Juan Crisostomo Ibarra
The Hero of Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo. He is a Creole (Filipino with mixed foreign blood, in this case Spanish) who studied abroad in Europe for the past seven years and returns to the Philippines to visit his late father's funeral. A certified Wide-Eyed Idealist... until secrets are revealed and things promptly go to hell.
- Action Survivor
- Author Avatar: Of Jose Rizal. Modern illustrations and novel descriptions tend to depict Ibarra with similar features to Rizal (or at least, his most prominent portraits).
- Badass Beard: Sports one in El Fili. Due to now being a Villain Protagonist, it also counts as Beard of Evil.
- Berserk Button: Don't talk smack about his dad.
- Beware the Nice Ones
- Big Damn Heroes: Ibarra, during a fishing trip in the lake, saved the boatman from being devoured by a crocodile.
- Child of Two Worlds: Being the son of a Creole father and native mother makes him this. His father counts too with Don Rafael's father being a pure-blooded Spaniard.
- Cool Shades: Wears one in El Fili.
- Did Not Get the Girl
- Disney Death
- Embarrassing Middle Name: Averted. Maria Clara occasionally refers to her by his middle name as if she's doing it as First-Name Basis.
- Fallen Hero / FaceHeel Turn: Crisostomo Ibarra becomes the Villain Protagonist Simoun in El Filibusterismo.
- The Hero
- Hero with Bad Publicity
- Inferred Survival
- Last-Name Basis: Everyone. Not that this was unusual at the time.
- Nice Guy: Nice enough to ignore Father Damaso's blatant insults towards him. ... Until his father is insulted anyway.
- Not Quite Dead
- Perfectly Arranged Marriage: An incredible subversion. Maria Clara and Ibarra are not betrothed at first, but after their parents saw how much they love each other, they decided to have them in an Arranged Marriage.
- Protagonist Journey to Villain: A lot of bad things happened to him in this very novel that it serves as his breaking point. By the time of El Fili, he's a full-blown Villain Protagonist.
- Rant-Inducing Slight: At the luncheon when Damaso insults his father, Ibarra snaps and holds a knife to his throat. This pretty much marks the novel's shift in tone.
- Rebel Leader: Is falsely implicated as the instigator and main brains behind the uprising stirred by Lucas and Padre Salvi.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: The Sensitive Guy to Elias' Manly Man.
- Sharp-Dressed Man: He is mostly depicted wearing an 19th century suit to illustrate his cultured personality and educated status.
- Starcrossed Lovers: With Maria Clara.
- Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Well...
- Took a Level in Cynic/Took a Level in Jerkass: He becomes a very bitter and a very cutthroat Villain Protagonist in El Fili.
- Trauma Conga Line: The entire plot goes out of its way to break Ibarra and succeeds.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: At first.
- Victorious Childhood Friend: He and Maria Clara would have been this.
Padre Damaso Verdolagas, OFM
A rude Spanish friar who was also a family friend of the Ibarra family. Key word being was, since Damaso definitely hated the guts of the Ibarra patriarch, Don Rafael Ibarra — Crisostomo Ibarra's father, and was not afraid to hide it. This hatred extends to Crisostomo, whom Damaso despises for studying abroad and thus being enlightened enough to understand the Spanish oppression. Padre Damaso bears a grudge against Filipinos (who they called indios during those times) and was once the parish priest in Ibarra's hometown, before he reassigned to another town by the Governor General because of something Damaso did.
- Corrupt Church: It doesn't get any more obvious.
- Dirty Old Man: Rapes Pia Alba who is Maria Clara's mother (making Damaso the biological father).
- Evil Is Hammy: Live Action Adaptations usually portray him as extremely over the top.
- False Friend: Read the was in his bio? Turns out the "friend" part is not even real to begin with.
- Fat and Skinny: The Fat Bastard to Fray Salvi's Lean and Mean.
- Fat Bastard: Frequently portrayed as short and stout, in contrast to Padre Salvi who is often shown as Lean and Mean.
- Holier Than Thou
- Jerkass: Yes.
- Jerk with a Heart of Jerk
- Kick the Dog: Absolutely loves doing this.
- Pet the Dog: His only redeeming quality is his genuine fatherly love and fondness towards his godchild Maria Clara. Justified, she's his biological daughter.
- Maria Clara, I Am Your Father
- Never Speak Ill of the Dead: Subverted. Still insults the late Don Rafael at any given moment, despite the man being dead for a year.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Thinks not even the Spanish government is allowed to interfere with his decisions.
- Smug Snake: Have you seen any of the tropes above??
Padre Bernardino Salvi, OFM
Padre Damaso's successor as the parish priest of San Diego, Ibarra's hometown. Unlike the loud and boisterous Damaso, Salvi is quiet and sickly... but that doesn't mean he's any better than the former. Padre Salvi is often the one who makes decisions for the town of San Diego, something which irks actual town officials. He is bitter enemies with the Alferez* though they pretend as though they were not in public. He is implied to be the one who killed Crispin. Oh, and he also has his eyes on Maria Clara.
- Bald of Evil: He is usually portrayed as a balding old man.
- Corrupt Church
- Dirty Old Man: Lusts after Maria Clara. Like his predecessor Father Damaso over her mother.
- Fat and Skinny: The skinny to Padre Damaso's Fat Bastard.
- Holier Than Thou: Slightly less than Damaso, but that doesn't make him any less obnoxiously evil.
- Lean and Mean: Due to being a sickly man.
- Manipulative Bastard: Pretends to be on Ibarra's side despite characters witnessing his more unsavory actions.
- Would Hurt a Child: He's responsible for Crispin's death.
Maria Clara de los Santos
Ibarra's childhood friend and fiancee. A sweet and caring young lady, Maria Clara is the only daughter of Kapitan Tiago and Pia Alba.
- Breakout Character: She is a significant name in Philippine culture.
- Break the Cutie: Yes. The poor woman deserves a hug or two. Or a hundred.
- The Chick: Sweet and caring but rather weak.
- Child by Rape
- Extreme Doormat
- Heroic Bastard
- In-Series Nickname: "Clarita".
- Oblivious Adoption
- Named After Somebody Famous: Explained in-universe; she was named after two of the three patron saints of Obando in Bulacan Province (the Virgin Mary under the title of "Our Lady of the Fishnets" and Saint Clare), upon whose intercession she was believed to be conceived.
- Nice to the Waiter: Extends her kindness to a leper in one of the chapters.
- Proper Lady: The Philippine standard for the Proper Lady is actually named Maria Clara. She sets the standard for it.
- Shrinking Violet: She fainted and became bedridden after she learned that Crisostomo was excommunicated after trying to murder Padre Damaso in a fit of rage.
- Spoiled Sweet
- The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: A mestiza born our of two indio parents. Pia Alba was quite the looker
- Victorious Childhood Friend: She and Ibarra would have been this.
Don Santiago "Capitan Tiago" de los Santos
A wealthy businessman, Don Rafael's good friend, and Ibarra's future father-in-law or was supposed to be. His kind heart is overridden by the fact that he's too weak-willed to fight back against the Spanish, whom he is loyal to.
- The Captain: Called as such, as he was once the gobernadorcillo* of the town of San Diego.
- Extreme Doormat: While he's indeed filthy rich, most people do not respect him because of his utter loyalty to the Spanish friars and officials. Enough that his In-Series Nickname (according to supplementary chapters) is Sacristan Tiago.
- Law of Inverse Fertility: His wife Pia, Maria Clara's mother, invoked every religious ritual in the Philippines in order to pray to have a child, but to no avail. Subverted when, against all odds, she gets pregnant with Maria Clara. Double subverted when it turns out Tiago is actually infertile, and Maria Clara is Damaso's Child by Rape.
- Parental Substitute: To Maria Clara.
- The Stoner: Becomes addicted to opium after everything had gone to hell.
Donya VictorinaA Filipina woman who married a lame Spanish doctor, Don Tiburcio. She often serves as a comic relief.
- The Quisling
- Rich Bitch
- Small Name, Big Ego
- Smug Snake: Thinks she's better than all Filipinos, despite the fact that she is one.
- Author Avatar: Rizal uses him to represent his opinions about the revolution.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Appears early on in the story as a boatman.
- Dying Moment of Awesome: His Heroic Sacrifice involves using himself as diversion so Ibarra could escape from a platoon of riflemen.
- Face Death with Dignity: Calmly talks to Basilio before succumbing to his wounds.
- The Fettered
- Heroic Sacrifice: Used himself as a diversion so Ibarra could escape.
- I Owe You My Life: To Ibarra.
- The Lancer: Is this to Ibarra.
- Rated M for Manly: The guy is a total badass and went out in a Dying Moment of Awesome. Rizal even takes the time to describe his features as manly.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: The Manly Man to Ibarra's Sensitive Guy.
A loving mother of two boys, Basilio and Crispin. Also a loving wife of a gambler. She tries to make ends meet by sewing and selling homegrown vegetables, but her husband's habits and her children's workplace kind of obstruct her goals and dreams. This being a Crapsack World, Sisa loses two of her children (Basilio goes missing and Crispin presumably winds up dead) and subsequently goes insane.
- Breakout Character: Most readers recognize the novel series when they hear of her name.
- Break the Cutie: Was said to be very beautiful and young-looking. Then her husband turns out to be a drunk gambler and her children are accused of stealing from the church collection.
- Kill the Cutie: Dies in Basilio's arms.
- Does Not Like Shoes: She is often depicted barefoot. Mostly during her Sanity Slippage.
- Famous Last Words: Not as much as they are her last words, but her screaming of her children's names are very recognizable in Filipino culture and immediately reminds one of Noli Me Tangere.
- Go Mad from the Revelation.
- Good Is Dumb: Her introductory chapter describes her as weak in character, with more heart than intellect.
- Love Makes You Crazy: Literally.
- Love Martyr: Loves her husband Pedro despite him being a drunk gambler who spends his time betting and generally not giving a damn about his family. She tries to justify it by saying she does it to keep the family from falling apart. It doesn't work.
- Mama Bear
- Only One Name
- The Ophelia: After her son's death.
- Outliving One's Offspring: Crispin's death triggers her Sanity Slippage.
- Sanity Slippage.
- Say My Name: Basilio! Crispin!
A ten-year old sacristan at the parish of San Diego, he is the oldest of Sisa's two children, making him Crispin's elder brother. He tries to make ends meet by working as a sacristan at church alongside his brother. Unfortunately, church work is most probably the least rewarding job at the time, and he and Crispin end up being accused of stealing from the church collection. One night, they are confronted by the sacristan mayor and the parish priest. Crispin is captured and tortured while Basilio manages to escape by slipping down the ropes of the church bells.
- Break the Cutie
- Butt-Monkey: Repeatedly, even in the second novel.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Introduced as an innocent sacristan boy, becomes a major character in the sequel.
- Deceased Parents Are the Best: Subverted, as he loved his mother Sisa. Played With in that he hated his gambling father.
- Dreaming of Things to Come: Dreamt his brother's death.
- Parental Abandonment: Sisa dies and nothing is heard of Pedro after the first couple of chapters.
- Parents Are Useless: Thinks his family is better off without his father, for justified reasons.
- Wise Beyond Their Years: Despite being only ten years old, he formulates an optimistic (yet somewhat grounded) plan to bring his mother, brother and himself into a less meager life. Her understands the injustices against the poor and against his people, and knows that his father is a piece of shit.
A seven-year old sacristan at the parish of San Diego, he is the youngest of Sisa's two children, making him Basilio's younger brother. He tries to make ends meet by working as a sacristan at church alongside his brother. Unfortunately, church work is most probably the least rewarding job at the time, and he and Basilio (mostly Crispin, though) end up being accused of stealing from the church collection. One night, they are confronted by the sacristan mayor and the parish priest. Crispin is captured and presumably killed during interrogation while Basilio escapes by slipping down the ropes of the church bells. From what is seen during interactions with his brother, Crispin is the more idealistic and hopeful person between the two.
- Cheerful Child: We don't see much of it, but what we do know of Crispin is based on Sisa and Basilio's narrations.
- Cynicism Catalyst: His death is this for his mother, Sisa, which drives her crazy.
- Kill the Cutie: Poor little boy gets struck by Padre Salvi's cane after trying to escape.
- Sacrificial Lamb: His death marks the fact that Rizal is basically saying, Anyone Can Die.
A relative of Damaso's and supposed cousin of Don Tiburcio who came to the Philippines to find a wife and a job. Is betrothed to Maria Clara after Ibarra was excommunicated by the Church.