Tuesday, June 19, 2007


She is a sister of Cain, she is jealous, and asks her fiance:

"Did you think about me all the time? After so much traveling have you forgotten me? So many beautiful cities, so many beautiful women ...!"

He, too, a brother of Cain, knew how to evade such questions, and was a bit of a liar, so he said:

"Could I ever forget you?" he answered, charmed. He looked into her eyes. "Could I break a vow? Do you remember that night, that stormy night when you, seeing me alone and crying next to my mother's lifeless body, came toward me and put your hand on my shoulder, the hand that for so long you refused to let me hold, and said to me: 'You have lost your mother, I never had one.' And you cried with me. You loved her, and she loved you, as if you were her own daughter. Outside it was raining and lightning, but I heard only music, and could see only the smile on my mother's ashen face. Oh, if my parents could only live again and see you! I took your hand and my mother's and I swore to love you, and make you happy whatever fate heaven had in store for me. I have never regretted that vow, and tonight I renew it."

"Could I ever forget you? Your memory has followed me everywhere, has saved me from the perils of the road, has consoled me in the solitude of my soul in foreign lands. It has been the antidote to the lotus-blossom of Europe that erases the memory of many of our countrymen's hopes, to the utter disgrace of our homeland. In my dreams I saw you standing on the beach of Manila, looking toward the distant horizon, wrapped in the soft light of early dawn. I heard a languid, melancholy song that awakened in me my dormant feelings and evoked the early years of my childhood in the memory of my heart, our joys, our games, the whole happy past that brought me to life when you came to our village. To me you seemed like a fairy, a spirit, the poetic embodiment of my homeland, beautiful, simple, loving, frank, a child of the Philippines, that beautiful country that brings together the great virtues of Mother Spain and the fine qualities of a youthful people, as you in all your being, bring together the finest and most beautiful facets of our two races; so your love and the one I profess for my country have melted into one."

Excerpt from a dialogue between Maria Clara and Crisostomo Ibarra on the day after the latter arrived in Manila from his seven-year stay in Europe.
Written by Jose Rizal
Translated by Harold Augenbraum
Penguin Classics


posted by Señor Enrique at 7:01 PM


Blogger palma tayona said...

aie... i remember maria clara being presented by mrs. catacutan (an avid rizalista) to us, a classroom full of 15-year olds during one of her filipino classes. she was lecturing to us the virtues of maria clara, the quintessential embodiment of the filipina after we read a chapter of the el fili wherein the hapless maiden fell in a fainting spell (methinks it was during a circus? performance where elias was also present)

mrs. catacutan quipped, "ganyan ang pilipina. napapakilos nila ang mga nasa paligid nila nang hindi gumagawa ng ingay o gusot - malumanay kumilos, mayumi at higit sa lahat matalino. sa panlabas, mukhang maselan ang pilipina, ngunit sa loob sila'y gawa sa bakal - matibay laban sa unos ng buhay."

are filipinas of today still living up to the virtues of maria clara? i wonder....

June 19, 2007 7:39 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nakakaantig ng damdamin. Kahit sa pag-ibig, kasama pa rin ang bansang tinubuan.

Great shot.

June 19, 2007 7:54 PM  

Blogger Gita Asuncion said...

amazing shot once more! great framing... great balance!

June 19, 2007 8:21 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's a great choice of excerpt Eric. I am reminded of this boy in high school who would quote Rizal poetically, and also Balagtas. ;)

Great shot! You're a pro now. :)

June 19, 2007 8:26 PM  

Blogger carlotta1924 said...

noli me tangere was also published by pengu in classics? wow. =)

June 20, 2007 5:35 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Hi Daniel!

Are our modern Filipinas living up to the virtues of Maria Clara?

When I was in high school, I, too, got to perceive Maria Clara as the ultimate image of a beguiling "demure" Filipina. However, after finally having Noli "Me Tangere" and "El Filibusterismo," though in English translations, I cannot help but wonder if I'd like Maria Clara as the ideal image of a Filipina.

Firstly she seems very naive if not dim-witted altogether. With women being extremely perceptive, how could Maria Clara not recognize Father Salvi's lust for her.

Maria Clara is also easily threatened with excomunication; easily giving up Ibarra's letters to her upon demand of Capitan Tiago and Father Damaso, which in effect will doom Ibarra's fate, as well as their love affair.

She is also too quick to accept Ibarra's death without so much as reserving some hope since there was no body found. Worse of all, she chooses to spend the rest of her pitiful life in a convent which only gives Father Salvi the opportunity to actualize his evil intentions upon her.

Therefore, Daniel, Rizal as a novelist exposed also the unpleasant elements of all his characters, because they reflect the ills that affect the Filipinos at that time. And this may explain why Rizal had them all killed in the end.

And in so doing, Rizal underscored the dire need for our countrymen's mental and emotional evolution first, not a political revolution.

So to answer your question, I think the Filipina women have gone forward from the typical Maria Clara image.

June 20, 2007 7:14 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Yes, Rolly, at one point, I found myself unsure if Ibarra was talking about Maria Clara or his country. But then again, perhaps, this was Rizal's way of building up his Ibarra character as a potential savior, a hero.

June 20, 2007 7:16 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Many thanks, Gita :)

June 20, 2007 7:16 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Thank you, Irene, but I'd prefer to merely consider myself a photography enthusiast :)

I had a tough time with Pilipino in high school. Those Tagalog words in our textbooks were extremely hard to comprehend. And with half of my classmates being Tsinoys, there wasn't any kid in the class who could help us. We were all grappling in the dark, so to speak ... hahaha.

June 20, 2007 7:20 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Yes, Carla! A Penguin Book classic it is now! Finally got a copy at Powerbooks in Greenbelt last weekend :)

You have got to check it out. Great read!

June 20, 2007 7:21 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

poignant pieces from our national hero. he really writes so well, so fluid, whenever i read his pieces, i am always humbled.

and belated happy birthday to him!

June 20, 2007 9:35 AM  

Blogger pusa said...

wow very nice photograph you got there!

i dont want to be a maria clara, that girl portrayed in the novel is a weakling and i dont think filipinas are like her at all.

June 20, 2007 11:00 AM  

Blogger nerdluck said...

Hi Sir Eric,

Congratulations on the Blog award... I have been a silent lurker (on and off) of your blog since the beginning. I, myself have developed an interest in photography just a few months back and started shooting. Its Still no good but Im working on it. Good luck to you.

June 20, 2007 11:26 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe Jose Rizal used the character of Maria Clara to represent the Filipinos in general who were naive, weak and readily submissive to the abuses/exploitations of the Spanish colonizers.

Also, some literary analysts say there are also some traits of Maria Clara that refer to Leonor Rivera, being Rizal's one true love but who married Henry Kipping, an Englishman engineer who built the national railways.

June 20, 2007 11:32 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Rizal underscored the dire need for our countrymen's mental and emotional evolution first, not a political revolution."

Rizal knew that the way to real freedom by the Filipinos was through education - for them to truly understand their plight. For him, a bloody uprising was futile if, in the first place, the people did not fully realize what it was that they were fighting for! Hence, he was 'waging war' not only for physical freedom, but for psychological freedom as well for his people.

When the Americans came to 'liberate' us, they aimed at 'educating' our countrymen. Sadly, however, such 'education' turned out to be 'miseducation' for the Filipinos.

Just saying my piece... :)

June 20, 2007 11:56 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I agree with you Dine. I can only wish that I had done well in my Spanish classes so I could really appreciate his writings in their original expressions.

June 20, 2007 11:57 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I also agree with you Pusa. She might have been the most beautiful female characters, but I think her cousin Sinang is a lot more perceptive/intelligent.

Thanks much!

June 20, 2007 11:59 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Thanks for leaving your thoughts, Nerdluck!

I just visited your site. How come you don't post any of your pics? :(

Hey, good luck to you as well.

June 20, 2007 12:00 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

You are so right, Rhoda! Yet none of it was ever taught to us in school.

I also keep telling my friends that Rizal's works were not only anti-friars but generally against the ills that adversely affect our race.

June 20, 2007 12:03 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aaahhh, English 23 (Life and Times of Dr. Rizal), my fav subject in college. Class was always packed and lots of girls, so my concentration was a little off, hehe...but then the next subject was chemistry or math and 'twas half-full. No enthusiasm at all.
I've always wondered what if he lived to be in his 90's just like JFK, my hero! Great shots Senor.

June 20, 2007 12:06 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

"Rizal knew that the way to real freedom by the Filipinos was through education - for them to truly understand their plight. For him, a bloody uprising was futile if, in the first place, the people did not fully realize what it was that they were fighting for! Hence, he was 'waging war' not only for physical freedom, but for psychological freedom as well for his people."

Bullseye, Rhoda! I agree with you.

"Sadly, however, such 'education' turned out to be 'miseducation' for the Filipinos."

Perhaps, you can eleborate more on this because I'd definitely appreciate knowing your take on this. You can even make it a blog entry on your site if it's quite long.

June 20, 2007 12:07 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I've a feeling he might be somewhere in Silicon Valley as one of the officers of a highly successful Internet start-up companies, TruBlue. And he'll return to Manila one day after cashing in some of his stocks to build a school for our nation's future leaders. True leaders, that is.

Many thanks!

June 20, 2007 12:15 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Belated Happy Birthday to Jose Rizal!

I've seen this book before but it was not the translated version. I'd love to get hold of a copy because I've read so much about this novel ...


And I love the way you framed the photo kuya!

June 20, 2007 12:39 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Many thanks, Kyels!

Yes, this Penguin Classic edition of Noli Me Tangere is a very interesting read. You ought to have one in your personal library.

June 20, 2007 12:55 PM  

Blogger palma tayona said...

with respect to the built greatness that is rizal, would it have been better if bonifacio - a revolutionary and coming from the masses, the greater part of the unwashed filipinos of his time - were the national hero?

i mean, rizal is a great thinker and novelist and all, but it was people like bonifacio who did the dirty work of waking the people's passion for revolution and change. it wasn't really the ilustrados with their writings and rhetoric that stirred the people to wakefulness and amongst which rizal is part of. (the people that time were kept ignorant and uneducated of the spanish language - the lingua franca of the elite)

in fact, it was the americans who instituted rizal as the national hero, since he was more "palatable" to there vision of benign occupation. the time that the americans were in the country, rizal was already dead and his heroism is confined in his sublime moves as a writer/intellect and not as a radical revolutionary. radicalism was something the americans are afraid of being the new colonizers of these islands etc.

it's an age-old question spanning a century of arguments and thoughts. would we have been better or perhaps wiser, if in our national psyche, we had a revolutionary plucked from the proletariat, the great unwashed, the common tao such as bonifacio to be our national hero; to have a personage to which our perception as a people can be shaped based on a pro-active, armed struggle to change?

i wonder if our psyche as a people be changed from one that espouses a "God forgive them" attitude, to one that promotes active, total, revoutionary change if we had a national hero from and for the masses such as andres, and not jose. :-)


ipagpaumanhin po nila kung medyo malilihis nang kaunti ang palitan ng kuru-kuro pero... i can't help but think about this question after i saw again the picture of rizal's monument.

June 20, 2007 1:59 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very classic and now, upon rereading it, as I have read this book perhaps twice already, it's even more certain to me that Rizal's work should be put on the pedestal of world classic literature, in th same breathe as James Joyce or Hemingway...How we wish that he could have lived far longer and have done more work...

June 20, 2007 2:06 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

"it's an age-old question spanning a century of arguments and thoughts. would we have been better or perhaps wiser, if in our national psyche, we had a revolutionary plucked from the proletariat, the great unwashed, the common tao such as bonifacio to be our national hero; to have a personage to which our perception as a people can be shaped based on a pro-active, armed struggle to change?"

Personally, Daniel, now that I get to read up on our history, I'd much rather have that half naked man named Lapu-Lapu as our ultimate national hero.

Because he defied the desires of his fellow Muslim kings by remaining unimpressed by the white men who came with their gigantic ships. He refused to sell out the freedom enjoyed by him and his people to this bunch of foreigners.

I don't know, but if only 80% of the locals were as fearful as he was, perhaps, the foreigners would have had a tough time dominating the archipelago.

As for Bonifacio, I fail to find him a hero when he knew his troops possessed not enough numbers and armaments to stage and win a major revolt. I just cannot glorify someone driven mostly by emotions. But check out how Lapu-Lapu used intelligence to defeat Magellan and his men.

Unfortunately, to this very day, we seem to still lack leaders with the much needed emotional and intellectual (otherwise known as spiritual) maturity to lead our nation to its ultimate progress, or if we do have them, they seem to eventually get overwhelmed by our ruling elite.

June 20, 2007 2:26 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

It is truly a well-written novel worthy of international acclaim, Major Tom. It was also very courageous of him to expose the ills of the Philippine society of that time, and quite astonishingly and sadly, such malady extends to our present time.

June 20, 2007 2:31 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

great framing eric, di ko nakita tong perspective na to nung nandyan ako... galing mo talaga.... :)

June 20, 2007 5:13 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

This was the entrance to the Kalayaan Village along the side of Luneta, Lino. Chamba lang 'to! :)

June 20, 2007 5:24 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

sir eric, that's one of the most unique shots i've seen of the monument. almost all others capture the statue in its solitude, and thus there's a monotonous feel of solemnity. this shot is alive :)

i had the pleasure of having a PI 100 class in UP under a professor with radical ideas ;) which meant that after my 3rd/4th full reading of the noli and fili, my views on rizal and his message took a near 180-degree turn.

btw, we still haven't done a mini photo shoot inside UP Diliman! we didn't get to shoot the sunflowers lining the lengthy University Avenue...fortunately, Xmas and the Lantern Parade is just around the corner.

i'm frequently in UP these days for a literary workshop; just email me if you have the time and i'll tour you around the campus :)

June 20, 2007 5:33 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eric, if I expound on the 'miseducation' comment, it might become a book! hehehe. Seriously though, I will find a copy of Renato Constantino's book and send it to you as a gift.

Corsarius was lucky to have a radical minded professor in PI 100 class. Mine was always absent! Hahaha! He sort of sported the 'Godfather' image in campus, and was perpetually surrounded by his 'elite parking lot people' cohorts, who were mostly my classmates... Wala akong natutunan! I just sort of helped myself with my own readings. I hope there are no more UP professors of that kind nowadays.

June 20, 2007 5:58 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Thanks, Corsarius! Thought I'd give it a new twist by framing the statue with the entrance arch of the Kalayaan Village.

This summer swiftly passed us by but I'm certain we'll all get together again sometime soon.

I will definitely email you and perhaps, you can share with me your radical Rizal thoughts when we get together.

June 20, 2007 6:32 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Now, you've really got my curiosity piqued, Rhoda!


June 20, 2007 6:34 PM  

Blogger Aura said...

Hi, congratulations for this great shot of Rizal monument & topic of the day...I must find & read Rizals famous Noli me Tangere the next time i visit Philippines. for its been so long since my school days that i dont remember the story anymore except for the leading figures such as Maria Clara and Ibarra.
I also find it interesting reading all the opinions of your comentators about our national hero.
I agree with you they should given more credit to Lapu Lapu who bravely faced & confronted the spanish conquistador Ferdinand Magellan, whom by the way the real name is Fernão de Magalhães which later on the spanish knew him as Fernando de Magallnes,a portuguese born to a noble family, he first serve the portuguese fleet of exploration & conquest of the west indies only when he lost favor with the portuguese king who did´nt recognised his valor that he renounce his citizeship then serve the spanish crown who was more receptive to his request o conquer & explore the world which unfortunately for him ended in our native land.
Sorry, nalihis ako ng topic..
Mabuhay ang ating mga "Bayani" each one of them did their part in achieving our independence!!!
By the way if you are interested in photography you may join to this site http://www.woophy.com its a world of photography where anyone can join & submit their photos..a good & clean site of amateur photographers around the world.
Best Regards!

June 20, 2007 7:17 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Obrigado, Aura!

That's right! Magellan was Portuguese. Many thanks also for the historical background.

I've just signed up at Woophy! Thanks for sharing :)

June 20, 2007 7:40 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jose Rizal MD: The original Overseas Indio Worker. Educated in the Philippines, went abroad for further studies and work. At the Fort Santiago shrine you will see the business cards for his eye clinic in hongkong.

June 20, 2007 8:42 PM  

Blogger -= dave =- said...

Señor E and other commenters, I'd like to point out some historical inaccuracies (and I don't mean the trivial ones like Magellan's citizenship) in the facts used to further the causes of Bonifacio and Lapu-Lapu, but it's late in the day. I'm tired and I'd rather rest than be in a combative mood.

Perhaps I'll just bewail the quality of history education in the country that causes this poor historical arguments. Indeed, rather than some quirks in the past, it's this continuing substandard educational style that contributes more to the sorry state of nationhood and patriotism. For starters, grade school and high school textbooks tend to contain more propaganda rather than social science. Better to read as many history books as you can to be aware of the biases of the different authors.

Now back to the topic of this post... What interests me though is to re-study Fili under the post-9/11 paradigm. Incidentally, I have grabbed free e-books of Rizal's writings in Project Gutenberg :)

June 21, 2007 1:07 AM  

Blogger palma tayona said...

i agree with dave. there are too many historical inaccuracies and we, pinoys local and abroad, are all products of that "miseducation", as miss rhodora has so aptly put. it'd even "take a lifetime to understand our past for us to step with confidence into our future", a apt quote from an ageing history professor in dilimnan.

but then again, enough of that. too many arguments about history etc, spoils the picture taken.

can somebody here tell me which province they do those shavings on the bamboo that framed the picture of the monument? am i right to think that this is a specialty of carvers in pampanga? methinks it's specific to a particular town. does anybody know?

June 21, 2007 12:11 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I missed that, Leo. But I'll make sure I get to see some of his personal paraphernalia when I return to visit his shrine.

I think the Pnoys who got on board during the Galleon Trade, and then decided to remain in Mexico were among the original OFWs ... hehehe.

June 21, 2007 12:24 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

To Dave and Daniel:

No combative mood allowed here ... hehehe.

But as what Ambeth Ocampo once remarked, (I'm paraphrasing), "the Filipinos are not interested in local history because they do not know who to believe."

But it would be nice, for me that is, to hear friends' discuss their thoughts on our local history, because I tend to learn from such.

Perhaps, Dave, you should join me and Daniel when we get together in Quiapo.

Hopefully, Daniel, a fellow blogger might give you the resource for those shavings on the bamboo.

June 21, 2007 12:29 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

u really rock senor,the pic. is great..2tally awesome....ESPCIALLY reading the COMMENTS comin' from ur blog readers..LOLZ;)...

June 25, 2007 4:26 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Hi Jjazzeu27ster!

I must admit, without the fun interaction with my blog friends, this site would have been a staid site.

Thanks for visiting and come by again :)



June 25, 2007 5:56 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


About Me

Name: Señor Enrique
Location: Manila, Philippines

View my complete profile


This is a Flickr badge showing photos in a set called Flickr Badge. Make your own badge here.
Señor Enrique Home
Designed by The Dubai Chronicles.
All rights and lefts reserved.