Indolence Of The Filipinos Essay Examples

On the first chapter, it primarily deals with the admittance of Rizal that indolence does exist to Filipinos and he also pointed out reasons why it existed. Rizal also elucidate that the term indolence was greatly altered in the sense of no love or little love for work. In the Philippines, Rizal pointed out that the disaster, hardships, and weakness of the others are blamed to the indolence of the Filipino. Rizal agreed that laziness has been present to the lives of the natives.

It has always been a battle between natives and the climate, native versus nature and natives versus natives. But despite this laziness and how natives battled with some factors of it, Rizal stated that it should have positive effects. The indolence of the native does not causes backwardness and misfortune but it is actually the effect of misfortune and backwardness. Rizal compared the climate of the Philippines to the European countries. He said that hot and humid climate in the country could be a reasonable rationalization for the indolence of the Filipinos.

Unlike those European countries, which has cold climates and need to exert more strength to work, it is not correct for the Philippines to be compared to them. He even pointed out that an hour work under the scorching heat of the sun in our country is equivalent to a day work in temperate countries. The second chapter of this article, Rizal labelled indolence as a chronic disease. He said that if a disease is given a wrong treatment, then it would also follow that the disease will aggravate. In the case of indolence, the Filipinos should not be defeated in combating this malady.

In this chapter, Rizal argued that the natives were engaged in trade and commerce even before the Spaniards came. This was even first noticed by Pigefatta when they arrived in the country in 1521 with Magellan. The involvement of natives in buying and selling and other industrial activities disproves the belief that Filipinos are indolent. Rizal ended this chapter with a question on what have caused the natives to completely forget their fertile past. The main ideas being discussed by Rizal in chapter three are the reasons that could have caused the native’s culture and economy dissolution.

There have been existences of frequent war, pirate attacks and invasion that lead to chaos among the natives. As a result, massive destruction of local areas was felt by the people. Aside from it, manynatives were pulled out from their daily industrial activities and was sent to Spain for expeditions (natives were the one who is rowing the big ships of Spaniards) or to fight in battles. Some natives were put on forced labour in building ships of the Spaniards. Those native who has suffered too much and was able to escape the dilemma, fled to the upper lands.

As a result, the once fertile and toiled land were abandoned and left barren. These scenarios presented are just few of good reasons that could have explained that there are deep rooted causes of the indolence of the Filipinos. Rizal pointed out in the fourth chapter that Filipinos who are not masters of liberty is not responsible for its misfortunes and anguish. The trade industry in the country died due to how the country was governed by the Spaniards. There has been pirate attacks and lack of funding from the government which were too much burden to the farmers.

Encomenderos abused the natives which made them abandon the fields. The corrupt officials and friars have found way in easy money and they monopolized the trade. The government even tolerated gambling. The situations of the country were compounded by the Church’s off beam dogma. It has been emphasized by the church that being rich is a sin and this leads to wrong mind-set towards work. Natives were discriminated and were not given proper education. The last chapter solely emphasized on two factors that causes indolence.

These two factors are the poor and limited education or training of the natives and the lack of national sentiment of unity among the people. It has been known that there have been discriminations among Spanish and the natives. Spaniards thought that the natives are of inferior race and thus does not need to have same opportunities as the foreigners. Since it has already been inculcated in the minds of the Filipinos are inferior, they easily surrender to foreign culture and would try their very best to be part of it by imitating other cultures.

Many proposed ways on how to combat indolence. The government imposed higher taxes but this futile solution resulted into an increase number of thieves and criminals. With these factors being analyzed by Rizal, he said that the only solution to this is liberty and education. Rizal stressed that through education, the natives will be intelligent enough to be separated from the colonizers or questions and asked for their rights that they are worthy of.

La Indolencia de los Filipinos, more popularly known in its English version, "The Indolence of the Filipinos," is a exploratory essay written by Philippine national hero Dr. Jose Rizal, to explain the alleged idleness of his people during the Spanish colonization.


            The Indolence of the Filipinos is a study of the causes why the people did not, as was said, work hard during the Spanish regime.  Rizal pointed out that long before the coming of the Spaniards, the Filipinos were industrious and hardworking.  The Spanish reign brought about a decline in economic activities because of certain causes:

            First, the establishment of the Galleon Trade cut off all previous associations of the Philippines with other countries in Asia and the Middle East.  As a result, business was only conducted with Spain through Mexico.  Because of this, the small businesses and handicraft industries that flourished during the pre-Spanish period gradually disappeared.

            Second, Spain also extinguished the natives’ love of work because of the implementation of forced labor.  Because of the wars between Spain and other countries in Europe as well as the Muslims in Mindanao, the Filipinos were compelled to work in shipyards, roads, and other public works, abandoning agriculture, industry, and commerce.

            Third, Spain did not protect the people against foreign invaders and pirates.  With no arms to defend themselves, the natives were killed, their houses burned, and their lands destroyed.  As a result of this, the Filipinos were forced to become nomads, lost interest in cultivating their lands or in rebuilding the industries that were shut down, and simply became submissive to the mercy of God.

            Fourth, there was a crooked system of education, if it was to be considered an education.  What was being taught in the schools were repetitive prayers and other things that could not be used by the students to lead the country to progress.  There were no courses in Agriculture, Industry, etc., which were badly needed by the Philippines during those times.

            Fifth, the Spanish rulers were a bad example to despise manual labor.  The officials reported to work at noon and left early, all the while doing nothing in line with their duties.  The women were seen constantly followed by servants who dressed them and fanned them – personal things which they ought to have done for themselves.

            Sixth, gambling was established and widely propagated during those times.  Almost everyday there were cockfights, and during feast days, the government officials and friars were the first to engange in all sorts of bets and gambles.

            Seventh, there was a crooked system of religion.  The friars taught the naïve Filipinos that it was easier for a poor man to enter heaven, and so they preferred not to work  and remain poor so that they could easily enter heaven after they died.

            Lastly, the taxes were extremely high, so much so that a huge portion of what they earned went to the government or to the friars.  When the object of their labor was removed and they were exploited, they were reduced to inaction.

            Rizal admitted that the Filipinos did not work so hard because they were wise enough to adjust themselves to the warm, tropical climate.  “An hour’s work under that burning sun, in the midst of pernicious influences springing from nature in activity, is equal to a day’s labor in a temperate climate.”


It is important to note that indolence in the Philippines is a chronic malady, but not a hereditary one.  Truth is, before the Spaniards arrived on these lands, the natives were industriously conducting business with China, Japan, Arabia, Malaysia, and other countries in the Middle East.  The reasons for this said indolence were clearly stated in the essay, and were not based only on presumptions, but were grounded on fact taken from history. 

Another thing that we might add that had caused this indolence, is the lack of unity among the Filipino people.  In the absence of unity and oneness, the people did not have the power to fight the hostile attacks of the government and of the other forces of society.  There would also be no voice, no leader, to sow progress and to cultivate it, so that it may be reaped in due time.  In such a condition, the Philippines remained a country that was lifeless, dead, simply existing and not living.  As Rizal stated in conclusion, “a man in the Philippines is an individual; he is not merely a citizen of a country.”

It can clearly be deduced from the writing that the cause of the indolence attributed to our race is Spain: When the Filipinos wanted to study and learn, there were no schools, and if there were any, they lacked sufficient resources and did not present more useful knowledge; when the Filipinos wanted to establish their businesses, there wasn’t enough capital nor protection from the government; when the Filipinos tried to cultivate their lands and establish various industries, they were made to pay enormous taxes and were exploited by the foreign rulers. 

It is not only the Philippines, but also other countries, that may be called indolent, depending on the criteria upon which such a label is based.  Man cannot work without resting, and if in doing so he is considered lazy, they we could say that all men are indolent.  One cannot blame a country that was deprived of its dignity, to have lost its will to continue building its foundation upon the backs of its people, especially when the fruits of their labor do not so much as reach their lips.  When we spend our entire lives worshipping such a cruel and inhumane society, forced upon us by aliens who do not even know our motherland, we are destined to tire after a while.  We are not fools, we are not puppets who simply do as we are commanded – we are human beings, who are motivated by our will towards the accomplishment of our objectives, and who strive for the preservation of our race.  When this fundamental aspect of our existence is denied of us, who can blame us if we turn idle?

Also read: The Indolence of the Filipinos: Highlights and Quotable Quotes

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