People Power, 26 Years Later

Yesterday was the 26th anniversary of  People Power, and with our current president the offspring of the two main figureheads of that revolution, it was sure to have been a spectacular celebration. This entry is not a coverage of the celebrations or an introspection on the past 26 post-People Power years. It is merely a post about a rather nice conversation with a cab driver about the (first) EDSA revolution.


Around 6 AM yesterday, Marj and I finally decided to go home from our regular time-wasting after work. (I almost typed “Friday night out”, but ‘night out’ invokes images of booze and dancing or whatever it is that earning people do on a Friday night in their early- to mid-20s.) So I hailed a cab as usual, rather, a cab stopped in front of us and Marj graciously let me have it because as she announced in front of some officemates, I badly need to pee.

Usually, I put on earphones and listen to the music of my own choosing instead of the radio stations that most cab drivers have on (“Kailangan pa bang i-memorize yan?”/”Ambot sa kambing na may bangs!” What does the last one even mean?) but since traffic updates were on, I vetoed against the earphones.

The radio station mentioned that traffic has already started in some parts of EDSA in preparation for the People Power celebration (no surprise there).

“Nasaan ka niyan?” the driver asked, motioning to the radio.

“Di pa po ako pinapanganak,” I said, rather put off that the driver thought I was old enough to be somewhere during that time.

“1986…”

That started the cab driver on his experience on the days leading to and the day Marcos had to step down. His birthday was Feb 22, but obviously, he could barely do any celebrating. He recalled how everyone was tuned to the only radio station at that time and how they cheered each time someone joined the revolution, especially the ones that they thought would stick by Marcos.

He remembered details like what the main players like FVR and Gringo Honasan looked like (“Ang payat-payat pa niya nun, pero pag nakita mo siya, dala yung armas niya…”). Best of all, he could recall the feeling that came with seeing the events, both in person and from the television. He was there when the army tanks came, and for one horrifying moment, they thought it was going to fire at them. Instead, it came in solidarity with the cause.

I enjoyed listening to his stories, mostly because these are things I couldn’t get from my parents. My parents, at that time, were just getting over my mom’s miscarriage and while they stayed up-to-date with the happenings, they weren’t exactly walking the streets with the people.

Also, it made me recall and compare my own experience with EDSA 2, breathlessly waiting in the classroom of our cancelled Bio class for any news that Erap has stepped down. It was a great, albeit fleeting, feeling: the solidarity with the rest of the Filipino people towards a common cause. The driver clearly felt the same during EDSA 1, and was quick to express his disappointment that the lessons of the past EDSA Revolutions has not stuck.

Anyway, it was one of the most pleasant and interesting cab rides I’ve ever taken.

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