Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Paalam Tita Cory


si Mikee Cojuangco jaworski

I wrote this blog yesterday afternoon but I again encountered problems with the server. I couldn’t post the blog. Yesterday was a very historical day. It was Tita Cory’s funeral and I’m proud to be one of the thousands of people who braved the intermittent but occasionally heavy rains and some flood waters and joined the procession. I didn’t however, march all the way until Manila Memorial Park, which took about eight hours. I walked from Manila Cathedral to Luneta, Roxas Boulevard, Quirino Avenue until Taft Avenue. I then stepped aside, watched the entire funeral march pass then took the LRT.

It had been raining most of the time since the wake of Tita Cory last Saturday until the burial yesterday. Fortunately, I went to La Salle Greenhills early Sunday morning when the queue wasn’t long and weather was fine. It took me only 20 minutes before I was able to view Tita Cory’s remains. Those who came in the evening had to wait for two to three hours, and when the body was brought to Manila Cathedral, the queue almost reached Plaza Lawton and many waited for four hours to get a few seconds glance at Tita Cory. But people didn’t mind. That’s how we loved our icon of democracy.

I went to Manila Cathedral before 9 am. Of course, I knew I’ll just be standing several meters away because the church was cordoned off for the family, friends and relatives and dignitaries. But I didn’t mind. There were many of us outside. It was reminiscent of Ninoy’s burial but with a difference. Just a little bit of history, Ninoy was buried on Aug 31, 1983. (That was my birthday). I was teaching in UST at that time, and I waited for Ninoy’s funeral cortege along Espana in front of UST. The people’s mood was different then. The atmosphere was that of protest and defiance. Now, it’s a mixture of sadness and joy, and an expression of gratitude for everything that Tita Cory has done for the nation.

As we stood there in the rain (kantyawan pag may nagbubukas ng payong). People who didn’t know each other were recalling their experiences in EDSA I and before that, Ninoy’s assassination. Others who joined our conversation said they were still small children at that time. It was heartwarming to see families who came with small children in spite of the crowd and the rains.

We could hear the proceedings inside because of the sound system but there was no vidi wall on our side. When Lea Salonga sang Bayan Ko, people sang with her while raising their fists. When finally, the coffin was brought out, people started chanting Cory, Cory, and flashed the Laban sign. It’s like re-living the EDSA experience. We’re all hoping that this renewed nationalism and sense of unity will not die down. Sana hindi “ningas cogon”.

On a lighter note, when Kris Aquino during her long thank you speech, asked, pano daw ba sila makakapagpasalamat sa mga tao for all the outpouring of love and sympathy, may nag-comment, “magpakabait ka lang, ok na sa amin”. Then I received a text message from a friend, saying that he didn’t come to the funeral anymore because he knew there would be a lot of people and it would be difficult to move around. Hintayin na lang daw niya libing ni Gloria, siguradong maluwag daw, konti ang tao. That was a mean joke. Somebody also said, sana bukas may pirated DVD copy na sa Quiapo nang buong coverage from the wake to the burial, gaya daw ng mga laban ni Pacquiao.

I am sharing with you some pictures I took. Sorry for the low resolution. I just used my cell phone. (I have yet to replace my camera with a new one.)

Tita Cory must be happy now with God, Ninoy, and Mama Mary, and she must have been gratified seeing all the people who turned out to send her off.

Thank you Tita Cory for everything that you have done for the nation. You made us proud to be Filipinos.

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