse of life in a school dormitory. Clearly, things have not really changed in more than a hundred years. Afterall, students will be students. Oh, there are a few differences Rizal did not mention anything about dormers bringing their Significant Others into their rooms. He also did not show professors and students living in the same lodging house. Then again, that was probably the culture at that time. One of the students is about to have a debate with Seor Pasta

El Fili Chapter 15: Seor Pasta


Seor Pasta is a lawyer who also works as a consultant for the friars. He thinks only of himself, and is willing to be nationalistic only after everyone else becomes patriotic first. Now lets tackle this lawyers views and opinion He calls the Philippines a Land of Proposals because all you have are plans and no action. Does that sound familiar to you? :-) Since he earns money from the friars, he hesitates to accede to the students wish that he help advise and convince Don Custodio to support the Spanish school. He advises Isagani to just study well, earn a decent living, get married, and avoid getting into trouble. You know, lead a safe life. Since Isagani is quite idealistic, he prefers to live a life worth living. I wonder if Isagani will change if ever Rizal wrote a sequel to the El Fili.

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

El Fili 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 lets 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 inside. Hmmm I wonder why Rizal depicts the Chinese this way? He even mentions that Quiroga keeps his indio of a wife locked in a room much like Chinese women. You can probably guess whats the main point of keeping a wife, right? Among those who hate Quirogas guts are the columnist G. Gonzales (alias PITILI) whos mad at the incoming Chinese; a thin, brown-skinned guest who did not receive money from Quiroga; and someone who was against Quirogas 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. And lastly, Simoun asks Quiroga to store some rifles in Quirogas 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 shouldve been a Reality TV Host?)

El Fili 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 Doa Victorina. But theres more 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 thats 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 * Dirty Even the journalist Ben Zayb did not understand that it was actually an attack on Philippine journalists. 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 hes preparing for the next chapter, when the group gets drawn into the mysterious tent of Mr. Leeds.

El Fili 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 Freedom. (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:
y y y y y y y y

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 Simouns 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, youll 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. Something tells me things are going to heat up around here Kabanata 18: Mga Panlilinlang (Mga Kadayaan) Nakipagkita si Ginoong Leeds sa grupo ng labindalawang tao, at hinayaan niya silang suriin ang mga kagamitan sa kubol para sa Espinghe (Sphinx). Inalaska niya ang duderong si Ben Zayb, sapagkat hindi natagpuan ni Ben Zayb ang mga nakatagong salamin. Binigyang buhay ni G. Leeds ang mga abo nang isinigaw niya ang salitang: Deremof! (Kapag iniba mo ang pagkasunod-sunod ng mga titik, makukuha mo ang salitang Freedom, inggles para sa Kalayaan.)

Siguro kung nag-Filipino si G. Leeds, ang isinigaw niya ay Lanakayaa! O kayay Laniraskan! (kasarinlan) Muling nabuhay si Imuthis, ang Espinghe, at ikinuwento niya ang kanyang talambuhay, na kahawig ng buhay ni Ibarra:
y y y y y y y y

Pareho silang nag-aral sa ibang bansa. Pareho silang nakabangga ang mga relihiyosong orden. Pareho silang may kaaway na isang pari na lihim na pinagnanasahan ang kanilang kasintahan. Pareho silang may kasintahan na anak ng isang pari. Pareho silang namatay sa isang lawa. Pareho silang may kasintahan na ginahasa ng kaaway nilang pari sa isang temple o kumbento. Pareho silang bumalik sa kanilang bansa upang maghiganti ang bigyan ng hustisiya ang mga naapi. Pareho silang bumalik na nagbabalatkayo upong maitago ang kanilang tunay na pagkatao: Si Imuthis ay naging Espinghe, habang si Ibarra ay naging Simoun.

Agad-agad nakita ni Padre Salvi ang pagkahambing. Na-gets niya. Naramdaman niya na siya ang pinariringgan nung Espinghe nung tinawag siyang isang mamamatay-tao. O siguro nabosesan niya ang tinig ni Simoun? Si Cambyses ay simbolo ng kanilang palpak na pamahalaan. At para hindi kumalat ang kwentong ito, pareho silang tinugis ng kanilang mga gobyerno. Paano nga ba naisaayos ang Espinghe? Dapat ninyong malaman na si Simoun ay matalik na kaibigan ni G. Leeds. Sa naunang kabanata, mapapansin mo na hindi makita-kita si Simoun sa perya ng Quiapo. Siguro ay maaga siyang umalis para maihanda niya ang kubol upang masindak niya si Padre Salvi. Isipin mo na lang kung ano ang mararamdaman mo kung ang iyong kaaway na akala moy 13 taon nang patay ay biglang nabuhay muli! Paano nila naipakita ang misteryosong imahen ng Espinghe? May mga salaaming nakatago sa mga paa nung lamesa kung saan nakapatong ang Espinghe. Mukhang nakakaisip na nuon pa man si Rizal ng posibilidad ng mga hologram.
Saan nagpunta si G. Leeds pagkatapos ng palabas? Tumuloy siya sa Hong Kong. Mahirap na kasi at baka balikan pa siya ni Padre Salvi.

Mukhang painit nang painit ang takbo ng kwento

El Fili Chapter 19: The Fuse

If the revolution is the bomb, then the fuse that will get things started is the rescue of Maria Clara. Here you will see that Simouns primary objective is revenge and the rescue of Maria Clara. The country and the revolution are only secondary interests of Simoun. This chapter also features the student Placido Penitente. He is the son of Cabesang Andang, an ignorant mother who sent her son to school just so that she can proudly tell others that she has a schooled son. Now on to the chapter questions Why did Placido lose the chance to ever study again? There was only one university at that time: the University of Santo Tomas. Since he got sent away from UST, where else will he go? Why was the former professor exiled? He wanted to teach well, and thus became the target of the church and government which wanted to keep the indios ignorant. Why did the arthritic Spaniard join forces with Simoun? He wanted to seek revenge on the frailes who sent him to jail so that they could have his beautiful wife. Why was the revolution timetable advanced? Simoun found out that Maria Clara was dying. All the preparation and planning went down the drain because Simoun became emotional. How emotional? Heres a clue: Simoun likened Maria Clara to the phoenix. The phoenix is one of a kind, just as Maria Clara is the only woman for Simoun. Told you he was getting emotional. No wonder the revolution went to heck. Why did Simoun imagine seeing the angry faces of Don Rafael and Elias? Those two were not in favor of Simouns methods. Don Rafael always went for doing whats good for the country; Simoun purposely helped corrupt the very government he was trying to overthrow. Elias was for revolution, but only if the motivation behind it involved nationalism and justice; Simouns motivation was revenge, dark and syrupy. Also, Simoun was feverish. He was probably hallucinating. What accounts for Placidos sudden change of heart, after his mom spoke with him the following day? He was aware of the coming revolution, and he wanted to quickly send his mother back to the province. Thats why he acted as if he readily agreed with what she said; otherwise, therell just be a long discussion and that will keep his mom in the city longer. Now lets go meet Don Custodio

El Fili Chapter 20: The Arbitrator

This chapter describes the enigma that is Don Custodio. Imagine, the highly intellectual Don Custodio decided to get advice from G. Pasta (who just confused him with convoluted and contradicting words) and from the Pepay (who just shook her booty and asked for money). I mean, why did he even bother asking those two, right? Now on to the other notes plus a handy mindmap of this chapter Don Custodio was nicknamed Buena Tinta by Ben Zayb, because Don Custodio was believed to be an expert when it comes to writing papers. Actually, that was just his reputation, because in reality Don Custodio is not really that competent. So, howd he get such a glowing reputation? 1. Hes a Spaniard whos close to the powers that be. 2. He was able to impress Ben Zayb, the weak-minded but highly influential journalist. (Not that were implying that todays influential journalists are Ben Zayb-like) 3. He married a rich mestiza. 4. Hes very industrious, especially when it comes to engaging others in debate. Why did Don Custodio have a difficult time deciding on the students proposal regarding the school? He was torn between giving the students a chance, and pleasing the Dominicans of UST. How can you serve two masters, right? What are examples of Don Custodios mental innovation or quirkiness, depending on ones point of view? (I mean, aside from his plan to raise ducks in order to deepen the Pasig River, if you remember Chapter 1) 1. To avoid accidents, the horse-drawn carriages should have three wheels. 2. Fumigate everything with disinfectants; even the paper used by telegrams. 3. So that the government can save on prison costs, just reform the prisoners. How does Don Custodio treat the indios? He acts like a father who unwittingly holds his children (the indios) back; who, without quite realizing it, prevents his children from progressing. Why is he against praising the indios? They might become overconfident, boastful, and rebellious. And that will create problems for the government and the frailes. What kind of a person is Don Custodio? He is a dangerously deceptive person, because what he does is different from what he holds in his mind. What is Don Custodios final decision regarding the school? This will be revealed in the next chapter, although given your knowledge of his character, you can already guess what that decision will be.