Makaraig

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Makaraig is the rich student who, together with Isagani, envisioned a Spanish academy for native Filipino students in Jose Rizal’s El Filibusterismo .

Character description

Makaraig shared the same nationalistic ideals as that of Isagani. Both of them led their fellow students in the movement for the establishment of the Spanish academy for Filipinos. The only difference between the two is their social status. Being wealthy, Makaraig was less hated by the friars as Padre Irene related in Chapter 2. His wealth also helped him obtain freedom after being imprisoned together with the other students. It also helped him secure a passport to hurriedly flee the country and migrate to Europe.

Role in the novel

Makaraig is one of the main proponents in the plans of establishing a Spanish academy for Filipinos. His home served as the residence of fellow students who treated him as the leader of the pack.

Macaraig used his means to influence affluent people in their town to support their proposed Spanish academy. He tried to get the support of Don Custodio, a “journalist”, through the man’s mistress, Pepay. Through Padre Irene, he learned that the government would allow their plans but with certain conditions. One of the conditions is that the academy would be under the auspices of one of the religious corportations.

Discouraged by what had happened, Makaraig and the other students held a feast at a Chinese panciteria to “celebrate” the recent developments. During the feast, he and the others mocked Don Custodio and Padre Irene by dedicating chicken bones to the former and pork to the latter. In the midst of the mockery, he compared the country to the pansit they were eating in saying “all eat and enjoy it, yet characterize it as disagreeable and loathsome, the same as with the country, the same as with the government.”

Makaraig and his fellow students were arrested the morning after the feast at the panciteria. He was able to bail himself out of prison and migrate to Europe after.

Symbolism

Makaraig represented the well-to-do Filipino youth during the Spanish era who had good dreams for the country. His character also provided readers a glimpse of how different the rich and the poor were treated during that time in society. Both he and Isagani led the student movement, yet, he was still favored upon by the friars because of his social status.

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References