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El Filibusterismo
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El Filibusterismo

Facsimile copy of the first page of the manuscript of El Filibusterismo.

Author Jose Rizal
Country Philippines
Language Spanish
Genre(s) Novel
Publisher F. Mayer van Loo Press
Publication date 1891
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)

El Filibusterismo, also known by its English alternate title The Reign of

Greed,[1] is the second novel written by Philippine national hero Jos� Rizal. It
is a sequel to Noli Me Tangere and like the first book, was written in Spanish.
Rizal began the work in October of 1887 while practicing medicine in Calamba. In
London (1888), he made several changes to the plot and revised a number of
chapters. Rizal continued to work on his manuscript while in Paris, Madrid, and
Brussels, finally completing it on March 29, 1891 in Biarritz. It was published
the same year in Ghent. The translation for its Latin name is "The Subversive", as
a reference to what the Spanish priests call Rizal's works.[citation needed]

* 1 Synopsis
* 2 Plot Summary
* 3 Characters
* 4 Literary significance and reception
* 5 Film, TV or theatrical adaptations
* 6 See also
* 7 External links
* 8 References

[edit] Synopsis

Crisostomo Ibarra returns as the rich, jeweler Simoun. Abandoning his idealism, he
seeks revenge against the people responsible for his misfortunes, and starts a

[edit] Plot Summary

After thirteen years of being away from the Philippines, Crisostomo Ibarra returns
under the guise of Simoun, a rich jeweler and a confidant of the Captain-General.
Simoun influences every decision of the Captain-General to mismanage the country�s
affairs so that a revolution will break out. Simoun has reasons for instigating a
revolution. First is to rescue Maria Clara from the convents and second, to get
rid of the corruption and evil of the society. His true identity is discovered by
a now grown-up Basilio while visiting his mother�s grave, Sisa, as Simoun was
digging near the grave site for his buried treasures. Simoun spares Basilio�s life
and asks him to join in his planned revolution against the government. Basilio
declines the offer as he still hopes that the country�s condition will improve.

Basilio, at this point, is a graduating student of medicine at the Ateneo

Municipal de Manila. Basilio was adopted by Captain Tiago after Maria Clara enters
the convent. With Captain Tiago�s help, Basilio was able to go to Colegio de San
Juan de Letran and the Ateneo. Captain Tiago�s confessor, Father Irene is making
Captain Tiago�s health worse by giving him opium even as Basilio prevents Captain
Tiago from smoking it. He and other students want to establish a Spanish language
academy so that they can learn to speak and write Spanish despite the opposition
from the Dominican friars of the University of Santo Tomas. With the help of a
reluctant Father Irene as their mediator and Don Custodio�s decision, the academy
is established; however they will only serve as caretakers of the school not as
the teachers. Dejected and defeated, they hold a mock celebration at a pansiteria
while a spy for the friars witnesses the proceedings.

Simoun, for his part, keeps in close contact with the bandit group of Cabesang
Tales, a former Cabeza de Barangay who suffered misfortunes at the hands of the
friars. Before joining the bandits, Tales took Simoun�s revolver while Simoun was
staying at his house for the night. As payment, Tales leaves a locket that once
belonged to Maria Clara. To further strengthen the revolution, Simoun has Quiroga,
a Chinaman hoping to be appointed consul to the Philippines, smuggle weapons into
the country using Quiroga�s bazaar as a front. Simoun wishes to attack during a
stage play with all of his enemies in attendance. He, however, abruptly aborts the
attack when he learns from Basilio that Maria Clara died in the convent.

A few days after the mock celebration by the students, the people are agitated
when disturbing posters are found displayed around the city. The authorities
accuse the students present at the pansiteria of agitation and disturbing peace
and has them arrested. Basilio, although not present at the mock celebration, is
also arrested. Captain Tiago dies after learning of the incident and as stated in
his will � forged by Father Irene, all his possessions are given to the church,
leaving nothing for Basilio. Basilio is left in prison as the other students are
released. A high official tries to intervene for the release of Basilio but the
Captain-General, bearing grudges against the high official, coerces him to tender
his resignation. Juli, Basilio�s girlfriend and the daughter of Cabesang Tales,
tries to ask Father Camorra�s help upon the advice of an elder woman. Instead of
helping Juli, however, Father Camorra tries to rape her as he has long-hidden
desires for Juli. Juli, rather than submit to the will of the friar, jumps over
the balcony to her death.

Basilio is soon released with the help of Simoun. Basilio, now a changed man,
finally joins Simoun�s revolution. Simoun then tells Basilio his plan at the
wedding of of Paulita Gomez and Juanito, Basilio�s hunch-backed classmate. His
plan was to conceal an explosive inside a lamp that Simoun will give to the
newlyweds as a gift during the wedding reception. The reception will take place at
the former home of Captain Tiago, which was now filled with explosives planted by
Simoun. According to Simoun, the lamp will stay lighted for only 20 minutes before
it flickers; if someone attempts to turn the wick, it will explode and kill
everyone inside the house. Basilio has a change of heart and attempts to warn the
people inside, including Isagani, his friend and the former boyfriend of Paulita.
Simoun leaves the reception early as planned and leaves a note behind; "Mane,
Thacel, Phares. Juan Crisostomo Ibarra". Initially thinking that it was simply a
bad joke by those left behind, Father Salvi recognizes the handwriting and
confirms that it was indeed Ibarra�s. As people begin to panic, the lamp flickers.
Father Irene tries to turn the wick up when Isagani, due to his undying love for
Paulita, bursts in the room and throws the lamp into the river. He escapes by
diving into the river as guards chase after him.

Simoun, now unmasked as the perpetrator of the attempted arson and failed
revolution, becomes a fugitive. Wounded and exhausted, he seeks shelter at the
home of Father Florentino, Isagani�s uncle, and came under the care of Doctor
Tiburcio de Espada�a, the husband of Do�a Victorina, who was also hiding at the
house. Simoun takes poison in order for him not to be captured alive by the
authorities. Before he dies, he reveals his real identity to Father Florentino
while they exchange thoughts about the failure of his revolution and why God
forsook him. Father Florentino opines that God did not forsake him and that his
plans were not for the greater good but for personal gain. Simoun, finally
accepting Father Florentino�s explanation, squeezes his hand and dies. Father
Florentino then takes Simoun�s remaining jewelries and throws them into the sea,
hoping that they would not be used by the greedy, and that if the time came that
it would be used for the greater good, the sea would reveal the treasures.

[edit] Characters

Simoun - Crisostomo Ibarra in disguise, left for dead at the end of Noli Me
Tangere, has resurfaced as the wealthy jeweler, Simoun, sporting a beard, blue-
tinted glasses, and a revolver. Fueled by his mistreatment at the hands of the
Spaniards and his fury at Maria Clara's fate, he has since shed his pacifist image
and become the titular "filibustero", pretending to side with the upper class and
encouraging them to enslave the masses, while in reality siding with the masses
and urging them to revolt against the oppressive Spanish regime. This time, he
does not attempt to fight the authorities with knowledge, but by force. He
concocts a plot to set off a bomb disguised as a beautiful lamp at a wedding where
important members of civil society and the church hierarchy are in attendance.
Unfortunately for him, his plan fails and he commits suicide by taking poison.

Basilio - after the tragic deaths of his mother and younger brother, Basilio heeds
the advice of the dying boatman, Elias, and travels to Manila to study. At first
he is frowned upon by his peers and teachers not only because of the color of his
skin but also because of his shabby appearance, but redeems himself in their eyes
by participating in a fencing contest--and winning. He soon becomes an exceptional
medical student, but his plans to graduate and become a full-time doctor are
postponed by an encounter with Simoun, who, upon bringing up the deaths of his
relatives, convinces him to aid him in his plots. At first, the young man is
reluctant, but the death of his sweetheart Juliana drives him to fight whole-
heartedly by Simoun's side. He helps Simoun smuggle in a bomb into a wedding
reception, but relents later on and warns his best friend Isagani of the impending

Isagani - Basilio's best friend. While Basilio is an aspiring doctor, Isagani, on

the other hand, is a budding poet, and he, along with Basilio, plans to establish
a school wherein indios such as themselves may learn Spanish. Unlike Basilio, he
does not get along well with Simoun, and is much more emotional and reactive than
his friend. Isagani experiences a rocky relationship with his rich girlfriend,
Paulita Gomez, who eventually dumps him and marries Isagani's fellow student,
Juanito Pelaez. Heartbroken, Isagani refuses at first to listen to Basilio when
the latter warns him to get away from the would-be epicenter of the explosion.
Eventually realizing that Paulita would die in the explosion, he foils Simoun's
plan by racing into the reception in time to prevent the explosion from happening.
He later regrets his impulsive action because he had contradicted his own belief
that he loved his nation more than Paulita and that the explosion and revolution
could have fulfilled his ideals for Filipino society.

Kabesang Tales - Once a farmer owning a prosperous sugarcane plantation and a

Cabeza de Barangay (head of the barangay), he was forced to give everything to a
bunch of unscrupulous Spanish friars. From then on, everything went downhill for
Tales: his son, Tano, who became a civil guard was captured by bandits; his
daughter Juliana had to work as a maid to get enough ransom money for his freedom;
and his father, Tandang Selo, suffered a stroke and became mute. His personality
becomes darker after all this suffering and he resorts to killing people, and
resurfaced later as the bandit named Matanglawin (Tagalog for Hawkeye). His
father, Tandang Selo, dies eventually after his own son Tano, who became a guardia
civil, accidentally shoots his grandfather in an encounter.

Don Custodio - A famous "journalist" who was asked by the students about his
decision for the Academia de Castellano. In reality, he is quite an ordinary
fellow who married a rich woman in order to be a member of Manila's elite society.
A good debater, he hates when others also believe in what he believes in and
praises the indios in public, yet denigrates them in private. He has a mistress, a
dancer named Pepay.

Paulita Gomez - The girlfriend of Isagani and the niece of Donya Victorina, the
old Filipina, who, in Noli Me Tangere, is the wife of the quack doctor Tiburcio.
In the end, she and Juanito Pelaez are wed, and she dumps Isagani, believing that
she will have no future if she marries him.

Padre Florentino - Isagani's godfather, and a secular priest. He is the priest

whom Simoun confides to at the end of the story. When Simoun dies, he throws the
latter's treasure into the ocean. He was engaged to be married, but chose the
priesthood instead. The story hints at the ambivalence of his decision when he
chooses an assignment to a remote place, living in solitude near the sea. Speaking
through the character of Florentino, Rizal reaffirms his condemnation of a bloody
revolution and his commitment to peaceful reforms.

[edit] Literary significance and reception

The novel is very similar to Dumas's French classic The Count of Monte Cristo.
Both narratives illustrate a man's will to avenge himself and reclaim his beloved
fianc�e. He craftily devises a plan of revenge and retribution by a change in

Scholars and historians interpret the novel as representative of Rizal's dilemma

to reconcile his faltering hope for securing his country's independence with his
belief in a nonviolent struggle. The style and content are said to sound closer to
a dialogue between two opposing sides, rather than to a free-flowing narrative.
Many agree that Simoun's death and Father Florentino's lamentations ultimately
reaffirm Rizal's conviction that freedom could be achieved without the need for
bloodshed. Some interpretations however, have insisted that Rizal in fact does not
condemn violent revolution but instead implies a point of view that the
Philippines and the Filipinos are not ready for armed uprising and must instead
entrust the future to the youth and allow them proper education. This claim is
strengthened by the constant emphasis on young students and their academic
misfortunes at the hands of the corrupt and incompetent Spanish ruled educational

[edit] Film, TV or theatrical adaptations

* El Filibusterismo (1962 film) at the Internet Movie Database

* Jose Rizal (1998 film) at the Internet Movie Database - Starring Cesar
Montano as Jose Rizal, Joel Torre as Crisostomo Ibarra / Simoun and Monique Wilson
as Maria Clara

[edit] See also

* Filibuster (military)

[edit] External links

* El Filibusterismo 1926 English translation made by Charles Derbyshire found
* El filibusterismo (English translation) from Project Gutenberg
* El filibusterismo (Summaries and study guide questions in Filipino)
* El Filibusterismo Chapter Summaries (Multimedia chapter summaries in
* Cai�gat Cayo! The pamphlet written by Fr. Jose Rodriguez criticizing Dr.
Rizal and advising the people that reading the book is tantamount to committing
mortal sin.
* Cai�gat Cayo! English Translation and original image scans of the pamphlet
written in 1889.
* Noli Me Tangere (in Tagalog translation) at Project Gutenberg

[edit] References

1. ^ The Reign of Greed by Jos� Rizal. Retrieved on 2008-04-24.

v � d � e
Philippine Revolution
Prelude: Gomburza � Tejeros Convention � Biyak-na-Bato Elections � Pact of Biak-
na-Bato � Spanish-American War � Declaration of Independence � Malolos Congress �
Rep�blica Filipina � Katagalugan � Negros Revolution � Treaty of Paris �
Philippine-American War
Aglipayan Church � Katipunan � La Liga Filipina � La Solidaridad � Magdalo faction
� Philippine Revolutionary Army
El Filibusterismo � Flags of the Philippine Revolution � Kartilya ng Katipunan �
Lupang Hinirang � Mi �ltimo adi�s � Noli Me Tangere � Flag of the Philippines �
Notable people
Gregorio Aglipay � Emilio Aguinaldo � Melchora Aquino � Juan Araneta � Andr�s
Bonifacio � Josephine Bracken � Dios Buhawi � Gregoria de Jes�s � Gregorio del
Pilar � Marcelo H. del Pilar � George Dewey � Papa Isio � Emilio Jacinto � Le�n
Kilat � Aniceto Lacson � Graciano L�pez Jaena � Antonio Luna � Juan Luna �
Apolinario Mabini � Miguel Malvar � Patricio Montojo � Jos� Palma � Mariano Ponce
� Jos� Rizal � Macario Sakay � Gabriela Silang � Mariano Trias
Retrieved from ""
Categories: Filipino novels | Spanish literature | 1891 novels
Hidden categories: All articles with unsourced statements | Articles with
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Filibuster, n. [fil�buster]

Pirata, filibustero

Tulisang dagat.