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A Tribute to a Great Lady
Philippines' 11th President Died Today
This hub is a short tribute to a great, gentle, soft-spoken, elegant lady who became our first female president, restored democracy in our country in a bloodless revolution and inspired the people from other countries to follow our example.
Today, an icon of the Filipinos died after more than a year of battling colon cancer. She is Ms. Corazon "Cory" Aquino, our 11th president. She made significant contributions to the democracy that our country is experiencing right now. Her rise to presidency was nothing short of miraculous. The then-president (and dictator) Ferdinand Marcos, after 20 years of rule in our country, surprised everyone by challenging his detractors to a snap election in a bid to extend his reign. His challenge came during periods of mounting criticisms, unrest and demonstrations which all called for his stepping down from power. Ms. Cory Aquino, the widow of the former senator and assassinated martyr, Benigno Aquino, Jr., heeded the challenge. Her momentous decision united a previously disorganized opposition, with everyone supporting her candidacy, and ended 20 years of dictatorship under the Marcos regime.
Memories of a Child
The first time I was ever near our Ms. Cory Aquino was when she was still campaigning for presidency. I was about 10 years old then but, even at the young age, we were already aware that what was happening (her campaign, the snap elections, etc.) will have a huge impact in our lives. Ms. Cory went to my hometown during her campaign. She stopped by our plaza (or small park) to deliver her speech. That park was right behind my classroom! Imagine our excitement when we heard that she was there. All of us rushed to our window to catch a glimpse of her. Unfortunately, we could not see her due to the sheer volume of the people who were in the park that day. Even so, we could feel the intensity of her presence and we started chanting "Cory, Cory, Cory!". It was really something.
When she led that bloodless revolution (called "People Power I" or the "EDSA Revolution), we were all glued in front of our television sets, watching that very significant event. Physically, we could not be there but emotionally, mentally and spiritually, we were all present in that place.
The Filipino's Loss
Ms. Cory Aquino was instrumental in instituting historical changes in our country. She led not only one but two bloodless revolution. The first, People Power I, catapulted her into the highest position in the country. The second, People Power II, resulted to the second female president of the country, Gloria Arroyo. She believed in democracy and the power of prayers. When her husband died, she was "only" a housewife but she willingly took up the cudgels and her husband's cause and fought back. She was an inspiration to everyone, her soft voice and gentle words always bringing about changes in us, both internally and externally. She's well-loved by everyone, friends and enemies alike. When she was diagnosed with a colon cancer, the whole country (as well as the Filipinos in other countries) went down on its knees to pray for her recovery. She was told that she had only three months to live but she lived for almost 1 and a half years after her diagnosis (a small miracle by itself). She left us all a legacy of democracy and freedom, a mother of the Filipino nation who never tired of giving herself for the sake of her country and her people.
With her death, the whole country mourns the passing of this great, influential icon. Military honors, tributes from other leaders around the world, masses, vigils, etc. - all these are proof of how well loved she is. I don't know if we'll have another Cory Aquino in my lifetime, but for now, I am satisfied with having known a person such as she. Rest in Peace Ms. Cory. You've done all of us proud.
Update: Pres. Cory Aquino was buried beside her husband a few hours ago. Her burial march from the cathedral to her final resting place took over 8 hours! The original (reasonable) estimate was only 2 hours, however, due to the sheer volume of the people (estimated at around 300,000) who wanted to see her for the last time, her hearse and the other vehicles have to move very slowly. All the people stopped what they are doing, waved yellow flowers and balloons and chanted her name. This just showed that the Filipinos really have a high regard for her and will always appreciate what she did for the country. Mabuhay ka, Cory!