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February 22, 1889, Dr. Jose Rizal wrote to a group of young women of Malolos

On February 22, 1889, Dr. Jose Rizal wrote a letter to a group of young women of Malolos supporting their plan of putting up a night school.

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Jose Rizal’s Letter to the Twenty-One Women of Malolos. The letter was the result of something unheard of that happened at Malolos. On December 12, 1888 twenty-one women belonging to wealthy families of Malolos, Bulacan asked Governor-General Weyler to allow them to open a night school so they can learn the Spanish language under Teodoro Sandiko. Fray Garcia opposed the idea for fear that they will acquire progressive or seditious foreign ideas that can be used to go against the Spanish colonial government. In the end the women were allowed to set up the school on the condition that Señorita Guadalupe Reyes, a nun, will serve as their teacher.

Marcelo H. del Pilar admired the courage of the women and requested Rizal a letter recommending their bravery. Rizal sent the letter to Plaridel on February 22, 1889. It was written in Tagalog for transmittal to the 21 young women. The letter was read in the women assembly, and kept as carefully as precious gol

They finally succeeded in obtaining government approval for their project on condition that Señorita Guadalupe Reyes should be their teacher, and that the classes be held in the day-time and not at night. The incident caused a great stir in the Philippines and in far-away Spain. Marcelo H. Del Pilar, writing in Barcelona on February 17, 1889, requested Dr. Rizal to send a letter in Tagalog to the brave women of Malolos.

Although busy in London annotating Morga’s book, penned his famous very long letter and sent it to Del Pilar on February 22, 1889 for transmittal to Malolos.

I do not expect to be believed simply because it is I who am saying this; there are many people who do not listen to reason, but will listen only to those who wear the cassock or have gray hair or no teeth; but while it is true that the aged should be venerated, because of their travails and experience, yet the life I have lived, consecrated to the happiness of the people, adds some years, though not many, to my age. I do not pretend to be looked upon as an idol or fetish and to be believed and listened to with the eyes closed, the head bowed, and the arms crossed over the breast; what I ask of all is to reflect on what I tell them, think it over and sift it carefully through the sieve of reason.

First of all. That the tyranny of some is possible only through cowardice and negligence on the part of others. Second. What makes one contemptible is lack of dignity and object fear of him who holds one in contempt. Third. Ignorance is servitude, because as a man thinks, so he is; a man who does not think for himself lacks personality; the blind man who allows himself to be guided by the thought of another is like the beast led by a halter. Fourth. He who loves his independence must first aid his fellow man, because he who refuses protection to others will find himself without it; the isolated rib of the buri palm is easily broken, but not so the broom made of the ribs of the palm bound together. Fifth. If the Filipino will not change her mode of being, let her rear no more children, let her merely give birth to them. She must cease to be the mistress of the home, otherwise she will unconsciously betray husband, child, native land, and all. Sixth. All men are born equal, naked, without bonds. God did not create man to be a slave; nor did he endow him with intelligence to have him hoodwinked, or adorn him with reason to have him deceived by others. It is not fatuous to refuse to worship one’s equal, to cultivate one’s intellect, and to make use of reason in all things. Fatuous is he who makes a god of him who makes brutes of others, and who strives to submit to his whims all that is reasonable and just. Seventh. Consider well what kind of religion they are teaching you. See whether it is the will of God or according to the teachings of Christ that the poor be succored and those who suffer alleviated. Consider what they are preaching to you, the object of the sermon, what is behind the masses, novenas, rosaries, scapularies, images, miracles, candles, belts, etc., etc., which they daily keep before your minds, ears, and eyes, jostling, shouting, and waxing; investigate whence they came and whither they go, and then compare that religion with the pure religion of Christ and see whether that pretended observance of the life of Christ does not remind you of the fat milk cow or the fattened pig, which is encouraged to grow fat not through love of the animal, but for grossly mercenary motives.

Let us therefore reflect; let us consider our situation and see how we stand. May these poorly written lines aid you in your good purpose and help you to pursue the plan you have initiated. “My profit will be greater than the capital invested”; and I shall gladly accept the usual reward of all who dare tell our people the truth. May your desire to educate yourself be crowned with success; may you in the garden of learning gather not bitter, but choice fruit, looking well before you eat, because on the surface of the globe all is deceit and often the enemy sows weeds in your seeding-plot.

More About Rizal, Efipanio de loas santos, Revista Filipina, January 1917 as quoted in


More About Rizal, Efipanio de los Santos, Revista Filipina, January 1917.

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