Chapter 25: - Page 6 of 7

Smiles and Tears

(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)

The pie was not yet ready, although the sizzling of the grease in the frying-pan could be heard.  They took advantage of the delay to drink, begging Pecson to talk.

Pecson crossed himself gravely and arose, restraining his clownish laugh with an effort, at the same time mimicking a certain Augustinian preacher, then famous, and beginning in a murmur, as though he were reading a text.

Si tripa plena laudal Deum, tripa famelica laudabit fratres—if the full stomach praises God, the hungry stomach will praise the friars.  Words spoken by the Lord Custodio through the mouth of Ben-Zayb, in the journal El Grito de la Integridad, the second article, absurdity the one hundred and fifty-seventh.

Beloved brethren in Christ: Evil blows its foul breath over the verdant shores of Frailandia, commonly called the Philippine Archipelago.  No day passes but the attack is renewed, but there is heard some sarcasm against the reverend, venerable, infallible corporations, defenseless and unsupported.  Allow me, brethren, on this occasion to constitute myself a knight-errant to sally forth in defense of the unprotected, of the holy corporations that have reared us, thus again confirming the saving idea of the adage—a full stomach praises God, which is to say, a hungry stomach will praise the friars.

Bravo, bravo!

Listen, said Isagani seriously, I want you to understand that, speaking of friars, I respect one.

Sandoval was getting merry, so he began to sing a shady couplet about the friars.

Hear me, brethren! continued Pecson.  Turn your gaze toward the happy days of your infancy, endeavor to analyze the present and ask yourselves about the future.  What do you find? Friars, friars, and friars! A friar baptized you, confirmed you, visited you in school with loving zeal; a friar heard your first secret; he was the first to bring you into communion with God, to set your feet upon the pathway of life; friars were your first and friars will be your last teachers; a friar it is who opens the hearts of your sweethearts, disposing them to heed your sighs; a friar marries you, makes you travel over different islands to afford you changes of climate and diversion; he will attend your death-bed, and even though you mount the scaffold, there will the friar be to accompany you with his prayers and tears, and you may rest assured that he will not desert you until he sees you thoroughly dead.  Nor does his charity end there—dead, he will then endeavor to bury you with all pomp, he will fight that your corpse pass through the church to receive his supplications, and he will only rest satisfied when he can deliver you into the hands of the Creator, purified here on earth, thanks to temporal punishments, tortures, and humiliations.  Learned in the doctrines of Christ, who closes heaven against the rich, they, our redeemers and genuine ministers of the Saviour, seek every means to lift away our sins and bear them far, far off, there where the accursed Chinese and Protestants dwell, to leave us this air, limpid, pure, healthful, in such a way that even should we so wish afterwards, we could not find a real to bring about our condemnation.

Learn this Filipino word:

bilugin ang ulo