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Noli me Tangere

Major characters[
Crisóstomo Ibarra[
Juan Crisóstomo Ibarra y Magsalin, commonly referred to in the novel
as Ibarra or Crisóstomo, is the novel's protagonist. The mestizo (mixed-race) son of
Filipino businessman Don Rafael Ibarra, he studied in Europe for seven years.[5][6] Ibarra
is also María Clara's fiancé.
María Clara
Main article: María Clara
María Clara de los Santos, commonly referred to as María Clara, is Ibarra's fiancée and
the most beautiful and widely celebrated girl in San Diego. [7] She was raised by Kapitán
Tiago de los Santos, and his cousin, Isabel. In the later parts of the novel, she was
revealed to be an illegitimate daughter of Father Dámaso, the former curate of the town,
and Doña Pía Alba, Kapitán Tiago's wife, who had died giving birth to María Clara.[8]
At the novel's end, a heartbroken yet resolved María Clara entered the Beaterio de Santa
Clara (a nunnery) after learning the truth of her parentage and mistakenly believing that
her lover, Crisóstomo, had been killed. In the epilogue, Rizal stated that it is unknown
whether María Clara is still living within the walls of the convent or is already dead. [9]
Kapitán Tiago
Don Santiago de los Santos, known by his nickname Tiago and political
title Kapitán Tiago, is said to be the richest man in the region of Binondo and possessed
real properties in Pampanga and Laguna de Baý. He is also said to be a good Catholic, a
friend of the Spanish government and thus was considered a Spaniard by the colonial
elite. Kapitán Tiago never attended school, so he became the domestic helper of
a Dominican friar who gave him an informal education. He later married Pía Alba
from Santa Cruz.[7]
Padre Dámaso
Main article: Father Dámaso
Dámaso Verdolagas, better known as Padre Dámaso, is a Franciscan friar and the
former parish curate of San Diego. He is notorious for speaking with harsh words,
highhandedness, and his cruelty during his ministry in the town. [10] An enemy of
Crisóstomo's father, Don Rafael Ibarra, Dámaso is revealed to be María Clara's
biological father.[8] Later, he and María Clara had bitter arguments on whether she would
marry Alfonso Linares de Espadaña (which he preferred) or enter the nunnery (her
desperate alternative).[11] At the end of the novel, he is again reassigned to a distant
town and later found dead in his bed. [9]
Elías is Ibarra's mysterious friend and ally. Elías made his first appearance as a pilot
during a picnic of Ibarra and María Clara and her friends. [12]
The 50th chapter of the novel explores the past of Elías and history of his family. About
sixty years before the events of Noli Me Tángere, Elías's grandfather Ingkong in his
youth worked as a bookkeeper in a Manila office. One night the office burned down, and
Don Pedro Eibarramendia, the Spaniard owner, accused him of arson. Ingkong was
prosecuted and upon release was shunned by the community as a dangerous
lawbreaker. His wife Impong turned to prostitution to support themselves but eventually
they were driven into the hinterlands. There Impong bore her first son, Balat.
Driven to depression, Ingkong hangs himself deep in the forest. Impong was sickly for
lack of nourishment in the forest and was not strong enough to cut down his corpse and
bury him, and Balat was then still very young. The stench led to their discovery, and
Impong was accused of killing her husband. She and her son fled to another province
where she bore another son. Balat grew up to be a bandit.
Eventually Balat's legend grew, but so did the efforts to capture him, and when he finally
fell he was cut limb by limb and his head was deposited in front of Impong's house.
Seeing the head of her son, Impong died of shock. Impong's younger son, knowing their
deaths would somehow be imputed upon him, fled to the province of Tayabas where he
met and fell in love with a rich young heiress.
They have an affair and the lady got pregnant. But before they could marry, his records
were dug up. Then the father, who disapproved of him from the start, had him
imprisoned. The lady gave birth to Elías and his twin sister but died while they were
children. Elías and his sister were well cared for, with Elías even going to Ateneo and his
sister going to La Concordia, but as they wanted to become farmers they eventually
returned to Tayabas.
He and his sister grew up not knowing about their father, being told that their father had
long died. Elías grew up to be a young abusive brat who took particular joy in berating an
elderly servant who, nevertheless, always submitted to his whims. His sister was more
refined and eventually was betrothed to a fine young man. But before they could marry,
Elías ran afoul with a distant relative. The relative struck back by telling him about his
true parentage. The verbal scuffle mounted to the point where records were dug up, and
Elías and his sister, as well as a good part of town, learned the truth. The elderly servant
who Elías frequently abused was their father.
The scandal caused the engagement of Elías' sister to break off. Depressed, the girl
disappeared one day and was eventually found dead along the shore of the lake. Elías
himself lost face before his relatives and became a wanderer from province to province.
Like his uncle Balat he became a fugitive and his legend grew, but by degrees he
became the gentler, more reserved, and more noble character first introduced in the
Pilósopong Tasyo
Filósofo Tasio (Tagalog: Pilósopong Tasyo) was enrolled in a philosophy course and
was a talented student, but his mother was a rich but superstitious matron. Like many
Filipino Catholics under the sway of the friars, she believed that too much learning
condemned souls to hell. She then made Tasyo choose between leaving college or
becoming a priest. Since he was in love, he left college and married.
Tasyo lost his wife and mother within a year. Seeking consolation and in order to free
himself from the cockpit and the dangers of idleness, he took up his studies once more.
But he became so addicted to his studies and the purchase of books that he entirely
neglected his fortune and gradually ruined himself. Persons of culture called him Don
Anastacio, or Pilósopong Tasyo, while the great crowd of the ignorant knew him as Tasio
el Loco on account of his peculiar ideas and his eccentric manner of dealing with others.
Seeking for reforms from the government, he expresses his ideals in paper written in a
cryptographic alphabet similar from hieroglyphs and Coptic figures[14] hoping "that the
future generations may be able to decipher it."
Doña Victorina
Doña Victorina de los Reyes de de Espadaña, commonly known as Doña Victorina,
is an ambitious Filipina who classifies herself as a Spaniard and mimics Spanish ladies
by putting on heavy make-up.[10] The novel narrates Doña Victorina's younger days: she
had lots of admirers, but she spurned them all because none of them were Spaniards.
Later on, she met and married Don Tiburcio de Espadaña, an official of the customs
bureau ten years her junior.
However, their marriage is childless.
Her husband assumes the title of medical "doctor" even though he never attended
medical school; using fake documents and certificates, Tiburcio illegally practices
medicine. Tiburcio's usage of the title Dr. consequently makes Victorina assume the
title Dra. (doctora, female doctor).[16] Apparently, she uses the whole name Doña
Victorina de los Reyes de de Espadaña, with double de to emphasize her marriage
surname.[16] She seems to feel that this awkward titling makes her more "sophisticated".
Sisa, Crispín, and Basilio[
Sisa, Crispín, and Basilio represent a Filipino family persecuted by the Spanish

 Narcisa, or Sisa, is the deranged mother of Basilio and Crispín. Described as

beautiful and young, although she loves her children very much, she cannot protect
them from the beatings of her husband, Pedro.
 Crispín is Sisa's seven-year-old son. An altar boy, he was unjustly accused of
stealing money from the church. After failing to force Crispín to return the money he
allegedly stole, Father Salví and the head sacristan killed him. It is not directly stated
that he was killed, but a dream of Basilio's suggests that Crispín died during his
encounter with Padre Salví and his minion.
 Basilio is Sisa's 10-year-old son. An acolyte tasked to ring the church's bells for
the Angelus, he faced the dread of losing his younger brother and the descent of his
mother into insanity. At the end of the novel, a dying Elías requested Basilio to
cremate him and Sisa in the woods in exchange for a chest of gold located nearby.
He later played a major role in El filibusterismo.
Due to their tragic but endearing story, these characters are often parodied in modern
Filipino popular culture.

 Salomé is Elías' sweetheart. She lived in a little house by the lake, and though
Elías would like to marry her, he tells her that it would do her or their children no good
to be related to a fugitive like himself. In the original publication of Noli Me Tángere,
the chapter that explores the identity of Elías and Salomé was omitted, classifying her
as a totally non-existent character. This chapter, entitled Elías y Salomé, was
probably the 25th chapter of the novel. However, recent editions and translations
of Noli include this chapter either on the appendix or as Chapter X (Ex).

Other characters[
There are a number of secondary and minor characters in Noli Me Tángere. Items
indicated inside the parenthesis are the standard Filipinization of the Spanish names in
the novel.

 Padre Hernándo de la Sibyla – a Dominican friar. He is described as short and

has fair skin. He is instructed by an old priest in his order to watch Crisóstomo Ibarra.
 Padre Bernardo Salví – the successor of Padre Dámaso as
the Franciscan curate of San Diego who secretly lusts after María Clara. He is
described to be very thin and sickly. It is also hinted that his surname, "Salví", is the
shorter form of "salvacion" ("salvation"), or that "Salví" is short for "salvaje" ("savage",
"wild"), hinting at the fact that he is willing to kill an innocent child, Crispín, whom he
accused of stealing money worth two onzas.
 El Alférez (Alperes) – the unnamed chief of the local Guardia Civil and husband
of Doña Consolación. He is the sworn enemy of the priests in the town's power
 Doña Consolación – wife of the Alférez, nicknamed as la musa de los guardias
civiles ("the muse of the Civil Guard") or la Alféreza. She was a
former laundrywoman who passes herself as a peninsular, and is best remembered
for her abusive treatment of Sisa.
 Don Tiburcio de Espadaña – A Spanish quack doctor who is weak and
submissive to his pretentious wife, Doña Victorina.
 Tenyente Guevarra – a close friend of Don Rafael Ibarra. He reveals to
Crisóstomo how Don Rafael Ibarra's death came about.
 Alfonso Linares – A distant nephew of Tiburcio de Espadaña who would later
become the fiancé of María Clara. Although he presented himself as a practitioner of
law, it was later revealed that he is, like Don Tiburcio, a fraud. He later died from
medications Don Tiburcio had given him.
 Tíya Isabel – Kapitán Tiago's cousin, who helped raise María Clara and served
as a surrogate mother figure.
 Governor-General (Gobernador-Heneral) – Unnamed in the novel, he is the
most powerful colonial official in the Philippines. He harbors great disdain for the
friars and corrupt officials, and sympathizes with Ibarra.
 Don Filipo Lino – vice mayor of the town of San Diego, leader of the liberals.
 Padre Manuel Martín – he is the linguist curate of a nearby town who delivers
the sermon during San Diego's fiesta.
 Don Rafael Ibarra – the deceased father of Crisóstomo Ibarra. Though he was
the richest man in San Diego, he was also the most virtuous and generous.
 Doña Pía Alba – wife of Kapitán Tiago and mother of María Clara; she died
giving birth to her daughter. Kapitán Tiago was supposedly the child's father, but in
reality, Alba was raped by Padre Dámaso.
 Don Pedro Eibarramendia – Crisóstomo Ibarra's Basque great-grandfather who
falsely accused Elías's grandfather and ruined his family. The surname was later
shortened to Ibarra; hence, Elías did not realize the relationship at first.
 Albino – a seminarian who follows Crisóstomo Ibarra in a picnic with María
Clara's friends.
 Don Saturnino Eibarramendia – the father of Don Rafael and grandfather of
Crisóstomo who is said to have founded the town of San Diego when it was still a
vast forest.

Major characters
 Simoun – Crisóstomo Ibarra in disguise, presumed dead at the end of Noli Me
Tángere. Ibarra has returned as the wealthy jeweler Simoun. His appearance is
described as being tanned, having a sparse beard, long white hair, and large blue-
tinted glasses. He was sometimes crude and confrontational. He was derisively
described by Custodio and Ben-Zayb as an American mulatto or a British Indian.
While presenting as the arrogant elitist on the outside, he secretly plans a violent
revolution in order to avenge himself for his misfortunes as Crisóstomo Ibarra, as well
as hasten Elias' reformist goals.
 Basilio – son of Sisa and another character from Noli Me Tángere. In the events
of El fili, he is an aspiring and so far successful physician on his last year at university
and was waiting for his license to be released upon his graduation. After his mother's
death in the Noli, he applied as a servant in Kapitán Tiago's household in exchange
for food, lodging, and being allowed to study. Eventually he took up medicine, and
with Tiago having retired from society, he also became the manager of Tiago's vast
estate. He is a quiet, contemplative man who is more aware of his immediate duties
as a servant, doctor, and member of the student association than he is of politics or
patriotic endeavors. His sweetheart is Juli, the daughter of Kabesang Tales whose
family took him in when he was a young boy fleeing the Guardia Civil and his
deranged mother.
 Isagani – Basilio's friend. He is described as a poet, taller and more robust than
Basilio although younger. He is the nephew of Padre Florentino, but is also rumored
to be Florentino's son with his old sweetheart before he was ordained as a priest.
During the events of the novel, Isagani is finishing his studies at the Ateneo Municipal
and is planning to take medicine. A member of the student association, Isagani is
proud and naive, and tends to put himself on the spot when his ideals are affronted.
His unrestrained idealism and poeticism clash with the more practical and mundane
concerns of his girlfriend, Paulita Gomez. When Isagani allows himself to be arrested
after their association is outlawed, Paulita leaves him for Juanito Peláez. In his final
mention in the novel, he was bidding goodbye to his landlords, the Orenda family, to
stay with Florentino permanently.
 Father Florentino – Isagani's uncle and a retired priest. Florentino was the son
of a wealthy and influential Manila family. He entered the priesthood at the insistence
of his mother. As a result he had to break an affair with a woman he loved, and in
despair devoted himself instead to his parish. When the 1872 Cavite mutiny broke
out, he promptly resigned from the priesthood, fearful of drawing unwanted attention.
He was an indio and a secular, or a priest that was unaffiliated with the orders, and
yet his parish drew in a huge income. He retired to his family's large estate along the
shores of the Pacific. He is described as white-haired, with a quiet, serene personality
and a strong build. He did not smoke or drink. He was well respected by his peers,
even by Spanish friars and officials.
 Father Fernández – a Dominican who was a friend of Isagani. Following the
incident with the posters, he invited Isagani to a dialogue, not so much as a teacher
with his student but as a friar with a Filipino. Although they failed to resolve their
differences, they each promised to approach their colleagues with the opposing views
from the other party – although both feared that given the animosity that existed
between their sides, their own compatriots may not believe in the other party's
 Kapitán Tiago – Don Santiago de los Santos. María Clara's stepfather. Having
several landholdings in Pampanga, Binondo, and Laguna, as well as taking
ownership of the Ibarras' vast estate, Tiago still fell into depression following María's
entry into the convent. He alleviated this by smoking opium, which quickly became an
uncontrolled vice, exacerbated by his association with Padre Írene who regularly
supplied him with the substance. Tiago hired Basilio as a capista, a servant who
given the opportunity to study as part of his wages; Basilio eventually pursued
medicine and became his caregiver and the manager of his estate. Tiago died of
shock upon hearing of Basilio's arrest and Padre Írene's embellished stories of violent
 Captain-General – the highest-ranking official in the Philippines during the
Spanish colonial period. The Captain-General in El fili is Simoun's friend and
confidant, and is described as having an insatiable lust for gold. Simoun met him
when he was still a major during the Ten Years' War in Cuba. He secured the major's
friendship and promotion to Captain-General through bribes. When he was posted in
the Philippines, Simoun used him as a pawn in his own power plays to drive the
country into revolution. The Captain-General was shamed into not extending his
tenure after being rebuked by a high official in the aftermath of Basilio's
imprisonment. This decision to retire would later on prove to be a crucial element to
Simoun's schemes.
 Father Bernardo Salví – the former parish priest of San Diego in Noli Me
Tángere, and now the director and chaplain of the Santa Clara convent. The epilogue
of the Noli implies that Salví regularly rapes María Clara when he is present at the
convent. In El fili, he is described as her confessor. In spite of reports of Ibarra's
death, Salví believes that he is still alive and lives in constant fear of his revenge.
 Father Millon – a Dominican who serves as a physics professor in the University
of Santo Tomas.
 Quiroga – a Chinese businessman who aspired to be a consul for China in the
Philippines. Simoun coerced Quiroga into hiding weapons inside the latter's
warehouses in preparation for the revolution.
 Don Custodio – Custodio de Salazar y Sánchez de Monteredondo, a famous
"contractor" who was tasked by the Captain-General to develop the students
association's proposal for an academy for the teaching of Spanish, but was then also
under pressure from the priests not to compromise their prerogatives as
monopolizers of instruction. Some of the novel's most scathing criticism is reserved
for Custodio, who is portrayed as an opportunist who married his way into high
society, who regularly criticized favored ideas that did not come from him, but was
ultimately, laughably incompetent in spite of his scruples.
 Ben-Zayb – A columnist for the Manila Spanish newspaper El Grito de la
Integridad. Ben-Zayb is his pen name and is an anagram of Ybanez, an alternate
spelling of his last name Ibañez. His first name is not mentioned. Ben-Zayb is said to
have the looks of a friar, who believes that in Manila they think because he thinks. He
is deeply patriotic, sometimes to the point of jingoism. As a journalist he has no
qualms embellishing a story, conflating and butchering details, turning phrases over
and over, making a mundane story sound better than it actually is. Father Camorra
derisively calls him an ink-slinger.
 Father Camorra – the parish priest of Tiani. Ben-Zayb's regular foil, he is said to
look like an artilleryman in counterpoint to Ben-Zayb's friar looks. He stops at nothing
to mock and humiliate Ben-Zayb's liberal pretensions. In his own parish, Camorra has
a reputation for unrestrained lustfulness. He drives Juli into suicide after attempting to
rape her inside the convent. For his misbehavior he was "detained" in a luxurious
riverside villa just outside Manila.
 Father Írene – Kapitán Tiago's spiritual adviser. Along with Custodio, Írene is
severely criticized as a representative of priests who allied themselves with temporal
authority for the sake of power and monetary gain. Known to many as the final
authority who Don Custodio consults, the student association sought his support and
gifted him with two chestnut-colored horses, yet he betrayed the students by
counseling Custodio into making them fee collectors in their own school, which was
then to be administered by the Dominicans instead of being a secular and privately
managed institution as the students envisioned. Írene secretly but regularly supplies
Kapitán Tiago with opium while exhorting Basilio to do his duty. Írene embellished
stories of panic following the outlawing of the student association Basilio was part of,
hastening Kapitán Tiago's death. With Basilio in prison, he then struck Basilio out of
Tiago's last will and testament, ensuring he inherited nothing.
 Placido Penitente – a student of the University of Santo Tomas who had a
distaste for study and would have left school if it were not for his mother's pleas for
him to stay. He clashes with his physics professor, who then accuses him of being a
member of the student association, whom the friars despise. Following the
confrontation, he meets Simoun at the Quiapo Fair. Seeing potential in Placido,
Simoun takes him along to survey his preparations for the upcoming revolution. The
following morning Placido has become one of Simoun's committed followers. He is
later seen with the former schoolmaster of San Diego, who was now Simoun's bomb-
 Paulita Gómez – the girlfriend of Isagani and the niece of Doña Victorina, the
old Indio who passes herself off as a Peninsular, who is the wife of the quack doctor
Tiburcio de Espadaña. In the end, she and Isagani part ways, Paulita believing she
will have no future if she marries him. She eventually marries Juanito Peláez.
Characters from Barrio Sagpang:

 Kabesang Tales – Telesforo Juan de Dios, a former kabesa of Barrio Sagpang

in Tiani. He was a sugarcane planter who cleared lands he thought belonged to no
one, losing his wife and eldest daughter in the endeavor. When the Dominicans took
over his farm, he fought to his last money to have it retained in his possession. While
his suit against the Dominicans was ongoing, he was kidnapped by bandits while he
was out patrolling his fields. Having no money to pay his captors, his daughter Juli
was forced to become a maid in exchange for her mistress paying his ransom. When
his son Tano was conscripted into the Guardia Civil, again Tales had no money to
pay for Tano's exclusion from the draft. When in spite of all Tales lost the case, he not
only lost his farm but was also dealt with a heavy fine. He later joined the bandits and
became one of their fiercest commanders. Tandang Selo, his father, would later on
join his band after the death of Juli.
 Tandang Selo – father of Kabesang Tales and grandfather of Tano and Juli. A
deer hunter and later on a broom-maker, he and Tales took in the young, sick Basilio
who was then fleeing from the Guardia Civil. On Christmas Day, when Juli left to be
with her mistress, Selo suffered some form of stroke that impaired his ability to speak.
After Juli's suicide, Selo left town permanently, taking with him his hunting spear. He
was later seen with the bandits and was killed in an encounter with the Guardia Civil
– ironically by the gun of the troops' sharpshooter Tano, his grandson.
 Juli – Juliana de Dios, the girlfriend of Basilio, and the youngest daughter of
Kabesang Tales. When Tales was captured by bandits, Juli petitioned Hermana
Penchang to pay for his ransom. In exchange, she had to work as Penchang's maid.
Basilio ransomed her and bought a house for her family. When Basilio was sent to
prison, Juli approached Tiani's curate, Padre Camorra, for help. When Camorra tried
to rape her instead, Juli jumped to her death from the church's tower.
 Tano – Kabesang Tales's son, second to Lucia who died in childhood. He was
nicknamed "Carolino" after returning from Guardia Civil training in the Carolines. His
squad was escorting prisoners through a road that skirted a mountain when they
were ambushed by bandits. In the ensuing battle, Tano, the squad's sharpshooter,
killed a surrendering bandit from a distance, not knowing it was his own grandfather
 Hermana Penchang – the one among the "rich folks" of Tiani who lent Juli
money to ransom Kabesang Tales from the bandits. In return, Juli will serve as her
maid until the money was paid off. Penchang is described as a pious woman who
speaks Spanish; however, her piety was clouded over by the virtues taught by the
friars. While Juli was in her service, she made her work constantly, refusing to give
her time off so she can take care of her grandfather Selo. Nevertheless, when the rich
folks of Tiani shunned Juli because to support her family in any way might earn some
form of retribution from the friars, Penchang was the only one who took pity upon her.
 Hermana Báli – Juli's mother-figure and counselor. She accompanied Juli in her
efforts to secure Kabesang Tales' ransom and later on Basilio's release. Báli was a
panguinguera – a gambler – who once performed religious services in a Manila
convent. When Tales was captured by bandits, it was Báli who suggested to Juli the
idea to borrow money from Tiani's wealthy citizens, payable when Tales' legal dispute
over his farm was won.
Student association for the teaching of Spanish:

 Macaraig – the leader. He is described as wealthy, with his own coach, driver,
and set of horses. He is said to own several houses, and that he is lending one to
serve as the schoolhouse for their planned Spanish language academy. After the
outlawing of the group, he was the first to post bail. He then left the country after his
 Sandoval – a Peninsular who had come to Manila as a government employee
and was finishing his studies, and who had completely identified himself with the
cause of the Filipino students. After the outlawing of the group, he still managed to
pass his courses through sheer oratorical skill.
 Pecson – described as chubby, pessimistic, and having an annoying grin. He is
Sandoval's regular foil when Sandoval launches into any kind of patriotic, optimistic
speech. After they receive disappointing news about their Spanish language
academy project, it was Pecson who suggested a torch-lit dinner at the Panciteria
Macanista de Buen Gusto, just a block away from the Binondo Church and Convent,
served by naked Chinese waiters. From there Sandoval and Pecson became more
gracious to each other.
 Tadeo – a truant and charlatan who regularly dreamed of an eternal "holiday"
from school, but was all the same beloved by professors and passed courses. A
longtime Manila resident, he is seen having fun by telling outrageous stories about
himself to a newcomer student from his home province. After the outlawing of the
group, he alone seemed to welcome imprisonment as it meant not going to school.
His holiday realized at last, he "celebrated" by setting up a bonfire using his books
upon his release.

 Juanito Peláez – Isagani's rival for Paulita Gomez's affection. He was the son of
a Timoteo Peláez, a metalworks trader. He was a favorite of his professors. A regular
prankster, he was said to have developed a hump by playing some trick and then
hunching behind his classmates. He paid his dues to the student association, but
broke away just as easily when the association was outlawed. Following Isagani's
arrest, Paulita breaks off from Isagani to marry Juanito.