Cory, the young Scholastican (Part II)

BREAKTHROUGH - Elfren S. Cruz - The Philippine Star

During the 80th birthday celebration of former Aquino Foundation executive director Amelia Bautista years ago, Carina and Cory sat together at the same table. Carina casually asked Cory about a particular yellow fabric she wanted for a pantsuit.

Cory said she would send it over as her costurera gets it from her source in Divisoria.

Of course, that sounded like an empty promise, but not when it is Cory doing the promising. The yellow tela found its way to Carina’s house in Alabang, most likely delivered through Aquino’s son-in-law Manolo Abellada whose parents live there, too. Carina was pleasantly surprised, but knew it was in keeping with Cory and her word of honor and known thoughtfulness. Previous to this, too, Carina had in jest complained about not buying the Cory Aquino notecards as she found them pricey—and Cory sent her some soon after. And if you know Carina, she was not just dropping broad hints.

One of the “quiet” classmates that Cory was close to was Aleli Bautista, with whom she was corresponding in the 1950s when they were already both in college, Cory in New York and Aleli in Manila in SSC. Aleli remembers attending Cory’s birthday parties at the Cojuangco home on Agno Street, and games of hide and seek there till it was dark. In an earlier interview, she had said, “She was really just one of the girls, even if she was one of the richest… She wasn’t snobbish at all, but was kind of shy.” She is amazed that despite the passage of time and the fire that razed Sandejas Street in the SSC neighborhood where the Bautista home was, her correspondence with Cory remained intact. She returned these original letters to Cory and has kept for herself only a four-page chatty one dated July 13, 1951, when they were all in college.

Aleli went to the US in 1966 after finishing Music Pedagogy to become a music cataloger at the Catholic University of America until 1996.

Written from London on Claridge Hotel’s stationery (Claridge’s is today a five-star art deco hotel dating back to 1856), the 18-year-old Cory was talking about sailing to London with her parents and her sister – most likely Terry whom everyone knew was Cory’s closest friend – on the Queen Elizabeth and having to get visas from different consulates for the rest of the trip that lasted until Aug. 20 when they were scheduled to be back in Manila. On board the ship, there were games and entertainment, but they could only watch the dancing because “there were seven of us girls and only three boys.”

The elegant and graceful strokes of Cory’s legible penmanship were there, as she talked about summer vacation just beginning, her shopping not for herself but for the pabilins of her eldest sister Josephine, watching a play “Who is Sylvia” that starred Robert Fleming, admiring a Sadler’s Wells Ballet performance that was superior to the American ballets she had seen, meeting Minister Romero (father of Scholastican Teresita Romero, she pointed out) in the Philippine Legation (the forerunner of today’s embassy and consular offices) in London, leaving for Paris and Rome, giving the Philippine Legation’s address in Rome as her forwarding address for letters she expected from her friends in Manila. There were far too many tourist spots (“sights of interest,” she called them) in London to visit, but “I only hope we shall be able to sleep early tomorrow because in the past three days we have had only six hours of sleep.”

She ended the letter with this, “I guess you must be back in school now. Well, I hope you’re not having too much homework or anything of the sort which would mar your life in college.”

The Bautista sisters, Mely and Laly, continued to be faithful Aquino supporters, regularly attending the private masses for both Cory and Ninoy at the Manila Memorial Park.

St. Scholastica’s College continues to take pride in its most outstanding alumna and the country’s first woman president, Corazon Cojuangco Aquino (Grade School 1943) and honored her in March 1986, with the PAX award, the college’s highest tribute for its outstanding alumnae.

*   *   *

Email: [email protected]

vuukle comment


  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with