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Marcelo H. del Pilar

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Marcelo H. del Pilar
Marcelo H. del Pilar, c. 1890[1]
Marcelo Hilario del Pilar y Gatmaitán

August 30, 1850
DiedJuly 4, 1896(1896-07-04) (aged 45)
Resting placeMarcelo H. del Pilar Shrine, Bulakan, Bulacan, Philippines
Other namesPláridel (pen name)
Alma materColegio de San José
University of Santo Tomas
OccupationWriter, lawyer, journalist, and freemason
OrganizationLa Solidaridad
Spouse(s)Marciana del Pilar (1878–1896; his death)
Plaridel signature.png

Marcelo Hilario del Pilar y Gatmaitán[2] (August 30, 1850 – July 4, 1896), commonly known as Marcelo H. del Pilar and also known by his pen name Pláridel,[3][4] was a Filipino writer, lawyer, journalist, and freemason. Del Pilar, along with José Rizal and Graciano López Jaena, became known as the leaders of the Reform Movement in Spain.[5]

Del Pilar was born and brought up in Bulakan, Bulacan. He was suspended at the Universidad de Santo Tomás and imprisoned in 1869 after he and the parish priest quarreled over exorbitant baptismal fees. In the 1880s, he expanded his anti-friar movement from Malolos to Manila.[6] He went to Spain in 1888 after an order of banishment was issued against him. Twelve months after his arrival in Barcelona, he succeeded López Jaena as editor of the La Solidaridad (Solidarity).[7] Publication of the newspaper stopped in 1895 due to lack of funds. Losing hope in reforms, he grew favorable of a revolution against Spain. He was on his way home in 1896 when he contracted tuberculosis in Barcelona. He later died in a public hospital and was buried in a pauper's grave.[8]

On November 30, 1997, the Technical Committee of the National Heroes Committee, created through Executive Order No. 5 by former President Fidel V. Ramos, recommended del Pilar along with the eight Filipino historical figures to be National Heroes.[9] The recommendations were submitted to Department of Education Secretary Ricardo T. Gloria on November 22, 1995. No action has been taken for these recommended historical figures.[9] In 2009, this issue was revisited in one of the proceedings of the 14th Congress.[10]


Early life (1850–1880)

Marcelo H. del Pilar's baptismal register (recorded in the baptismal record of the church, Book No. 15, Folio 355).
Marcelo H. del Pilar's baptismal register (recorded in the baptismal record of the church, Book No. 15, Folio 355).
A replica of Marcelo H. del Pilar's ancestral house and birthplace in Bulacán, Bulacan (the original was burned by the agents of the friars on August 15, 1889). This is now a museum-library housing del Pilar memorabilia.[11]
A replica of Marcelo H. del Pilar's ancestral house and birthplace in Bulacán, Bulacan (the original was burned by the agents of the friars on August 15, 1889). This is now a museum-library housing del Pilar memorabilia.[11]

Marcelo H. del Pilar was born in sitio Cupang, barrio San Nicolás, Bulacán, Bulacan, on August 30, 1850.[12] He was baptized as "Marcelo" on September 4, 1850, at Iglesia Parroquial de Nuestra Señora de la Asuncion in Bulacán.[2][13] Father D. Tomas Yson, a Filipino secular priest and coadjutor of the pueblo of Bulacan, performed the baptism, and Lorenzo Alvir, a distant relative, acted as his godfather. "Hilario" was the original paternal surname of the family. The surname of Marcelo's paternal grandmother, "del Pilar", was added to comply with the naming reforms of Governor-General Narciso Clavería in 1849.[14]

Del Pilar's parents belonged to the principalía. The family owned rice and sugarcane farms, fish ponds, and an animal-powered mill.[15] His father, Julián Hilario del Pilar, was a well-known Tagalog speaker in their town.[16] He was also a well-known poet and writer. Don Julián served as a "three-time" gobernadorcillo of his pueblo and later held the position of oficial de mesa of the alcalde mayor.[17] Blasa Gatmaitán, del Pilar's mother, was a descendant of the noble Gatmaitáns. She was known as "Doña Blasica".[13] The ninth of ten children, del Pilar's siblings were: Toribio (priest, deported to the Mariana Islands in 1872),[18] Fernando (father of Gregorio del Pilar),[19] Andrea, Dorotea, Estanislao, Juan, Hilaria (married to Deodato Arellano),[20] Valentín, and María. The share of the inheritance of each child was very small because of the number of children in the family. Del Pilar, after his parents' death, decided to give his share to his brothers and sisters.[3]

From an early age, del Pilar learned the violin, the piano, and the flute.[21] He received early education from his paternal uncle, Alejo del Pilar, then clerk of the court of Quiapo, in 1860.[22] He later studied Latin in the private school owned by Sr. José Flores.[23] After his education under Sr. Flores, del Pilar enrolled at the Colegio de San José,[12] where he obtained his Bachiller en Artes degree. He pursued philosophy and law at the Universidad de Santo Tomás.[24]

In 1869, del Pilar acted as a godfather at a baptism in San Miguel, Manila.[18] Since he was not a resident of the parish, he questioned the excessive baptismal fee charged by the parish priest. This angered the parish priest and 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.[25] On February 16, 1871, del Pilar obtained his Bachiller en Filosofía at the Universidad de Santo Tomás.[26]

Historical marker of the Cavite Mutiny in 1872.
Historical marker of the Cavite Mutiny in 1872.

During the time of the Cavite Mutiny in 1872, del Pilar was living with a Filipino priest, Mariano Sevilla, who was a friend of Fr. Toribio Hilario del Pilar, Marcelo's older brother, and Fr. José Burgos, a part of the Gomburza.[18] Fr. Sevilla and Fr. Toribio were deported to the Mariana Islands for their alleged involvement in the uprising.[27][28] The deportation of Fr. Toribio resulted in the early death of del Pilar's mother.

Del Pilar worked as oficial de mesa in Pampanga (1874–1875) and Quiapo (1878–1879).[29] In 1876, he resumed his law studies at the Universidad de Santo Tomás.[30][31] He obtained his licenciado en jurisprudencia, equivalent to a Bachelor of Laws, on March 4, 1881.[32] In law school, del Pilar earned: (1871-1872) Canon Law 1, Fair; Roman Law 1, Very Good; (1873-1874) Canon Law 2, Fair; Roman Law 2, Excellent; (1876-1877) Civil and Mercantile Law, Very Good; (1877-1878) Extension of Civil Law and Spanish Civil Codes, Very Good; Penal Law, Very Good; (1878-1879) Public Law, Fair; Administrative Law, Fair; Colonial Legislation, Fair; Economics, Fair; Political and Statistics, Fair; (1879-1880) Judicial Procedures, Excellent; Practice and Oratory Forensics 1, Excellent; Elements of General Literature and Spanish Literature, Excellent. No grades were recorded for the years 1880-1881 as he took six months leave.[26]

Del Pilar worked for the Real Audiencia de Manila from 1882 to 1887.[33] Although practicing law in Manila, he spent more time in his native province. There he seized every event – baptisms, funeral wakes, weddings, town fiestas, and cockfights at the cockpits – to enlighten his countrymen about the state of their country.[34][35] He also exposed the abuses of the Spanish friars and colonial authorities.[a] As del Pilar explained in La Soberanía Monacal en Filipinas (Monastic Supremacy in the Philippines):

"The friars control all the fundamental forces of society in the Philippines. They control the educational system, for they own the Universidad de Santo Tomás, and are the local inspectors of every primary school. They control the minds of the people because, in a dominantly Catholic country, the parish rectors can utilize the pulpit and confessionals to publicly or secretly influence the people; they control all the municipal and local authorities and the medium of communication; and they execute all the orders of the central government."[36][37]

Anti-friar activities in the Philippines (1880–1888)

The pre-1863 lithograph photo of Malolos Cathedral before the earthquake that tore down its clock tower in 1863. This was one of the sites of del Pilar's anti-friar activities.
The pre-1863 lithograph photo of Malolos Cathedral before the earthquake that tore down its clock tower in 1863. This was one of the sites of del Pilar's anti-friar activities.
Benigno Quiroga, c. 1894.
Benigno Quiroga, c. 1894.

Del Pilar, together with Basilio Teodoro Morán and Pascual H. Poblete, founded the short-lived Diariong Tagalog (Tagalog Newspaper) on June 1, 1882.[18][38] Diariong Tagalog was the first bilingual newspaper in the Philippines and was financed by the wealthy Spanish liberal Francisco Calvo y Múñoz.[39] Del Pilar became the editor of the Tagalog section.[40] José Rizal's essay, El Amor Patrio, was featured in the Diariong Tagalog on August 20, 1882. Del Pilar translated it into Tagalog language, Ang Pagibig sa Tinubúang Lupà (Love for the Native Land).[41][42]

Malolos became the center of del Pilar's anti-friar movement. The first success of the movement was in 1884 when the liberal Manuel Crisóstomo was elected gobernadorcillo by the citizens of Malolos. In 1885, del Pilar drafted a protest of the principalía of Malolos after Sr. Luna, the successor of Intendant Chinchilla, restored the servile copying of the parochial lists. In the same year, del Pilar sided with the cabezas de barangay of Bulacan when they clashed with a parish priest on the list of taxpayers. The friars bloated the tax lists, a move meant for the parish's financial gain.[b][43][44][45]

In 1887, during the upcoming fiesta of Our Lady of the Rosary in Binondo, a conflict arose between the gremio de naturales (Native guild), the gremio de chinos (Chinese guild), and the gremio de mestizos de sangley (Chinese mestizo guild). Timoteo Lanuza, the gobernadorcillo de naturales (native governor) of Binondo, demanded the natives' right to manage the affair.[46][47] On September 30, 1887, Lanuza wrote a petition to governor-general Emilio Terrero. Terrero approved the petition and decreed that: "in all public functions, the gobernadorcillos de naturales shall preside." Fr. José Hevía de Campomanes, the friar-curate of Binondo Church, defied Terrero's decree and decided not to attend the celebration. Most of the attendees of the fiesta were the natives and the gobernadorcillos de naturales of Manila. A few days later, Terrero removed Fr. Hevía as friar-curate of Binondo. The Chinese gobernadorcillos were also relieved from their positions. The organizer of the fiesta, Juan Zulueta, relied on the instructions of del Pilar.[48][49]

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 dead bodies of cholera victims in the churches.[50][51] Manuel Crisóstomo, the gobernadorcillo of Malolos, proclaimed Quiroga's decree by means of a parade led by a brass band. Fr. Felipe García, the friar-curate of Malolos, aggravated the authorities by parading the body of the servant of Don Eugenio Delgado. Instructed by del Pilar, Crisóstomo reported the incident to the Spanish governor of Bulacan, Manuel Gómez Florio.[52] Gómez Florio, an ally of del Pilar and his group, ordered the arrest of the friar curate.[53]

Pedro Payo y Piñeiro, O.P. (1814–1889) was the 24th Archbishop of Manila who took charge in 1876 until his death in 1889.
Pedro Payo y Piñeiro, O.P. (1814–1889) was the 24th Archbishop of Manila who took charge in 1876 until his death in 1889.

On January 21, 1888, del Pilar worked for the establishment of a school of "Arts, Trades, and Agriculture" by drafting a memorial to the gobernador civil of Bulacan.[54] The signers of the document were the gobernadorcillos, former gobernadorcillos, business-owners, land-owners, lawyers, educators, and leading citizens of the province. Terrero, Quiroga, Centeno, Gómez Florio, Julio Galindo (the captain of the Guardia Civil), and other officials supported the project. In 1889, the school opened in Manila despite the objections of the Augustinian friars and the archbishop.

In 1887 and 1888, del Pilar wrote a series of anti-friar petitions addressed to the colonial authorities and the Queen Regent.[55] On November 20 and 21, 1887, he wrote the complaints of two Navotas residents, that of Mateo Mariano and the gobernadorcillo de naturales of Navotas, to the civil governor.[51] Del Pilar also prepared, on February 20, 1888, the petition of the gobernadorcillos and residents of Manila to the governor-general. On March 1, 1888, the residents of the districts of Manila and the nearby provinces, led by Doroteo Cortés and José Anacleto Ramos, marched to the office of the civil governor of Manila, José Centeno García.[21] They presented a manifesto addressed to the Queen Regent.[56] 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.[57][45] The manifesto demanded the friars' expulsion from the Philippines including Manila Archbishop Pedro P. Payo.[58] A week after the demonstration, Centeno resigned and left for Spain. Governor-general Terrero's term also ended the following month. Terrero was succeeded by acting governor-general Antonio Moltó.[59]

Fr. José Rodríguez, an Augustinian parish priest, authored a pamphlet entitled ¡Caiñgat Cayó!: 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) under the pen name Dolores Manapat. It was a reply to Fr. Rodríguez's ¡Caiñgat Cayó!.[60][61][c]

Valeriano Weyler succeeded Moltó as the governor-general of the Philippines. Investigations were escalated during Weyler's term. Manuel Gómez Florio, the Spanish governor of Bulacan, was removed from his position. An arrest warrant was issued against del Pilar, accusing him of being a filibustero and heretic. Upon the advice of his friends and relatives, del Pilar left Manila for Spain on October 28, 1888.[62] 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.[63][64] They also wrote the Pasióng Dapat Ipag-alab nang Puso nang Tauong Babasa sa Calupitán nang Fraile (The Passion that Should Inflame the Hearts of Those Who Read About the Cruelty of the Friars).[65][d] Gregorio del Pilar, del Pilar's nephew, helped distribute these revolutionary pamphlets in the churches.[66] There was one incident in Malolos, where Gregorio stole copies of Fr. José Rodríguez's Cuestiones de Sumo Interes (Questions of Supreme Interest) from Fr. Felipe García, who had a habit of distributing counter-revolutionary materials after mass. These books were set to be distributed after the mass. Gregorio removed the book covers of Cuestiones de Sumo Interes and pasted Marcelo's pamphlets inside before distributing them after.[66][67]

Illustration of Miguel Morayta y Sagrario, a Spanish journalist and freemason, in El País. Issue of March 25, 1903.
Illustration of Miguel Morayta y Sagrario, a Spanish journalist and freemason, in El País. Issue of March 25, 1903.

Shortly before his departure, del Pilar formed the Caja de Jesús, María y José. Its objective was to continue propaganda and provide education to indigent children.[68][69] He managed it with the help of compatriots Mariano Ponce, Gregorio Santillán, Mariano Crisóstomo, Pedro Serrano y Lactao, José Gatmaitán, Briccio Pantas, Teodoro Sandiko, Apolinario Mabini, Numeriano Adriano, and Fr. Rafael Canlapán (the coadjutor of Malolos from 1885 to 1893). Caja de Jesús, María y José was later discontinued and replaced by Comité de Propaganda (Committee of Propaganda) in Manila.

Propaganda movement in Spain (1888–1895)

Del Pilar arrived in Barcelona on January 1, 1889.[70] He headed the political section of the Asociación Hispano-Filipina de Madrid (Hispanic Filipino Association of Madrid), an organization composed of Filipino and Spanish liberals.[71] On February 17, 1889, del Pilar wrote a letter to Rizal, praising the young women of Malolos for their bravery. These twenty-one young women asked the permission of Governor-General Weyler to allow them to open a night school where they could learn to read and write Spanish. With Weyler's approval and over the objections of Fr. Felipe García, the night school opened in 1889. Del Pilar considered this incident as a victory to the anti-friar movement. Upon his request, Rizal wrote his famous letter to the women of Malolos, Sa Mga Kababayang Dalaga Sa Malolos (To the Young Women of Malolos), on February 22, 1889.[68][72]

A copy of La Solidaridad (Solidarity). A fortnightly and a bi-weekly newspaper, it serves as the principal organ of the Reform Movement from 1889 to 1895.
A copy of La Solidaridad (Solidarity). A fortnightly and a bi-weekly newspaper, it serves as the principal organ of the Reform Movement from 1889 to 1895.

On April 16, 1889, del Pilar met Miguel Morayta y Sagrario in Barcelona.[73] Morayta, an anticlerical and follower of Emilio Castelar, was one of the Spanish liberals who supported the Filipino cause.[e] He was the History Professor of Rizal at the Universidad Central de Madrid and Grand Master of Masons of the Gran Oriente Español.[74] On April 25, 1889, a banquet honoring Morayta was held by del Pilar and other Filipinos in Spain.

In the mid-1889, to damage the friars' influence and authority in the Philippines, del Pilar and his associates sponsored Fr. Nicolás Manrique Alonso Lallave, an ex-Dominican friar (now a Protestant pastor) assigned in Urdaneta, Pangasinan.[75][f] Governor-General Rafael Izquierdo deported Lallave to Spain after the latter supported the 1870 decree of Segismundo Moret. In 1872, Lallave wrote an inflammatory pamphlet, entitled Los Frailes en Filipinas (The Friars in the Philippines), wherein he exposed the atrocities of the friars and asked for the termination of the religious orders. He returned to the Philippines in 1889 to establish a Protestant chapel in Manila. Del Pilar wanted to help Lallave through Serrano y Lactao and Sandiko, but before help arrived, the priest died of an illness on June 5, 1889.[76] Some scholars believed that the friars poisoned Lallave.

On December 15, 1889, del Pilar succeeded Graciano López Jaena as editor of the La Solidaridad.[7][77] 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.[78][79] A tireless editor, del Pilar wrote under several pseudonyms: Pláridel,[3][4] Dolores Manapat,[3][4] Piping Dilat,[3][4] Siling Labuyo,[4] Cupang,[4][80] Maytiyaga,[4][81] Patos,[4] Carmelo,[4] D.A. Murgas,[4] L.O. Crame,[4][82] Selong, M. Calero,[14] Felipeno, Hilario,[14] Pudpoh,[3] Gregoria de Luna, Dolores Manaksak, M. Dati, and VZKKQJC.[83]

On March 3, 1890, deputy Francisco Calvo y Múñoz, del Pilar's former colleague in Diariong Tagalog, introduced the first Philippine parliamentary representation to the Cortes.[84] Although overseas minister Manuel Becerra endorsed the proposed bill, talks regarding the matter were canceled, and on July 3, 1890, Práxedes Mateo Sagasta was replaced by Antonio Cánovas del Castillo as Prime Minister of Spain.[85]

Del Pilar standing beside Rizal (at the center) for a group portrait in Madrid, Spain. Photographed in 1890.
Del Pilar standing beside Rizal (at the center) for a group portrait in Madrid, Spain. Photographed in 1890.

In the late 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.[86] On January 1, 1891, about 90 Filipinos gathered in Madrid. They agreed that a Responsable (leader) be elected.[87] 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, instructed by del Pilar, pleaded to the Pilaristas, Rizal was elected Responsable.[88] Rizal, knowing the Pilaristas did not like his political beliefs, respectfully declined the position and transferred it to del Pilar. He then packed up his bags and boarded a train leaving for Biarritz, France.[89] Inactive in the Reform Movement, Rizal ceased his contribution of articles on La Solidaridad.

After the incident, del Pilar wrote a letter of apology to Rizal.[86] Rizal responded and said that he stopped writing for La Solidaridad for reasons: first, he needed time to work on his second novel El Filibusterismo (The Reign of Greed);[90] second, he wanted other Filipinos in Spain to work also; and lastly, he could not lead an organization without solidarity in work. Del Pilar and Rizal continued to correspond until the latter's exile to Dapitan in July 1892.

In his later years, del Pilar rejected the assimilationist stand. In a letter to his brother-in-law Deodato Arellano on March 31, 1891, del Pilar said:

"In the Filipino colony there should be no division, nor is there: one are the sentiments which move us, one the ideals we pursue; the abolition in the Philippines of every obstacle to our liberties, and in due time and by the proper method, the abolition of the flag of Spain as well."[91][92][93]

Emilio Junoy, c. 1906.
Emilio Junoy, c. 1906.

On December 11, 1892, Sagasta returned as Prime Minister of Spain with Antonio Maura as the new overseas minister. On December 15, 1892, and January 15, 1893, del Pilar published two articles on La Solidaridad, entitled Ya es tiempo (Is it About Time!) and Insistimos (We Insist), wherein he reminisced the Philippine representation introduced by Calvo y Múñoz in 1890.[94] Although Maura passed some reforms for the Philippines, his political views were different to that of Becerra, and he was not influenced by Morayta and his group. In March 1894, Maura resigned as overseas minister and was replaced by Becerra. Becerra, however, became less sympathetic on the representation of the Philippines and the reforms he proposed. Knowing this, del Pilar approached Emilio Junoy, a friendly deputy and editor-in-chief of La Publicidad.[95] On February 21, 1895, Junoy presented to the Cortes a petition bearing seven thousand signatures. Two weeks later, on March 8, 1895, Junoy delivered a speech to the Spanish Congress wherein he discussed a proposed bill representing the Philippines. The bill, however, did not materialize and on March 23, 1895, Cánovas del Castillo replaced Sagasta again as Prime Minister of Spain.[96]

After years of publication from 1889 to 1895, funding of the La Solidaridad became scarce. Comité de Propaganda's contribution to the newspaper stopped and del Pilar funded the newspaper almost on his own. On August 19, 1895, Mabini regrettably told him that La Solidaridad's publication had to stop.[97][98] La Solidaridad ceased publication on November 15, 1895, with 7 volumes and 160 issues.[99] In del Pilar's farewell editorial, he said:

"Facing the obstacles that the reactionary persecutions bring in opposition to the circulation of this newspaper in the Philippines, we have to suspend our publication for some time. Nowadays, when there are ways to curb difficulties, we will not stop working to overcome them. We are persuaded that no sacrifices are too little to win the rights and the liberty of a nation that is oppressed by slavery. We work within the law and thus will we continue publishing this newspaper whether here or abroad, depending on the exigencies of the fight wherein Filipino reactionaries have come to impress upon all Filipinos that in its soul there beats some sentiment of dignity and shame. Whether here or abroad, we will continue developing our program."[100][98]

Later years, illness, and death (1895–1896)

Del Pilar contracted tuberculosis in November 1895. The following year, he decided to return to the Philippines to lead a revolution. His illness worsened that he had to cancel his journey.[97] On June 20, 1896, he was taken to the Hospital de la Santa Cruz in Barcelona. Del Pilar died at 1:15 a.m. on July 4, 1896, over a month before the Cry of Pugad Lawin.[101] According to Mariano Ponce's account of his death, his last words were: "Please tell my family that I was not able to say goodbye, but that I died with my true friends around me… Pray to God for the good fortune of our country. Continue with your work to attain the happiness and freedom of our beloved country."[102] He was buried the following day in a borrowed grave at the Cementerio del Sub-Oeste (Southwest Cemetery). Before dying, del Pilar retracted from Masonry and received the sacraments of the church.[103]

Reactions after death

Governor-General Ramón Blanco y Erenas
Governor-General Ramón Blanco y Erenas

News of del Pilar's death reached the Philippines. On July 15, 1896, La Politica de España en Filipinas, the publication of the Spanish priests, paid respect to him:

"Marcelo H. del Pilar was the greatest journalist produced by the purely Filipino race.

We did not consider him an artful filibuster; at times we saw in him the calculating conspirator, the journalist gone astray, who had no real hatred for the sovereign country, through he showed he had it for the state of affairs prevailing in the Philippines.

But whatever the truth may be, we must not lose sight of the fact that it was Marcelo the Tagalog, who as a publicist, inspired us with the greatest esteem when serenely, and apparently with the greatest sincerity, he gave his views on very arduous political problems.

More correct in form than any other, skillful in debate, tenacious in maintaining his conclusions, the personality of Marcelo H. del Pilar, as a propagandist, is doubtless the greatest produced by the Tagalog race. While he had not the culture and intensity of purpose of his countryman Rizal, he had, however, the advantage of knowing how to instill his thoughts in a subtle manner into the minds of his followers.

He was an adversary, a rival; he insulted us at times; we never could approve of the tendency of his political activities; but he was industrious, he was intelligent, and perhaps, he was the victim of his own engagements."[104][105]

Ramón Blanco y Erenas, the 109th Governor General of the Philippines, eulogized del Pilar as:

"The most intelligent leader, the real soul of the separatists, very superior to Rizal."[106][107][g]

Mariano Ponce in La Independencia (1898) said:

"Del Pilar was a tireless propagandist in the political struggle, formidable in his attack, expert in his defenses, accurate in the strokes of his pen, unyielding in his arguments, whose knowledge and formidable intelligence commanded the respect even of his enemies, whom he had defeated more than one in contests of the mind."[92]

Return of del Pilar's remains (1920) and final interment (1984)

Marcelo H. Del Pilar
The National Shrine of Marcelo H. del Pilar in San Nicolás, Bulacán, Bulacan

In 1920, Norberto Romuáldez was commissioned to locate del Pilar's remains. With the help of Joaquín Pellicena y Camacho, the body was exhumed and placed in an urn. Alicante, the ship carrying del Pilar's remains, arrived in Manila on December 3, 1920.[108] From Pier 3 the body was transferred to the Funeraria Nacional. It was taken to Malolos, Bulacan on December 6, 1920. The following day, it was transferred to del Pilar's birthplace in Bulakan, Bulacan. On December 11, 1920, the body lay in state at the Manila Grand Opera House. A necrological service was held at the Salon de Marmol on December 12, 1920. Filipino officials who attended the service were: Manuel C. Briones, representative from Cebu's 1st District; Rafael Palma, senator of the Philippines from the 4th Senatorial District; Teodoro M. Kalaw, secretary of the interior and local government; del Pilar's colleagues in Barcelona and Madrid, Trinidad Pardo de Tavera and Dominador Gómez; Victorino M. Mapa, 2nd Chief Justice of the Philippines; Manuel L. Quezon, senate president of the Philippines; and Sergio Osmeña, 1st Speaker of the Philippine House of Representatives. Del Pilar's wife and two daughters were present during the ceremony. After the service, del Pilar was interred at the Mousoleo de los Veteranos de la Revolución in the Manila North Cemetery.[109]

Del Pilar's remains were transferred to his birthplace on August 30, 1984.[110] His remains were laid to rest under his monument.

Personal life

Marcelo H. del Pilar's monument in Bulacan's provincial heroes' park at Bulacan State University.
Marcelo H. del Pilar's monument in Bulacan's provincial heroes' park at Bulacan State University.

Marriage, children, and grandchildren

In February 1878, del Pilar married his second cousin Marciana (Chanay) in Tondo.[31] The couple had seven children, five girls and two boys: Sofía, José, María Rosario, María Consolación, María Concepción, José Mariano Leon, and Ana (Anita). Sofía and Anita, the oldest and youngest child, survived to adulthood.[111] On March 12, 1912, Anita married Vicente Marasigan Sr., a businessman from Taal, Batangas. She and her husband had six children: Leticia, Vicente, Benita, Josefina, Antonia, and Marcelo.[112]

Hardships in Spain

Del Pilar's last years in Spain saw his descent into extreme poverty. In a letter to his wife Marciana on August 17, 1892, he wrote: "For my meals, I have to approach friends for loans, day after day. To be able to smoke, I have gone to the extreme of picking up cigarette butts in the streets."[45] In another letter to his wife on August 3, 1893, he told her about his frequent nightmares: "I always dream that I have Anita on my lap and Sofía by her side; that I kiss them by turns and that both tell me: ‘Remain with us, papá, and don’t return to Madrid’. I awake soaked in tears, and at this very moment that I write this, I cannot contain the tears that drop from my eyes."[14] In June 1893, del Pilar's relatives were able to send money so that he could return to the Philippines. However, his friends (Regidor, Torres, Blumentritt, Morayta, and Quiroga) advised him to stay in Spain. In a letter to his wife on December 21, 1893, he said: "I am afraid of being too hasty, because in view of my present situation, a wrong step on my part will injure many persons, and even if I should pass out of this life, my compatriots would continue to accuse me of imprudence. Note that an error of Rizal's did harm to many (the 1887 Calamba trouble)."[113][45]


Del Pilar's health was declining before contracting tuberculosis in 1895. He suffered from insomnia, dengue, influenza, rheumatism, and neck tumor.[114]

Del Pilar's influence on the formation of the Katipunan

Del Pilar influenced the formation of the Katipunan. Modern-day historians believe that he had a direct hand in its organization because of his role in the Propaganda Movement and his eminent position in Philippine Masonry; most of the Katipunan's founders and members (Andrés Bonifacio, Deodato Arellano, Ladislao Diwa, Teodoro Plata, Valentín Díaz, and José Dizon) were freemasons.[115][116][117][118][45] The Katipunan had initiation ceremonies that were copied from masonic rites. It also had a hierarchy of rank that was similar to that of freemasonry. Rizal's Spanish biographer Wenceslao Retana and Filipino biographer Juan Raymundo Lumawag saw the formation of the Katipunan as del Pilar's victory over Rizal:

"La Liga dies, and the Katipunan rises in its place. Del Pilar's plan wins over that of Rizal. Del Pilar and Rizal had the same end, even if each took a different road to it."[119]

Historical remembrance

"Father of Philippine Journalism"

For his 150 essays and 66 editorials mostly published in La Solidaridad and various anti-friar pamphlets, del Pilar is widely regarded as the "Father of Philippine Journalism."[120]

Samahang Plaridel, an organization of veteran journalists and communicators, was founded in October 2003 to honor del Pilar's ideals. It also promotes mutual help, cooperation, and understanding among Filipino journalists.[121]

"Father of Philippine Masonry"

Del Pilar was initiated into Freemasonry in 1889.[122] He served as venerable master of the famous Solidaridad lodge of Madrid. Del Pilar was directly responsible for the establishment of the first national organization of Filipino Masons, the Gran Consejo Regional de Filipinas, in 1893. With this, he earned the recognition as the "Father of Philippine Masonry." The Masonic Grand Lodge of the Philippines is named Plaridel Masonic Temple.

Historical commemoration

Del Pilar and López Jaena on the obverse side of a 5 peso Philippine banknote (1951-1974).
Del Pilar and López Jaena on the obverse side of a 5 peso Philippine banknote (1951-1974).
5 centavo postage stamp, issue of 1963
5 centavo postage stamp, issue of 1963
Del Pilar on the obverse of the Philippine fifty centavo coin (1994)
Del Pilar on the obverse of the Philippine fifty centavo coin (1994)

Del Pilar in popular culture

Notable works

Published during del Pilar's lifetime

  • Ang Pagibig sa Tinubúang Lupà (Love for the Native Land, Tagalog translation of Rizal's El Amor Patrio published in the Diariong Tagalog, August 20, 1882)[41][42]
  • La Solídaridad (various articles and essays published under the pen names Pláridel, Carmelo, Patós, D.A. Murgas, and L.O. Crame)
  • En Filipinas Quien Manda? (Who is the Master in the Philippines?, published in La Publicidad, December 23, 1887)[137]
  • El Monaquismo en Filipinas (Monasticism in the Philippines, published in El Diario under the pen name Piping Dilat, January 12, 1888)[137]
  • 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!, 1888)[57][45]
  • Caiigat Cayó (Be as Slippery as an Eel, published under the pen name Dolores Manapat, 1888)[60][61]
  • Ang Cadaquilaan nang Dios (The Greatness of God, 1888)[138]
  • Noli Me Tángere. Ante el Odio Monacal. (Noli Me Tangere. The Hatred of the Monks., published in La Publicidad under the pen name Pláridel, July 10, 11, 12, and 13, 1888)[137]
  • Filipinas Ante la Opinion (The Philippines and Public Opinion, published in El Diluvio, July 27, 1888)[137]
  • La Soberanía Monacal en Filipinas (Monastic Supremacy in the Philippines, published under the pen name MH. Pláridel, 1888)[139][137]
  • Dasalan at Tocsohan (Prayers and Mockeries, published under the pen name Dolores Manaksak, 1888)[63][64]
  • Pasióng Dapat Ipag-alab nang Puso nang Tauong Babasa sa Calupitán nang Fraile (The Passion that Should Inflame the Hearts of Those Who Read About the Cruelty of the Friars, 1888)[65]
  • Relegacion Gubernativa (Governmental Relegation, published in El Diluvio under the pen name Piping Dilat, January 24, 1889)[137]
  • La Asociación Hispano-Filipina (The Asociacion Hispano-Filipina, published in La Publicidad under the pen name Pláridel, January 30, 1889)[137]
  • La Frailocracía Filipina (Friarocracy in the Philippines, published under the pen name MH. Pláridel, 1889)[140]
  • Sagót nang España sa Hibíc nang Filipinas (Spain's Reply to the Cry of the Philippines, 1889)[141]
  • El Triunfo de la Remora en Filipinas (The Triumph of the Enemies of Progress in the Philippines, published in El País under the pen name Pláridel, February 28, 1890)[137]
  • Prologo (Prologue of Filipinas en las Cortes, 1890)[137]
  • Tagalog translation of Arancel de los Derechos Parroquiales en las Islas Filipinas (1890)
  • Exposicion de la Asociación Hispano-Filipina (Memorial of the Asociacion Hispano-Filipina, February 1, 1892)[137]
  • Para Rectificar (A Correction, published in La Justicia, February 11, 1892)[137]
  • Otro Peligro Colonial (Another Colonial Danger, published in El Globo, January 19, 1895)[137]
  • Canal Bashi (The Bashi Channel, published in El Globo, January 26, 1896)[142][137]
  • Ministerio dela República Filipina (Ministry of the Philippine Republic, 1896)[143]
  • La Patria (The Fatherland, 1896)[143]

Published posthumously

  • Dupluhan... Dalits... Bugtongs (A Poetical Contest in Narrative Sequence, Psalms, Riddles, 1907)[144][145]
  • Pagina Especial Para la Mujer Filipina (Special Page for the Filipino Woman, published in El Renacimiento, August 28, 1909)[137]

Unpublished works

  • Sa Bumabasang Kababayan[144]
  • Discurso en El Meeting del Teatro Martin de Madrid (Speech at the Meeting in the Teatro Martin, Madrid)[145]
  • Esbozos de Un Codigo Internacional (Spanish translation of David Dudley Field's Outlines of an International Code)[145]
  • Proyecto de Estatutos de la Sociedad Financiera de Socorros Mutuos, Titulada la Paz (Proposed by-Laws of the Sociedad Financiera de Socorros Mutuos, Titulada la Paz)[145]
  • Reglas de Sintaxis Inglesa (Spanish translation of Rules of English Syntax)[145]
  • Progreso del Jefe Gomez: Rapida y Prontamente el Rebelde Principal Trastorna Todas las Combinaciones Españoles (The Progress of Chief Gomez: The Principal Rebel Leader Rapidly and Promptly Upsets All Spanish Combinations)[145]

See also



  1. ^ In Trozo, Tondo, del Pilar preached the ideas of nationalism and patriotism to the young students of Manila. (Mariano Ponce, El Renacimiento, 3 July 1903)
  2. ^ Based on the statistical data shown by the parochial lists, the result is that after removing the 12.50% stipend of the friar, the remaining balance for the treasury is 40%, not 87.50%.
  3. ^ In Caiigat Cayó, del Pilar compares Fr. José Rodríguez to the igat, a freshwater eel. (Santos, The Philippine Review [Revista Filipina], 3:961-63)
  4. ^ Rizal's La Visión de Fr. Rodríguez and Por Teléfono were inspired by the Dasalan at Tocsohan and Pasióng Dapat Ipag-alab nang Puso nang Tauong Babasa sa Calupitán nang Fraile. (Santos, The Philippine Review [Revista Filipina], 1:294)
  5. ^ Newspapers such as El País, El Globo, El Nuevo Régimen, El Día, El Diluvio, El Liberal, El Resumen, La Correspondencia Militar, La Justicia, and La Publicidad (Morayta's newspaper) supplemented the La Solidaridad. (AHN, Ultramar, leg.5277, 5286)
  6. ^ Lallave was also known for translating the Gospel of Luke into Pangasinan language (this was the first ever translation of a complete portion of the Bible in a Philippine language).
  7. ^ Como prueba de esta verdad, séame permitido copiar á continuación algunos párrafos de una carta que Marcelo H. del Pilar, el más inteligente, el verdadero verbo de los separatistas, muy superior á Rizal: Ramón Blanco y Erenas, Memoria que al Senado dirige el general Blanco acerca de los últimos sucesos ocurridos en la isla de Luzón (Establecimiento tipográfico de El Liberal, Madrid, 1897)


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Further reading

External links

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