Ibarra returns to the room where he’s staying. In the distance, Captain Tiago’s house is visible; if Ibarra wanted, he could probably make out the party, where he would see—if indeed he looked—a gathering of Filipinos, Spaniards, Chinese people, soldiers, priests, and a young beautiful woman standing next to Father Dámaso, who is smiling in her presence. Instead, though, Ibarra sees an image of his father dying in a jail cell while he—Ibarra—spills wine on flowers and laughs unencumbered by grief. As the party ends and the lights go out in Captain Tiago’s house, Ibarra weeps himself to sleep.
Ibarra’s vision of his father’s death—and its juxtaposition with his own life—illustrates the immense guilt Ibarra feels at having abandoned Don Rafael in the Philippines to die while he—Ibarra—reaped the benefits of international education and freedom of thought. This guilt will drive Ibarra throughout the novel as he reminds himself that he owes it to his father to improve the circumstances of his ailing country.