the only thing that links me to Cory Aquino is really memory. because while yes, it has been about these images of yellow my grandfather and mother carried, as her death sinks in it’s also about many other images in my head.
of Butz Aquino and ATOM, and an uncle who was part of it. of Kuya at 13 asking that he be allowed to go with our older cousins to EDSA because, as he told my mother, what if there are 999,999 people there? he would make it one million! of a lola who scolded my lolo waving a huge foam laban sign at helicopters hovering over their house: friend! baka mabaril ka!
of being 10 years old, and not knowing much, really. except that three years earlier, Mama was so depressed that Ninoy Aquino was murdered. of finally seeing Cory, his widow, and of watching her campaign with Doy Laurel, and of the yellow and green fighting it out with the red and blue. of crazy elections, and walking with my father to Sto. Domingo Church to see who was winning in our district.
but too, i remember how at a certain point, there were no bottles of San Miguel Beer at our reunions. and the blue tubs of Magnolia Ice Cream were conspicuously absent, too. i imagine now that the adults must have had some Gold Eagle Beer, because what the kids had were Selecta Ice Cream, the less famous, therefore we presumed, less tasty choice.
but it must have tasted the same. after all ice cream is just ice cream to a kid.
what was different, i realize now, was how that unfamiliar tub of ube ice cream was a symbol of a nation coming together. of supporting this woman battling it out with the masculine dictatorship. of believing that it was possible to change things by choosing a different ice cream — or beer — brand. i realize now that this belief in Cory’s call for a civil disobedience campaign, did bank on innocence. a naivete about how capitalism works, and how a boycott rarely does.
that it was successful is also so telling of why our collective memory as articulated by the media has yet to remember this aspect of Cory’s rise as the widow who beat a dictatorship. maybe we have become afraid of remembering that it is possible to hold capitalism by the balls. maybe we have also ceased to appreciate our capacity at believing in one person enough, to change our lifestyles around her cause. maybe we have lost all innocence.
and with Cory dying, in the midst of another dictatorship, maybe even all hope.