Marcelo H. del Pilar

Filipino writer, lawyer, and journalist

Marcelo H. del Pilar (August 30 1850July 4 1896) was a Filipino writer, lawyer, journalist, and freemason. He was one of the leaders of the Reform Movement in Spain. He succeeded Graciano López Jaena as editor of La Solidaridad.

The value of one’s life can be measured only in terms of human service… defend the right, happen what may, never fearing whether you win or lose, and your integrity will be upheld and maintained. There is defeat that is victory… Let us do what we can. God will take care of the rest.


  • An enlightened intelligence is a sanctuary where the kindness and magnificence of its Creator are better seen.
    • Marcelo H. del Pilar to the women of Bulacan (1889)
  • The education of the women stimulates and elevates that of the men.. because of their influence in the family as daughter, sister, wife or mother…They are not only a balm to the hardships of life but also an element that influences and guides men along the path of virtue, perversity or cowardice.
    • Marcelo H. del Pilar to the women of Bulacan (1889)
  • Where the women are virtuous, vice is timid, and dignity predominates in the popular custom. But were women are frivolous, men become immoral, vicious and forget or despise their sacred duties.
    • Marcelo H. del Pilar to the women of Bulacan (1889)
  • Let us praise heaven and have faith in the future: We shall see that not even the power of our enemies will weaken our determination to promote the ideals we are fighting for.
    • Marcelo H. del Pilar to Pedro Icasiano (7 March 1889), in Epistolario de Marcelo H. del Pilar, vol. I, p.43
  • The Spaniards are frivolous, without ideals, with no other conviction than their own personal and momentary convenience. Believe me, chico, I came here with flattering dispositions, but each day I go on acquiring the very sad conviction of the incompatibility of this race with sentiments of honour. It is sad to acknowledge it, but we will learn nothing from this accursed race...
    • Marcelo H. del Pilar to Pedro Icasiano (13 March 1889), in Epistolario de Marcelo H. del Pilar, vol. I, p.63
  • I cannot but ask myself, why should a pueblo like Bulacan... be inferior to the pueblo of Malolos? It might be true that Bulacan was not as wealthy or fashionable as Malolos, but surely, its women were not inferior in the aspiration towards knowledge, in the efforts of intellect.
    • Marcelo H. del Pilar to his cousin Josefa Gatmaitan (13 March 1889), in Epistolario de Marcelo H. del Pilar, vol. I, p.56
  • I exhort you with all the ardour of my soul. Learn, instruct, encourage love of study, and you will have fulfilled your mission on earth.
    • Marcelo H. del Pilar to Josefa Gatmaitan (13 March 1889), in Epistolario de Marcelo H. del Pilar, vol. I, p.57
  • Senor Manrique Lallave and his companions are going there to carry on some business which they will explain to you. Believing their interests to be antagonistic to those of certain monopolizers of the country, I would wish that, on your part and that of your friends, you would bestow every kind of protection on them, being assured that these gentlemen and the elements on whom they depend, with whom we are in complete understanding, are disposed to render us service in return.
    • Marcelo H. del Pilar to Doroteo Cortes (1 May 1889) ibid., 106
  • You must always remind her (Sofia) to do well at school. She should avoid those who curse; she ought not to become friendly with them nor turn them into enemies, exercising tact in her avoidance...she should appear dignified to all, and confide only to her mother. This ought never to be far from her thinking: no one can love her in the way her parents love her. If it happens that the world deceives her no one will be frank and honest with her except her parents... all her joys, all her sorrows, all her dreadful fears should be confided only to her mother.
    • Marcelo H. del Pilar to his wife Chanay [Marciana del Pilar] (2 May 1889), in Epistolario de Marcelo H. del Pilar, pp 19-20
  • No doubt the friars will slander my religious sentiments in order that you may not believe my words; but you all know me, and if you do not, there is my daughter (Sofia), at an age when she can not yet dissimulate her real belief; interrogate her, scrutinise her conscience with regard to religious matters, and the judgement which you will then form will enable you to judge the religious sentiments of the father
    • Marcelo H. del Pilar to Josefa Gatmaitan (13 March 1889), in Epistolario de Marcelo H. del Pilar, vol. I, p.56
  • If you can take advantage of the support of the Gran Familia, now is the time. For Becerra belongs to it, and besides, this oppressive measure (administrative deportation) affects its prestige and good name, since it is its own members and its friends who are subject to this persecution.
    • Marcelo H. del Pilar to José Rizal (18 May 1889), in Epistolario de Marcelo H. del Pilar, vol. I, p.127
  • I think we should protect ourselves from the intrigues of our enemies and the naviete of our friends. Having said this, therefore, and with the data you already possess, the circumstances now exists and the time is right for us to abandon the pen; trust me.
    • Marcelo H. del Pilar to José Rizal (18 May 1889), in Epistolario de Marcelo H. del Pilar, vol. I, p.127
  • It’s 5:30 in the afternoon here, while two in the morning there in the Philippines; you already have your Christmas eve mass and noche buena. Here, we spent the entire afternoon reminiscing how joyful Christmas Day there. I imagine Sofia and Anita and all the children in our neighborhood are enjoying right now. If only my will be done, I’d like to spend the next Christmas with you.
    • Marcelo H. del Pilar to his wife Chanay [Marciana del Pilar] (24 December 1889)
  • Weyler is going to be relieved. If Burgos takes his place, Calvo y Muñoz may, perhaps, be made Director General by him. I begged the latter in that case first to introduce the bill on representation in the Cortes for the Philippine Islands. He says he will do everything possible. We shall be all right if Burgos comes with Calvo; he is a favorite of the Segundo Cabo there, and Colonel Pazos is a nephew and a right hand man of General Burgos. This Colonel Pazos is one of our collaborators in La Solidaridad and signs himself Padpyvh.
    • Marcelo H. del Pilar (29 April 1890), in Epistolario de Marcelo H. del Pilar, vol. II, p.60
  • If you have any resentment, I beg you to put it aside; if you consider me at fault, and this fault is pardonable, forgive me… We would much like that you resume writing for it; not only would we strengthen La Solidaridad but we would defeat the friar intrigue in the Philippines.
Let us wait as we go on. Let us not hesitate even if we meet barriers and thorns on the way. What are these little inconveniences compared to the great misfortune of our country?
  • This called for more endurance and patience on their part while peaceful processes were being carried out. But if and when revolution broke out, it was God’s will and would be a fight to the finish irrespective of consequences.
    • Marcelo H. del Pilar, "Our Anxieties", La Solidaridad, Year VII. No.64 (15 September 1891)
  • We will limit ourselves there to precise considerations because duty demands it. In this judgement, unlegislatable right is violated. A sacred freedom is restricted: the Liberty of thought and the right to express one's opinion. Our mission and purpose is to protest, combat, and denounce the cunning politics, the constitutional attempt, the authoritarian repeal (of an ordinance), and the abuse of the Law.
    • Marcelo H. del Pilar, La Solidaridad II.64 (30 September 1891)
  • If our efforts prove useless we shall deplore our defeat; but no bitterness will torture our conscience when from it fatal consequences should emerge, as they ought to.
    • Marcelo H. del Pilar, La Solidaridad II.65 (30 September 1891)
  • Once the struggle is began, one phenomenon would be inevitable and that is, the Filipinos will fight for their right, for their reason, and for their justice irrespective of consequences.
    • Marcelo H. del Pilar, "Let Us not Talk About Blood", La Solidaridad II.124 (30 September 1891)
  • In the Filipino colony there should be no division, nor is there: one are the sentiments which move us, one the ideals we pursue; the abolition in the Philippines of every obstacle to our liberties, and in due time and by the proper method, the abolition of the flag of Spain as well.
    • Marcelo H. del Pilar to Deodato Arellano (31 March 1891), in Epistolario de Marcelo H. del Pilar, vol. I, p. 246
  • How could I allow him to attack you when I am interested in your prestige? I am sure that when Eduardo de Lete wrote the article he did not intend to allude to you and much less to molest you. He described an individual whose methods are diametrically opposed to yours.
  • You will remember that, walking on the Pascode Recoletos … I told you: "Watch out, for some fine day we shall wake up quarreling without knowing why." You laughed at my witticism and so did I … that occurred to me without reason as a vague presentment.
  • I have not stopped wishing for the renewal of our former ties, for I believe that slight differences in procedure are not enough to destroy our common principles, purposes, and feelings.
  • For my meals I have to approach friends for loans, day after day. To be able to smoke, I have gone to the extreme of picking up cigarette butts in the streets.
    • Marcelo H. del Pilar to his wife Chanay [Marciana del Pilar] (17 August 1892)
  • I can’t seem to forget the peso Anita sent me. I wish you had contrived somehow not to send it so that you could have bought her a pair of shoes instead. My heart bleeds every time I think of the hard life you and our children lead, and so I am very eager to return home to be able to take care of you and our children.
    • Marcelo H. del Pilar to his wife Chanay [Marciana del Pilar] (15 March 1893), in Epistolario de Marcelo H. del Pilar, vol. II, p. 153
  • I always dream that I have Anita on my lap and Sofía by her side; that I kiss them by turns and that both tell me: ‘Remain with us, papá, and don’t return to Madrid’. I awake soaked in tears, and at this very moment that I write this, I cannot contain the tears that drop from my eyes.
    • Marcelo H. del Pilar to his wife Chanay [Marciana del Pilar] (3 August 1893)
  • Every day I prepare myself to return there. Thanks that the children are well. Tears begin to fall from my eyes every time I think of their orfandad (bereavement). But I just try to cure my sadness by invoking God, while I pray: ‘Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven’ I am the most unfortunate father because my daughters are the most unfortunate among all daughters… I cannot write more, because tears are flowing from my eyes aplenty.
    • Marcelo H. del Pilar to his wife Chanay [Marciana del Pilar] (18 July 1894)
  • Facing the obstacles that the reactionary persecutions bring in opposition to the circulation of this newspaper in the Philippines, we have to suspend our publication for some time. Nowadays, when there are ways to curb difficulties, we will not stop working to overcome them. We are persuaded that no sacrifices are too little to win the rights and the liberty of a nation that is oppressed by slavery. We work within the law and thus will we continue publishing this newspaper whether here or abroad, depending on the exigencies of the fight wherein Filipino reactionaries have come to impress upon all Filipinos that in its soul there beats some sentiment of dignity and shame. Whether here or abroad, we will continue developing our program.
    • Marcelo H. del Pilar's farewell editorial in La Solidaridad (15 November 1895)
  • Please tell my family that I was not able to say goodbye, but that I died with my true friends around me… Pray to God for the good fortune of our country. Continue with your work to attain the happiness and freedom of our beloved country.
  • The friars control all the fundamental forces of society in the Philippines. They control the educational system, for they own the Universidad de Santo Tomás, and are the local inspectors of every primary school. They control the minds of the people because, in a dominantly Catholic country, the parish rectors can utilize the pulpit and confessionals to publicly or secretly influence the people; they control all the municipal and local authorities and the medium of communication; and they execute all the orders of the central government.
    • Del Pilar's quote on the Spanish friars, from Teodoro Agoncillo's History of the Filipino People (1990)

Dasalan at Tocsohan

  • Our stepfather, who art in the convent; cursed be thy name; thy greed depart, thy windpipe be slit on earth as it is in heaven. Return to us this day our daily bread; and make us laugh with thy horse laugh, as you laugh when you fleece us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from thy evil tongue. Amen.
    • Del Pilar's parody of The Lord's Prayer, Dasalan at Tocsohan (1888)
  • Hail Baria, the till of the Friar overflows with Thee; the Friar is with Thee; blessed art Thou among things and blessed is the coffer he filleth with Thee. Holy Baria, Mother of Fees, pray for us that we may not be skinned and put to Death. Amen.
    • Del Pilar's parody of The Ave Maria, Dasalan at Tocsohan (1888)

Sagót ng España sa Hibíc ng Filipinas

  • The time when they unite and awaken from slumber; on that day, the day of God, the people will demand payment... Who will pay?
    • Marcelo H. del Pilar, Sagót ng España sa Hibíc ng Filipinas (1889)

Quotes about del Pilar

  • A constitution as of forged steel; body robust and stocky; the thorax that of an invincible titan; a powerful brain enclosed in a square skull; and an intense and searching eye which emitted an irresistible current that vanquished and fascinated.
  • A tireless propagandist in the political struggle, formidable in his attack, expert in his defenses, accurate in the strokes of his pen, unyielding in his arguments, whose knowledge and formidable intelligence commanded the respect even of his enemies, whom he had defeated more than one in contests of the mind.
  • He has a warlike character; is foxy; has much energy and a great talent for satire; kindness; intrepid; ambitious; has no considerations when anything serious is to be done.
    • Herr Langerbruch, a German Graphologist
  • The most intelligent leader, the real soul of the separatists, very superior to Rizal.
  • He is one of those quos acques ambit Jupiter entitled to sit at the board of the Gods and to be admitted to the beds of the goddesses.
  • Del Pilar had a modern sense of mass publicity. While Rizal wrote his tremendous novels in Spanish, a language that few Filipinos could read, del Pilar flooded his native country with smuggled pamphlets written in simple Tagalog, a Tagalog that is still a model of lucidity, directness and force.
    • Leon Ma. Guerrero, Del Pilar (13 December 1952)
  • Gradually, Bonifacio gravitated more towards del Pilar for guidance. In fact, he solicited del Pilar’s approval for the by-laws of the Katipunan. Del Pilar wrote him a letter endorsing the secret society and this served as encouragement for an all-out recruitment campaign. The extent of del Pilar’s influence could be best gauged in terms of the impact of his letters on Deodato Arellano, a brother in law, who was a co-founder of the Katipunan. It was reported that Bonifacio copied these letters faithfully because he treasured them as valuable guides for action. Del Pilar served as Bonifacio’s mentor.
    • Alejo Villanueva Jr., Bonifacio’s Unfinished Revolution, pp. 20-21, (1998)
  • Marcelo H. del Pilar was a genius in the realm of arts and letters. Under the pen name Plaridel, he wrote fiery editorials that exposed the atrocities and injustices of the colonizers.
    • President Rodrigo Duterte's speech, Philippine Independence Day celebration in Malolos City, Bulacan (12 June 2021)


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