I was a Grade One pupil when this story happened. Though it's been 33 years since, the memory of that dramatic moment is still palpable to me. Now read about the hours leading to the family tension, the eventual heated arguments, and the personal truths that divided our family and the rest of the nation (even till this day).
The morning after, it was more painful to watch my adoptive mother as she remained uncommunicative. She spent the nights worrying about my aunt, Antigone (not her real name), who did not come home during that weekend.
It was then Monday, February 25, 1986.
Aunt Antigone studied at the University of the Philippines in Los Baños (she was in her third year then) and she usually comes home during the weekend. That weekend was different.
The emotional strain in our household was intensified by the bombardment of news coming from EDSA. The air was thick with hushed worries as families throughout the nation anticipated the probable eventuality that could unfold. Our black and white television screen showed military tanks being kept at bay by mere rosary-praying nuns, college students and many other people.
Then, suddenly, she was home.
Aunt Antigone's face was one of exhaustion and worry. She knew that she could get slapped for this recent escapade more so since she looked like a homeless person. Wearing a shirt that was obviously not hers, she arrived grimy and famished. But she knew that she will not share a hearty meal with the family if she did not explain what happened during those days and nights that she did not come home.
It didn't take long for her to account for the lost hours. According to her, they (students from UPLB) were asked by their professor to join the revolution then transpiring in EDSA. She did not want to cause disappointment, hence, she joined, after all, there were free shirts and free food. She complained, though, that she ate nothing but bread all the time.
As a young kid, I've never been more interested in listening to an adult conversation. I mean, Aunt Antigone recounted how they lied on the ground as the soldiers and tanks moved forward.
'She's so brave. How could she not fear getting squashed by those tanks?', my young mind asked.
And though Aunt Antigone assuaged my mom that she did not have any choice but to say yes to her professor, the latter did not take this event lightly. Our family came from the North (our roots are from Ilocos Sur) and my grandfather was a distant relative of Arturo Tolentino (who ran as Marcos' vice-president during the 1986 snap elections) so the family's political inclinations are understandable.
Aunt Antigone may have been reproved for her recklessness but the wedge was already axed in. She may or may not have been swayed by the said peaceful revolution but our family was definitely not one that day - as was the nation.
I won't elaborate on my political beliefs here. I grew up, strictly told, that I am not supposed to argue about religion or politics because people have their own views and they should be respected for that. And as we celebrate another year of the EDSA People Power I, I still believe that no amount of ranting or persuading will make a dilawan become a Duterte fanatic or a dutertard suddenly embrace the views of the administration's critics.
Here are two popular, opposing views of EDSA I --
EDSA People Power Revolution, Philippine History
The lie of EDSA -
Which one I actually believe is pretty obvious to my closest friends but, again, I won't elucidate about it here. All that I ask my fellow Filipinos is to have RESPECT if they cannot have unity at this point. And this coming May elections, let your ballots speak for your political convictions.
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E.S. Villamor has made a career in writing for a decade now. Her online business - GIML (Gabriela Isabel & Miguel Lucas) Publishing started in 2014. She advocated for women's rights and was once enamored with imparting financial literacy through training and blogs but she is now focused on propagating all things Filipino. This site is also being groomed as a rich homeschooling resource.