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Monday, February 25, 2008

Remembering EDSA – Feb 1986

February 24,1986 was an ordinary working day. I woke up early dressed up and reported for work. I had known the possible revolt as early as a week before due to mass rallies and demonstrations organized by various groups. I had with me my walkman, to listen to the news. I was expecting to be an early bird being a Monday to start the unfinished accounting workload a week before. I was met by smiling faces of some officemates who advised me that our boss, the President of our division is now at his desk. I thought I guess he must have an attack of insomnia again, he decided to report for work early. I said to myself, not a good timing. He normally would call a meeting before the office starts

True enough his secretary approached me and our Managers for a meeting. I was expecting a serious looking face as we approached the room for the meeting but to my surprised our President was smiling. He told us it will not take long and the meeting would be casual. He said EDSA, is now full of people and if we would like to join the marchers we can go. EDSA is an acronym for Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, the main thoroughfare in Metro Manila Philippines. Back to my desk, I called my mother who at that time was staying at the house my brother for a visit. I told her I am to join the throng at EDSA. But it was my mistake. My mother told me not to go, the place is chaotic. She instead told me to go home or come to my bother’s house. Somehow it is good to know there is such a word tweak. At that time it had worked.

Our office was located in Paseo de Roxas Makati, a block away from Ayala Avenue. It was one of an old building in Paseo de Roxas. Later it was turned down and replaced by a beautiful edifice, now housing the main office of a bank owned by a Filipino- Chinese business tycoon. I had to walk to look for a ride by myself. My officemates happily set out to be on their own ways, either to go home or to join the EDSA crowd. It was almost 10am and normally the place would be crowded in those hours of the day. I was mesmerized of a deserted street. A sound of a low flying helicopter reverberated in the entire Ayala Avenue. Some passing by cars would intermittently throw yellow confetti from a shredded phone directory. That was the time where most offices ran out of phone directory. Or the publisher must have become rich due to the demand.

I chanced upon a mini pick- up jeep, open from the rear with around five people on board. I flashed my finger with letter L sign. A lady asked me if I want to join. Then a young gentleman helped me in. I was wearing a white dress at that time. I got to thinking if they had mistaken me as someone who belongs to a religious order. I was given a stool to sit on. Upon reaching Guadalupe Bridge the driver told us to walk because there was no way he could have the vehicle go through the throng. I do not know where he parked the vehicle but I was glad not to walk all the way from Ayala Avenue to the point where the driver let us alighted the jeep

I guess we were among the early bird who came to EDSA after squeezing ourselves through the crowd. We had occupied the third row from the front line in the middle of the street in between Camp Crame and Camp Aguinaldo. In front of us were nuns dressed in their habits with rosaries dangling from their palms. It was too emotional. We had sung countless number of religious hymns while joined arms and arms. I could hear sporadic clapping and yelling from behind our back Low flying helicopter or helicopters hovering on top of our heads not sure how many and how closed they were. I guess no one dared to look out of fear or so as not to divert attention from our main goal. I lost counts of how long we had stayed in the place. Praying and singing religious hymns, until a batch offered to guard our post. I do not know how exactly I look. I had with me a small purse with my make up kit but it was not my utmost concern at that time.

I arrived home late afternoon almost about to collapse from exhaustion. My landlady told me my mother called several times. I was not ready to listen to probably a rattling or admonishing voice of my mother. I left message to my landlady if my mother would call again to tell her I am safe and sound asleep. The following day Feb 25,1986. I decided to stay home, prayed for my country and safety of all the people in EDSA, prayed for the soldiers and our leaders. Pandemonium broke loose when in early evening we had learned the Marcoses were flown to Hawaii on board an American helicopter.

Some may react to this post. But the idea I want to impart here is I want to remember a day in our Philippine history. I do not have any political affiliations and no plan to be in politics. I would rather be a tax payer and work in a private company until such time I choose to retire.

1 comment:

Johnny R. said...

You got guts to join but probably your most memorable day in your life. In some way, you contributed and shared yourself for the aspiration of the masses to achieve -- FREEDOM.

Johnny R.

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