I was really very young when I realized that my country’s government was a vicious monster. I remember watching the live TV coverage of Ninoy Aquino’s homecoming after long years of exile in the U.S. I, together with my mother and father curiously watched Ninoy get off the plane. He was smiling brightly even though he had anticipated being killed. I also noticed that some uniformed men escorted him toward the plane’s front exit. Shortly, a gunshot was heard. Everything happened so fast that all I could remember was seeing a dead Ninoy on the airport ground. Then I caught sight of him being quickly picked up and then placed in a van. I watched in horror and disbelief…I had never imagined that something as gruesome as this would be seen on national TV. I just hoped that a hero like superman or wonder woman would suddenly come to the rescue…but I had never seen a hero…and I knew I would never see one.
The next thing I remember was seeing my grandfather getting ready to join a rally to support the late Ninoy’s widow, Cory’s campaign against Marcos dictatorship. I, my sister, brother and cousins made the fight or LABAN sign and shouted Cory, Cory while riding on grandpa’s yellow jeepney. Everything was not clear to me, but all I knew was the sweet, overwhelming and really exciting feeling brought about by the unity and oneness of all the people around me. At that time, I was hopeful that something wonderful would happen to my country. Still, I was hopeful to see a hero who could make things all right.
In 1986, Corazon Aquino became the first female president of the Philippines. For the first time after years of autocracy, the Filipino people saw the restoration of democratic institutions in the Philippines. Though I was very young then, I believed that because of the new administration, everything was much, much better than how it had been during the Marcos regime. Cory was a superwoman to me…a real hero.
Time flies so fast. Many things have happened between then and now. Today, August 5, 2009- the entire Filipino nation is witnessing the funeral of its brave, warm and loving heroine. After suffering from colon cancer for several months, Corazon Aquino, passed away on the 1st of August of this year. The entire nation is mourning. As I am watching the TV now, everything that happened 23 years ago suddenly became fresh in my mind. All the memories of the EDSA REVOLUTION suddenly became very vivid to me. It is heartrending to see this woman go away. For me, she will always be the icon of democracy because it was only through her, that I had tasted democracy and had felt how good it was to be free as a nation. Surely, her life will continue to be an inspiration to all Filipinos. Farewell to the heroine of my youth, farewell, President CORY.