In the Noli Me Tangere I started to sketch the present state of our Fatherland: the effect which my attempt produced made me realize, before proceeding to develop before your eyes other pictures to follow, the necessity of first giving an understanding of the past in order the better to judge the present and measure the path traversed during the tree centuries.
Born and reared in ignorance of our past like almost all of you: without voice nor authority to speak of what we have not seen nor studied I deemed it necessary to invoke the testimony of an illustrious Spaniard who controlled the destinies of the Philippines at the beginning of its new era and personally witnessed the last days of our ancient nationality. It is, therefore, the shadow of our ancestors' civilization which the author now shall call before you. I transmit to you faithfully his words without changing them nor mutilating them, adapting, only in so far as possible, to modern orthography and introducing greater clearness in the rather defective punctuations of the original, to facilitate its reading. The office, the nationality, and the virtues of Morga, together with the date and testimonies of his contemporaries, Spaniards for the most part, commend the work to your serious consideration.
If the book succeeds in awakening in you, the consciousness of our past blotted from memory, and in rectifying what has been falsified and calumniated then I shall not have labored in vain, and with this basis, slight though it be, we can all devote ourselves to the study of the future.