Marcelo H. Del Pilar was a Filipino writer, journalist and propagandist best known for his meticulous and liberal writings against the tyrannical government and Church officials in the Philippines during the 19th century Spanish occupation. Del Pilar, along with fellow patriots Jose Rizal and Graciano Lopez Jaena, formed the triumvirate of the La Solidaridad, a newspaper who advocates the Filipino cause in the Spanish parliament. Del Pilar was born on August 30, 1850 in Cupang, Bulacan, Bulacan, the land of the brave and Filipino poets.
Del Pilar came from the family of Gatmaitan, one of the richest families in town. His father Don Julian Hilario del Pilar served as a gobernadorcillo (municipal mayor. ) Thus, their illustrious and privileged class gave Del Pilar the opportunity to pursue higher education. Early in his childhood, Del Pilar already displayed a high degree of intellect. He was good at playing musical instruments such as the violin, piano and flute. Hence, he took and finished his Bachelor of Arts degree in Colegio de San Jose.
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In 1881, he obtained his law degree in the University of Santo Tomas. Previously, he had disputes over some of the friars because of his nationalistic and liberal ideas that were against the abusive nature of the friars. Del Pilar often stages movements for the overthrow of the friars in the Philippines. Early in his writing career, Del Pilar sough for the separation of the state and the Church – a stance that perhaps influenced the future constitutions of the Philippines.
Del Pilar would often denounce both the Church and the government in his speeches done in front of busy crowds in flee markets, cockpit arenas and town plazas. He depicts the abusive friars who seemingly hold powers quite similar to that of the governor general. On the other hand, he took note of the government’s failure in delivering prosperity in the archipelago that was first promised by the blood compact between Spanish explorer and first Spanish Governor-General Miguel Lopez de Legaspi and Datu Sikatuna of Bohol.
Moreover, Del Pilar sailed to Spain due to the tensions arising between him and the corporation of the friars. While in Spain, he succeeded Lopez-Jaena as the editor-in-chief of the La Solidaridad. Under his tutelage, the newspaper pushed for drastic reforms such as the expulsion of the polo (community service) and the automatic sale of local products to the government. Del Pilar also advocates the recognition of the Philippines as a province of Spain, hoping that this move will foster equality among the ndios and the Spanish meztizos. Hence, the last issues of the La Solidaridad, no longer pushed equality through peaceful means. In one issue, Del Pilar seemingly issues his support over the possibility of an armed conflict. Shortly, Del Pilar died in Barcelona on July 4, 1896 – just around one month before the Cry of Pugad Lawin, signaling the start of an armed revolution.
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