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El Filibusterismo: Summary and Analysis of Chapter 2 (On the Lower Deck)

Basilio, Isagani, and Don Custodio are deep in discussion on the lower deck of the steamer Tabo.  The two students tell Don Custodio about the plan to put up a Spanish academy, and although the two boys are hopeful that the plan will be approved, Don Custodio is rather pessimistic.

Frequently Asked Questions:
Question: Why does it seem to be a habit of the elder people like Don Custodio to always find hindrances to progress when the youth is always optimistic in such endeavors?
Answer: The older people have undergone a lot of failures in their lives -- shattered hopes, lost dreams -- and these have taught them not to hope too much.  The youth, on the other hand, have not yet experienced such failures and are still filled with the burning hope that their plans will be fulfilled.  This way, the nation still pushes forward towards progress.

Question: Why does Simoun let out a grin when Isagani tells him that the reason why his countrymen don't buy jewelry and precious gems is because they have no need for such frivolous things?
Answer: If the smile is that of sarcasm, then that is because Simoun knows Isagani's claim isn't true.  Filipinos love jewelry.  If, however, it is that of appreciation, then that is because Simoun sees that Isagani has courage and conviction -- traits that Simoun admires greatly and is looking for in the Filipino youth.  (This is further explained in the succeeding chapters.)

Question: What is Simoun's way of determining whether a town is rich or poor?
Answer: The priests.  If the friars are Filipinos, the parish is poor; if they are Spaniards, rich.  When a parish is still in its first stages, not much money is going in and Filipino priests are assigned there.  The moment the town starts to progress, Spanish friars take over.

Question: How did Simoun and Basilio meet?
Answer: They meet at Captain Tiago's house, where Simoun frequently visits.


  1. They were talking to Kapitan Basilio, not Don Custodio :)

    1. I think there's no Kapitan Basilio.

  2. They WERE talking to Kapitan Basilio. It's written in my book.

  3. While I do believe that the character Simoun was talking to was named Kapitan Basilio in the translated versions, the original spanish one actually states that the person Señor Simoun was talking to is indeed named Don Custodio


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