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.

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