Marcelo H. del Pilar Biography

(Leader of the Reform Movement in Spain)

Birthday: August 30, 1850 (Virgo)

Born In: Bulakan, Bulacan, Captaincy General of the Philippines

Marcelo H. del Pilar was a Filipino writer also popularly known by his pseudonym Plaridel. He had also worked as a journalist and lawyer at different times. Del Pilar was known as one of the main personalities to influence the Propaganda Movement (also known as the Reform Movement) in Spain. He was very vocal in his dissent against the Spanish friars and the deplorable treatment of the Filipinos in the country. Due to his anti-friar activities, del Pilar was banished from his native country and went to Barcelona, Spain. He succeeded Lopez Jaena as the editor of the newspaper ‘La Solidaridad’ and held this post until the publishing house wound up due to financial issues. According to the findings of historian Renato Constantino, del Pilar is believed to be the mastermind of Katipunan, a revolutionary organization. It is believed that his letters to Andrés Bonifacio helped the latter to recruit more Katipuneros. A total of nine Filipino historical personalities, including del Pilar, were recommended to the Department of Education Secretary Ricardo T. Gloria to be included in the list of “National Heroes” in 1997. The recommendation was revisited once again in 2009; however, no progress has been made in this regard.
Quick Facts

Nick Name: Plaridel

Also Known As: Plaridel, Marcelo Hilario del Pilar y Gatmaitán

Died At Age: 45


Spouse/Ex-: Marciana H. del Pilar

father: Julián Hilario del Pilar

mother: Blasa Gatmaitán

siblings: Fernando del Pilar

children: Anita H. del Pilar de Marasigan, José H. del Pilar, María Concepción H. del Pilar, María Consolación H. del Pilar, María H. del Pilar, Rosario H. del Pilar, Sofía H. del Pilar

Born Country: Philippines

Political Leaders Filipino Men

Died on: July 4, 1896

place of death: Barcelona, Spain

Cause of Death: Tuberculosis

More Facts

education: University of Santo Tomas, Colegio de San Jose, University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Civil Law

  • 1

    What were Marcelo H. del Pilar's contributions to Philippine literature?

    Marcelo H. del Pilar was a prominent figure in the Philippine literary scene during the Spanish colonial period. He was known for his satirical writings and essays that criticized the oppressive Spanish regime and advocated for reforms and independence.

  • 2

    How did Marcelo H. del Pilar contribute to the Philippine Revolution?

    Marcelo H. del Pilar played a significant role in the Philippine Revolution through his writings and his involvement in various revolutionary activities. He used his pen as a weapon to inspire and mobilize Filipinos to fight for their freedom from Spanish colonial rule.

  • 3

    What was Marcelo H. del Pilar's role in the Propaganda Movement?

    Marcelo H. del Pilar was one of the key figures of the Propaganda Movement, a group of Filipino nationalist reformists who sought political and social reforms from Spain. He used his writings in newspapers and publications to expose the abuses of the Spanish colonial government and advocate for Filipino rights.

  • 4

    How did Marcelo H. del Pilar contribute to the development of Filipino nationalism?

    Marcelo H. del Pilar's writings and activism played a crucial role in fostering a sense of nationalism among Filipinos. His advocacy for reforms, independence, and national identity inspired many to take pride in their heritage and fight for their rights as a people.

  • 5

    What impact did Marcelo H. del Pilar have on Philippine history and the struggle for independence?

    Marcelo H. del Pilar's legacy as a patriot, writer, and revolutionary leader continues to resonate in Philippine history. His courage, intellect, and unwavering commitment to the cause of independence inspired future generations of Filipinos to continue the fight for freedom and sovereignty.

Childhood & Early Life
Marcelo Hilario del Pilar y Gatmaitán was born on August 30, 1850, in Cupang, Bulacan, to Don Julian H. del Pilar and Dona Blasa Gatmaitan. The families of both his parents were highly cultured and well-known in Bulacan.
The del Pilar family was a well-to-do one in their neighborhood, having owned farms, mills, and fish ponds. His father was an elected ‘gobernadorcillo’ (mayor of the municipality or equivalent) thrice and was also a renowned ‘Tagalog’ speaker in Cupang.
Del Pilar grew up with his nine siblings in their hometown. He received his primary education from his mother and learned to play the piano and violin in his childhood. He then went to the Sr. Hermenigildo Flores School.
After completing his school education, del Pilar attended Colegio de San José where he received his ‘Bachilleren Artes’ (Bachelor in Arts). Later, del Pilar attended the Universidad de Santo Tomás to study law.
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Early Activities
Marcelo H. del Pilar’s eldest brother, Fr. Toribio Hilario del Pilar, was deported along with a Filipino priest named Mariano Sevilla to the Mariana Islands. This was during the rise of the Cavite Mutiny in 1872 when Del Pilar was living with Sevilla. The news of his brother being deported came as a huge shock to their mother who passed away soon after.
In the 1870s, after completing his education, del Pilar served as the ‘oficial de mesa’ in Pampanga for a year and in Quiapo for another. Towards the end of that decade, del Pilar completed his law degree and went to work among the common people in Manila.
He attended public gatherings, festivals, weddings, funerals, and cockfights at the cockpits where he tried to educate the people about the country, its people and the atrocities of the Spanish friars.
Activities Against the Spanish Friars
In 1882, Marcelo H. del Pilar, Pascual H. Poblete, and Basilio Teodoro Moran founded ‘Diariong Tagalog,’ a bilingual newspaper. Del Pilar was the editor of the newspaper and translated a few important works of some of the popular Filipino nationalists like José Rizal.
Del Pilar worked extensively in Malolos on his anti-friar movement. He pointed out how the friars were misusing the taxpayers’ money and inflating baptismal fees.
Del Pilar advised the gobernadorcillo of Malolos, Crisóstomo, who informed the Spanish governor of Bulacan about an order issued by Benigno Quiroga y López Ballesteros, the director-general of civil administration in Manila.
It is believed that del Pilar wrote the manifesto ‘Viva España! Viva el Rey! Viva el Ejército! FueralosFrailes!’ that was presented to the queen regent of Manila. The manifesto described the atrocities, crimes, and tortures committed by the friars and demanded their expulsion from the Philippines.
In 1888, an arrest warrant was issued on del Pilar after Valeriano Weyler became the governor-general of the Philippines. This forced del Pilar to leave the country and go to Spain.
After he moved to Spain in 1889, del Pilar wrote a letter addressing the young women of Malolos, praising their bravery. A group of young women in Malolos had managed to get permission to open a night school where they could learn Spanish. Del Pilar acknowledged this as a win against the friars and their crimes.
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Almost a year after he moved to Spain, del Pilar became the editor of the newspaper ‘La Solidaridad’ and took his anti-friar movement forward with the help of the tabloid. However, the later conflict between him and Rizal caused significant damage to the newspaper after Rizal respectfully declined the position of the ‘Responsable’ and left for France.
Family & Personal Life
Marcelo H. del Pilar married his cousin Marcianadel Pilar in 1878, and had seven children, of who five died young.
Del Pilar didn’t claim his share of the ancestral properties and lost the majority of his earnings due to his involvement in various movements and other activities. His later years were spent in poverty, and he couldn’t even afford proper meals in the winters.
He suffered from tuberculosis and tried to return to the Philippines but failed to do so. On July 4, 1896, del Pilar died at the Hospital de la Santa Cruz in Barcelona.
Facts About Marcelo H. del Pilar

del Pilar was known for his wit and humor, often incorporating satire in his writings to effectively criticize the Spanish colonial government.

He was a skilled linguist, proficient in several languages including Tagalog, Spanish, French, and English, which allowed him to communicate and connect with a diverse range of people.

del Pilar was a visionary leader who played a key role in the Propaganda Movement, advocating for reforms and social justice in the Philippines during the 19th century.

Despite facing numerous challenges and threats to his safety, del Pilar remained steadfast in his commitment to fighting for the rights and freedoms of his fellow Filipinos.

He was a prolific writer and journalist, using his pen as a powerful tool to inspire change and unite people in the pursuit of a better future for the Philippines.

See the events in life of Marcelo H. Del Pilar in Chronological Order

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