Sunday, August 9, 2009

Tita Cory's Funeral

by Ma. Lourdes S. Bautista
A friend of mine in the Philippines sent me this e-mail about Tita Cory’s funeral. It describes how Filipinos from all walks of life took part in Tita Cory's historic funeral spontaneously. The writer has given Barangay OFW permission to publish her e-mail.
Dear all,

Last Wednesday, August 5, 2009, the Filipino people laid Tita Cory to rest. Ton, Nina, Yumi, Ma and I accepted Gigi's invitation to join her and her family in their place which was near the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX). It offered a good vantage point of Tita Cory's funeral.

Ma and I arrived at Gigi’s place before 9:00 a.m. and so there was no traffic at all. Ton, Nina, and Yumi arrived after a few minutes. We were able to watch the funeral Mass on TV and it was a great experience being able to see it with family.

Iyakin ako, as you know, so there were several times umiyak ako. All of us found Fr. Arevalo's homily beautiful and we were not turned off (as some were, according to the Inquirer) by the celebrities singing songs -- they were all good (especially Dulce and Lea Salonga) and the songs chosen had great meaning in Cory's life.
At 2:30 p.m., when we thought the cortege was approaching Gigi’s place, we went to SLEX. Ay naku, the wait lasted two hours. It was a very mixed group -- peninsulares who lived in posh villages and ordinary Filipinos. There were the usual vendors of bottled water and peanuts and fish crackers.

When the advance party of the cortege came in view, we flashed the L sign and shouted, “Cory, Cory!” several times. We saw Gina Lopez and then Judy and Mar Roxas drive by. We saw Butch Abad, Aurora Pijuan, and Jun Lozada walk by.

Finally! The flatbed truck with Cory's flag-draped coffin surrounded by flowers and the four honor guards standing tall!

Shouting, “Cory, Cory,” we were again teary-eyed. It was an emotional moment. Nina was shocked that Ma, who’s in her 80s, clambered on top of a monobloc chair to get a better view.

The vans and buses carrying the Aquino family followed. But because of the tinted windows, we only glimpsed Jiggy Aquino-Cruz holding a placard with the pentel-pen inked message: "WE LOVE U. SALAMAT."

Then the rain poured and the wind blew -- and even though we were protected by the Skyway overhang -- we got really wet. The rain came in horizontal torrents.

Ma and I took EDSA back to the house and there was no traffic. We passed by Tita Cory's house on Times Street and we saw the orchids that we had left the day before. At home, we caught the tail-end of the funeral on TV.

A memorable day indeed -- thanks to Gigi and family for the idea and for the great hospitality.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Images of Tita Cory's Funeral Cortege

I chanced upon this blog which features pictures and video clips of Tita Cory's funeral cortege from La Salle Green Hills to Manila Cathedral on 3 August 2009.

Do check it out.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Tita Cory's Wake... Incandescent Smile

by Felix Bautista

A friend of mine in the Philippines forwarded to me another e-mail about Tita Cory’s wake at the La Salle Green Hills Gymnasium. The original writer of the email has given Barangay OFW his permission to publish his email.

From: Felix Bautista ______________________
Date: Wed, Aug 5, 2009 at 6:56 AM
Subject: Tita Cory's Wake
To: tish bautista ___________________________


Tato, Joville, Nina and I went to the wake Sunday night. It was raining while we were in the car, but mercifully, the rains stopped when we left Robinson's Galleria parking. We stopped over at the EDSA Shrine and took the elevated walkway to Ortigas.

We got to the line at around 7:30 PM, near the tire shop on Ortigas and the line was just two deep. We settled in for a long wait, observing people, listening to hawkers plying their trade, and hearing Nina talk about her experiences as a high school teacher at La Salle Green Hills in 1986.

It took us several hours to get inside the gym, but we were offered Nestea juice and iced tea, Hersheys kisses, San Mig coffee. The only thing missing were the biscuits, a constant in Philippine wakes.

On the long ramp up to the gym, we saw two of Tita Cory's grandsons, as they worked the line apologizing to the people for the long wait.

Finally, we got inside the gym, and my first impression was that it looked like a giant TV studio, with all the lights and equipment. What struck me next was that even with all the people, the gym was almost quiet.

Soon, we were facing the coffin, and we only had enough time to make the sign of the cross. I only saw the heavily made-up face, not the brown hands and the rosary.

I also saw Ninoy during his wake at the Sto. Domingo Church -- Ninoy in his bloodied clothes. The two images from the two wakes were like night and day.

And then I remembered what Kris said during the Boy Abunda interview earlier. Kris said that she promised Tita Cory that she will make sure that Tita Cory will look good in her wake, so she was present the whole time, during the transfer of the remains from Makati Medical Center to the Heritage Mortuary, the embalming and preparation. And then in typical showbiz fashion, she thanked people who did Tita Cory's hair, makeup and clothes...

It was Kris's showbiz tribute to her mom.

I prefer to retain an image of Cory when she lit up in her incandescent smile, which I am now indelibly reminded watching all of the tributes to her on television. I will remember her for her transparency, her sincerity, her lack of pretence.

We stayed a while, sitting on the bleachers. Joville and Nina signed our names in the visitor's book. We received yellow pins; I will keep mine as a memento. For some minutes, we watched as people viewed Cory, trying to recognize Important People, drinking in the atmosphere.

Nearing 11 pm, we left the wake. On the way out, we caught a glimpse of Dolphy and Zsa Zsa. Dolphy looked stooped and was heavily made- up. So was Zsa Zsa.

As we walked back to Robinson’s Galleria, the line had grown four- tiers thick. The visit to the wake was, for me, a perfect ending to a truly happy day when I celebrated my birthday.


OFWs and Tita Cory

by Noslen Sonnel
August 5, 2009 12:45 a.m.

Far from the land of our birth
We thrive on this one land called earth
To be back home our constant dearth
Our fatherland, our countrymen, our mirth.

Adopted, yet unwanted.
Paid yet unneeded.
Seen yet unseen.
Here yet keen.

Keen to see the day of our return.
Hoping and weeping, graceful and silent
Struggling, striving and always benevolent.
Sending our dollars like we've tons to burn.

Keen to see our nation's rebirth.
See Happy Pinoys with none so poor.
Humble leaders with diminished girth.
'Tis what we'd like to see at the end of our tour.

The death of Cory increased our sorrow.
Yet we struggle on ‘cuz there’s still tomorrow.

She was the mother who wouldn’t let us leave
A fellow Pinoy who wanted us not to cleave.
She believed what many of us abandoned
The road she travelled, we scorned and disowned.

Yet in the depths of our hearts we are brown.
We knew then and we know now that we can.
That we Pinoys can never be let down.
And we may yet prove that we are her avid fan!

The death of Cory increased our sorrow.
Yet we struggle on ‘cuz there’s still tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tita Cory's Wake

by Ms. Juliet Guanlao

A friend of mine in the Philippines forwarded to me an e-mail about Tita Cory’s wake at the La Salle Greenhills. The original writer of the email has given Barangay OFW her permission to publish her email.

From: Juliet Guanlao _________________
To: usths80@_______________________
Sent: Sunday, August 2, 2009 10:35:31 PM
Subject: [usths80] Tita Cory's Wake
I was there last night. It took me, a friend, and three nieces more than three hours to get to Tita Cory's coffin, where we were able to spend a few seconds to say thank you.

I could not pass up on this chance to feel "People Power" all over again. I went there with the hope of witnessing and feeling the same fever that gripped all of us 23 years ago. I was at EDSA (it happened three months after I came home from an 8-year stay in NY). I was squeezed at the gates of MalacaƱang with the passionate mob who rushed there after hearing the news that the Marcoses had fled. I was in Luneta during the rally after the dictator was ousted.

I just felt that this is the last chance to feel Tita Cory's fervent hope to unite us, even up to her death.
I was not disappointed. The unity of our people and the desire to be with Tita Cory for the last time are very much alive. The line started from Gate 5 and extended all the way to the corner of EDSA and Ortigas, and snaked 4 times. Four layers of people peacefully and orderly lined up along Ortigas, in the midst of traffic and the smoke-belching vehicles. But there were no complaints, no rowdiness among the crowd, just the usual noise of people chatting, waiting patiently in line.

There were a lot of smiles, nods and short comments exchanged among strangers, as we passed by or faced each other in our respective spots. As expected, there were a lot of entrepreneurs who were able to produce yellow shirts and yellow ribbons in such a short time.

We arrived at around 8:30 pm and were able to join the 2nd layer of the line. Those who were in the first line had been there since 4 o'clock. There was a mass at 8pm and they stopped letting people in at 7.

We were feeling impatient at around 10:30 pm when, to our surprise, there was activity behind us. Tita Cory's grandsons, Jiggy (the one who looks like Ninoy) and the other one (we didn't get his name but I think he was the other one who was frequently seen with Jiggy, but this time without his Ninoy glasses), were walking through the lines, shaking people's hands, profusely thanking and apologizing to everyone about the long wait.

Of course there were a lot of posing and picture-taking, and these two young lads were game! It was probably a nightmare for the two security personnel who tailed Tita Cory’s grandsons. Their presence gave everyone the much-needed boost, and we were able to keep our spirits up for the next 2 hours. There was even one lady behind us who shouted, "Iho, ano nga bang pangalan mo? Iboboto kita!" It was indeed an unexpected but heartwarming gesture from those two young men.

When we had gone through the gates, we saw young people handing out Kopiko candies and Hershey's Kisses chocolates. Feeling nasa wake talaga! Kulang na lang Boy Bawang, Happy peanuts, butong pakwan and Zest-o. But there were water dispensers and cups in different spots inside the campus.
Flowers lined up the corridors, and Tita Cory's enlarged portraits were placed along the hallway leading to the coffin. Inside the gym, celebrities were everywhere. But despite the fact that there were showbiz stars and politicos everywhere, I didn't think it replaced the feelings of the people that they were there to pay their respects to Tita Cory. The mood was calm and solemn.
In two's, we were allowed only a few seconds in front of the coffin. Not enough to digest and take in the minute details of this once-in-a-lifetime experience. I was there with a friend and my three nieces, and when we were back in the car, we pieced together all that we were able to store in our memories.

Tita Cory was wearing a simple bright yellow dress with sparkling stones. Brownish hands folded clutching a rosary. Jet black hair combed back, bright red lips, heavily-foundationed face. She looked very different... she looked like a Chinese mestiza but decades younger... The face was different from the Tita Cory we are all familiar with. But her expression was very serene... very peaceful...

The way she looked in the coffin got us distracted. We were hoping to see the sweet, motherly face of Tita Cory. We walked back to the car pensive, and disturbed. We did not want this to be the last memory we will have of her.
My initial feeling was, I wish I did not go.... But now, the morning after, things are clearer in my mind. She must have suffered so much in her ordeal that they had to hide the pain.. The face may have masked the sufferings but the color of her hands exposed them anyway... Now I feel that even up to her death, she wanted us to see her strength, not her sufferings. And for that, I admire her more...
Tita Cory suffered so much in her a wife, as a mother, as a person...We are the ones who benefited from those sufferings. As a nation, we are free. But, as a people, we have a lot more to do. My fervent prayer is for all of us to show the same unity that we showed Tita Cory and do our share in addressing the ills of our country.

Twenty-six years ago, I was marching in the streets of New York City, together with the members of the anti-Marcos movement, because Ninoy had been assassinated. I live now in Manila, but for the 26 years that I have lived here, my sense of obligation has centered around myself and my loved ones. Other than doing my best to be a law-abiding citizen, the occasional bouts of nationalism demonstrated during the People Power and now for Tita Cory, I have not really done much. I hope now, I can start...

I have been a silent reader in our e-group for the past 8 years.. Now I cannot resist na magparamdam because I want to share this experience with all of you.

To those who are overseas and cannot make it to the wake, I hope this gives you a glimpse of what it was like to be there, from my perspective. To those who can make it to the Manila Cathedral, you still have a chance.
Let's pay our respects to Tita Cory. It's the least we can do. And let's hope that the spark that this visit rekindles will stay and ignite us to move.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Thank you, Tita Cory!

Tribute to Tita Cory
25 January 1933 - 1 August 2009

Maria Corazon C. Aquino
11th President of the Philippines

Thank you, with all our hearts, for your:

C- ourage and dedication

O-verwhelming simplicity and sincerity

R- esolute commitment to democracy

A-mazing and audacious faith
Z-ealous love of country

O-verflowing kindness and love

N-ever-ending legacy of freedom!