Two Great Losses of the Filipino PeopleAugust 7, 2009
Last Wednesday August 5 was former President Corazon Aquino’s funeral. Today at 2 pm will be the “Funeral for the National Artist’s Award.” The country is bereaved by the loss of an icon of demoacracy on one hand and the loss of dignity and prestige of the symbol of highest attainable artistic achievement an artist aspires or of the highest accorded award in recognition of a treasured Filipino artist.
The two may not be incomparable but just the same, two great losses are there in a matter of days for the Filipinos who find strength in right morality and great dignity.
Anyhow, days of mourning will surely continue either inspiring, waking up sleeping and lethargic souls again into nationalism, or turning apathetic attitude like I probably have to one of positive change hopefully. I just hope to get over with my uneasiness to be in very thick crowds—a must to any involvement—due to previous fainting experiences that I had in the past. I still remember seemingly floating in the air, seeing images of people walking towards me in blurred and slow motion, then nearly fainting to unsconsciousness, thanks God, for managing to fight it enough to be able to sit and settle without permission in a vendor’s corner.
I never went to Tita Cory’s burial in Greenhills nor at the Manila Cathedral though I very much wanted to see her. I only watched the entire funeral proceedings through ABS coverages from different vantage points until I felt some sense of guilt that eventually drove me out of the house to join others on the streets paying their last respects to her. I went to SLEX at the crossing of EDSA the route closest to our place. When I arrived there, not so many people were there as yet. Slowly, they came, one by one, in groups, then as a big mass. After waiting, I finally captured the footages of the funeral cortege as it passed in front of the masses of people, mostly in rubber sandals, including myself because of the rains that poured intermittently.
Before the cortege passed, I was praying that the rains would not heavily pour down. Showers were there, then the rains would stop, the sun would peep in and luckily, or should I say, with answered prayers, the rain showers nearly fully stopped making the use of umbrellas unnecessary by the time Tita Cory passed enabling me then to have a better view of the scene. (I will be posting the footages soon).
Very, heavy rains poured down after that dispersing the people towards the bridge or rather under it. It is as if the rains cooperated by giving us the chance to say goodbye to her. Later, under the bridge where I took refuge for a while, an old woman looking tired sat beside me with a yellow ribbon tied on her head. She told me that they live in Divisoria and that they walked from the Cathedral to that point. I was in awe of the old woman…
Being with the crowd I was happy to be. I finally felt even for a few seconds the sensation of euphoria, an unexplained sensation that television could not provide brought about by the energy and synergy of real people united and driven by different forces to be at the path of Corazon Aquino they only knew, we only knew from a distance but whose spirit and aura of humility, faith and courage are the very values that I believe drove or “magnetized” me to be there in salute of the woman Mama Mary loved so well. By seeing even just her coffin atop the truck that slowly moved in a wave of people guarded by four seemingly robotic, unmovable guards, it finally rested my guilty heart for not seeing her in Greenhills or at the Manila Cathedral where for a while she stayed and offered tribute to by those closest to her.