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El Filibusterismo Summary

Chapter 38: A Twist of Fate (Sawimpalad)

You'll learn about how the lives of certain characters are met with a string of bad luck. What
makes it even more painfully poignant is that their misfortune is brought about by their own
hand, or by their own doing.

We learn that the bandit Matanglawin (Kabesang Tales) has attacked several places in Luzon.
He murdered the justice of the peace in the town of Tiani, burned some places to the ground,
and hopped from province to province. He moves about freely: sometimes he's in Batangas,
next he's in Cavite, and is soon spotted in Tayabas, Pangasinan, or in far-away Bicol.

He always manages to evade the Spanish authorities. In their frustration, the guardia civil
apprehend about six or seven innocent farmers after a recent attack by Matanglawin.

Here's how they mistreat the farmers...

They make the Filipino farmers walk (hatless and barefoot) under the glare of the noonday sun
during the blistering summer month of May. The farmers are bound to one another, their elbows
tied behind their backs. They cannot even wipe the sweat that stings their eyes.

When one of the farmers falls (due to hunger or fatigue, or both), the entire group is whipped.
Those who are still standing break into a run, and end up dragging their fallen comrades along
the rocky dry soil.

Mautang, one of the sadistic Filipino guardia civil, relishes the scene. He is countered by
another soldier, a more even-tempered Carolinian named Tano. Mautang explains that he wants
to goad the prisoners into escaping, so that the guardia civil would finally have a reason to shoot
the fugitives down.

One of the farmers says that these Filipino guards are more cruel than their Spanish
counterparts, when he is not allowed to relieve his full bladder. The guards explained that they
were not in a safe area, because they were surrounded by tall mountains. Typical ambush
scenario, so you know what's coming next...

A shot is fired. Mautang is hit in the chest, blood spurts out of his mouth.

And then…

Manuel Viloria enjoys writing chapter summaries of Jose Rizal's El Filibusterismo.