Monday, August 24, 2009

The Last Journey of Ninoy

Moving. It was worth the wait. After watching tonight’s ABS-CBN special, I now fully understand what is meant by Ninoy’s death for the country and for the world.

I am already 32. My political awareness was developed some time in my primary years when button pins of KBL were items to fight for with other kids. These circular buttons were made of tin cans and delicately laminated for a smoother and glossy effect. Printed on them were the names MARCOS-TOLENTINO and the letters KBL. Owed to our innocence, we made hunches as to what magical words does KBL stand for? Kasal-Binyag-Libing? Kasa-Baril-Lupok? The latter was more interesting, but just like any kids of my age, we never knew what was really going on then.

I knew that Marcos declared Martial Law in 1972. But this did not mean so much to me than a historical date I have to memorize for a quiz. I knew that Marcos lifted it, too (thanks to the internet, in 1981). But tonight, I was amazed (yes) to discover that I was born during the Martial rule. I was born when Ninoy and the unsung others were fighting for democracy and for their lives. Yet, there was not a distinct mark of it in my childhood. Life was normal.

My Uncle Gary owned a yellow shirt with a face of a man in spectacles sketched in black. According to him, that was Ninoy. It was not a big deal again for me since faces of other people could also be etched on tees.

These were the recollections that flashed before me in between the special. I was trying to figure out, where was I, how old I was when all these ordeals of Ninoy were happening. I was six when he was shot, but I couldn’t recall any memory about it. Maybe I was still busy playing patintero, suyod-bayod, lagsanan, tumba lata, luksong tinik, habuyan, bong-lata, barilan, and many more .

I was in the third grade, when the EDSA Revolution broke out and successfully overthrew the Marcos government. Coming from a very lowly family, I was unfortunate my widowed mother was busy looking for a living than discussing this significant event with me and my siblings. The only thing she told me was, “Mabarato ron ang bugas.”

Watching the documentary was like joining Ninoy and Cory in their fight. They spoke to my heart (yes, Ninoy and Cory were the narrators) and showed to me how evil their years were. I joined Ninoy in his last journey, from America to Singapore, to Malaysia, to Hongkong, to Taiwan and to Manila. I empathized with the unbearable pain and sorrow… the feeling that he was left alone in the battleground. Yet Ninoy knew the worth of what he was fighting for. And to these, I became a part of him, of his advocacy and of his undying faith. I have nothing but deep veneration for this man, I only knew before by name and by face. But now, Ninoy will be a part of me.

Thank you… Marcial Bonifacio!

“To be willing to march into hell for a heavenly cause.”


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