Uploaded by Daniella Pasilbas Sabac


Morga’s Sucesos De las Islas Filipinas and Rizal’s annotated version was published almost
three centuries apart, Morga at the 16th century and Rizal at the 19th century. Morga’s book was
written in Spanish, and in my opinion reflected his bias over the Spanish superiority, but Rizal still
chose to annotate Morga’s book because he considered Morga to be more objective than the
missionaries whose view on the historical events are distorted and full of religious fanatical views.
This paper will focus on the assessment of the issues raised in the Rizal’s annotations on the eighth
chapter of Morga’s Sucesos, specifically dwelling on the classification of his annotations and the
point he was trying to convey through the annotation of Morga’s book.
Guerrrero was the first one to categorized Rizal’s annotations into two parts - that is, “the
simply anti – clerical, and the historical and sociological”1 The former which reflects his strong anticlerical bias is something to be expected given Rizal’s time. However, I would like to interject my
own classification of his annotations, specifically on the last chapter of the book regarding the pre –
Hispanic Philippines and the contact of the Spanish to the natives.
My classification plan for Rizal’s annotations is simply using a contextual classification
scheme, classifying Rizal’s annotations though the context it is portraying. I would like to segregate
these classifications based on historical context and the comparison between Philippines and
European countries, the backwardness the Philippines experienced during Spanish contact, random
definitive contexts and anti – clerical sentiments that were imminent on the annotations of Rizal
throughout the chapter. In light of these classifications, I would like to cite several examples for each
classification I made starting with random definitive annotations in the chapter. “Marinas, meaning
beaches”2 was an annotation by Rizal in regards to the word Morga used which was “beaches”. Rizal
annotated the word “bahaque” in Morga’s text to which Rizal describes as “Bahag, rich colored cloth
and quite often with gold stripes, among chiefs”3 To cite one last example, Morga mentioned
something about having ten or twelve varieties of bananas which are very tasteful. Rizal made an
annotation saying “Buzeta and Bravo say that there are more than 57 species”4 which has some kind
of definitive and correctional context to it. All these annotations serve supplement Morga’s text and
bring light to the misunderstanding caused by Morga’s text and clarify some confusion with regards
to the texts.
Moving on to another classification, Rizal made some annotations depicting the comparative
context between Philippines and European countries regarding the culture and tradition being
practiced by the natives. Morga mentioned that the privileges of a principalship were also enjoyed
by the women of noble birth on a par with the men. Rizal made an annotation in respect to that
“In this regard, the Filipinos acted very much in conformity with natural laws,
being ahead of Europeans, whose women lose their nobility when they marry
plebians and among whom descent is along the male line which offers the least
guarantee. This proves beside the high consideration that the women in these
islands had enjoyed since antiquity.”5
Another example of Rizal’s annotation that falls under this classification is the giving of dowry by the
groom, while the bride did not bring anything to the marriage community until she inherited in her
own right from her parents. 6 Under his annotation Rizal said
Guerrero, The First Filipino, 216.
Morga, Sucesos De Las Islas Filipinas, 212
Morga, Sucesos De Las Islas Filipinas, 244
Morga, Sucesos De Las Islas Filipinas, 252
Morga, Sucesos De Las Islas Filipinas, 276
Morga, Sucesos De Las Islas Filipinas, 282
“This custom continued the union between the parents and the children, a
wiser practice than that which is followed in many parts of Europe where cases
are found of Children neglecting their parents once they have taken possession
of their patrimony, or of parents who do not consent to the marriage of their
children in order not to part with their property.”7
These are a few examples of the comparison Rizal made in his annotations regarding the comparison
of culture and tradition between Philippines and European countries. I made his comparisons a part
of my classification because it was evident in his annotations that he was not only comparing the
cultural practices of the Philippine natives to the practices of other European countries, but he was
also defending the natives practices mentioning that the natives’ cultural practices was more
advanced to that of European countries, portraying his nationalistic views on pre-Hispanic
Philippines and also his bias towards the natives of pre – Spanish conquest.
Another classification of Rizal’s annotation I would also like to point out concerns what Rizal
called the “backwardness” or as I would like to put it, the regression of the Philippines during
Spanish contact. In order to learn more about this, I would like to name a few examples of Rizal’s
annotations regarding that context. With respect to Morga’s text saying that the natives no longer
uses the wooden tree – nails but assorted metal nails, and the Spanish – style of the construction of
the boat, Rizal made an annotation commenting “The Filipinos, like the inhabitants of the Marianas
who are no less famous and skilled in the art of navigation, far from progressing, have become
backward, for, though now boats are built in the Islands, we can say that they are almost all of
European model. “8 Furthermore, I would like to cite an annotation of Rizal concerning the regress
of the intellectual level of the Filipinos due to Spanish contact.
“The ancient Filipinos, according to other Historians, were guided in this by the
principle that the guilty being more afraid than the innocent. Fear accelerated
the palpitations of his heart and physiologically the circulation of the blood and
consequently the respiration which was thereby shortened….. Now they consult
old hysterical women, imposters, etc., showing that the intellectual level has
gone down a great deal. Before, they reasoned, now, they are satisfied with
asking and believing. For the enemies of reasoning this is called progress.”
As one can observe, these annotations elaborated on the extinction of the cultural practices of the
natives with the first example being the extinction of the indigenous boat – making industry, and the
latter example showing a decline in intelligence because of Spanish contact that may be attributed
to the Spain being the most “backward” among the European countries.
Morga, Sucesos De Las Islas Filipinas, 282
Morga, Sucesos De Las Islas Filipinas, 251