Book Title: El Filibusterismo
Date Released: September 22, 1891
Author: Jose P. Rizal
Lead Characters: Simoun, Basilio, Isagani
Summary: El Filibusterismo introduces to us Simoun, a rich, influential man with many connections among the powerful and who’s who in Manila, Philippines. He subtly influences the other Spaniards, including the Captain-General, to aid in the dreadful decay of the corrupt Filipino government, while the poor Filipino people suffer under him and eventually rebel against the Spaniards in an effort to salvage their dignity and gain their freedom for their country.
I was quite excited about reading El Filibusterismo [The Filibustering]. In its heyday, its predecessor, Noli Me Tangere [Touch Me Not], was very controversial since the Philippines was then under Spanish rule and they did not want their real colours to be discovered. The publication of this book eventually landed Rizal in prison and led to his execution.
As compared to Noli Me Tangere, El Filibusterismo has a wider point of view, since the lead character Simoun is among the most powerful men in the country, widely known as the only person the Captain-General listens to. Although some may find the style of writing long-winded and a bit hard to understand, I encourage them to keep on going, because not many works written at that time are as readable as Rizal’s is. Besides, you’ll learn to appreciate those little anecdotes that are humorous and lightens the heavy mood of the book quite considerably.
The plot is simply remarkable. I did not expect the twists that popped up even when I thought I knew what was going to happen next. The new happenings, new characters, and some unresolved, mysterious endings keep the reader psyched to continue reading the story. [I hated the ending though]
If you aren’t a history buff, or have no interest whatsoever in “old books”, I’m not sure if this one’s for you. Give it a try though: you might turn out to really like it.