Philippine Literature During the Spanish Colonial Times: Story analysis of “Old Mister Basio Macunat” (Tandang Basio Macunat) by Padre Miguel Lucio Bustamante – Summary in English translation.
tOld Mister Basio Macunat (Tandang Basio Macunat) Story Summary
The written work of Padre Miguel Lucio Bustamante called “Old Mister Basio Macunat” (Tandang Basio Macunat) is one of the most important and talked-about stories written during the Spanish occupation in the Philippines.
According to the Filipino propagandists, the work was damaging to the awareness of the Filipino people because of the way it presented education – in that education was an awaiting danger to the wits and goodness of one individual. According to analysts, the Spaniards indeed used the work to hinder the Filipinos’ ambition to elevate themselves from ignorance, and hence to keep the Filipinos blindly obedient to the foreign colonists.
Through the characters Tandang Basio and Proper, the writing showed that education in the city has no good use for the individual. It was illustrated in the story the degradation of the Filipino – that he was only suitable to poor country living together with his cows, and hence, it would be better for him not to leave for the city but rather remain in the safety of his “natural environment”.
In the story, the life and fate of Prospero or Proper was contrasted with that of Old Mister “Tandang” Basio’s, who grew old farming but without achieving any wealth or wellness of being.
Here’s the summary of Prospero’s story:
The family of Don Andres Baticot (or Cabesang Dales) and Donya Mari aDimaniuala (or Cabesang Angi) was extremely rich. They had two children, Prospero (or Proper) and Felicitas (of Pili). Their family was known throughout the land.
The couple decided to send Proper to the city for his studies. However Pili was doubtful and fearful for the impending fate of her brother’s soul. Nonetheless, Proper was still sent to the city of Manila to pursue his education.
In the city, Proper instead learned gambling and was soon caught up with the vice. He wasted all his money and returned miserable to the countryside. When Cabesang Dales realized what happened to his son, he got sick and died.
Proper swore to his mother and sister that he would now change for the better. But soon enough, Proper was again buried in debt because of his vice. His debtor threatened to put Proper into jail.
Cabesang Angi sold all of the family’s property to save Proper, but the debt was too big and Proper was exiled to Balacbac. His sister, Pili, due to great disheartenment, soon got sick and then died.