Thursday, August 6, 2009

More than a state funeral

Yesterday's funeral for Tita Cory refreshed back the memories of both EDSA I and the burial of her fallen husband and hero Ninoy.

The 1986 People Power Revolution seemed to have resurrected from the grave of slumber. There was an immense outpouring of gratitude and love for Tita Cory. The Philippines had never before witnessed such a funeral for a family. Only for the Aquinos. Ordinary mortals usually can not even gather a thousand mourners, more so for an interment. Ordinary families usually could reach the cemetery in less than an hour or so. But for Ninoy and Cory, their funeral marches went way beyond 9 hours of solemn procession, flocked by thousands of well-wishers and mourners alike. The sight moved my heart. The images made me wonder when else could we ever witness such funerals again.

I admire the Aquino children for having made a wise decision in not accepting a state funeral for the former President. Perhaps, it would have been a different spirit, a different atmosphere, a different ceremony. True enough, real honor emanated from the Filipino people. Cory's genuine love for the Filipino - his aspirations, his dreams, his struggles - bore fruit of burning love from them. Braving the heat of the sun and the cold heavy downpours, people did not move a bit from where they positioned themselves to bid goodbye to Tita Cory. I glued myself on television watching with my heart than ever before. Tears also rolled down like a river on my cheeks. I could not explain it. I felt the same thing when my beloved Pope John Paul II was about to be interred. I felt the same with the late Jaime Cardinal Sin. The three of them were icons of goodness, sincerity, and serenity of heart. The three of them touched the lives of millions. The three of them were legends of their own. Like Ninoy.
While watching until the end, I was having thoughts of who among the still living Philippine Presidents could muster the same kind of crowd enthusiam and sincerity when it will also his or her turn. I was thinking perhaps Erap might be able to draw also a huge crowd. I doubt if FVR could. What if it were GMA?
One thing is a reality: No other Filipino couple may be able to duplicate the heroism of Ninoy and Cory. It may take me a lifetime to wait for that day when others could emerge like them.
The fever is still on. But I hope that it will not just be a fever. May the spirit of Cory continue to inspire people to aspire for good governance and honesty and integrity both in public and private service.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Prayer for a Happy Death by Pres. Corazon Aquino

I am posting here the prayer written by Tita Cory herself about death. I heard it first over the radio this morning. I surfed the Net then I got it from

Almighty God, most merciful Father
You alone know the time
You alone know the hour
You alone know the moment
When I shall breath my last.

So, remind me each day
Most loving Father
To be the best that I can be.
To be humble, to be kind,
To be patient, to be true.
To embrace what is good,
To reject what is evil,
To adore only You.

When the final moment does come
Let not my love ones grieve for long.
Let them comfort each other
And let them know
how much happiness
They brought into my life.
Let them pray for me,
As I will continue to pray for them.
Hoping that they will always pray
for each other.

Let them know that they made possible
Whatever good I offered to the world.
And let them realize that our separation
Is just for a short while
As we prepare for our reunion in eternity.

Our Father in heaven
You alone are my hope.
You alone are my salvation.
Thank you for Your unconditional love. Amen.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Godspeed, President Cory...

Early today at 3:18 a.m., the beloved icon of Philippine democracy passed away. She was 76.
President Corazon Sumulong Cojuangco Aquino fought hard with the Filipino people an irreversible colon cancer. Her demise was announced officially by her son, Sen. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III.

"Our mother peacefully passed away at 3:18 a.m. of cardio-respiratory arrest," he told reporters.

It must really be a difficult and trying moment for the family. To lose a mother like Tita Cory is likened to losing your strength in an uphill battle. I experienced it myself when my own mother passed away.

I knew it from the start that when the media began to continuously give newsfeeds on the condition of Tita Cory, her body was about to give in. The inevitable came nearer. But we love her to be with us for more years to come. The Filipino people stormed heavens with prayers for her to recover from the dreaded colon cancer. Up to the end, we never wanted to give up as a people because of our love for Tita Cory. I may not have joined the novena of Masses covered by the media. In my own little way, I asked my students to join me in praying for Tita Cory before and after my classes with them.

When I learned this morning over the radio and television that she has finally passed away and joined the Almighty in heaven, there was a lump in my throat. As I was listening to some tributes over the radio, I felt I was losing again my own mother. Indeed, she was simply a mother to all of us, the Filipino people who are vigilant on the excesses of those in power.

To me, Tita Cory was a woman of strength. She was a woman of principle. She was the symbol of triumph against an oppressive regime. She stood by her husband, Ninoy, in his fight for freedom and democracy for the Filipino people. Though a political novice, she accepted the seat of power in Malacanang with all humility - armed with her strong faith in the Almighty in leading a divided and wounded country. She did not fail the Filipino people in showing there's hope after the dark ages of martial law. As a transition president, she stood ground in rebuilding back the confidence of the people in their government. She instituted reforms that restored back the freedom and democracy that had been robbed from the people during the dark years of martial law. She was steadfast in fulfilling her mission as a transition President despite some series of coup de'tat that wanted to grab power. She did not falter. She showed to the world that though she was a simple widow who was even reluctant to be pitched against the most feared and powerful dictator in a well-machinated election, she can lead a torn nation into a tomorrow that promises a rising sun of hope.

That was Tita Cory. She finished her term in a smooth transfer of power which I witnessed for the first time in my life. I was not able to see how power was transferred during the Macapagal - Marcos ceremony. Perhaps I was too young then.

Now, Tita Cory is gone. But her memories are forever etched in history. To many of us who saw her as the mother of our nation who gave birth to the democracy that we now enjoy, she will be missed so deeply.

I must admit it. Tears welled in my eyes for Tita Cory. When I served in the SMT Parish this late afternoon, another lump choked me as Tita Cory's name was read during the Prayers of the Faithful.

As one radio reporter read on the air Tita Cory's prayer about death, which she personally wrote when she was yet President, my admiration grew stronger. She was a woman of faith. She was a woman of God.

Tita Cory was a gift of God to us, Filipinos. And she will forever be.

Tita Cory, thank you so much for not having chosen to be just an ordinary widow after Ninoy's martyrdom. Thank you for having restored back the dignity of the Filipino nation. Thank you for being a model of faith.

Godspeed, President Cory. Be with Ninoy now and with Jesus. Look down upon us with your motherly love and jolt those who have forgotten the martyrdom of Ninoy and the idealism of his widow.

We love you.

Eternal rest grant unto Tita Cory, O Lord. And let perpetual light shine upon her. May she rest in peace. Amen.

Photographs: Reuters