Letter to the Women of Malolos

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(English translation & original Tagalog text )


NOTE: Rizal wrote this famous letter in Tagalog, while he was residing in London, upon the request of M. H. del Pilar.  The story behind this letter is this: On December 12, 1888, a group of twenty young women of Malolos petitioned Governor-General Weyler for permission to open a “night school” so that they might study Spanish under Teodoro Sandiko.  Fr. Felipe Garcia, the Spanish parish priest, objected to the proposal. Therefore the governor-general turned down the petition.  However, the young women, in defiance of the friar’s wrath, bravely continued their agitation for the school – a thing unheard of in the Philippines in those times.  They finally succeeded in obtaining government approval to their project on the condition that Señora Guadalupe Reyes should be their teacher.  The incident caused a great stir in the Philippines and in far-away Spain.  Del Pilar, writing in Barcelona on February 17, 1889, requested Rizal to send a letter in Tagalog to the brave women of Malolos. Accordingly, Rizal, although busy in London annotating Morga’s book penned this famous letter and sent it to Del Pilar on February 22, 1889 for transmittal to Malolos.   NOTE: This document was taken from José Rizal: Life, Works and Writings of a Genius, Writer, Scientist and Naional Hero by Gregorio F. Zaide and Sonia M. Zaide (Manila: National Book Store).

When I wrote Noli Me Tangere, I asked myself whether bravery was a common thing in the young women of our people.  I brought back to my recollection and reviewed those I had known since my infancy, but there were only few who seem to come up to my ideal.  There was, it is true, an abundance of girls with agreeable manners, beautiful ways, and modest demeanor, but there was in all an admixture of servitude and deference to the words or whims of their so-called "spiritual fathers" (as if the spirit or soul had any father other...

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