33 Rue Philippe de Champagne, Brussels
5 March 1890
Dr. A.B. Meyer
My distinguished friend,
I received your letter of the 27th last month and excuse me for not answering you before this, for i have had to consult some countrymen and books concerning your question about hashish.
No book, no historian that i know of speaks of any plant whose use is similar to that of the hashish. I myself, though in 1879 I used hashish, did it for experimental purposes and i obtained the substance from a drugstore. I do not believe that its use has been introduced either before or after the arrival of the Spaniards. The Filipinos drank arak , nipa-palm and coconut wine, etc. and they chewed buyo before the arrival of the Spaniards, but not hashish.
Neither is a word resembling it found in the language. The is is or asis is a kind of wild fig-tree.
If I had Fr. BlancoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Flora , I could find out if this plant exists. I believe therefore that its use is unknown. Opium was introduced only after the arrival of the Spaniards. We Tagalogs call it apian….
(Letter 62, Miscellaneous Correspondence, Vol. II Book IV, translated by Encarnacion Alzona)
You can’t go wrong by reading Nick Joaquin’s essay (essentially a review of two books) on Rizal, “Anatomy of the Anti-Hero.” For more recent views, you can read Floro Quibuyen’s spirited counter blast of a critic here. A more mainstream, Leftist interpretation is by E. San Juan, Jr. here. Rizal continues to fascinate -and irritate- intellectuals to this day. He was the father of the ideal of a Filipino nation, with the Filipino people, replacing all that came before; he was intellectual father of both the Propaganda Movement and the Revolution against Spain; he is the inspiration for our mainstream political culture and civil society; he is, in a sense, the figure against which our the Left must turn against in order to prove radical credentials.
Other useful information is at the Jose Rizal Website.