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September 18, 1891, Dr. Jose Rizal Wrote to Jose Ma. Basa that He will Proceed to Hong Kong with 800 Copies of the El Filibusterismo

Dr. Jose Rizal began the printing of his second novel, El Filibusterismi (Reign of Greed), and a sequel to the Noli Me Tangere. On September 18, 1891, the book came off the press in Ghent, Belgium. On the same date, Rizal wrote to Jose Ma. Basa that “he could be expected in Hong Kong by November with eightt hundred copies of the Fili.

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El Fiibusterismo had a turbulent writing history. It went through four revisions between March 29 and June 13, 1891. The first revision was finished by March 29, the second one was finished by April 23, a third finished by May 30, the final revision which was taken to the printng press, was finished in June.

Rizal mentioned the Fili in his letter to Plaridel on June 11, 1890: “ibig kong matapus na pilit and ikalawang putol ñg Noli.” We do not know when he began writing it. Guerrero suggests, Rizal had been working on it “on and off ever since the publication of the Noli.” Dumol and Camposano said, Rizal began writing the novel “probably reading Blumentritt’s prologue to the Morga (November 1889). Bluemtritt’s prologue ends with a remark on certain groups of Spaniards being “involuntary agents provocateurs of filibusterismo” because of the way they treat Filipinos.

Rizal wrote El Filibusterismo in dedication to the three martyred priests Mariano Gomez, Jose Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora, expressing conviction that their treatment and deaths at the hands of the Spanish authorities was unjust.

In El Filibusterismo, Rizal urged the society to open its eyes to reality and rebel against the Spanish government for its oppression and abuse. In Noli Me Tangere, there is aspiration, beauty, romance, and mercy. In El Filibusterismo, readers will feel is bitterness, hatred, and antipathy. The romance and aspirations are gone. Even the characters’ personalities seem to have undergone radical change.

Rizal dedicates the Fili to Fathers Gomez, Burgos, and Zamora was “Victims of the sickness I am trying to combat.” We will read in the last chapter of the Fili that “the sickness he is referring to must involve Filipinos rather then Spaniards; it must involve the little value given to the human being as human being – the little appreciation given to reason, human dignity, and the ability to love what is just, good, and great and die for it.”

Sources:

Dumol, Paul Arvisu and Camposano, Clement C. The Nation As Project. A New Reading of Jose Rizal’s Life and Works. Quezon City, Philippines: Vibal Group, Inc., 2018.

Garcia, Carlito D., De Viana, Augusto V. and Cruz, Cynthia B. Rizal and the Development of Filipino Nationalism. A Textbook on the Life, Works, and Writings of our National Hero. Third edition. Mandaluyong City, Philippines: Books Atbp. Publishing Corp., 2015.

Guerrero, Leon Ma. The First Filipino. A Biography of Jose Rizal. Manila, Philippines: National Historical Commission, 1974.

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