Cory Ng EDSA: The Grand Filipino Musicale

So last Saturday, which would appear as February 25, 2012 on your calendars, marked 26 solid years of freedom from what most remember to be a controlling, cruel dictatorship. And it wasn’t just any regular People Power Anniversary this year – no, because unlike usual holidays which most students like myself spend lounging about at home, this day also brought to the students of Quezon City Science High School the golden opportunity to seep into our history, flare with nationalism and hunger for justice and freedom. How? Well, thanks to Force Majeure Events Management, three batches from my school were able to watch the critically-acclaimed Cory Ng EDSA: The Grand Filipino Musicale which brought us to a time not so long ago and strived to reinstill in its viewers the passion for and appreciation of democracy.

Riddle me this: Why the People Power Revolution of 1986?

Well, definitely I wouldn’t say that it was the pinnacle of Philippine History, nor would I say that it was the catalytic point in time that changed our destiny indefinitely. What I would say though is that it is a powerful symbol – a reminder to keep fighting for the greater good. The freedom that we the youth enjoy so fully and take so much for granted was the fruit of our parents, titas and titos taking a plunge into the cunning darkness that they knew could swallow them whole, without any chance of ever stepping back into the light. Friendships were broken. Jobs were lost. Hearts were torn. People died; killed, in fact. But the ideal they fought for lives on. And that’s why the revolution is so sacred. Arm in arm, holding on to virtue and faith, one nation united towards one goal: to overthrow oppression and cry for democracy. It serves as a trumpet of justice for all ages and nations to listen to in the chaos of injustice.

Digging a little deeper into the revolution, we find that we owe a lot to the tender “Tita” of the country: the late and dearly beloved Corazon Aquino. Her husband was the match that started the fire, and she was the fan that kept it growing. She led us through a peaceful revolt to a freer society wherein our countrymen could live without fear. And beyond that, she took on the administration and tried with a mother’s heart to pick up the broken bits and pieces left by the Marcos regime. Included among these shards was the failing economy. Cory’s administration brought about a regaining of the confidence which Marcos had lost from foreign investors. The economy grew and laws were passed to support the growth. The citizens once again felt no fear in opening new business and venturing into business deals.

Of course it was impossible to please everyone, but Cory Aquino showed so much bravery and determination in striving to finish what she started and holding on to what she believed in. Even when her term ended, Cory did not leave the side of our fellowmen. As seen in the musical from scenes which featured Pinoy Me, she continuously supported those who needed it and gave people a chance to live above poverty and enjoy the wonderful things everyone should have the right to enjoy. For some others whom she helped, it must have also seemed like a second chance at life.

It’s people like the Aquinos who serve as beacons of hope in the dim world of dictatorships like that of Hitler, who mercilessly tried to stamp out an entire race without any system of justice whatsoever, and Gaddafi, who terrorized his own motherland for decades. And that’s only naming two of some of the darkest shades in history.

But for all of these honourable things, the credit goes to the Aquinos and the Filipino people. As for the actual play, honestly speaking, you could say that I was a little disappointed. It was still an entertaining performance, and I commend the effort placed into this project by all the actors and behind-the-scenes magic-makers. But it crumbled from the high expectations of the legacy it was trying to portray, and it shrivelled in comparison to last year’s Ako Si Ninoy, produced by the same group. The side stories of cheesy romance between two couples overrode the story of Cory, which took the play into the depths of familial and romantic drama that barely had anything to do with the revolution. Several scenes in the play simply ate up the time – there was no purpose for them to be there. The humour, although very welcome, was, upon reflection, cheap and artless. And, what I found to be the most devastating of all, they re-enacted the adventure of the people’s revolution, Cory’s climb to presidency over a broken nation and the excitement and outrage that it caused like an outline for an uninspired school report. It lacked so much emotion – it was absolutely impersonal.

Despite the disappointment, the musical did not fail to remind me of the sacrifice, the courage, the faith and the determination it took to bring back democracy, and simply for that, I am thankful.

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