An Eagle Flight
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Having completed his studies in Europe, young Juan Crisóstomo Ibarra y Magsalin came back to the Philippines after a 7-year absence. In his honor, Don Santiago de los Santos, also known as "Captain Tiago", a family friend, threw a welcome home party, attended by friars and other prominent figures. One of the guests, former San Diego curate Fray Dámaso Vardolagas, belittled and slandered Ibarra. The next day, Ibarra visits María Clara, his betrothed, the beautiful daughter of Captain Tiago and affluent resident of Binondo. Their long-standing love was clearly manifested in this meeting, and María Clara cannot help but reread the letters her sweetheart had written her before he went to Europe. Before Ibarra left for San Diego in time for the town fiesta, Lieutenant Guevara, a Civil Guard, reveals to him the incidents preceding the death of his father, Don Rafael Ibarra, a rich hacendero of the town. According to Guevara, Don Rafael was unjustly accused of being a heretic, in addition to being a subversive — an allegation brought forth by Dámaso because of Don Rafael's non-participation in the Sacraments, such as Confession and Mass. Fr. Dámaso's animosity towards Ibarra's father is aggravated by another incident when Don Rafael helped out in a fight between a tax collector and a child, with the former's death being blamed on him, although it was not deliberate. Suddenly, all those who thought ill of him surfaced with additional complaints. He was imprisoned, and just when the matter was almost settled, he died of sickness in jail. His remains, formerly interred at the local cemetery, were removed as per Fray Dámaso's orders a few years past.