Memoirs of Cory Aquino
BREAKTHROUGH - Elfren S. Cruz (The Philippine Star) - December 5, 2019 - 12:00am

The title of the book is TO LOVE ANOTHER DAY: The Memoirs of CORY AQUINO: From the Years of Trials, Tragedy and Transformation (1972-1986). Compiled and edited by Rapa Lopa. 2019.

The book is composed of 23 personal essays about the story of Ninoy and Cory written in Cory’s words. The story of how this autobiography came to be published is a great story in itself. In the preface, Rapa explains:

“So let me therefore present this book, which is really Auntie Cory’s unpublished memoirs of a small chapter of her life – a little over thirteen years, to be specific-narrated in her candid, unadorned, yet evocative, prose.

This is the story of her life changing choices that were closely intertwined with her country and people’s history. It is her story of vulnerability, courage, and fidelity, of enduring hope and steadfast faith, of which we Filipinos were all very much a part, perhaps without many of us even being aware of it. It is a story, I think that holds relevance up to this day, during these dark and divisive times.

This is Uncle Ninoy and Auntie Cory’s love story. But it is as much mine as it is yours.”

 Here are excerpts from Rapa’s introduction: 

“Much has been written about the enduring narrative of Ninoy and Cory Aquino and the unique role they played in Philippine history. 

The interviews we conducted, which were the main source of the stories included in this book, were very much like a dialogue, a typical conversation you would have with her. We would ask her a question that would prompt her to recall, in vivid detail, private anecdotes about the past. The stories she shared were informal, free flowing and would sometimes jump from one subject to another.” 

The book is divided into three chapters. Chapter I: Arrest and Imprisonment (1972-1979) is composed of nine stories. The first story is “God had other plans.” In Cory’s words, this is how the story begins:

Before Sept. 23, 1972, it seemed that there was nothing that he could not handle. He had planned his life and everything was going on schedule. At that time, the important event he was most looking forward to was the forthcoming presidential elections of 1973. However, God, I guess had other plans for him.

There are stories about the harsh treatment of Ninoy when he was the prisoner of the Marcos family, But the Aquinos had their own sufferings. Here are Cory’s words:

“ After when martial law happened, I remember I was in church and parang walang nakakita sa iyo. (It was as I was invisible to the people.) Once he [Ninoy] forced me to go to a wedding and so I went with my sister in law Maur. True enough, walang tumabi sa amin sa table. No one sat with us.

The most profound – for me – observation made by Cory in the first chapter is the following: “If Ninoy had gone through just a short detention, maybe he would not have become the person he became...There were so many who were arrested and detained and of course they suffered also. But as time passed, they seemed to have forgotten what they had experienced ... In Ninoy’s case, I think it really grew roots: he learned very much from that very difficult experience. And so did I.”

 Chapter II: Exile and Assassination( 1979-1983) is composed of six personal essays. It begins with Ninoy’s heart attack, exile, homecoming assassination and the mammoth funeral march that has been described as “a glimpse of people power.” The most touching scene in this chapter is when Cory described seeing Ninoy’s body for the first time:

“When I arrived I requested that my children and I be left to ourselves when we looked at Ninoy’s body. I did not want people staring at us. Maur, my brother in law, Paul Aquino; and Rolly were the only ones with us. People had warned me to prepare myself for a shocking sight. Ninoy’s hair was matted with blood, his face was badly bruised, the eyelids blackened and his shirt – the same one he was wearing when he was killed – was all bloody.”

Chapter III : Resistance & Revolution (1983-1986) has eight stories about the snap election, Cory’s campaign and the EDSA People Power. There are political insights on what made her decide to run for president and vignettes about the campaign. But the most interesting story is the one with the title “ Who Killed Ninoy”. Here are Cory’s words:

“ I truly believe that it was Marcos and no one else who ordered the killing of Ninoy.

Pepe Diokno had always been convinced that it could only be Marcos, and not anyone else, not even Imelda...

The rumors had it that Imelda had said to let the Aquinos have their day, because anyway after a month the Filipino people would forget.  This was one time , however, they did not forget.”

MEMOIRS of CORY AQUINO is the story of two Filipinos whose lives dramatically changed as events intruded over which they had no control. It can truly be said that God had other plans for them. 

Creative writing classes for kids and teens

Young Writers’ Hangout on Dec. 7 with Gail Villanueva and Dec. 14 with Rin Chupeco (1:30 pm-3pm; stand-alone sessions) at Fully Booked BGC.   For details and registration, email writethingsph@gmail.com.

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Email: elfrencruz@gmail.com

CORY AQUINO
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