Rowing Ibarra to safety, Elías outlines his plan: he’ll hide Ibarra in a friend’s house in another town, get Ibarra’s money from Ibarra’s grandfather’s tomb, where he hid it, and then help Ibarra escape to Spain. Ibarra asks Elías to come to Spain with him, but Elías replies that “It’s true I can neither love my country nor be happy here, but I can suffer and die in it, and for it.” He believes that by contrast, Ibarra can be happy elsewhere, which insults Ibarra, making him realize that he wants to stay and fight for the future of the Philippines. Ibarra says that he has now seen the worst his country has to offer and is now proud to be a subversive. In the midst of his conversation with Elías, however, a group of Civil Guard members on a boat find them and begin chasing them. Ibarra ducks and Elías tries to out-row the Civil Guard members, but it’s clear his boat isn’t fast enough. Elías dives off the boat, pretending to be Ibarra, while Ibarra plans to row to shore. The plan works, and the Civil Guard members pursue Elías, shooting at him. Eventually, they are convinced he is dead, though they don’t find his body.
As the wedding preparations begin, María Clara is focused only on a newspaper that declares that Ibarra is dead. Father Dámaso approaches her, and she says if he loves her, he’ll end the arranged marriage, explaining that when she knew Ibarra was still alive, she could survive based on that knowledge, but now that he is dead, she cannot bear marrying another person. She says she only sees two options for herself now: “the convent or the grave,” and though he hates the idea of his daughter being cut off from the world as a nun, Father Dámaso reluctantly agrees to let her be one.
Basilio leaves his adoptive home, where he has lived since an old man found him passed out in the woods a couple of months earlier, in search of his mother. He hears Sisa singing and follows her voice, but she doesn’t recognize him. He watches her run into the gate blocking off the tomb of Ibarra’s grandfather and tries to follow her, pounding on the gate and yelling that he is her son. He then climbs up a tree to get over the gate and holds his mother close to him, but passes out, and when he wakes up, she is dead. A wounded man arrives and asks Basilio if he’s seen anyone else there, but he says no. He suggests that Basilio build a funeral pyre for his mother, as well as the man himself, since he is about to die as well. He also tells Basilio about the gold buried nearby. “I die without seeing dawn’s light shining on my country…You, who will see it, welcome it for me…don’t forget those who fell during the nighttime,” the man—who, we learn, is Elías—says.
In the novel’s epilogue, the narrator gives updates about several characters’ lives. Father Dámaso travels to Manila after María Clara enters the convent, as does Father Salví, hoping in vain to be made bishop. Father Salví later orders Father Dámaso to serve in a remote province, and Dámaso is so upset by the news that he dies that night. Meanwhile, Captain Tiago is deeply upset by María Clara’s decision to become a nun; he becomes an opium addict. The ensign travels to Spain, leaving behind Doña Consolación, and Father Salví becomes the head priest of María Clara’s convent. It is suggested that he rapes María Clara, and though she tries to get help from the authorities, they ignore her, again emphasizing the corruption of the church hierarchy.
Though Aunt Isabel has generally been portrayed positively so far, her glee at the envy others will feel towards her family once María Clara marries Linares exposes her as a shallow social climber like many other characters. Though María Clara doesn’t want to marry Linares, Isabel either doesn’t realize this or doesn’t care, despite her closeness to her niece.
The letter the prosecutors use against Ibarra is the same letter María Clara read out loud earlier in the novel. The idea that Ibarra was planning a rebellion likely comes from the line mentioning his father saying that he should “sacrifice today for a useful tomorrow,” but this line is quite ambiguous, and provides specious evidence against Ibarra.
Ibarra’s change of heart and his willingness to die for his country confirm that Elías was right—now that he has suffered at the hands of the ruling forces of the Philippines, he understands how high the stakes are.
Though María Clara has been a passive figure for much of the novel, she shows herself to be a stronger person than her obsequious father when she stands up for herself and her future. Father Dámaso’s reluctance to allow her to be a nun shows how little actual concern he has for religion, despite being a priest—one would expect a truly religious man to celebrate such a future for his daughter.