Chapter 8: - Page 3 of 4

Recollections

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

But these musings were in turn banished from his mind as he came in sight of the little mound in Bagumbayan Field.[3]  This isolated knoll at the side of the Luneta now caught his attention and made him reminiscent.  He thought of the man who had awakened his intellect and made him understand goodness and justice.  The ideas which that man had impressed upon him were not many, to be sure, but they were not meaningless repetitions, they were convictions which had not paled in the light of the most brilliant foci of progress.  That man was an old priest whose words of farewell still resounded in his ears: Do not forget that if knowledge is the heritage of mankind, it is only the courageous who inherit it, he had reminded him.  I have tried to pass on to you what I got from my teachers, the sum of which I have endeavored to increase and transmit to the coming generation as far as in me lay.  You will now do the same for those who come after you, and you can treble it, since you are going to rich countries.  Then he had added with a smile, They come here seeking wealth, go you to their country to seek also that other wealth which we lack! But remember that all that glitters is not gold.  The old man had died on that spot.

At these recollections the youth murmured audibly: No, in spite of everything, the fatherland first, first the Philippines, the child of Spain, first the Spanish fatherland! No, that which is decreed by fate does not tarnish the honor of the fatherland, no!

He gave little heed to Ermita, the phenix of nipa that had rearisen from its ashes under the form of blue and white houses with red-painted roofs of corrugated iron.  Nor was his attention caught by Malate, neither by the cavalry barracks with the spreading trees in front, nor by the inhabitants or their little nipa huts, pyramidal or prismatic in shape, hidden away among the banana plants and areca palms, constructed like nests by each father of a family.

[3] The Field of Bagumbayan, adjoining the Luneta, was the place where political prisoners were shot or garroted, and was the scene of the author’s execution on December 30, 1906.  It is situated just outside and east of the old Walled City (Manila proper), being the location to which the natives who had occupied the site of Manila moved their town after having been driven back by the Spaniards—hence the name, which is a Tagalog compound meaning new town.  This place is now called Wallace Field, the name Bagumbayan being applied to the driveway which was known to the Spaniards as the Paseo de las Aguadas, or de Vidal, extending from the Luneta to the Bridge of Spain, just outside the moat that, formerly encircled the Walled City.—TR.

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maitím na binábalak