Marcelo H. del Pilar
|Marcelo H. del Pilar|
Image from the book "Mga Dakilang Pilipino" by Jose N. Sevilla
|Born||Marcelo Hilario del Pilar y Gatmaitán
August 30, 1850
Bulacán, Bulacan, Philippines
|Died||July 4, 1896
|Cause of death||Tuberculosis|
|Alma mater||Colegio de San José
Universidad de Santo Tomás
|Occupation||Writer, lawyer, journalist|
|Spouse(s)||Marciana H. del Pilar
(1878–1896; his death)
|Children||Sofía H. del Pilar
Anita H. del Pilar de Marasigan
|Parents||Julián H. del Pilar (father)
Blasa Gatmaitán (mother)
Marcelo Hilario del Pilar y Gatmaitán (August 30, 1850 – July 4, 1896), better known by his pen name Plaridel, was a Filipino writer, lawyer, and journalist. He was the second and last editor of the La Solidaridad (Solidarity), the newspaper of the Reform Movement in Spain.
Marcelo Hilario del Pilar y Gatmaitán was born on August 30, 1850 in Cupang (now Barangay San Nicolás), Bulacán, Bulacan. He was baptized "Marcelo Hilario" on September 4, 1850. The surname "del Pilar" was added to comply with the decree issued by Governor-General Narciso Clavería in 1849.
Del Pilar’s parents owned several farms, some fish ponds, and an animal-power mill. His father, Julián Hilario del Pilar, was a Tagalog grammarian, poet, and speaker. He was a "three time" gobernadorcillo (municipal mayor) of his pueblo (town). Julián later held the position of oficial de mesa (government clerk) of the alcalde mayor (provincial governor). Blasa Gatmaitán, del Pilar’s mother, was a descendant of the noble Gatmaitáns. She was known as "Doña Blasica".
The ninth of ten children, del Pilar's siblings were: Toribio (priest, deported to the Mariana Islands in 1872), Fernando (father of General Gregorio del Pilar), Andrea, Dorotea, Estanislao, Juan, Hilaria (married to Deodato Arellano), Valentín, and María. The share of each was very small and del Pilar renounced his in favor of his siblings.
Del Pilar worked with his paternal uncle Alejo del Pilar, the clerk of the court of Quiapo, in 1860. At an early age, he played the flute, piano, and violin. He took a Latin course in the college owned by Hermenigildo Flores. He later transferred at the Colegio de San José. After obtaining his Bachiller en Artes, he pursued law at the Universidad de Santo Tomás. Del Pilar was a fourth year law student when he acted as a padrino (godfather) at a baptism in 1869. He was imprisoned by the religious orders for having questioned the exorbitant baptismal fee charged by the parish priest of San Miguel. He was sentenced to Old Bilibid Prison (then known as Carcel y Presidio Correccional) by judge Félix García Gavieres. He was released after thirty days.
When the Cavite Mutiny took place in 1872, del Pilar was living with Fr. Mariano Sevilla. Sevilla was among the thirteen secular priests who had been arrested by the Spanish authorities due to allegation of being the organizers of the uprising. He was deported to the Mariana Islands together with del Pilar's eldest brother, Fr. Toribio Hilario del Pilar.
Del Pilar worked as oficial de mesa in Pampanga (1874-1875) and Quiapo (1878-1879). In February 1878, del Pilar married Marciana (the "Chanay/Tsanay" in his letters) in Tondo. The couple had seven children, six girls and one boy: Sofía, José, María, Rosario, María Consolación, María Concepción, and Ana (Anita). Only Sofía and Anita grew to adulthood (five children died before becoming adults). Del Pilar resumed his legal studies at the UST in that year (1878). He earned his licenciado en jurisprudencia (equivalent to a Bachelor of Laws) in 1880. After finishing law, he worked for the Real Audiencia de Manila (Royal Audience of Manila).
In 1882, del Pilar co-founded the short-lived Diariong Tagalog (Tagalog Newspaper), the first Philippine bilingual newspaper. The newspaper was financed by Francisco Calvo y Muñoz, a wealthy Spanish liberal. Del Pilar published patriotic articles and edited the Tagalog section. He featured in the newspaper the essay of José Rizal, El Amor Patrio, which del Pilar translated into Tagalog, Ang Pagibig sa Tinubúang Lupà (Love of Country).
In 1885, del Pilar and his associates collided head-on with the friar-curate of Malolos on the list of taxpayers. The friar-curate wanted to bloat the list, a move meant for the church's financial gain. On October 18, 1887, Benigno Quiroga y López Ballesteros (the Director General of Civil Administration in Manila) issued an executive order prohibiting the exposition of corpses in the churches (also known as the "1887 Quiroga Decree"). Manuel Crisóstomo, the gobernadorcillo of Malolos at that time, published the order by means of a bellman. Fr. Felipe García, the acting friar-curate of Malolos, aggravated the authorities by parading the body of the servant of Don Eugenio Delgado. In order to prevent protest, Crisóstomo, advised by del Pilar, addressed the problem to the Spanish governor of Bulacan, Manuel Gómez Florio. Gómez Florio reprimanded the fighting parish priest.
Another incident occurred in that year (1887). There was a dispute between the indios (Filipino natives) and the mestizos de sanglay (Chinese mestizos) concerning the selection of seats in the Binondo Church. Del Pilar acted as the assessor of Juan A. Zulueta (Juan A. Tenluz), the main agitator of the group of indios against the mestizos de sanglay, which latter were supported by the friar-curate of Binondo, Fr. José Hevia Campomanes.
On January 21, 1888, del Pilar drafted a memorial to the gobernador civil (civil governor) of Bulacan. This was signed by gobernadorcillos, ex-gobernadorcillos, leading citizens, proprietors, industrialists, professors, and lawyers of the province. The memorial suggested a popular contribution for the aim of assisting the treasury with the costs of the establishment of a school accredited by Spain's Minister of Ultramar.
A massive anti-friar demonstration occurred on March 1 of the same year. The demonstrators (led by Doroteo Cortés and José A. Ramos) marched to the office of José Centeno García, the civil governor of Manila at that time. They presented a manifesto addressed to the Queen Regent. This manifesto, entitled "Viva España! Viva el Rey! Viva el Ejército! Fuera los Frailes!" (Long live Spain! Long live the King! Long live the Army! Throw the friars out!), was written by del Pilar. It demanded the friars' expulsion from the Philippines (including Manila Archbishop Pedro P. Payo).
Fr. José Rodríguez, an Augustinian priest, authored a pamphlet entitled ¡Caiñgat Cayo!: Sa mañga masasamang libro,t, casulatan (Beware!: of bad books and writings, 1888). The friar warned the Filipinos that in reading Rizal's Noli Me Tángere (Touch Me Not) they commit "mortal sin". On August 3 of the same year, del Pilar wrote Caiigat Cayó (Be as Slippery as an Eel). It was a reply to Fr. Rodríguez's ¡Caiñgat Cayó!.
The Spanish liberal officials (Terrero, Quiroga, Centeno, etc.) were relieved and succeeded by the conservatives. In Bulacan, Gómez Florio was removed as civil governor. The new governor was persuaded by Fr. Felipe García to issue an order of banishment against del Pilar for his anti-clerical and subversive activities. The order was processed for two days, but before it was released, del Pilar had fled to Spain (October 28, 1888). This was made possible through the assistance of his brother-in-law, Deodato Arellano, and his fellow friends, Gregorio Santillán and Mariano Crisóstomo.
Before he left the country, del Pilar stayed at the house of his fellow Bulaqueño, Pedro Serrano y Lactao. Together with Rafael Enriquez, they wrote the Dasalan at Tocsohan (Prayers and Mockeries), a mock-prayer book satirizing the Spanish friars. They also wrote the Pasióng Dapat Ipag-alab nang Puso nang Tauong Babasa (Passion That Should Inflame the Heart of the Reader).
Del Pilar was also able to organize the Caja de Jesús, María y José, the purpose of which was to carry on propaganda and provide scholarships to indigent children. He headed it with the assistance of Mariano Ponce, Santillán, Crisóstomo, Lactao, and José Gatmaitán. Caja de Jesús, María y José was later dissolved and replaced by Comité de Propaganda (Committee of Propaganda) in Manila.
Del Pilar arrived in Barcelona on January 1, 1889. He headed the political section of the Asociación Hispano-Filipina de Madrid (Hispanic Filipino Association of Madrid). On December 15, 1889, he succeeded Graciano López Jaena as editor of the La Solidaridad. Under his editorship, the aims of the newspaper expanded. Using propaganda, it pursued the desires for: assimilation of the Philippines as a province of Spain; removal of the friars and the secularization of the parishes; freedom of assembly and speech; equality before the law; and Philippine representation in the Cortes, the legislature of Spain.
Del Pilar's struggle increased when the funds to support the La Solidaridad were ignored and there were no sign of immediate response from the Spanish colonial government. Before his death, he opposed the assimilationist stand and began planning an armed revolution. Del Pilar vigorously affirmed this belief:
|“||Insurrection is the last remedy, especially when the people have acquired the belief that peaceful means to secure the remedies for evils prove futile.||”|
Del Pilar lived in extreme poverty in Spain. He often missed his meals and during winter, he kept himself warm by smoking discarded cigarette butts he picked up in the streets. Racked with tuberculosis, del Pilar decided to return to the Philippines. His illness worsened that he had to cancel his trip. He was taken to the Hospital de la Santa Cruz (Hospital Civil) in Barcelona. Del Pilar died there on July 4, 1896, a few days before the Cry of Pugad Lawin (Cry of Balintawak). He was buried the following day in a borrowed grave at the Cementerio del Sub-Oeste (Southwest Cemetery). His remains were returned to the Philippines on December 3, 1920 and was buried initially at the Manila North Cemetery. It was later transferred to his birthplace in Bulacán, Bulacan on August 30, 1984, under a monument.
Del Pilar was initiated into Freemasonry in 1889. He served as venerable master of the famous Solidaridad lodge of Madrid. He became a close friend of Miguél Moráyta Sagrario, a professor at the Universidad Central de Madrid and Grand Master of Masons of the Grande Oriente Español.
- Ang Pagibig sa Tinubúang Lupà (Love of Country, 1882)
- Caiigat Cayó (Be as Slippery as an Eel, 1888)
- Dasalan at Tocsohan (Prayers and Mockeries, 1888) 
- Ang Cadaquilaan nang Dios (The Greatness of God, 1888)
- La Soberanía Monacal en Filipinas (Monastic Supremacy in the Philippines, 1888)
- Pasióng Dapat Ipag-alab nang Puso nang Tauong Babasa (Passion That Should Inflame the Heart of the Reader, 1888)
- La Frailocracía Filipina (Friarocracy in the Philippines, 1889)
- Sagót ng España sa Hibíc ng Filipinas (Spain's Reply to the Cry of the Philippines, 1889)
- Dupluhan... Dalits... Bugtongs (A Poetical Contest in Narrative Sequence, Psalms, Riddles, 1907)
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Marcelo H. del Pilar.|
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