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Literature / El Filibusterismo

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El Filibusterismo (translated as "The Filibustering", or more loosely "Subversion") is the sequel to Jose Rizal's Noli Me Tangere.

Thirteen years after Crisostomo Ibarra's apparent death, a mysterious man named Simoun appears, quickly gaining favor with the Spanish rulers and high society of 19th century Manila. Called el Cardinal Moreno (the Dark Cardinal), he was the informal adviser to the colony's Captain-General and tours the islands apparently as a jewel merchant. Basilio, the young boy from the previous book, is now a medical student at the college of Ateneo, and he gets drawn into a web of lies and deceit.

Like its predecessor, it is considered an important part of Filipino literature.

In 2022, GMA Network began airing Maria Clara at Ibarra, which adapts Noli and eventually this novel with a twist.

This novel contains the following tropes:

  • Allegorical Character: the same pattern from the prequel.
  • Alliterative Name: Placido Penitente, the student who eventually joins Simoun's cause.
  • Attempted Rape: Done on Juli by Father Camorra. She prevents it by jumping off the church balcony.
  • Author Filibuster: Several conversations in the book fall heavily into this. Two memorable examples are Isagani's conversation with the lawyer, Mr. Pasta, and a dinner that the students have later in the story to 'celebrate' the halt of their planned Spanish school. Then again, it is in the title.
  • Author Tract
  • Batman Gambit: Nearly everything Simoun does.
  • Best Served Cold: Simoun's revenge.
  • Betty and Veronica: Isagani and Juanito are this to Paulita. Juanito wins.
  • Big Bad : Simoun
  • Bilingual Bonus: The title itself is Spanish for "The Filibuster." Which aptly describes the nature of this novel.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Paulita Gomez, Isagani's sweetheart, is a stunningly beautiful orphan with immense riches, is intelligent, witty, and has a fondness for art. And then she dumps Isagani because his being put in prison stripped him of his "appeal" and goes of to marry Juanito.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Simoun dies, but not before atoning for his sins.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: Basilio. It is unknown what happens to him after the wedding of Juanito and Paulita.
  • Book Ends: Father Florentino appears in the Bapor Tabo story arc (first three chapters) and in the final chapter (where his house is visited by Simoun and throws the jeweler's chest into the sea).
  • Break the Cutie: Juli, Basilio's girlfriend, is nearly raped (by the parish priest) and commits suicide. Basilio himself is too, after suffering setback after setback.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Remember when Maria Clara gave her necklace to the leper in the first book? One of the earlier chapters in this book reveal that the leper gave it to Basilio as thanks for treating his illness. Basilio then gave this to Juli as a present. Later on, her father, Cabesang Tales, uses this same necklace to pay Simoun for the revolver he took from him for his Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Collateral Angst: Juli's death and attempted rape drove Basilio to join Simoun's cause against the Spanish.
  • Continuity Nod: See Chekhov's Gun above.
  • Cool Shades: Jade-Colored Glasses it may be.
  • Corrupt Church: Although the book does go out of its way to show more sympathetic clergymen like the Jesuits and Father Florentino. This was because Rizal was rather fond of his Jesuit teachers in real life.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: What Tales did to the friar, new tenant, and the tenant's wife was not pleasant.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: While Sisa's and Crispin's deaths didn't break Basilio's idealism thirteen years ago, Juli's death did.
  • Darker and Edgier: Than its prequel. It overall contains a more cynical and political narrative.
  • Dean Bitterman: Father Hernando de la Sibyla, the Dominican curate of the town of Binondo in Noli, becomes the vice-rector of the University of Santo Tomas in the sequel. He then proceeds to make life hell for the students.
  • Delinquents: Tadeo.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Simoun returned to the Philippines to save Maria Clara only to find out that she died. Basilio got out of prison after being falsely accused of participating with the student rebellion and learned that his lover, Juli, committed suicide. Isagani witnessed the love of his life, Paulita Gomez, being betrothed to another man after he was exposed as one of the participants of the student rebellion.
  • Dies Differently in Adaptation: Since details are vague surrounding Maria Clara's death, adaptations usually settle on her succumbing to an illness or being Driven to Suicide similar to Juli.
  • Dirty Old Woman: Dona Victorina, whose husband ran away from her and successfully evaded her for thirteen years, becomes the caretaker of Paulita Gomez, and is heavily implied to have the hots for Paulita's suitor, Juanito Pelaez.
  • Distant Sequel: Takes place 13 years after the events of Noli Me Tangere.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • After an Attempted Rape by Padre Camorra, Juli jumps off from the church balcony to prevent any future attempts.
    • Also Simoun. After his revolutionary plot is discovered by the Guardia Civil and already suffering from multiple gunshot wounds, he poisons himself after confessing to Padre Florentino.
  • Dying Alone: Maria Clara.
  • Expy: Father Camorra of Tiani is very similar in personality to Father Damaso who died at the end of the first book.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: Played with: the bells were not exactly tolling in very scene, but Simoun recalls hearing bells earlier in the day of his first attempt at rebellion. Understanding the context leads him into Heroic BSOD (see below).
  • The Gay '90s: El Filibusterismo is most likely to be set in this decade because the abolition of the tobacco monopoly in the early 1880s is mentioned in Chapter 1 of Noli Me Tangere.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: It's implied Juli's brother goes insane after learning that the man he killed was his father and the man his comrades shot down was his grandfather.
  • Gotta Kill 'Em All: Simoun's ultimate plan is to detonate a bomb at the wedding party, killing all of the friars and government officials. Subverted since the bomb never detonates.
  • Good Shepherd: Father Florentino.
  • Hero of Another Story: Cabesang Tales starts off as a victim of oppression and transforms into rebel. His rebellion, however, gets no follow up because the book ends with Simoun's death.
  • Heroic BSoD: Simoun has one after he finds out that Maria Clara has died earlier that day. He only learned it from Basilio himself when he visited him that night.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Ben Zayb.
  • It's Personal: Basilio, embittered about Juli's attempted rape and suicide, eventually joins Simoun's uprising.
    • This is also what drives Cabesang Tales and his father to join the outlaws.
  • Jade-Colored Glasses: Simoun's. They're blue!
  • Jerkass: Father Camorra.
  • Karma Houdini: Camorra's rape of Juli is hushed up and he's transferred to another parish.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Pretty much every Filipino knows that Simoun is Crisostomo Ibarra.
  • Love Martyr: Isagani pretty much single-handedly derails Simoun's plan to kill all of the friars because Paulita Gomez was in the building.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Simoun has been playing the governor-general for a fiddle since they first met. Also, he contributed to Tales's decision to join the rebels.
  • Market-Based Title: The original English translation was titled The Reign of Greed.
  • Meaningful Name: Placido Penitente. "Placid" means calm and peaceful, while "penitent" means sorrowful and regretful. This ties with the fact that Placido is introduced as a very sorrowful character. This wordplay is, in fact, even alluded to in-universe by Padre Millon himself.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: When Basilio sees Isagani watching his beloved Paulita from a window at Capitan Tiago's house, he warns him to go away lest he be killed by an explosion (as part of Simoun's Batman Gambit). Because of this, Isagani is horrified by at the thought of seeing his beloved die right before his eyes that he came inside the house to take away the lamp and throw it into the water, thereby foiling Simoun's plan.
  • Occupiers Out of Our Country: Simoun's, or rather Ibarra's, main goal in El Fili.
  • Ojou: Paulita.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Simoun's end goal for the Filipinos.
  • Pedophile Priest: Father Camorra.
  • The Philosopher: Arguably, Sandoval.
  • Put on a Bus: We hear no more of Juli's brother Tano when the civil guard marches him off to wherever. Until his grandfather dies.
  • Rape as Drama: Juli.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Simoun gives one to Basilio, and to an extent, Basilio's fellow students, for trying to build an academy to educate the natives in learning the Spanish language, something he deems will only help erase the natives' identity and further subjugate them to Spanish rule which is ironic because Simoun previously tried to do the same thing 13 years before.
  • Red Baron: Cardinal Moreno for Simoun, Matanglawinnote  for Tales.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Simoun.
    • Debatable as he says nothing while Father Florentino gives his speech. He may not have been listening either.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: With bandits as the rebels and with Simoun at the helm, it's bound to be this.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Cabesang Tales wrecks this on those who took over his farm. Simoun also pretty much wants this after the events of the first novel.
  • Romantic Runner-Up: Isagani.
  • Sadist Teacher: Father Millon to Placido Penitente due to his heritage.
  • Scarpia Ultimatum / Sadistic Choice: Juli realizes that the only way to save Basilio from a lifetime of prison and/or forced slavery is to have sex with Father Camorra, although to be fair he doesn't tell her this herself. She tries, and is Driven to Suicide because of this.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Tano, Juli's brother. To be fair, he didn't know that the man he shot down was his own father.
  • Sequel Hook: A less-obvious one in current times, but the jewelry casket of the dead Simoun thrown by Padre Florentino into the sea will be a Chekhov's Gun in another novel by another author: Philippine National Artist Amado V. Hernandez's Mga Ibong Mandaragit (Birds of Prey).
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Simoun returns to the Philippines just to have revenge against the Spaniards and save Maria Clara. However, Maria Clara dies before he could see her again and his planned revolution failed. Fortunately, he redeems himself in the eyes of Father Florentino.
  • Shout-Out: The phrase "Mene thecel phares" is used in a similar context to the original.
    • Ibarra's fate is pretty much a shout out from a certain Edmond though Ibarra/Simoun dies in the second book. It also helps that it's one of Rizal's favorite novels.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Tends more towards the cynical end of the scale than Noli.
  • Spanner in the Works: Isagani spoils Simoun's plans by throwing the bomb-lamp away.
    • And he gets bonus points for basically saying that had he known what Simoun was up to, he wouldn't have done it.
  • Sunglasses at Night: A very important piece of disguise.
  • Time Bomb: A 19th-century version. It's the gas lamp - once the wick runs out, the gunpowder hidden everywhere will explode, killing all of society's higher-ups.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Basilio never gets a break.
  • Uncle Pennybags: Makaraig. He financed the would-have-been school with his huge hoard of cash.
  • The Unfettered: Simoun.
  • Villain Protagonist: Simoun. Revealed to be the Not Quite Dead Ibarra.
    • Before his death, he narrates to Father Florentino about his actions from the events of Noli Me Tangere until his downfall, feeling sorry about the failure of his would-be uprising.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: To The Count of Monte Cristo; being one of Rizal's favorite stories as a child, it's understandable.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Basilio. Then he gets broken.
    • Isagani, Basilio's best buddy, plays this straight until the end of the book.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: Of course, this has inspired countless debates up to this day in Philippine literary criticism and/or historical studies... considering how Rizal has the tendency to be didactic in his novels.