El Fili Chapter 25: Laughter and Tears

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The 14 students decide to gather and “celebrate” at the Panciteria Macanista de Buen Gusto, a restaurant whose name roughly translates to “yummy Chinese foods from Macau.” It must have been a small resto because they were able to reserve all the tables.

There are written signs, and the you can tell from the way the students were talking that they were let down and were feeling hurt by what Don Custodio did (or rather, did not do for them).

The students invited Basilio in hopes that they can get him drunk enough to share the inside story about a missing child and a nun.

Dinner is served and they offer the “pansit langlang” in honor of Don Custodio. The other food items are given descriptions, and are likened to certain key characters.

The students force Tadeo to give a speech even if Tadeo was unprepared. Pecson also gives a speech where he lashes out at the frailes.

They see one of the servants of Padre Sibyla, the vice-rector of the university. The servant rides the carriage of Simoun.

Questions and Answers

1. Why were the students celebrating?

They were being sarcastic. They were faking their agreement with Don Custodio’s proposal.

2. How many students were there? Who were they?

There were 13 Filipino students, plus 1 Spanish student (Sandoval). Isagani arrives later, increasing their number to 15. Makaraig, Tadeo and Pecson were there. Basilio was a no-show.

3. What really happened to Simoun?

He forgot to give the signal (a shot), so his teams got confused. Perhaps one of the team members hurt Simoun, because he was angry at Simoun’s indecision (which lead to the failure of the revolution).

4. Why does Makaraig think that “pancit” is actually a Filipino creation?

Pancit is not known in Japan or China (even if those two countries have noodles). Rizal thinks “pancit” was invented by the Chinese living in the Philippines.

5. Why did Pecson say that the life of a Filipino begins and ends with the fraile?

Well, when you were born the fraile was around. Then you were christened (fraile was around again). Confirmation (kumpil), education, sex education and courtship, marriage, last rites when near-death, at executions, and even at the burial… the fraile was always around.

6. How does Pecson view the existence of frailes in the Philippines?

He was just being sarcastic when he said that the Philippines needs the frailes, and that their disappearance will be a great loss for the country.

He was being sarcastic when he said that the frailes tirelessly improve our race and even add to our population. Pecson added that Filipinos divided by envy are bound together by the cruelty of the frailes.

It would be better to be under the frailes, than under the control of the Chinese (Instik).

7. What can you say about Tadeo, based on what he said in this chapter?

We can say that although Tadeo does not regularly attend classes, he has innate wisdom.

8. What did Pecson mean about heaven closing its doors to the rich?

He was referring to the frailes who often taught that the rich will be unable to enter heaven unless the frailes help them. Here are some ways of getting “help” from the frailes: Sponsor masses and novenas (yes, we’re talking about cash here), bequeath your assets to the fraile or the church.

Makes you wonder why some religious organizations have so much land in the Philippines, eh? ;-)

10. Who are the four powerful people in the Philippines, according to Isagani?

  • Quiroga, the Chinaman
  • Simoun
  • The Capitan Heneral
  • The Frailes (kura)

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