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.
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.
Del Pilar played the piano, violin, and flute at an early age. In the early 1860s, he worked with his paternal uncle Alejo del Pilar, the clerk of the court of Quiapo. He began his studies in the school of 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. 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.
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.
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, and Ana (Anita). Only two girls, Sofía and Anita, grew to adulthood (five children died before becoming adults).
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 baptismal parties, cockpits, and town fiestas.
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).
Del Pilar's first political efforts took place in Malolos in 1885. There was an election for the gobernadorcillo position and majority of the principales (noble class) of Malolos voted Manuel Crisóstomo over the candidate backed by the friar parish priest. Shortly after this victorious event, the cabezas de barangay (chiefs of the barangays) confronted the friar parish priest regarding the new government order about the tax lists. They insisted that the tax lists should be done by themselves and not by the friars.
In the early 1887, a dispute between indios (Filipino natives) and the mestizos de sanglay (Chinese mestizos) concerning the selection of seats in the Binondo Church occurred. Del Pilar acted as the adviser 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 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.
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.
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.
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 on 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 answer from the Spanish colonial government. Before his death, he opposed the theory of assimilation and began planning an armed revolution. Del Pilar bravely 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.||”|
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. 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). 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)
- Sa Bumabasang Kababayan (unpublished)
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