But through the years I began to understand what it all was about. The historical events were retold to me by my parents especially when Ninoy's death anniversary would come every August. I do not like history subjects in school but I would find myself listening intently when the EDSA Revolution is the topic. Maybe it was because it was recent history that unfolded in my lifetime. The key people being discussed were still alive before my eyes, like Fidel Ramos, Juan Ponce Enrile, and of course, Cory Aquino.
And so I grew up seeing Cory in the forefront of many political issues in the Philippines. I admired her intently for her meekness, humility and steadfastness to the truth. I am not a very prayerful person, but I envy a woman like Cory who really believed in the power of prayers and who could really lift up all of her fears and worries to the Lord. Last year, the news of her acquiring colon cancer sent all of us in shock. When her daughter Kris took a leave from SNN (a showbiz news show) indefinitely last month to be with her mom, I knew Cory Aquino's condition has worsened already even if public statements would say she was in stable condition. It was all just going to be a matter of a few weeks.
I was in Boracay last Saturday when news of Cory's death reached me. I was woken up at 6AM, barely 3 hours since her passing, when my friend literally elbowed me from my slumber so we could watch the news. And there it was flashed in our screens Noynoy Aquino giving the official statement of his mom's death. I was expecting it already, but it was still all hard to process in the early morning when just the night before I mixed beer and tequila in my system.
I wrote something in haste (the blog entry before this), scrambled for a wifi connection and posted it. It was all so overwhelming and I just wanted to say something. But now, three days after Cory's passing, I'm back in Manila and able to follow more closely the events related to Cory's wake and funeral. I listened to Kris Aquino give a blow by blow account of her mother's last days since Cory's condition worsened beginning of July. I tuned in to the necrological rites and listened to the 20 speakers who all had their own stories to share about the former Philippine president. And as if what Cory did for our country isn't enough yet to make me admire her so much, listening to the personal anecdotes of these 20 chosen speakers left me awestruck at her kindheartedness that obviously was really second nature to her.
Cory Aquino made possible what our world today will perceive as impossible. She was selfless, loyal to her country, and prayerful. She had an unwavering faith amidst the hardest trials she faced in her life, and truly believed in the innate goodness of every Filipino. In this time of prevalent corruption, political bickering, crab mentality and social divisiveness, who would still choose their country first over their families? But then again, that is actually the magic of Cory. She inspired Filipinos to put behind their personal gain for the best interest of the country. She inspired us to continue hoping even when it seems like it's a lost cause already. She would choose to clasp her hands in prayers and urge everyone to do the same.
The Filipino nation is once more in nostalgia with Cory's death. Once more it has stirred people to go back to the streets and relive what Cory (and her husband Ninoy) had fought for to regain democracy. I sincerely hope that this burning fever felt nationwide and around the world is not short-lived, but instead a lasting moving factor for us to begin change within ourselves. Because I fear that all the emotions surging high in all of us now is fleeting. In a month or two after Cory is finally laid to rest, what will we do? Will we participate in the presidential election next year and exercise our rights to vote? Or will we once again be apathetic and raise an eyebrow in our system?
Cory Aquino will be brought to her final resting place today beside her husband, Ninoy Aquino. But it is all up to us now to show the world that what Ninoy died for, and what Cory continued fighting for, are all not in vain. They believed in the Filipino people, and so should we begin believing in ourselves. Because only then can we truly effect change. Let us continue the legacy of Cory Aquino.