The word “filibustero” wrote Rizal to his friend, Ferdinand Blumentritt, is very little known in the Philippines. The masses do not know it yet.
Jose Alejandro, one of the new Filipinos who had been quite intimate with Rizal, said, “in writing the Noli Rizal signed his own death warrant.” Subsequent events, after the fate of the Noli was sealed by the Spanish authorities, prompted Rizal to write the continuation of his first novel. He confessed, however, that regretted very much having killed Elias instead of Ibarra, reasoning that when he published the Noli his health was very much broken, and was very unsure of being able to write the continuation and speak of a revolution.
Explaining to Marcelo H. del Pilar his inability to contribute articles to the La Solidaridad, Rizal said that he was haunted by certain sad presentiments, and that he had been dreaming almost every night of dead relatives and friends a few days before his 29th birthday, that is why he wanted to finish the second part of the Noli at all costs.
Consequently, as expected of a determined character, Rizal apparently went in writing, for to his friend, Blumentritt, he wrote on March 29, 1891: “I have finished my book. Ah! Iâ€™ve not written it with any idea of vengeance against my enemies, but only for the good of those who suffer and for the rights of Tagalog humanity, although brown and not good-looking.”
To a Filipino friend in Hong Kong, Jose Basa, Rizal likewise eagerly announced the completion of his second novel. Having moved to Ghent to have the book published at cheaper cost, Rizal once more wrote his friend, Basa, in Hongkong on July 9, 1891: “I am not sailing at once, because I am now printing the second part of the Noli here, as you may see from the enclosed pages. I prefer to publish it in some other way before leaving Europe, for it seemed to me a pity not to do so. For the past three months I have not received a single centavo, so I have pawned all that I have in order to publish this book. I will continue publishing it as long as I can; and when there is nothing to pawn I will stop and return to be at your side.”
Inevitably, Rizalâ€™s next letter to Basa contained the tragic news of the suspension of the printing of the sequel to his first novel due to lack of funds, forcing him to stop and leave the book half-way. “It is a pity,” he wrote Basa, “because it seems to me that this second part is more important than the first, and if I do not finish it here, it will never be finished.”
Fortunately, Rizal was not to remain in despair for long. A compatriot, Valentin Ventura, learned of Rizalâ€™s predicament. He offered him financial assistance. Even then Rizalâ€™s was forced to shorten the novel quite drastically, leaving only thirty-eight chapters compared to the sixty-four chapters of the first novel.
Rizal moved to Ghent, and writes Jose Alejandro. The sequel to Rizalâ€™s Noli came off the press by the middle of September, 1891.On the 18th he sent Basa two copies, and Valentin Ventura the original manuscript and an autographed printed copy.
Inspired by what the word filibustero connoted in relation to the circumstances obtaining in his time, and his spirits dampened by the tragic execution of the three martyred priests, Rizal aptly titled the second part of the Noli Me Tangere, El Filibusterismo. In veneration of the three priests, he dedicated the book to them.
“To the memory of the priests, Don Mariano Gomez (85 years old), Don Jose Burgos (30 years old), and Don Jacinto Zamora (35 years old). Executed in the Bagumbayan Field on the 28th of February, 1872.”
“The church, by refusing to degrade you, has placed in doubt the crime that has been imputed to you; the Government, by surrounding your trials with mystery and shadows causes the belief that there was some error, committed in fatal moments; and all the Philippines, by worshipping your memory and calling you martyrs, in no sense recognizes your culpability. In so far, therefore, as your complicity in the Cavite Mutiny is not clearly proved, as you may or may not have been patriots, and as you may or may not cherished sentiments for justice and for liberty, I have the right to dedicate my work to you as victims of the evil which I undertake to combat. And while we await expectantly upon Spain some day to restore your good name and cease to be answerable for your death, let these pages serve as a tardy wreath of dried leaves over one who without clear proofs attacks your memory stains his hands in your blood.”
Rizalâ€™s memory seemed to have failed him, though, for Father Gomez was then 73 not 85, Father Burgos 35 not 30 Father Zamora 37 not 35; and the date of execution 17th not 28th.
The FOREWORD of the Fili was addressed to his beloved countrymen, thus:
“TO THE FILIPINO PEOPLE AND THEIR GOVERNMENT”