Monday, August 03, 2009

That Old Cory Magic

A law professor once looked at my class and remarked, that for most of us, him retelling the story of EDSA was like his parents retelling the story of the war ("panahon ng hapon"). Most of my classmates were born post-EDSA, and they learned about what happened on those fateful February days - not to mention the events from 1983 that led to People Power - pretty much the same way how my professor (and I, for that matter) learned about the war - through textbooks.

When Cory's children announced early last year, that their mother had cancer of the colon, I told my wife that when the time comes, I will be paying my last respects to the woman who spent the best years of her life in the service of her country. Last Saturday after the game at Cubao, Weng and I passed through Ortigas Ave on the way home to Makati to survey the situation. The rain was pouring really hard, cars can be seen parking along both sides of Ortigas (I think it was the first time I saw people crossing Ortigas), and people are still coming in droves. The line stretched all the way outside the LSGH campus. Weng reminded me that a mass was being held, and that the public viewing will probably not start again until after an hour or so. We decided to go home and just come back later.

At 2 o'clock in the morning, a good number of private vehicles were still parked along both sides of Ortigas. This time, we did not bother to find out if it extended all the way to Wilson, and just asked the policeman on duty if we could park beside a vehicle which appeared to be from Channel 5. I presumed that they wouldn't be going anywhere anytime soon. I never thanked a cop so profusely in my life before that time.

We got inside the campus rather easily, and the lines started in the corridor leading to the gym. There were two lines and they were letting people in by batches. We went up a ramp and into the gym and after less than an hour since we fell in line, we saw the flag-draped casket below an image of the crucified Christ.

As the line went around the gym, you cannot help but notice the flowers around it (there was, in fact, no more space for the flowers inside the gym, that some of them were already placed at the corridor leading to the gym; some were moved to the EDSA Shrine across EDSA). Aside from the huge ones from politicians and government agencies, you cannot possibly miss one simple basket of flowers which was brought by a policeman from ParaƱaque. The line was moving rather quickly, probably in consideration of all the people still in line, and when we saw the remains of the former president, we could only make the sign of the cross and make a very short prayer. But, I think that it was enough.

The next day, we found out that the line already stretched all the way to EDSA and back to Ortigas. The networks were reporting that it takes around two hours to get inside the campus and another hour or so to get inside the gym. They also announced that Wednesday, the day of Cory's interment, was declared a special non-working holiday. I texted my teammates of the development, and one of them replied:

"Anong okasyon?"

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