Archive for ferdinand marcos

long yellow journey

Posted in culture, events, history, locales, people with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 10, 2009 by mijodo

yellow flowers for the great lady of democracy

On August 21, 1983, almost 26 years to the day, I saw my Mother sobbing, while watching television.

On the tv news, a person named Ninoy Aquino had been killed as he was disembarking from the plane at the international airport.

The following day, while discussing what had happened, a classmate just casually commented, “Ninoy was just a man,” downplaying his death.

I knew better. I knew that Ninoy had primarily come back from exile to put to a stop the excesses of the dictator, Marcos.  And after Ninoy’s long burial procession which had taken 12 hours from Sto. Domingo Church, protest and demonstrations were all over the Philippines, particularly in Metro Manila. Since I was young then, there was little I could do, except to listen to radio news which dared to cover protest actions against Marcos, and to the stories from Mom who would be in every Ayala Avenue march.

Through it all, yellow was used as the color that signified anger and rage against the Marcos tyrrany. The color also meant love and nationalistic fervor for the Philippines. Yellow banners and cartolina to put harsh message across, confetti from the yellow pages of the directory, and yellow protest shirts were liberally used as solidarity tools to topple a despot ruler.

Three years later, still at school, during the snap elections of 1986 between Marcos and Ninoy’s widow, Corazon Aquino, I was already given parental consent to participate more actively in the process of patriotism. I, together with some friends, became Namfrel volunteer to guarantee the fairness and honesty of the elections. As a freshman college student, the task was scary as I personally witnessed the election shenanigans during that time.

At the polling precinct where I had to safeguard election boxes, I reported to our officers a person who was giving some amount to voters, after making their choice. At the Makati City Hall, a fellow volunteer and I had to climb the second floor, not exactly knowing where to look for the missing election boxes, as suspicious brownout suddenly occurred.  

After the elections, my friends and I stationed ourselves at Radio Veritas where we would take down notes from callers who were observing the aftermath of the elections. Radio Veritas then was the only station which gave fair assessments to the election situations.  It was certainly a privilege to be part of media. And on February 22, starting that day, I was told by the station manager that together with other volunteers, I could talk on the radio with the radio talents. I was excited. Maybe I was not expected to talk about my personal views, but just give out the comments provided by the listeners. But then it was ok. In fact I was able to do my task that very day.

But my socalled career was cut short. It had to give way to breathtaking events in EDSA. General Ramos and Defense Minister Enrile left Marcos’s side. Radio Veritas had to close down for safety, and hours later had to broadcast somewhere else as Radyo Bandido. And on February 25, 2005 Marcos left. And the widow dressed in yellow was installed President.

The dictatorship has been broken. And Philippines enjoys relative freedom. Since Cory had been president and had retired from the office 6 years later, there have been numerous occasions where the color yellow has been used again to show indignation and love for country. Again in EDSA Dos, yellow was used to oust an unfit president. And again several years later, yellow was utilized to make several attempts to take down another president.

On August 1, 2009. Cory Aquino succumbed to death after a long fight with cancer. And this time around, Filipinos would want to give tribute to Cory who enabled justice and freedom to reign again in our country despite the inconvenience to her as she had seen herself as just  a “simple housewife.”  Our parting gift to the great and most beloved  mother of Philippine Democracy – yellow flowers laid at her unpretentious home.

wedding of the year

Posted in architecture, artifacts, events, fashion, history, lifestyle, locales, people, religion, sports, tradition, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 27, 2009 by mijodo

sta monica church of sarrat 

The story could have come from a tv soap opera in epic proportion.

A story of strong political couple, willfully ruling a place for some decades, with a vision of creating a perfect  familial image.

In the early 1980s, Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos might have  tried mightily to control the minds of the Filipinos from their Malacanang Palace, but surely enough, they were not able to restrain the heart of their first daughter, Imee.

Apparently, Imee, who was already making her own political mark, as National Chairperson of the Kabataang Barangay, fell in love with a married sportsman, Tommy Manotoc. Obviously, during that time when there were no cellphones, no text messaging, no emails, and even no freedom of the press, such salacious, portently scandalous story would have to be spread through hushed tones, and word of mouth.

And the story took a wilder, more frighteningly turn.  Tommy Manotoc was kidnapped. The alternative press such as We Forum, the precursor of Malaya Newspaper, had a heyday reporting the story, albeit there was a strong possibility of the paper being clamped down by Malacanang. Then all of a sudden Tommy Manotoc just came out of nowhere, reportedly from the New People’s Army camp in the mountains of Sierra Madre. But of course, the popular conclusion about this sordid tale was that Imelda masterminded the abduction.

Some years later, during in first few months of 1983, the youngest daughter, Irene would marry Greggy of the pedigreed and landed Araneta clan. Although Imee could maintain relationship with Tommy, and even start family of their own, they were not able to get the grand nuptials that the Marcoses wanted for them. Tommy who was able to get a divorce from beauty queen Aurora Pijuan could not merit another marriage as the Catholic Church would not allow such. Thus this time around, the Marcoses saw to it that a fabulous wedding would have to be prepared for Irene and Greggy.

Ryan Cayabyab, Irene’s personal friend and musical mentor from University of the Philippines, involved himself in composing a whole wedding cantata.  European designer Renato Balestra was tasked to do the Italian silk and Philippine pina cloth wedding gown.  The exclusive, and red bricked Fort Ilocandia Hotel in Laoag was rushed to beat the nuptial date deadline, as it was where many of the invited foreign dignitaries, esteemed government officials and chic members of the society would stay before, during and after the wedding. It was also the venue for the reception.

And of course, Irene and Greggy chose the heritage church of  the sleepy town of Sarrat, where the Edralin side (mother) of Ferdinand Marcos came from, and where the ancestral house still stands. The Baroque and Neo Classical Sta. Monica Church had to be cleaned up, spruced and refurbished for the wedding.  Hundreds were deployed to paint the walls of the edifice, and install large airconditioning  machines in the cavernous church building. And beside the church,  a huge tent was put up for the town’s local officials and people who might  not have the necessary credentials and status to get inside the official reception area, and yet should partake in the lavish food prepared.

True enough, it was the grand social event of that year for the Philippines as  the Marcoses, particularly Imelda would have envisioned. The local press put the event as the banner story, and paralleled it with the Diana and Charles’s royal wedding, a year before.

Some months later in  August, 1983, a strong earthquake shook the church. And some days later, again in August, Ninoy Aquino arrived and shook the Marcoses. And the seeming  telenovela story continued.