Pilosopo Tasyo and the Origin of Purgatory

While in the Philippines I got my copy of the Noli Me Tangere by Jose Rizal, the Tagalog translation of it (one of my favourite places in the Philippines is the National Book Store that can be found in many SM malls).

I find it a great way to practice malalim na Tagalog.

While reading chapter 11, I came across a character named Pilosopo Tasyo. He was known as Don Atanasio by the taong may pinag-aralan or as Tasyo by the mga walang pinag-aralan. He is described as a man who was madalas makitang palibut-libot sa mga lansangab nang walang tiyak na pakitunguhan (like most reasonings of philosophers for that matter).

Anyway, on page 85 of the Tagalog version of the Noli, said pilosopo says something quite interesting and telling about one of the core beliefs of the mainstream religion of the Philippines, the “Purgatory”: hindi man lamang daw nabanggit ni Hesukristo at ni Moises ang Purgatorio. Wala raw sa Bibliya at sa Santong Ebanghelio ang Purgatorio .

The religion that the Spanish passed on to the Filipino was already the result of layers upon layers of tradition built on top of the original nugget of Christianity and Filipinos mixed it even further with some of the traditions of their mga ninuno.

As the Culture Shock Philippines book by Alfredo and Grace Roces says on page 208, “Lenten rites have also been adopted in non-Christian folk rituals, borrowing the exotic features of the elaborate Spanish Catholic ceremonies to perpetuate occult beliefs”.

On page 209 it adds: “as Lenten rites demonstrate, folk Catholicism among Filipinos….reveals….a deep persistence of pre-Christian values and the ability to selectively borrow outward motifs of Christian beliefs for their own sets of beliefs and values”.

So, some of the doctrines of Christianity, like the Purgatoryo for example, are not directly taught in the Bible, as Pilosopo Tasyo said, and Filipinos have stack even more tradition on top of that.

Anyway, on a lighter note, although here in Italy summer has refused to show up during the months of May and June, we are experiencing some impyerno at the beginning of July.

The weather abruptly changed from winter to extremely hot summer without any meteorological purgatoryo.

And when the weather is like impyerno the asawang babae becomes mainit ang ulo.

It’s a very simple equation: mainit ang panahon=mainit ang ulo.

How do I cope with it?

In addition to the air conditioning unit we already have, we’ve bought ourselves a portable one.

Yesterday night we slept with ang isang electric fan sa kaliwa at isa sa kanan + the portable air con unit.

This way medyo lumalamig ang ulo.

What about you? Are you experiencing impyerno this summer?

An even more profound question would be: if, as Pilosopo Tasyo said, Purgatoryo is a tradition that is not grounded in the original teachings of Christianity, what about Impyerno?

We can’t even cope with hot weather so how would a loving God punish some people forever in the Impyerno?

Just a little morning reflection…bilang “pampatunaw”…

11 thoughts on “Pilosopo Tasyo and the Origin of Purgatory

  1. As always, your observations and understanding of Filipino culture, tradition, and mannerisms, truly amazes me, Eduardo! πŸ™‚πŸ‘ At least Dr. Rizal, the National Hero, knew that there is no “purgatory” in the Bible and should be a wake up call for some to check/read the Bible for themselves [and find the same]. True, a lot of paganism has been added especially in the festivities. Reflecting on it, it is not Bible based. Thank you for the post! Actually, it is hotter here in Metro Manila too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You’re right about folk Catholicism — examples abound everywhere back home. It’s deeply embedded in our culture.
    Good one on the portable air-conditioner. Hope your setup helped the mainit na ulo πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I should be reading Noli Me Tangere again. I found an English version from a local bookstore and bought it. Though the Filipino version is better at least from my perspective. Or maybe I should read the original version in Spanish…..oh I don’t speak Spanish.

    Liked by 1 person

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