Tasio or Pilosopong Tasio is the eccentric old man who loiters the streets of San Diego aimlessly in Jose Rizal’s novel, Noli Me Tangere . He is known to the refined as Don Anastacio, but most of the ignorant masses refer to him as Tasyong Baliw.
Tasio is depicted as an old man with very simple attire. He wears a dark-striped camisa de chino that is buttoned close to the neck which he pairs with a wide, grey felt hat and loose shoes. He is also half-Chinese (from his mother's side of the family) and is one of the kind neighbors of Sisa who would often give the woman some meat for her sons to eat.
Tasio lives in a small house with creeping ivy on its walls and has an abundant garden. His house is filled with various collections of plants and insects. He also has maps on the wall and has stood heavy with books and manuscripts.
Tasio comes from a rich family. He is often the pessimist and is untrusting of human altruism. He also does not believe in the religious fanaticism that was in vogue during his time.
Tasio is one of the characters in the novel that Rizal can relate to, as the former is patterned after the latter's oldest brother, Paciano Rizal.
Role in the novel
Tasio's rich family managed to send him to a university in San Jose. His mother became terrified of his uncanny reasoning. She assumed that if Tasio were to learn more ideas, his faith in God would deteriorate. He disobeyed his mother's plans for him to enter into priesthood and got married instead. His wife and mother died after a year. To cope with this loss, he read a lot of books. This obsession with learning gradually lost him his livelihood.
Tasio wrote down his aspirations through a form of encrypted alphabet, his own version of hieroglyphics, which Juan Crisostomo Ibarra saw. These are mostly about the government reforms that he hopes the future generations would be able to decode and become aware of how the Spaniards abused their countrymen. Their debate in Chapter 25 regarding government and religion revealed how Rizal views the effects of reformation. When he died, his books had been burned and his corpse buried in the Chinese cemetery.
Tasio symbolizes the learned Filipinos who had once embraced the culture of the Spanish regime. They eventually became disenchanted when they return to the Philippines and observe the stark contrast their countrymen receive from their colonizers. The more they turn to learn, the more they become eccentric to the masses they seek to enlighten.
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