TO THE YOUNG WOMEN OF MALOLOS
On February 22, 1889, Rizal wrote the famous letter now known as “To the Young Women of Malolos” as per the request of Marcelo H. del Pilar. This famous letter was written by Rizal in Tagalog while he was residing in London. The story behind this letter is as follows: On December 12, 1888, a group of 20 young women from Malolos petitioned Governor-General Weyler for permission to open a “night school” so that they could study Spanish under Teodoro Sandiko. As the Spanish parish priest Garcia openly expressed his opposition to the idea, the governor-general turned down the petition. The young women, however, risking incurring the friar’s wrath, bravely continued their agitation for the school, a matter unheard of in the Philippines in those times. The incident caused a great stir in the Philippines and Spain.
In the letter, Rizal discusses the rightful duties and responsibilities of the Filipino mother:
Raise your children close to the image of the true God… Awaken and prepare the mind of the child for every good and desirable idea—love for honor, a sincere and frim character, a clear mind, clean conduct, noble actions, love for one’s fellowmen, and respect for God. Teach these to your children… Teach your children to guard and love their honor, to love their fellowmen and their native land, and to perform their duties. Tell them repeatedly to prefer death with honor to life with dishonor. They should imitate the women of Spartan…. The country should not expect honor and prosperity as long as the education of the child is defective, as long as the women who raise the children are enslaved and ignorant.
In the letter, Rizal also gave the following advice to unmarried women:
Why does not a young woman ask of the man she is going to love for a noble and honorable name, a manly heart that can protect her weaknesses, a noble mind that will not permit him to be the father of slaves? Instill in his mind activity...
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