Synopsis of Jose Rizal's Novel, "El Filibusterismo"

Updated on April 10, 2018
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I am a long time reader of Rizal's literature and an avid writer of literary criticism.

Jose Rizal's El Filibusterismo
Jose Rizal's El Filibusterismo

This article is based on Jose Rizal's El Filibusterismo. This novel is a sequel to the Noli. It has a little humor, less idealism, and less romance than the Noli Me Tangere. It is more revolutionary and more tragic than the first novel.

Explaining Simoun, The Main Character in "El Filibusterismo"

The hero of El Filibusterismo is a rich jeweler named Simoun. He was Crisostomo Ibarra of the Noli, who, with Elias’ help, escaped from the pursuing soldiers at Laguna de Bay, dug up his buried treasure, and fled to Cuba where he became rich and befriended many Spanish officials. After many years he returned to the Philippines, where he freely moved around. He is a powerful figure not only because he is a rich jeweler, but also because he is a good friend and adviser of the governor general.

Outwardly, Simoun is a friend of Spain. However, deep in his heart, he is secretly cherishing a terrible revenge against the Spanish authorities. His two obsessions are rescuing Maria Clara from the nunnery of Santa Clara, and fomenting a revolution against their hated Spanish masters.

Synopsis of the Beginning Chapters of "El Filibusterismo"

The story of El Filibusterismo begins on board the clumsy, roundish shaped steamer Tabo, so appropriately named. This steamer is sailing upstream the Pasig from Manila to Laguna de Bay. Among the passengers are Simoun, the rich jeweler; Doña Victorina, the ridiculously pro-Spanish native woman who is going to Laguna in search of her henpecked husband, Tiburcio de Espadaña, who has deserted her; Paulita Gomez, her beautiful niece; Ben-Zayb (anagram of Ibañez), a Spanish journalist who writes silly articles about the Filipinos; Padre Sibyla, vice-rector of the University of Santo Tomas; Padre Camorra, the parish priest of the town of Tiani; Don Custodio, a pro-spanish Filipino holding a position in the government; Padre Salvi, thin Franciscan friar and former cura of San Diego; Padre Irene, a kind friar who was a friend of the Filipino students; Padre Florentino, a retired scholarly and patriotic Filipino priest; Isagani, a poet-nephew of Padre Florentino and a lover of Paulita; and Basilio, son of Sisa and promising medical student, whose medical education is financed by his patron, Capitan Tiago.

Simoun, a man of wealth and mystery, is a very close friend and confidante of the Spanish governor general. Because of his great influence in Malacañang, he was called the “Brown Cardinal” or the “Black Eminence”. By using his wealth and political influence, he encourages corruption in the government, promotes the oppression of the masses, and hastens the moral degradation of the country so that the people may become desperate and fight. He smuggles arms into the country with the help of a rich Chinese merchant, Quiroga, who wants very much to be Chinese consul of Manila. His first attempt to begin the armed uprising did not materialize because at the last hour he hears the sad news that Maria Clara died in the nunnery. In his agonizing moment of bereavement, he did not give the signal for the outbreak of hostilities.

Synopsis of the Middle Chapters of "El Filibusterismo"

After a long time of illness brought about by the bitter loss of Maria Clara, Simoun perfects his plan to overthrow the government. On the occasion of the wedding of Paulita Gomez and Juanito Pelaez, he gives a wedding gift to them a beautiful lamp. Only he and his confidential associates, Basilio (Sisa’s son who joined his revolutionary cause), know that when the wick of his lamp burns lower the nitroglycerine, hidden in its secret compartment, will explode, destroying the house where the wedding feast is going to be held killing all the guests, including the governor general, the friars, and the government officials. Simultaneously, all the government buildings in Manila will be blown by Simoun’s followers.

As the wedding feast begins, the poet Isagani, who has been rejected by Paulita because of his liberal ideas, is standing outside the house, watching sorrowfully the merriment inside. Basilio, his friend, warns him to go away because the lightened lamp will soon explode.

Upon hearing the horrible secret of the lamp, Isagani realizes that his beloved Paulita was in grave danger. To save her life, he rushes into the house, seizes the lightened lamp, and hurls it into the river, where it explodes.

Synopsis of the Ending Chapters of "El Filibusterismo"

Upon hearing the horrible secret of the lamp, Isagani realizes that his beloved Paulita was in grave danger. To save her life, he rushes into the house, seizes the lightened lamp, and hurls it into the river, where it explodes.

The revolutionary plot was thus discovered. Simoun was cornered by the soldiers, but he escaped. Mortally wounded, and carrying his treasure chest, he sought refuge in the home of Padre Florentino by the sea.

The Spanish authorities, however, learns of his presence in the house of Padre Florentino. Lieutenant Perez of the Guardia Civil informs the priest by letter that he would come at eight o’clock that night to arrest Simoun.

Simoun eluded arrest by taking poison. As he is dying, he confesses to Padre Florentino, revealing his true identity, his dastardly plan to use his wealth to avenge himself, and his sinister aim to destroy his friends and enemies.

The confession of the dying Simoun is long and painful. It is already night when Padre Florentino, wiping the sweat from his wrinkled brow, rises and begins to meditate. He consoles the dying man saying: “God will forgive you Señor Simoun. He knows that we are fallible. He has seen that you have suffered, and in ordaining that the chastisement for your faults should come as death from the very ones you have instigated to crime, we can see His infinite mercy. He has frustrated your plans one by one, the best conceived, first by the death of Maria Clara, then by a lack of preparation, then in some mysterious way. Let us bow to His will and render Him thanks!”

Watching Simoun die peacefully with a clear conscience and at peace with God. Padre Florentino falls upon his knees and prays for the dead jeweler. He takes the treasure chest and throws it into the sea; as the waves close over the sinking chest.


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      jejemon 15 months ago

      i dont understand!!??

    • profile image

      GIEMAR 2 years ago


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      Elizabeth 2 years ago

      For me, His work are the most artistic and Heroic novel of all time, and I really appretiate this novel because its really interesting to read and it is really amazing novel.......

    • profile image

      jhamich 2 years ago

      it was very good. the 2 novels are historic and full of knowledge.

      sa mga taong walang paki.... mahiya naman kayo...

      tanong ko lang ???

      may nagawa ka na ba para sa pilipinas?

    • profile image

      rastafari 2 years ago

      Mga bobo yan....

    • profile image

      Norsh 2 years ago

      Rizal is really a Hero and he's too knowledgable... how i appreciate this novel. it's really interesting to read and to learn idea from it. I love it. :)

    • profile image

      HDGHGGH 2 years ago


    • profile image

      yaj nna 2 years ago

      ambot nmo rizal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • profile image

      yassie 2 years ago

      Thank you para sa synopsis.

      It helps lot..

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      Pompeii 3 years ago

      Thank u for this synopsis now I have my an idea for our activity on Monday. And for you jack, mag migrate kana di ka naman ata pilipino eh. Kung makapagsalita kang walang kwenta Para namang may kwenta Karin.

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      mich 3 years ago

      Helps me alot in doing my homework :)

    • profile image

      zhaickha 3 years ago

      JACK!!!!!!!!!!!! naubos na ata ang UTAK mo sa kakaJACKol!!!!!!!!!

    • profile image

      steffany 3 years ago

      Shame on you jack! Worst comment I've ever read! Damn!

      anyways, thank you for this :) It helps me a lot ^^ Godbless

    • profile image

      aivhann 3 years ago

      i really appreciate the works of RIZAL , it help us know about our old ancestors life during the spanish is not WALANG KWENTA JACK!!!

    • profile image

      cloyd 3 years ago

      ang ganda ng story its awaken my patriotism most character there is reffered to rizals family. the story about the abuses of poor pity people that rezals avenge them through his writing novel.

    • profile image

      lianni 4 years ago

      It is a really interesting novel.. it really proves that money is the root of all evil !! ;')

    • profile image

      Jovellabay 4 years ago

      What an interesting story.Good

    • profile image

      marc galendez 4 years ago


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      Guest 4 years ago

      To those who said that rizal shouldn't be the national hero well you're entitled to say that but lemme tell you even bonifacio looked up to rizal. They even used Rizal as their password of the kilusan and even used his picture, they were inspired by Rizal. That's how important Rizal is.

    • profile image

      marksammejos 4 years ago

      ang ganda nga ng kwento ,talagang may ma22nan ka ,

    • profile image

      bimbo 4 years ago

      tnx 4 the information..

    • profile image

      rhena de guzman 4 years ago

      tnx you 4 this important information..

    • profile image

      nawalbaguandiamael 4 years ago

      ang ganda ng strory..

      sooo lonely nga lang...

    • profile image

      -_- 4 years ago

      ung mga bobong nagsabi ng wala daw kwenta, kung yung libro ibig sabihin nila wala nga talaga silang mga utak. Sa mga mag-ienglish pa ng comment ayusin nyo grammar niyo nakakatawa basahin eh, pero naiintindihan ko naman na gusto niyong i-defend yung libro laban sa mga taong walang pagkapilipino

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      Michiyo 4 years ago

      Thank you very much for this! It really has a very sad ending (Poor Simoun) but at least it has a very interesting plot to it! Glad to read it again :)

    • profile image

      think 4 years ago

      isip isip din pag may time jack!!

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      angei 5 years ago

      over ka jack...anong nakain mo?o baka hind kapa nkakain kya u nsav yan...kapapanganak plang ba sau?...jejejejejeje nice novel yan lang massv ko,,,

    • profile image

      Rigor! 5 years ago

      Si Jack walang masabing matino puro Jackol lang kasi alam! JACKOLINO KA BOY!

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      chang 5 years ago

      I've seen some of other synopsis around the net about the reign of greed. Somehow, this one is my personal favorite. It was obviously written by an artist. Not leaving the track, the novel was such a great one. It was truly convincing that the audience or the readers especially the students recommend it for others.

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      senior 5 years ago

      Thank you so much. :) Don't mind Jack!

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      joy8888 5 years ago

      puro kayo comment basahin nyu nlang..hahaha

      ako rin pala..

    • profile image

      kha 5 years ago

      tnx for this synopsis.

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      wenz 5 years ago

      kung walang kwenta ang novel na to magsulat ka nang sarili mung nobela,.,tingnan natin kung malalamangan muh c dr. jose rizal,.,

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      miracle 5 years ago

      thks for posting this summary, even if am not a filipina, i still love reading Rize's novel cos it gives me deep understanding of the country where i am, and the people, what has happened in the past. love it marami salamat po

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      rhenx"///... 5 years ago

      thanks for this synopsis,...!!! because of this i understand our lessons in "Soc Sci"...

    • profile image

      rusty 5 years ago

      Ang galina talaga ni Rizal!!!He made an exellent novel...

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      cam 5 years ago

      Jack. uso ang El fili samin. uso kasi un sa school, lalo na pag fourth year HS. uso rin xa sa college, Rizal subject naman. bakit mukhang di uso sayo?, alam mo ba ung school?, dun kasi nmin un natutunan. hehe. try mo, pero mgsimula ka muna sa kinder.

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      Jonathan 5 years ago

      Nice work!!! thank god i found this page... now i can start my project in Rizal... :D thnx po sa nag-create nito!!

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      Raynah Sobair 6 years ago


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      janin 6 years ago

      @jham: do you really think about that?

      be open minded. because you just only think about what you read you even not knowing what's inside.

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      .pamagurl 6 years ago taong wlang kuwentang magkumento sayang lang ang energy mung mgcomment.,jack,uwi knalang sa bhay nyu,hanapin mu pic2re ni rizal at mgpasorry..u're n0t dat free 2 gve a comment w/o rizal's contribution on our contry's freedom..tsaka kung wla c rizal d mu malalamn qng cnu at panu inalipusta't inalpin ng mga ninu-ninuno..gve respect 2 ur ancestor

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      AllanIli 6 years ago

      ....^_^thanks for this info...!!about the noli and El fili....ahmmmfff...qng cnu man yan ang kinakahiya ang mgandang novela na to nng ating national hero...!!!umalis ka sa ating bansa...hindi ka kailangan ng aming bansa...

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      choconat 6 years ago

      this is the greatest endeavor of being a Filipino JACK!!!! d ka ata pINOY ehh?????

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      ms.s 6 years ago

      yan ang hirap sa atin walang sense of nationality lalo na sau JACK ..tse

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      chelle 6 years ago

      thank you so much sa synopsis. :) ang laking tulong nito.

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      trueknowledge 6 years ago

      this people aren't reading the story well. rizal wants us to unite and to be one, not to fight and bully ur countrymen. if jack doesn't know the true meaning of this novel then its your job to make him understand its meaning. relax people of the philippines, anger does not solve everything.

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      jmayrj 6 years ago

      works of Rizal always live in our hearths forever....thank you Rizal you're works are worth learning for...

    • profile image

      mind 6 years ago

      ang engot mo jack, tanga ka talaga... walang kwenta.. putang ina ka lang. mamatay ka na. walang utak

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      Marlene sa LB 6 years ago

      Siguro si Jack ay durugista so nobody shld gve him mch attntion. Wid ol due respect to Jose Rizal, he's nt supposed to be our national hero coz he doesn't really represent d masses. It's supposed 2 b Andres Bonifacio bt being a revolutionary our imperialist masterrs wouldn't want us to emulate him. So d best choice was Jose Rizal. I challenge u ol 2 do ur research en u'll fynd out d truth.

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      James 6 years ago

      This is my favorite novel of Rizal .. Be inspired on Rizal's Writings ;)

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      Jose Rizal 6 years ago

      asan yung tubo!! sino nagsabi na walang kwenta ang aking nobela??

    • profile image

      MARS MODESTO 6 years ago


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      jj 6 years ago

      i love it

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      mistakenidentity 6 years ago

      _thanks, it help me a lot,,,,,,,,,,

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      klein_claire 6 years ago

      thank you DR.Jose Protacio Rizal Mercado Alonzo y Realonda.

      i really appreciate your works!!!Long Live!!!

    • profile image

      jaycel 6 years ago

      thnk you for this synopsis, maraming natulungan esp. sa mga students, kagaya ko. Ka folks,pagpasensyahan nyo nalang si Jack...PEACE!!!

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      mmm 6 years ago


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      angel 6 years ago

      ...thank you sa ng post nitong EL FILI..... papansin lang yan si jack!!...wag nyo nlang syang pansinin sa halip kaAwaan natin sya!!!...BakEt kasi di nya naIIntindihan ang story...kakahiya nmn na kapWa pa nating pinoy ang hinD makaInTinDe ng kwento ni pareng protacio jose rizAl!!!.. (^_^)

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      lingzkoie 6 years ago

      tamah walang magawa sa buhay

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      nikki 6 years ago

      please don't give attention to jack, the best way to show him , that he is not worth of the freedom that our ancestor sacrificed and redeemed for us, is to just ignore him..

      please just pray for him that someday someone will teach him and make him know ,how significant it is in the Philippine history.. GOD bless!! lets be happy guys..especially to us who already knew it..

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      myRaxx13 6 years ago

      parang walang pinag aralan

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      anti-gago 6 years ago

      gusto mo suntukan jack? gago ka eh..

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      willan 6 years ago

      "salamat" dahil sa pagbabasa ko may natutunan na ako sa buhay ng ating hero.... sana magawa ko rin ang ginawa nla noon sa ngayon..

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      rizalians 6 years ago

      sooo it!!

      nevermind those people who were saying bad things about it..cause they don't know what they were talking about... maybe they don't have brains..whahahah

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      anti-jack 6 years ago

      putang ina mo Jack

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      jham 6 years ago

      when i finally read the whole novel from Noli Me Tangere to EL FILIBUSTERISMO. And a life of Rizal.. I did not agree that he was appointed as our National hero.. because he did not do anything he only write novels just to fight for spaniards and he is not a good model at all. Because he was so chickboy,and a user. I agreed that Andres is the National hero. thats all...

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      jonathan 6 years ago

      putang ina mo jack! mag sama kayo ni rose! gago

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      chona marie mendze 6 years ago

      i'm so very thankful na mei summary na an EL FILIBUSTERISMO ,coz it will be more easier for me to make my project ,THE SYNOSIS OF EL FILIBUSTERISMO

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      Joseph 6 years ago

      why rizal wrote el fili

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      rexie 6 years ago

      thanks sa summary..i don't need to read the whole book..may project na ako..

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      Minato 6 years ago

      The author of this book is really amazing, you can be proud of being a filipino because of Him,, remember jack, the one you are saying "walang kwenta" is a real genius, an eye opener for the country who are suffering. and Jack, you have nothing to prove at unlike him. God has created a person like him to set a good example for us. kahit sabihin mo man na namisunderstood namin ang statement mo, ayusin mu ang buhay mo dahil ang mga hindi maingat sa mga sinasabi nila ay masmasaklap pa sa mga tanga!!

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      dieardsherguy 6 years ago

      wla kang kwena jack pwede mag suicide kna n lng wla kang magawa eh d kna kailangn sa mundo ito ...

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      Magnum 6 years ago

      Bobo mo nmn jack at sa mga nag sabi ng wlang kweanta ito kau ang wlang kwenta mga bobo!!!!!

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      sej 21 6 years ago

      thank you poh my assignment na poh ako

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      greatprinceMJ 6 years ago

      patayin na lang natin si jack!! sino sang.ayon? kung lumaban ang pinoy sa mga espanyol dahil natatapakan na sila.. lumaban din tau.. PATAYIN SI JACK!! HAHAHA :D

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      lhyn29 6 years ago

      @ jack....

      tanung ko lang may ngawa kna bang mas mganda dyan sa libro na yan pra msabi mong wlang kwenta ngaun kung wla pa...MAGISIP KA..BKA IKAW ANG WALANG KWENTA...KUHA MO??

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      neil 6 years ago


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      esseri 6 years ago

      thanks for the help=>

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      xDAngbuxD 6 years ago

      hey jack..

      di ka ata nag-aral ee.

      aral ka muna bago ka mag comment ha ?!

      payo lng :)

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      mary joy omolida 6 years ago

      mga walang modo

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      playboy 6 years ago

      soooooooooo nice......

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      edrielJay 6 years ago

      I badly need to read the two novel for the time because its part of our exam.. thank you so much for the summary, the novel summary is very much appreciated.. :D

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      jenie 6 years ago

      ang ganda kaya nang kwento nito,, naka kah inspired nga, marami kah rin matutunan....about filipino versus spanish,,, mmah feel moh talaga nah ung mga filipino nag pah humble lang... xah mga spanish....

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      bEaTbOx22 6 years ago

      it reflects the lives of the early Filipinos during the Spanish era, and it is such a great novel. it is how the Filipinos suffered under the Spanish rule.

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      p-poy™ 6 years ago

      buti nalang magaling magpatawa instructor namin sa rizal.. kundi tulog lahat mga student sa lecture...hehe

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      gen28 6 years ago

      Wag nyong pansinin ang sinabi ng Jack na yan. Thank you for the summary of El Fili. It really helped me a lot...:)

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      grace18 6 years ago

      Jack: yang pg-ssbi mo n wala walang kwenta,ay pra mo nring sinabi n walang kwenta si rizal pti n yung mga nobela nia ..

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      LJ 6 years ago walang kwenta talaga ang mga taong hindi marunong mag appreciate ng novel ni rizal! bka nman kc..may lahing espanyol c jack!

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      tru punk 14 7 years ago

      sinong walang kwenta... jack baka ikaw... !!!! tamabay ka ata eh..

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      Sophomoregirl 7 years ago

      This is very interesting even though i am supposed to be studying florante at laura

      And oh yeah

      Shame on you people who says walang kwenta to

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      JP 7 years ago

      guys what do you think of the novels el fili and noli mi do you think that rizal wrote this as a form of revolution?

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      mey 7 years ago

      rizal's death triggered the revolution. try reading mi ultimo adios. it shows how great the nationalistic spirit rizal have for the philippines. :)

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      damaso 7 years ago

      its better ur dead rizal, u deserve it somehow

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      ricky12 7 years ago

      saying WALANG KWENTA to an important thing of our dear country is character of a man without an opportunity to go to school...maybe you JACK doesn't have that have no right to say WALANG should think it first before you utter that word...i thought it reflects to yourself...coz YOU are WALANG you understand?if you are still in the Philippines, you have to go to a very far place,coz you are not already welcome in this country...tsope.BOBO....

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      cherry 7 years ago

      maganda ang nobel na noli at el fili ang nagsasabing walang kwenta ay di makabayan tulad ni jack

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      mark  7 years ago

      @ jack..isa lng masasabi ko ko sayo kawawa kapa sa daga dahil di mo alam kong paano tayo naging malaya sa kabila ng pang aapi ..kahit mga bata may importansya st malasakit sa ginawa ni rizal ..baka ikaw ang walang kwenta ..

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      Joel 7 years ago

      Dapat yang si Jack ang pinugutan dahil wala yang pagmamahal sa bayan!!

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      retxedA 7 years ago

      taas nang grades q in Rizal subj..

      after kong mabasa ang novel.

      tnx GOD.

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      bittersweetgirl 7 years ago

      ikaw ang WALANG KWENTA

      mahiya ka nga sa sarili mo

      nakakahiya ka .. PATHETIC HUMAN!

    • profile image

      gay marie 7 years ago

      parehas raman japon sa libro oi!!!!!!


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