The next morning, Ibarra travels to Old Tasio’s home. Tasio has heard about the matter with Elías from the ensign’s wife, Doña Consolación, who told him she believed the boatman was the same person who threw her husband into the lake and beat up Father Dámaso.
Ibarra explains that his father often asked Tasio for advice, and that things usually turned out well as a result, then explains the school project. Tasio loves the idea, but says that Ibarra shouldn’t consult with him because he will be seen as crazy as well. Instead, he recommends consulting with authorities and officials, who will give him useless advice; then he should pretend to follow that advice, while actually disregarding it. Ibarra initially disagrees with this idea, believing that his idea will succeed on its own merits, but eventually he acquiesces.
Tasio begins discussing the government, which he claims “has no real understanding of this country.” Ibarra counters that people in the Philippines have few complaints and do not suffer much due to the benevolence of the government, but Tasio argues that people do not complain “because they have no voice” and that “you say they don’t suffer [because] you haven’t seen how their hearts bleed.” Ibarra doubts that things will quickly change, saying that “there is abuse, one can’t deny it, there are defects, but Spain is working to introduce reforms that will correct these things… Spain is not just self-interest.” Ibarra is thoughtful, wondering whether his love of the Philippines must conflict with his love of Spain.
The night before the festival, the town prepares, and a yellowish man tries to hoist up a large collection of wood, though the architect warns him it might be too heavy. Captain Tiago advises Ibarra to call the school Saint Francis School in order to ingratiate himself to the church. Sisa touches a leper and is taken away by a soldier, repeating phrases about her lost sons. Finally, the day of the festival occurs, but the narrator states that nothing important happened to the protagonists then, detailing some of its events only to provide information on Philippine customs.
In the scene between Tasio and Ibarra, Tasio indicates that he fully understands that he is seen as crazy and understands the disadvantages of such a reputation, but nonetheless chooses this path. However, he recognizes that Ibarra cannot be viewed as a madman if he wants to effect change in the community. Again, like in the scene with the schoolmaster, Ibarra finds himself in a conflict partially arising from his privilege. He views the Spanish government as benevolent, but Tasio argues this is only because he hasn’t seen the extent of the pain that the country experiences. Ibarra also begins to wonder whether he can be loyal to the Philippines and to Spain, both of which are deeply important to him.
Captain Tiago further illustrates his view of religion as a means to gain power and social currency when he tells Ibarra to name the school after a saint in order to get something in return. Again he reveals himself not to be truly pious, but simply concerned with what appearing pious can get for him in return.
The scene with the yellow man foreshadows his later death, as well as his involvement in the plot to kill Ibarra. Like several other scenes in the novel, it initially seems inconsequential, but actually holds great significance.