In the present, Raphael apologizes to Olivia: he hopes to see her again and to thank her in person. Meanwhile, Raphael and Rat are restless while Gardo are at the prison. They pore over the letter, which they’ve almost memorized (even the numbers). Rat decides they should go to Senator Zapanta’s house (which is located in Green Hills among the rich and famous) to make sense of the letter’s cryptic message. They need money first, and Raphael is broke. Rat laughs and he leads Raphael back to his hovel by the rat nests. Raphael squirms as they approach, wondering how Rat can tolerate living in such a “disgusting” part of Behala. Rat isn’t “lucky” like Raphael but he loves his home. Some of the rats are even friendly—they never bite him since he’s so thin.
The strong sense of community in Behala is once again emphasized by Raphael’s remorse at violating it through the boys’ treatment of Olivia. Mulligan reminds the reader of the sheer squalor in Behala with descriptions of the filth in which Rat has to live. The fact that Raphael is “lucky” to live in a shack above the trash as opposed to in the trash itself reiterates just how serious the plight of the impoverished is. Raphael’s persistent disgust in Behala once again shows that despite knowing no other home, he never quite gets used to the filth that he has to endure day in and day out.
Rat says the rats ate the bag and he warns Raphael not to rob him. Raphael laughs until Rat pulls out a metal box containing a “fortune” of 2,326 pesos: he’s been charming people like Olivia out of money and saving by not eating. Rat isn’t from Behala—he came from Sampalo and he wants to go home. There was no work in Sampalo, though, so he came to Behala to save 50,000 pesos for a boat so that he can be a fisherman and live on the beach, clean and free of Behala. He thinks Raphael and Gardo should come too, knowing that the police will never leave Raphael alone. Raphael thinks about his bruises, his terrifying nightmares, and his auntie, who seems fearful of having Raphael around now.
The boys’ description of Rat’s money as a “fortune” once again shows how poor they really are, since his “fortune” amounts to a mere quarter of Olivia’s dinner budget. The children’s poverty is similarly emphasized by the fact that Rat chose to live in Behala’s filth because it was the best option he had. Rat once again displays how savvy and emotionally intelligent he is since he’s amassed his money on the basis of sheer charm. Finally, Rat’s desire to escape to Sampalo with Gardo and Raphael shows his growing sense of loyalty to them.