Placido Penitente walks glumly to school. He meets Juanito Pelaez along the way, and talks with him for a while. Juanito is the favorite of practically all the teachers, and his father is a Spanish mestizo. Placido talks to the young man about his brief vacation to Tiani with Padre Camorra, and then asks Juanito to help him catch up with the lessons he missed the days before.
Points of Note:
The University of Santo Tomas during the Spanish regime was situated in Intramuros (Walled City) near the Colegio de San Juan de Letran today. It was only during the American regime that UST was relocated to Espanya, Manila. Almost all of the schools back then were located in Intramuros -- Letran and Ateneo.
Different students have certain identifying characteristics back then, based on the school they are from:
1. Ateneo: These students dress as if they were in Europe, wearing tuxedos and the like. They walk rather briskly, and always carry around books and notebooks.
2. Letran: These students dress in Filipino garments, and are a rather populous bunch. They are not usually found walking around with textbooks.
3. UST: Their clothes are particularly clean and tidy, and they are always well groomed. They walk with an elegant strut, and instead of bringing books, they carry around a cane.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Question: Why does Placido want to stop his education?
Answer: He has been studying for four years, and yet his teachers still never notice him despite his hard work.
Question: What does the name "Placido Penitente" mean?
Answer: Placido means quiet and placid; Penitente means one inflicted with suffering.
Question: What does Rizal say about the education of the average youth during that time?
Answer: Most of them do not learn much because:
1. Except for those enrolled in the Ateneo, the students do not bring textbooks, especially those in the UST.
2. The classes are overpopulated.
3. The teachers look down on them.
4. Classes are frequently cancelled.