Chapter 11: - Page 7 of 12

Los Baños

(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)

It’s certain, he insinuated rather timidly, that education is not at all well provided for—

I’ve already decreed large sums for the purchase of supplies, exclaimed his Excellency haughtily, as if to say, I’ve done more than I ought to have done.

But since suitable locations are lacking, the supplies purchased get ruined.

Everything can’t be done at once, said his Excellency dryly.  The schoolmasters here are doing wrong in asking for buildings when those in Spain starve to death.  It’s great presumption to be better off here than in the mother country itself!

Filibusterism—

Before everything the fatherland! Before everything else we are Spaniards! added Ben-Zayb, his eyes glowing with patriotism, but he blushed somewhat when he noticed that he was speaking alone.

In the future, decided the General, all who complain will be suspended.  

If my project were accepted— Don Custodio ventured to remark, as if talking to himself.

For the construction of schoolhouses?

It’s simple, practical, economical, and, like all my projects, derived from long experience and knowledge of the country.  The towns would have schools without costing the government a cuarto.

That’s easy, observed the secretary sarcastically.  Compel the towns to construct them at their own expense, whereupon all laughed.

No, sir! No, sir! cried the exasperated Don Custodio, turning very red.  The buildings are already constructed and only wait to be utilized.  Hygienic, unsurpassable, spacious—

The friars looked at one another uneasily.  Would Don Custodio propose that the churches and conventos be converted into schoolhouses?

Let’s hear it, said the General with a frown.

Well, General, it’s very simple, replied Don Custodio, drawing himself up and assuming his hollow voice of ceremony.  The schools are open only on week-days and the cockpits on holidays.  Then convert these into schoolhouses, at least during the week.

Learn this Filipino word:

gawín ang isdâ