NMT Chapter 64: Christmas Eve (Noche Buena) (See other Noli Me Tangere Chapter Summaries)
In a tiny hut in the forest by the side of a mountain lives a family of two children (Huli and Tano), an older man, and his granddaughter. They cared for Basilio, who was unconscious for two months.
Basilio insisted on going down the mountain to see his mom (Sisa) in the town, even if he was not well enough. The old man asked his granddaughter Lucia to accompany the young Basilio.
Don Felipo was finally freed, and he visited Capitan Basilio. According to Capitan Basilio, the sacristan mayor was found hanging from the ceiling of his house. Pilosopong Tasyo was buried in the Chinese cemetery.
Basilio wandered the streets and heard that people saw his mom (Sisa) walking aimlessly. There was no word about his brother Crispin.
Basilio sees his mom and chases her to the cemetery of the ancestors of Ibarra.
Some of the key characters in the El Filibusterismo came from this chapter of the Noli:
The mute Tandang Selo
Huli (who became the sweetheart of Basilio)
Tano (who became a guardia civil)
The un-named father of the siblings (Huli and Tano)who later became known as the bandit Matanglawin
San Diego has a new parish priest (kura) and a new alferez.
This is one of the most poignant or saddest chapters in the Noli. Sisa and her son Basilio are reunited, but don’t even get to speak with one another. Sisa is not in her right frame of mind when she hugged and kissed Basilio. And when Basilio fainted, that’s when Sisa became momentarily sane or lucid. When Basilio regained consciousness, that’s when he saw his lifeless mother.
It was Christmas eve, or noche buena at that time.
Questions and Answers
1. How did Basilio display his maturity?
In spite of his condition, he did not think of himself. Instead, he thought of his mother and his brother. He said that perhaps his mom and brother thought he was already dead. And he wanted to make them happy by giving them the perfect Christmas gift: Himself.
Tandang Selo commented that Basilio thought like an adult.
2. Why did Basilio smile when the young child Huli asked him: “Have you ever played a game of hide and seek? There’s nothing as fun as hiding when someone is already catching you.”
Basilio was hiding from the authorities. That’s why he went to the forest. For Basilio, however, it wasn’t fun to get caught. For Huli, it was all just a game. But for Basilio, hiding was for real.
3. Why did Basilio promise to return?
He saw that the siblings were happy there in the forest (unlike in the town).
4. Who burned the books of Pilosopo Tasyo?
The clueless townsfolk, thinking that God would look favorably on them, burned the books.
5. Who murdered the sacristan mayor?
It was Elias.
Recall that Elias gave a peso to the sacristan mayor and told him that money was a mass offering for someone who was going to die soon.
6. Who was the bloodied man who told Basilio to burn to ashes his and Basilio’s mom’s corpse?
It was Elias.
7. Why did Elias reach the forest ahead of Ibarra?
Perhaps the guardia civil were chasing Elias towards San Diego. Another possibility is that Ibarra didn’t know the area well. Also, Elias was more familiar with the hidden paths in that area, and could thus travel faster than Ibarra (since they were both hiding from the authorities).
8. Why did Elias say that the was going to die without even seeing the sunrise, and that for those who are fortunate enough to see the dawn, they should greet her and never forget those who fell in the dark of night?
This does not refer simply to the rising of the sun in the east. This is a symbol of changes in the Philippines, or even the freedom of the country.
Greeting the dawn is similar to celebrating freedom.
Also, never forget the heroes who died in order to help the country enjoy the light of independence.
(Do you want to know how other Pinoys are succeeding online? Read this.)
Manny M. Viloria