Marcelo H. del Pilar
|Marcelo H. del Pilar|
Marcelo H. del Pilar c. 1889
|Born||Marcelo Hilario del Pilar y Gatmaitán
August 30, 1850
Bulacán, Bulacan, Philippines
|Died||July 4, 1896
Cause of death
|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.
- 1 Biography
- 1.1 Early life (1850-1880)
- 1.2 Anti-friar campaign in the Philippines (1880-1888)
- 1.2.1 Diariong Tagalog (1882)
- 1.2.2 Anti-friar activities in Malolos (1885)
- 1.2.3 The Binondo incident (1887)
- 1.2.4 Implementation of Quiroga's decree on funerals (1887)
- 1.2.5 Establishment of schools in Bulacan (1888)
- 1.2.6 Anti-friar protest in Manila (1888)
- 1.2.7 Del Pilar's defense of Rizal's Noli Me Tángere (1888)
- 1.2.8 Later activities in the Philippines and escape to Spain (1888)
- 1.3 Propaganda movement in Spain (1889-1896)
- 2 Reactions after death
- 3 Return of del Pilar's remains (1920) and final internment (1984)
- 4 Freemasonry
- 5 Popular culture
- 6 Notable works
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 Bibliography
- 10 External links
Early life (1850-1880)
Birth and family background
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 of his grandmother, "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.
Early education (mid 1850s-1869)
Del Pilar learned to play the piano, violin, and flute at an early age. He learned his first letters from his paternal uncle Alejo del Pilar, the clerk of the court of Quiapo in 1860. He began his studies in the school of Sr. Hermenigildo Flores. He later transferred at the Colegio de San José in Manila. After obtaining his Bachiller en Artes, he pursued law at the Universidad de Santo Tomás.
Interruption of law studies at UST (1869)
In 1869, del Pilar acted as a padrino or godfather at a baptism in San Miguel, Manila. Since he was not a resident of the area, he questioned the excessive baptismal fee charged by the parish priest. The priest was outraged by this statement. As a result the judge, Félix García Gavieres, sent del Pilar to Old Bilibid Prison (then known as Carcel y Presidio Correccional). He was released after thirty days.
Cavite mutiny (1872)
During the time of the Cavite Mutiny in 1872, del Pilar was living with a Filipino priest named Mariano Sevilla. Sevilla was deported to the Mariana Islands along with del Pilar's eldest brother, Fr. Toribio Hilario del Pilar, due to allegations of being one of the organizers of the uprising. The deportation of Fr. Toribio resulted into the early death of del Pilar's mother.
Activities after the Cavite mutiny and marriage (1873-1878)
Out of the university, del Pilar worked as oficial de mesa in Pampanga (1874-1875) and Quiapo (1878-1879). In the month of February 1878, he married his second cousin 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, José, and Ana (Anita). Only two girls, Sofía and Anita, grew to adulthood (five children died before becoming adults).
Return to UST and graduation (1878-1880)
In 1878, del Pilar resumed his law studies at the UST. 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). Although practicing law in Manila, del Pilar spent more time in Bulacan, spreading nationalist and anti-friar ideas in cockpits, tiendas, and town plazas.
Anti-friar campaign in the Philippines (1880-1888)
Diariong Tagalog (1882)
Del Pilar, together with Basilio Teodoro Moran, founded the short-lived Diariong Tagalog (Tagalog Newspaper) in 1882. Diariong Tagalog was the first bilingual newspaper in the Philippines and was financed by the wealthy Spanish liberal Francisco Calvo y Muñoz. Del Pilar became the editor of the Tagalog section. José Rizal's essay El Amor Patrio was featured in the newspaper. Del Pilar translated it into Tagalog language, Ang Pagibig sa Tinubúang Lupà (Love of Country).
Anti-friar activities in Malolos (1885)
Malolos became the center of del Pilar's anti-friar movement. The first success of the campaign was in 1885, when the liberal Manuel Crisóstomo was elected gobernadorcillo by the citizens of Malolos. Shortly after this victorious event, del Pilar, together with the cabezas de barangay (chiefs of the barangays) of Malolos, argued with the town's friar curate over the collection of exorbitant taxes. The friar curate, who derived the cabezas list from the parochial list, included those who did not live in the town and those who had already died.
The Binondo incident (1887)
In 1887, during the patronal fiesta of Our Lady of Rosary in Binondo, the notorious incident occurred between the natives, Chinese, and Chinese mestizos. The gobernadorcillo de naturales of Binondo, Timoteo Lanuza, requested Fr. José Hevia Campomanes, the friar curate of Binondo Church, to prioritize the natives over the Chinese in the fiesta. Fr. Hevia rejected Lanuza's request and decided not to attend the celebration. Majority of the gobernadorcillos of Manila attended the celebration. Fr. Hevia was later removed as friar curate of Binondo by the governor-general. The whole incident had been prepared by Juan Zulueta, whose assessor was del Pilar.
Implementation of Quiroga's decree on funerals (1887)
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. Crisóstomo, the gobernadorcillo of Malolos at that time, proclaimed Quiroga's decree by means of a parade led by a brass band. Friar Felipe García, the friar-curate of Malolos, aggravated the authorities by parading the body of the servant of Eugenio Delgado. Upon the advice of del Pilar, Crisóstomo addressed the problem to the Spanish governor of Bulacan, Manuel Gómez Florio. Gómez Florio reprimanded the fighting friar parish priest.
Establishment of schools in Bulacan (1888)
On January 21, 1888, del Pilar worked for the establishment of a school of "Arts, Trades, and Agriculture" by drafting of a memorial to the gobernador civil (civil governor) of Bulacan. This was signed by the gobernadorcillos, ex-gobernadorcillos, leading citizens, proprietors, industrialists, professors, and lawyers of the province.
Anti-friar protest in Manila (1888)
On the morning of March 1, 1888, the principales of the districts of Manila and the nearby provinces (led by Doroteo Cortés and José A. Ramos) marched to the office of the civil governor of Manila, José Centeno García. 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. The manifesto enumerated the abuses/crimes of the friars and demanded their expulsion from the Philippines including Manila Archbishop Pedro P. Payo himself. A week after the demonstration, Centeno resigned and left for Spain. Governor-general Emilio Terrero's term also ended the following month. Terrero was succeeded by acting governor-general Antonio Molto.
Del Pilar's defense of Rizal's Noli Me Tángere (1888)
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!.
Later activities in the Philippines and escape to Spain (1888)
Investigations under Molto were intensified upon the arrival of the new governor-general, Valeriano Weyler (a.k.a The Butcher). Gómez Florio, the Spanish governor of Bulacan, was removed from his post. An arrest warrant was issued against del Pilar, accusing him of being a filibustero or subversive. Upon the advice of his friends and relatives, del Pilar left Manila for Spain on October 28, 1888.
The night 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, Gregorio Santillán, Mariano 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.
Propaganda movement in Spain (1889-1896)
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.
The Pilaristas and the Rizalistas
In 1890, a rivalry developed between del Pilar and Rizal. This was mainly due to the difference between del Pilar's editorial policy and Rizal's political beliefs.
On January 1, 1891, about 90 Filipinos gathered in Madrid. They agreed that a Responsable (leader) be elected. Camps were drawn into two, the Pilaristas and the Rizalistas. The first voting for the Responsable started on the first week of February 1891. Rizal won the first two elections but the votes counted for him did not reach the needed two thirds vote fraction. After Mariano Ponce appealed to the Pilaristas, Rizal was elected Responsable. Rizal, knowing the Pilaristas did not like his political beliefs, respectfully declined the position and transferred it to del Pilar. He packed up his bags and boarded a train leaving for Biarritz. Inactive in the Reform Movement, Rizal ceased his contribution of articles on La Solidaridad.
Del Pilar then wrote to Rizal seeking apology for any mistakes he had committed. Rizal responded and said that he stopped writing for La Solidaridad because of many reasons: first, he needed time to work on his second novel El Filibusterismo (The Reign of Greed); second, he wanted other Filipinos in Spain to work also; and lastly, he could not lead an organization without unity in work.
Closure of La Solidaridad (1895)
From 1890 to 1895, del Pilar published La Solidaridad almost on his own as funding was scarce in the Philippines. Publication of the fortnightly stopped on November 15, 1895. Before his death, del Pilar rejected the theory of assimilation. Planning an armed struggle, del Pilar stated:
|“||Insurrection is the last remedy, especially when the people have acquired the belief that peaceful means to secure the remedies for evils prove futile.||”|
Later years, illness, and death (1895-1896)
Del Pilar's last years saw his descent into extreme poverty. He often missed his meals and during winter, he kept himself warm by smoking discarded cigarette butts he picked up in the streets. Suffering from tuberculosis, del Pilar decided to return to the Philippines. His illness worsened that he had to cancel his journey. 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).
Reactions after death
News of his death reached the Philippines. La Politica de España en Filipinas, the organ of the friars, paid homage to him:
|“||Del Pilar, the Tagalog who, as publicist, inspired us with the greatest esteem. As a reformist, he is doubtless the greatest produced by the Tagalog race.||”|
Ramón Blanco y Erenas, the Governor-General of the Philippines at that time, eulogized del Pilar as:
|“||The most intelligent leader, the real soul of the separatists, very superior to Rizal.||”|
Return of del Pilar's remains (1920) and final internment (1984)
Del Pilar's 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 (see main article: Marcelo H. Del Pilar National Shrine).
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.
- 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)
- Sa Bumabasang Kababayan (unpublished)
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