Memoirs of A Historic Day (Final Part)
“Much to everyone’s surprise in the car, we found out that the funeral procession had yet to reach Manila Memorial Park! Everybody on the car, however, was just dead tired because of the day’s work, and so most of them dozed off, while I was listening intently to the live broadcast of DZMM. The reporters all kept saying the same thing—multitudes of Filipinos still on the route of the procession, wanting to catch a glimpse of Mrs. Aquino’s remains passing by them. Rain or hard rain, the people stayed; a proof of how much the nation loved and adored the former president who was catapulted from simple housewife to Philippine president in 1986.
“My head began to imagine how the metropolis looked like with that throng of people out in the streets, clad in various shades of yellow, throwing confetti at the coffin of Mrs. Aquino, raising their hands with the “laban” sign, chanting the name of the former president with fervor and passion. I was already mesmerized with what I was hearing, which all the more made me curious and puzzled how it actually looked like on live TV broadcast.
“But the heavy raindrops and slippery road slowed me down from 90 to 70 kph at NLEX, which meant I would never make it to the live telecast. The only hope I had was the late night news program that would show scenes of the day’s event since the funeral mass. By the time I reached Meycauayan Exit, Mrs. Aquino had been interred beside her husband at the family’s mausoleum.
“I arrived at home at 10:30, still too early for the late night news. I took the kettle and heated enough water for a warm bath. But just as the kettle whistled, Boy Abunda was on the air for SNN, giving a special coverage of the funeral procession. This was it! I turned the stove off, went back to the sala’s couch, and watched the show.
“And just like that, I was mesmerized by what I saw…
“I don’t think I have ever seen, or will ever see, something like that happen in my lifetime. I saw both familiar and obscure faces mix in the sea of people, all wanting to honor the woman which had become the embodiment of Philippine democracy. That sight, captured in both local and international news, was perhaps one of this country’s finest moments since Cory’s own husband, Senator Ninoy Aquino, was also being brought to his final resting place after having been assassinated on August 21, 26 years ago. It was simply phenomenal!
“Deep inside my heart, I felt the nationalistic pride in me beat once more after a very long time. It’s been a while since I said “Pinoy ako” with pride and dignity. It’s been a while since all political bickerings and mudslinging were put to a halt. It’s been a while since the true Filipino spirit of solidarity and reverence was displayed in full color. Yes. It’s been a while—a very long while.
“The news program ended at around 12:30. I was replaying the scenes in my head as I took my warm bath. Just before bedtime, I pulled my laptop out of my bag, set it up, and started writing a blog entry… this prophecy of the future… this lookback from the future…
“And just like that, I’m back at being 76.”
I catch myself with eyes closed, deeply sighing twice just before opening them. I look at my grandchildren puzzled, trying to make sense of what they had just heard. And I understand them—since they were not yet born during the time that Cory Aquino graced our generation with her presence. They soon stand up and proceed to a more fun place, the playground. I look at them as they run away from the porch, as they fade away from my imagination…
And just like that, I’m back at being 26.
I glanced at the wall clock which read 1:48 AM. August 6, 2009. My body is already weary from yesterday’s work, but my mind is still as sharp as razor gliding through thin paper. I have probably lost my sense of time with the inconsistency of the verb tenses I used here. I still have no idea how in the world my head spilled out this much from thoughts to words, without actually even trying to re-read what I had already typed.
But just before I rest my weary head into the warm and soft bed beckoning on me, one final thought remains reverberating in my mind—the events of August 5, 2009 has left an indelible impression on me.