By Jhae Dela Cruz
I found out about Cory Aquino’s passing while I was getting my daily dose of online news from Inquirer. Since I’m a little far from home, I make it a point to keep in touch with local news.
What struck me most about Cory is how well she balanced being a mother to the whole country as well as a widowed mother to her own children. She always said in her interviews in the past that she was “thrown into politics”. But everyone, including her, has a choice, and she chose to be brave in order to serve her country. And that alone, is a very noble act because it’s a start of her lifelong sacrifice for the Filipino people. She stood up for her beliefs and led the whole country to the freedom that they wanted and needed, guided by her faith in God.
While reading the news, a realization hit me. I’m almost ashamed to admit that I don’t know that much about Philippine history. Sure, I know all about the basic stuff, with all those years in school but I felt like it’s not enough. In no time, I got addicted in reading about martial law and Cory Aquino (well, I have to start somewhere). At least, I can say now that I don’t feel like a hypocrite anymore in writing this piece. In my job, I spend a lot of time talking to guests from all over the world and I enjoy learning new stuff. Sometimes, I encounter people who visited or stayed in the Philippines at one point in their lives. They tell me stories about their experiences and then a friendly banter will start. I tell them about how the Philippines is now and how crazy it is living there. I talked animatedly about how a two-lane traffic can become 5 or how you can’t even use your cell phone in public places, lest you want to risk losing it to snatchers. I shared how public transportations work and how hot it is in the country. But I get surprised when they tell me that, “I bet you’re happy you’re in this country now…” I guess they misunderstood me when I shared all those amusing anecdotes about the Philippines. I’m not saying all those stuff because I hate my country. On the contrary, it just cures my homesickness by reminiscing about my crazy life in the Philippines. I didn’t tell them those facts to make my country look bad. I’m actually just sharing it so they can understand how it is living in there and to show how Filipinos adapt to things that they can’t change. After all, I always follow it up with this: Philippines may sound crazy to you, but it was, and still is home to me and right now, there’s nowhere else I want to be.
It might be crazy living in the Philippines, especially these days with elections just around the corner. But Cory, until death, believed in change and wanted nothing but the best for our country. Her love for her country is unmatched, even unbelievable. Cory’s death did something good. Filipinos all around the world united to mourn for the woman who helped bring democracy again to the country. It also reminded us how we should protect that gift. Personally, it made me to go back and try to learn more about my country’s history and trace my heritage. It also made me think of how of much I love the Philippines and how no matter where I end up at, it will always be home to me.
Janine "Jhae" Dela Cruz is an Aguman alumna from batch Sampelut 2003A and is currently based in Atlanta, GA. She actually started writing this piece about Cory and the Philippines even before Cory died, so now she finally found the inspiration to finish it. This is still part of the Aslag Online tribute to the beloved former Philippine President, Cory Aquino.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
By Jhae Dela Cruz
Monday, August 17, 2009
“Basta pamangan, pagkakitaan!”
True to former AguPresident Jen Castro’s words, current Externals Vice President Aries Viray and partner Felipe Pablo IV raked in a thousand pesos in cash after the two chewed and swallowed their way to the top of the podium in Tsibugang Pinoy a food-stuffing competition organized by Buklod Isip, held on August 7, 2009 at the Palma Hall Annex lobby.
Aries and Felipe chewed off over twenty other participating teams, including the tandem of current president Kevin Penalba and Internals Vice President Trisha Nacpil to claim the top dog’s spot in the three-round competition.
The two nailed in an early victory in the first round after finishing two sticks of fishballs each ahead of everyone else. Kevin and Trish finished two teams behind them, enabling both AguTeams to enter the second round, which saw Aries and Felipe lose the pole position and settle for second after another team finished a cup of isaw each first. Fortunately, their winning tandem was able to stage a ‘return of the comeback’ in the third round by downing three balut eggs in a speed faster than any other team could contend with.
The audience, AguPips and non-AguPips alike, cheered when Aries (who had to cut his Psych 108 class held at the second floor of PHAN so he could participate in the contest) and Felipe were declared winners of the competition and received five hundred pesos each as prizes.
Winning Form. Kevin and Trish chow their way to 3rd place (pictured left), whilst
Aries and Felipe emerge as the top winners in the eating contest (pictured right).
“Nakakatakot si Felipe. Ininom nya ng straight yung sauce ng isaw tapos nonchalant lang, kinuha pa yung kay Aries.” Said an amazed Mike Gulapa, the current AguSecretary, who cheered closely for the two AguTeams with fellow members Jen Castro, Justin Dungca, Ruth Henson, Nic Nicdao, Carou Diaz, Migs Esguerra and Julyn Tiatco.
Kevin and Trish finished third overall, but unfortunately the competition was a winner-take-all tilt. At the end of the day, the victorious AguPips all headed off to Vinzons Hall for two hundred pesos’ worth of fishballs and siomai courtesy of Aries and Felipe.
When asked where they drew the strength to chow away to a grand, Felipe answered, “Sa bato. Aries, ang bato! Ang bato ng balut!”
Saturday, August 15, 2009
I'm an Aguman member from Tarlac City - San Miguel, Tarlac City where the Cojuangco's Hacienda Luisita is located. Whenever I introduce myself and say that I am from Tarlac City, people would rejoin and mention, "Ah, Hacienda Luisita!" I would just smile, somehow relish at the thought that people associate me with the vast Hacienda. I would often tell my mom, "They also think that I am a haciendera."
Tarlac became prominent in our nation's history not just because of this place, but because of its noble sons and daughters who had carved a niche as gallant freedom fighters and valiant statesmen. To name a few, we Tarlaqueños are proud of Gen. Francisco S. Makabulos, a native of La Paz who fought during the Revolution against the Spaniards and later, against the Americans; Gen. Servillano A. Aquino, also an officer of the Revolution who became a delegate to the Malolos Congress; former Senator Benigno Q. Aquino Sr; national hero Benigno Servillano "Ninoy" A. Aquino Jr. and of course, the "simple" housewife who restored not only our democracy but more importantly, redeemed our national dignity before the world, former Pres. Ma. Corazon Sumulong Cojuangco-Aquino – a feat no man had accomplished.
To many, she was just Ninoy's widow, or a little later, Kris' mom. But to all of us, she is CORY – the 11th President of the Republic of the Philippines – the first woman president (and unarguably the only well-loved, highly esteemed woman President up to this date).
The first time I heard about the name Cory was in 1986. We were then the only family in our barangay that owned a television set and so, all residents went to our house to watch history as it unfolds at EDSA, except for our neighbor the Capitan del Barrio who was a Marcos loyalist.
Since then, every classroom I went to had a picture of Cory, the President. Some of her critics from Tarlac used to lament the fact the Cory did not "urbanize" Tarlac the way Marcos did to Ilocos Norte. My family would always defend her by saying that Cory is a righteous leader who does not give unfair preference or favor just because she was from Tarlac.
With the outpouring of grief, love and support for the Aquino family during Cory's funeral, the list of Tarlaqueños I am proud of became longer. Added to it were Cory's children & their families for we have witnesses how unselfishly they have shared the last moments of their mother with the people! My respect for the former First Family grew! We could only yearn that our present and future leaders emulate their worthy example.
I was out of town when the news about President Cory's death reached me. I couldn't explain why it felt so heavy, as if I lost a relative or someone dear to me. I continued monitoring everything about her wake, My eyes were permanently glued to our screens – TV & computer alike, until the very last second of the media's coverage, never mind my deadlines. I felt that it was the least I could do to honor her memory and legacy.
Now I knew why I felt the loss. It's because the late President Cory was dear to me, so dear that I gathered my daughters with me while watching her funeral and patiently introduced to them President Cory and her contributions to our society.
Jet Rivera is an Aguman alumna from batch Diquit-Diquit 1996A. Like Ate Candy, Ate Monette and Ate Lec, shared such a personal post so we published it separately. She says she is really impressed with this Cory Specials idea. This is still part of the Aslag Online tribute to the beloved former Philippine President, Cory Aquino.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
For the past few days, I came to mourn together with the whole nation the passing of a former president who to me epitomizes humility, grace and kindness. I was in 4th grade when EDSA revolution came to be. I was always picked as the one to be Tita Cory in classroom plays or activities as I was still wearing glasses then.
Back then, the meaning of freedom maybe just superficial to a 10 year old kid – a showing of the "L" sign, the yellow color, the many makabayan songs (Magkaisa, Handog Ng Pilipino Sa Mundo, etc). But I remember how as a nation, we were happy and proud as Filipinos. It was like Cory = Proud Filipino.
Fast forward to August 1, former President Cory died at 3:18am. I just suddenly wondered, does this mean the death of the proud Filipino as well? As a co-Aguman also posted on Facebook after her burial, "What's next?" For almost three days, I have cried and laughed together with the Aquino family while watching her eulogies. For the first time, Kris was able to make me cry. Not just a tear or two but buckets of it. It just dawned on me how Tita Cory is genuinely the nicest, kindest soul a person could luckily meet. One can't copy that nor could one fake it. I once read an article by Bo Sanchez telling that a meek person doesn't mean a weak one, but a person who knows when to be firm and when to let go, when to serve and when to be a leader, of knowing which battles to fight and when to surrender. Truly, Tita Cory was a MEEK person.
As I was watching her funeral procession yesterday, I just had the realization of what really matters when you're alive - TO DO GOOD TO OTHERS. No one made a big deal that Tita Cory was valedictorian, that she had many honorary degrees or that she was the only Filipino to be TIME Magazine's "Woman of the Year". Instead, people who were able to know her reminisced at how caring, loving and respectful she was. It got me thinking, I just hope I am sowing some good stuff in my own little way, that someday when my time will come, I may also get even an iota's worth of what Tita Cory was given.
Now, she has finally been laid to rest. Her people gave her their final and much deserved respect. I am now back to praying that with her death we may once again find in us the strength and courage to do what should be done so we could once more be proud as Filipinos.
Elaine "Lec" David is an Aguman alumna from batch Pecat-Pecat 1993B. Like Ate Candy and Ate Monette, Ate Lec shared such a personal post so we published it separately. This is still part of the Aslag Online tribute to the beloved former Philippine President, Cory Aquino.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Cory has had a massive impact on me, on several fronts:
As the grieving widow who was suddenly thrust in the limelight, she moved me with her simplicity, and her faith, and the basic goodness that was oozing out of her pores. She was the epitome of grace under pressure, and I couldn't help but feel for her.
As the presidential candidate, she inspired the entire country with her quiet resolve to triumph over evil. Her statements, though short, were filled with truth and ringing with her convictions. Here was the start of her evolution, from being Ninoy's wife, a great feat already, to being the David leading a charge versus a mighty Goliath. She was courageous!
As the president, I could not help but admire her for her strength. It's not easy to be surrounded by wolves in sheep's clothing, but her integrity was unsullied and unquestioned. She brought decency back into governance. She inspired Filipinos, and the rest of the world. Her unshakeable faith in men was astounding, it's like she had no cynicism! It's as if she was above all the petty stuff going on around her (read: coups and infighting amongst her people). She embodied being noble.
As a private citizen, she simply awed me. Her relentless vigil to ensure the tenets of democracy were above and beyond the call of duty, yet she was forever vigilant against the abuse of power and freedom. Taking to the streets, being the beacon of light against the dark forces that were once again besieging the country, that was pure dedication and love for the Filipinos.
As a mother to her sane children (read: Ballsy, Noynoy, Pinky and Viel), she was the tops. Those children were low-profile, low-maintenance children, never taking their share of the limelight. They were sensible, and it takes a lot of maternal disciplining to pull it off when your husband is one of the key political figures in the country.
As a mother to Kris, who was more a Marcos than an Aquino when it came to publicity and attention seeking, I was simply rendered speechless. To be supportive of a child who aired her very dirty laundry in public, that takes gumption! And loads of patience! And tons of love! And the patience of a saint. But all throughout the foibles of Kris, you just knew that Cory would be there for her child. Endurance, reliability, unending love! WOW, Cory was a saint!
Ninoy, then Cory, made me proud to be FILIPINO! Though I didn't grieve Ninoy's assassination that much, because I was still young (in a sense, Ninoy belonged to my parents and their generation), Cory's death hit me hard, and deep. Watching the tributes, the mass, the outpouring of love and support, I feel the awakening of a deep unrest in me. The Filipinos are waking up again, and beware the wolves in power, because Cory's death might be the catalyst that will upset the horse and its cart that is lodged in the palace now.
LONG LIVE CORY! YOU WILL FOREVER BE REMEMBERED AS "THE" ICON FOR DEMOCRACY!
Monette Cutler-Torres is an Aguman alumna from batch Akbe 1988 and is based in Davao City. Ate Monette shared such a comprehensive post so we published it separately. This is still part of the Aslag Online tribute to the beloved former Philippine President, Cory Aquino.
Friday, August 7, 2009
Corazon Cojuangco was born into one of the wealthiest families in the islands. Fated to be married off in one dynastic match or the other, she was courted by and fell in love with Benigno Aquino Jr., a brilliant and ambitious journalist turned politician whose own family was as illustrious though not quite as wealthy as her baronial clan. Benigno's popularity soon challenged Ferdinand Marcos, who had been elected President in 1965. And so, when Marcos assumed dictatorial power in 1972, he threw his rival into jail. Corazon then became her husband's instrument, smuggling messages out of prison and raising funds for the opposition. In August 21, 1983, Benigno Aquino returned to the Philippines after three years of exile in the US only to be shot dead even before he could set foot on the tarmac of Manila's international airport. Filipinos were outraged, and suspicion immediately fell on Marcos. At Benigno's funeral, mourners transformed Corazon into a symbol. (Yahoo News)
Cory Aquino was the 11th President of the Philippines, serving from 1986 to 1992. She was the first female president of the Philippines and in Asia. The relatively peaceful manner by which Aquino assumed the presidency through the EDSA Revolution won her widespread international acclaim as an icon of democracy.(Wikipedia)
Aquino's achievements as President ranged far beyond the symbolic. She restored the democratic institutions Marcos had destroyed, presided over the promulgation of a constitution designed to be dictator-proof, freed political prisoners, launched a peace process that eliminated communist and Muslim insurgencies as major threats to national stability, and laid the foundations for economic recovery. (TIME Asia)
Photos courtesy of TIME
The six-year administration of President Aquino saw the enactment of a new Philippine Constitution and several significant legal reforms, including a new agrarian reform law. While her allies maintained a majority in both houses of Congress, she faced considerable opposition from communist insurgency and right-wing soldiers who instituted several coup attempts against her government. Her government also dealt with several major natural disasters that struck the Philippines, as well as a severe power crisis that hampered the Philippine economy. (Wikipedia)
''She was headstrong and single-minded in one goal, and that was to remove all vestiges of an entrenched dictatorship,'' Raul C. Pangalangan, former dean of the College of Law at the University of the Philippines, said earlier this month. ''We all owe her in a big way.''
But Aquino struggled in office to meet high public expectations. Her land redistribution program fell short of ending economic domination by the landed elite, including her own family. Her leadership, especially in social and economic reform, was often indecisive, leaving many of her closest allies disillusioned by the end of her term. Still, the bespectacled, smiling woman in her trademark yellow dress remained beloved in the Philippines, where she was affectionately referred to as ''Tita (Auntie) Cory.'' (New York Times)
Time magazine made Aquino its woman of the year in 1986, the year she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and in 2006 named her one of Asia 's heroes. The magazine praised her "quiet courage", describing her as "the symbol of People Power and an inspiration to others around the world struggling against tyranny". Her courage, determination, and moral leadership are an inspiration to us all and exemplify the best in the Filipino nation. (Manila Bulletin)
After Cory retired from politics, she enjoyed writing her memoirs, painting landscapes and perhaps her most fulfilling pastime was, playing with and visiting her grandchildren. Corazon Aquino was a very loving and sweet grandmother to her grandchildren. Aquino’s eldest grandson, Jiggy Aquino-Cruz, said his grandmother attended to her grandchildren like a “second mother” when their parents were not around. “To me she wasn't a president or a hero, she was my lola,” Cruz said. (Inquirer)
Aquino died of cardiopulmonary arrest after complications of colon cancer at the age of 76 on August 1, 2009, 3:18 am, at the Makati Medical Center. Aquino's body lay in state at a public wake at the St. Benilde Gymnasium of La Salle Greenhills up to August 3, when it was later transferred to the Manila Cathedral. A crowd with an estimated number of 120,000 people showed up to witness the transfer of her remains from La Salle Green Hills to the Manila Cathedral. (Youtube)
August 5, 2009 will be a day remembered by millions of Filipinos. An estimated 150,000 mourners, mostly in yellow and flashing the “laban” hand sign, escorted the late President Corazon Aquino’s funeral cortege from the Manila Cathedral to the Manila Memorial Park, braving occasional heavy rains. Mrs. Aquino’s wooden casket, draped with the Philippine flag and surrounded by a blanket of yellow flowers, was placed on top of a truck. Some 100,000 lined up along Roxas Boulevard from Intramuros to Quirino Avenue another 30,000 gathered from Osmeña Highway to Buendia Avenue, 10,000 along the Sucat interchange, and 10,000 at the vicinity of the Manila Memorial Park. A human chain was formed to contain the crowd and allow the convoy to pass through the stretch of Roxas Boulevard. Among the mourners who lined up the streets were students and nuns of St Paul College, members of the Chinese-Filipino community, vendors, and ordinary citizens some of them as young as four years old. She was buried in a simple grave beside her husband, martyred Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., in the family’s mausoleum.
The death of Corazon Aquino brings an end to a remarkable saga in Philippine history. The quiet, unassuming woman who found herself thrust into an epic struggle against the dictatorial Ferdinand Marcos in 1986 would go on to emerge triumphant and take charge of the country. The Philippines is today a better, safer place because of the pivotal role Corazon Aquino played at a decisive moment in its history. A woman of huge self-esteem, Ms. Aquino made sure that similar self-esteem was restored in the lives of her people after the long dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos. Mrs. Aquino not only swept away the dictatorship, but faced down seven coups attempts as the nation’s military resisted civilian political control. She also leaves behind a nation that has been more or less democratic ever since. We will remember Corazon Aquino for the voice of democracy she was and always will be, in history. (Mysinchew)
Nakakalungkot lang kasi parang hindi pa ito yung tamang panahon para mamatay siya. Ironic -- yung pandak tsaka yung mayroong maraming sapatos kasi namamayagpag pa. Waaah! Nakakatibak naman.
~Quill Quioc, Pinanari 2008A
Tita Cory proved that a person who chose to be simple, can make great differences in reality. She's a woman of faith and humility, now an icon of democracy. I may not experienced the battle for freedom at EDSA, yet, a little yellow ribbon will constantly remind of me her undying legacy of selfless love for this country.
~Ian Bencio David, Pinanari 2008A
Tita Cory was truly a national figure to look up to. She valiantly gave up the comforts of being a housewife to take on the challenges of democracy and recovery in the country. After her term, she lived her life in simplicity. She was a mother, not just to her children, but to the whole nation. She was, in turn, loved by many and that was sufficiently justified by the number of people who came to her funeral to express love and gratitude.
~Nicolle Timoteo, Pinanari 2008A
Cory Aquino is a woman of great power. though I don’t her personally, I know that she is a good sister, wife and a mother, not only to her family but to the Filipinos as well. I believe that without her and EDSA 1, the Philippines would not be able to see the light of true democracy
~Erika Tuazon, Pinanari 2008A
Anyang minuna keng abalu ing pangamate ng Tita Cory, eku masyadung meapektuhan. Siguru uling eku pakanta ka-familiar kareng agawa na anyang panaun na. Ampo factor rin siguru na eku masyadong manalbeng TV recently kaya eku talaga pakanta ka-aware. Pero anyang ikit ku na talagang magluksa ya ing buong Pilipinas, karin ku a-feel ing magnitude na ning influence na kareng Pilipinu. Tita Cory is indeed more than an icon. She was, is, and will forever be our country's mother of democracy.
~Carousel Diaz, Pinanari 2008A
Personally, ala kung masyadung balu kang Tita Cory, lalu na anyang ala ku pa UP. I just knew her as Ninoy's wife. After her death, keta ku mu abalu that she is more than that. She has touched many lives. She contributed to a lot of things to and for the country, probably just as much as her husband did. Eku nabalu nung kaninu ku dimdam, istu ya itang sinabi na "their generation had Ninoy, while we have Cory."
~Bryan Quizon, Pinanari 2008A
She's one of the gentlest and at the same time strongest people I've ever had the honor and pleasure of meeting. Her genuine love for this nation and its people makes up many times over for whatever flaws her government may have had. She deserves and has long earned my respect, admiration and gratitude.
~Neicy Nicdao, Baskal 2007A
If you want to leave a legacy, plant a tree, write a book or be Cory Aquino. She is an epitome of benevolence and selflessness who in her simple ways touched the world in many ways. If not for the audacity she had shown, the democracy we now enjoy would have remained a myth. She is a good mother, a noble leader and a catalyst of change. Filipinos truly must celebrate the life of Cory Aquino, the life she whole heartedly dedicated in service to the Filipino people.
~Michael Gulapa, Lakatan 2006A
Sabi mo nga, "Nagpapasalamat ako sa Diyos na ako ay ginawa niyang Filipino..." Amidst the poor weather condition, the overwhelming support of the public says it all. You're a softspoken lady loved by all. You're well-loved and respected by Filipinos. You showed some guts to challenge such dictatorship. You served as an inspiration. It's not really because you're the country's first woman president, but what matters most is you simply symbolize a hard fought democracy. Goodbye President Cory. May you now be in good hands with our Almighty Father and your beloved Ninoy.
~Aries Viray, Lakatan 2006A
Minta kami keng Manila Cathedral kasi penabit na kami nitang prof mi, hehe. Eke pa makaying aappreciate y Cory kanta eh, adyang dakal na press releases about her siguru uling ekune man disnan. Migka-realization naku mu niyang atsu na kami karin. Maka-9 hours na kaming makapila kaybat ing assignment mi mag-interview kami at least 3 people about Cory. Oita, kanita talaga afeel ku na she really is someone to a lot of Filipinos. Kayakit ku kaya, I admire her as a person. Siguru kumpara mu naman kareng manungkulan ngeni ne, rugu, eka magtumbling kareng panggawang na! Haha! Aliwa ing feeling na abe ka ketang mismung malilyari. Maka-proud, kabalen ke pamo. Ilben ke ing libing na buung aldo adyang ating gagawang paper. Makatouch la reng messages da reng kapamilya na pati reng magobra kaya. Corazon Aquino – the mother of democracy, the light of our nation. Her legacy lives on forever. May she rest in peace.
~Jennifer Castro, Lakatan 2006A
It was the year I was born when the People Power was held. I didn’t know anything until I was in primary school. Most of our teachers told us something great about it and I was wondering then who Marcos, Ninoy and Cory Aquino were. When I went home I asked my dad about it and that’s where my knowledge of the late Cory Aquino started. She was well-known in Asia being the first lady president and a tough person. She fought for the Filipinos' independence under dictator Marcos’ regime. She ruled the country and let the whole world know what a mother can do to protect his beloved country. After her term, she continued helping Filipino people and give justice to what is right. I admire her for being ordinary because she never flaunt any of her millions or haciendas. She lived a simple life as the mother of the Filipino people. Her courage, kindness and simplicity made me remember her whenever I am wearing a yellow-colored shirt. I am truly honored to write something about the late President Cory Aquino and I salute her for being the greatest woman in the world!
Let’s mourn because we lost a mother. Let’s fight because she left an unfinished business. These days, power could be bought but never respect. On both personal and state levels, this is a wake up call for all of us.
~Celine Dagdag, Sampelut 2003A
Well, I still have goose bumps after that very long funeral. I’ve only shed tears for the death of someone that is not related to me twice. First is for the death of Pope John Paul II and second, that of Cory. If not for her and her husband, our country might not be the free country as we know it today. The number of people that attended the funeral from start until the end is a validation of how important Cory was and will be to us Filipinos. "I thank God that I was born a Filipino."
~Andre Galang, Salagpi 2001A
While everyone thanked her for the freedom and the democracy she led us to acquire. I thanked her for the hope and empowerment that she gave to all the women. She earned my respect by the way she reacted to events that happened to her. The absence of her husband, his eventual loss by assassination, taking care of their children by herself, made her stronger and even took over the responsibility or honor—to serve the country and protect the nation from dictatorship. Cory was always composed but still aware and vigilant to whatever bad things that may happen. She personified the true meaning of courage and empowerment.
A lot of times we are called to forget self integrity and be one with all the dishonesty and selfishness that surrounds us. But, she is one of the few reminders that it is still possible to survive in this world and be more loved by the people if you live righteously. My life is not perfect and a lot of times I was challenged, I call them extraordinary experiences, and several occasions I thought of giving up my ideals and just go the “easy” way--but I never did it, I just can't. I was not proud of it before, I called myself weird, martyr and “stupid”. Her death, which gave way to remembering everything about her and what kind of a person she was and the way she was honored for all of it, gave me hope and suddenly lifted my spirit to the highest level. Cory should be an icon to all women. I want to be like her to my son. I want to be like her to my future husband and I want to be like her to the nation. Not as president though. Pwedeng pwede siyang honorary member ng UP Aguman, we share the same principle, “not for ourselves alone”
~Leslie Salunga, Ambula 2000A
Tita Cory has been the symbol of democracy of the Philippines for she had played a very crucial part in the liberation of the country from the Marcos Regime. But this feat didn't make her presidency a smooth sailing one as she was often threatened by coup attemps and numerous critisms from Filipinos. But didn't stop them from loving and respecting her after her term was over. She is one of the pilars of the Philippines and her demise will be a great loss to gthe Philippines. But I personally is happy that at least her fight is over for she won't be suffering anymore. Colon cancer at stage four is a very difficult illness and her family knew that too that's why they have offered her also to the Lord when she has really began to slip. At least now we have an angel guiding over us. God knows our political system needs already divine intervention. To Tita Cory, thank you for everything you have done. Your contributions to the country will forever be remembered and honored.
~Arvee Salazar-Cruz, Tuglung 1998A
In third year high school, I lined the streets of San Fernando when the convoy carrying Ninoy’s remains returned from Tarlac to Manila. In first year college, I welcomed Cory at the AS Lobby during the launch of the campaign to gather one million signatures for her candidacy. Later that school year, I supported her battle against Marcos during the snap elections which ended triumphantly with the EDSA Revolution. Ninoy and Cory were instrumental in my political awakening. I did not agree with some of Cory’s decisions as President. I marched with fellow UP scholars in protest against her decision to retain the US military bases. Nevertheless, I never doubted her sincerity. Looking back today, I do not doubt her patriotism. She never lost faith in the Filipino. She ventured out of her private life when the national interest demanded it. She remained the antithesis of the traditional politician – decent, not hungry for power and free from corruption. I thank her for restoring democratic institutions and civil liberties. I thank her for proving that decency in government is possible and that people have the power to make it happen. I thank her for inspiring my generation. I hope the recent events surrounding her passing will inspire today’s generation. Ituloy ang Laban!
~Doby Pineda, Tanikala 1986A, Hong Kong
Thanks to all those who shared their thoughts! Special thanks to Kuya Glenn David (Diquit-Diquit 1996A), for helping out with the research on the introduction.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
I sit still in awe, reveling in the awesome orations heard from the few chosen friends and family of the late Pres. Cory Aquino during necrological services for her, aired on Philippine TV.
I am taken back by the genuine grief I feel because of her passing. I am not family, nor friend. I am just one who monitored Philippine politics religiously even if I left the country more than 10 years ago.
I would browse through various Philippine newspapers online & have a premium Filipino channel subscription just so I could watch shows everything Filipino – telenovelas, entertainment & talk shows, travel shows and most especially current affairs. But all that has limits – I am usually offline and my TV is off by midnight. Anyone who knows me best would know how fond I am of sleeping – geez I could sleep for straight 8 hours and would be grouchy If I did not get my full 8. However, these last four days or so, since President Cory’s death, I have been having sleepless nights. Without really making a conscious plan to do so, I gravitated towards online updates and live TV coverage on the former President, lasting through wee hours of the morning. I have lost sleep but I’m not grouchy. I am sad but inspired.
All twenty orators talked of one common thing – President Corazon Aquino might have lived a very privileged life but she proved to be one of the most selfless and humble human beings in recent history who used her intelligence and religiosity to empower a people losing hope in achieving a better Philippines. Even in death, she managed to bring Filipinos together – either living in the homeland or scattered all over the world. My Facebook and Twitter pages show friends’ outpouring of sentiments, relentlessly.
I asked myself why and my initial thought is, of course, she was instrumental in ousting a dictator. She did not have illusions of grandeur as one of her friends described her. She heeded the call to step-up and be President when she could have chosen to continue to live a privileged life in exile in Boston, away from the circus of politics. All that was public knowledge, all that is written in history books. But nothing prepared me for the personal and poignant tributes given to her by unassuming friends, family and employees.
She was a regular mom who had a passion for painting and crafts and would show appreciation to family and friends by gifting them with personal hand-written notes, paintings and hand-made projects. She, the most prayerful woman I’ve heard about, loaning the famous rosary from Fatima to friends and family during turbulent times in their lives. She, who was one’s BFF (or best friend forever) who shared secrets, laughter and angst. She, much loved by a bodyguard who told the story of how she cooked for him a bowl of soup in the absence of household help one afternoon. She, who flew in commercial planes and refused private jets during her presidency. She, who ironically identified with the masses even as she was born with a silver spoon in her mouth, educated in the best schools in the Philippines and in the United States. She, who became the dearest friend of her staunchest critic. She, who brought strong, respected gentlemen to tears (not that they lost their respectability). She who had a tycoon (who owned most of Makati’s business district) paying respects to her -- out in the streets, under the blistering sun and then rain, in the middle of the maddening crowd. My list could go on and on, but I have to stop, lest I bore my readers to death.
I found myself writing this perhaps as a therapy. Perhaps to have closure and to pay my last respects to an extra-ordinary woman, who is every inch an epitome of class and grace. Thank you and goodbye President Aquino. Your legacy to the Filipino people will live on. Now it’s your time to rest. Rest now in peace.
Carissa "Candy" Cueva is an Aguman alumna from batch Buknul 1989A and is based in California, USA. When the Aslag Online Team called for entries for its Cory Aquino special here on the blog, Ate Candy decided to share her own full post that she already wrote beforehand.