Chapter 20: - Page 4 of 9

The Meeting in the Town Hall

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

I rise, gentlemen, to present my estimate of expenses for the fiesta, he began.  We can’t allow it, commented a consumptive old man, who was an irreconcilable conservative.

We’ll vote against it, corroborated others.  Gentlemen! exclaimed Don Filipo, repressing a smile, I haven’t yet made known the plan which we, the younger men, bring here.  We feel sure that this great plan will be preferred by all over any other that our opponents think of or are capable of conceiving.

This presumptuous exordium so thoroughly irritated the minds of the conservatives that they swore in their hearts to offer determined opposition.

We have estimated three thousand five hundred pesos for the expenses, went on Don Filipo.  Now then, with such a sum we shall be able to celebrate a fiesta that will eclipse in magnificence any that has been seen up to this time in our own or neighboring provinces.

Ahem! coughed some doubters.  The town of A——— has five thousand, B——— has four thousand, ahem! Humbug!

Listen to me, gentlemen, and I’ll convince you, continued the unterrified speaker.  I propose that we erect a theater in the middle of the plaza, to cost one hundred and fifty pesos.

That won’t be enough! It’ll take one hundred and sixty, objected a confirmed conservative.

Write it down, Señor Director, two hundred pesos for the theater, said Don Filipo.  I further propose that we contract with a troupe of comedians from Tondo for seven performances on seven successive nights.  Seven performances at two hundred pesos a night make fourteen hundred pesos.  Write down fourteen hundred pesos, Señor Director!

Both the elders and the youths stared in amazement.  Only those in the secret gave no sign.

I propose besides that we have magnificent fireworks; no little lights and pin-wheels such as please children and old maids, nothing of the sort.  We want big bombs and immense rockets.  I propose two hundred big bombs at two pesos each and two hundred rockets at the same price.  We’ll have them made by the pyrotechnists of Malabon.

Huh! grunted an old man, a two-peso bomb doesn’t frighten or deafen me! They ought to be three-peso ones.

Write down one thousand pesos for two hundred bombs and two hundred rockets.

Learn this Filipino word:

nagsukatán ng lakás