February 25, 2011


I wasn't at EDSA in 1986.  It was more a matter of close but not quite; of being so near and yet so far.  I was 18, and home was an aunt's house in Little Baguio.  For some reason, Tita N worshipped Marcos and imposed a semi-martial law ban things un-Marcos.  My inkling then of the storm brewing at EDSA were Joe Taruc excitedly announcing to one and all that JPE and FVR have bolted Malacanang, the helicopters circling the periphery and the three boxes of sardines that Tita N, in a fit of panic-buying, stacked on the stairway.

Secretly, Second Sister and I rejoiced with the EDSA crowd.  (Back home in Sorsogon, we had lightning rallies and secret meetings that, to teenagers, proved much too exciting to pass up.  We learned the songs of the generation, swooned over Elmer Mercado, and flashed the L sign.) We stayed glued to the TV screen, savoring FVR's monumental leap, the palpable euphoria as as Cory announced the flight of the Marcoses and the country's first few gulps of post-FM air.

(Of course Tita N's fear of a hungry, deprived Manila came to pass, and for the better part of two months, we had to think up every possible use for the cans upon cans of sardines.)

A lot has changed since 1986.  EDSA is a lot more difficult to navigate--literally and otherwise.  People Power, I believe, has been reduced to trivial proportions, its meaning lost in the face of politics and politicking.  EDSA Dos and EDSA Tres have shown how fickle we are.

I still get high on the memories of 25 years ago, though, as I'm sure many of us who came of age then still do. EDSA was a defining point in our collective once-upon-a-time, a reminder of what we are capable of as a people.  Even if sometimes, remembering EDSA comes with the nasal assault of sardines.