The EDSA Revolution 1986

Hello everyone! Cold but sunny here in Bavaria. Hope it’s also a nice weather wherever you are. A week from now and we will be celebrating the first people power of the Philippines. I still think the EDSA Revolution of 1986 is a very important part of history – I was there! I was with my mother, brother and sister. We made sandwiches and gave them to the soldiers in Camp Crame. We wore yellow. We sang and marched with the others. And to think that I returned to the Philippines after 4 years of being away to be part of it. I know a lot of things had happened since then, and people forgot what they were fighting for. Anyway, I’m re-blogging my article about the EDSA Revolution. Hope you don’t mind reading it again. Cheers for now and look after yourselves. Ladylee x

“We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; for he today that sheds his blood with me, shall be my brother” (Shakespeare, King Henry the Fifth, Scene III, Act 4). This quote is the closest I have for describing this photograph. It is about being there and making a difference. This image is about the EDSA Revolution of 1986 in the Philippines.

The black-and white image was one of the many documentary photographs taken during the EDSA Revolution. Two nuns were kneeling down in front of a soldier. One nun was holding her rosary tightly, mouth wide open, probably urging the soldier not to shoot them or just reciting her prayers loudly. The other nun was in a contemplative mood, one hand touching her chin, the other arm crossed below her chest. In front of them was a soldier, his back half seen in the photograph. He was standing straight, brandishing a belt of bullets, his M-16 rifle held at slope arms. The contrasting image of the nuns and the cold harsh rifle of the soldier was the focus of this photograph. A huge crowd was behind the nuns. They were ordinary street Filipinos, men and women, parents and children, students, employed or unemployed, rich, middle-class or poor. Some of them were kneeling down, some standing, some with fists in the air, some looking nervously, unsure of what happens next.

I was part of this crowd. I was in the background. I also knew what was outside the frame of the photograph because I experienced the same tension and activities. It was a bizarre mixture of more people coming and going in every direction, military tanks and cannons with their soldiers greeted by flowers and food, burning tires, activist flags and streamers, vendors, vehicles, portable radios, foreign correspondents and religious altars everywhere. Strangers flashed wide grins at each other. Motorists honked their horns. People were marching, praying, crying and singing all at the same time.

This documentary photograph was taken anytime during February 22 to 25, 1986, at a stretch of 54 kilometers Epifanio delos Santos Avenue, more commonly known by its acronym EDSA, in Metro Manila. It involved over 2 million Filipino civilians, as well as several political, military and religious groups. It was one of nonviolent protests that began in 1983 and culminated in 1986. The methods used amounted to a sustained campaign of civil resistance against the 20-year running authoritarian, undemocratic regime of the then President Ferdinand Marcos. It led to his departure from the Malacanang Palace to Hawaii and the re-establishment of the country’s democracy. Corazon Aquino was proclaimed as the legitimate President of the Philippines after the revolution (;

Nobody in the photograph was an expert. Nobody knew what they were doing. They were not organized in any form or manner. They did not really know what was going on beyond their field of vision, beyond the square feet their feet could walk. The image captured the emotion and the disoriented feeling of the subjects. There was a feeling of uncertainty and tension as the people seem to be waiting for the reaction of the soldier. They did not know what manner of harm he intends to inflict on them. Will he shoot them? Will there be bloodshed? There was also a feeling of defiance as their fists hit the air, or of faith as they recite their prayers. However, there was no plot, no Promised Land, no Utopia. At that time, Filipinos did not go there to make a revolution or establish a Brave New World. It can be argued that the chronology of the event forces us to admit that there was no miracle here, no reducing the whole experience to class, no organization that could take responsibility for the outcome.

Revolutions do not take place overnight. The Marcos years, characterized by the unscrupulous exercise of power preservation, fomented political unrest. Allegations of graft and corruption against the administration would forge a disproportion of wealth. The declaration of Martial Law on September 23, 1972 started a feeling of discontent which would make this act of resistance essential, even inevitable to the reinstatement of democracy ( The EDSA Revolution of 1986 was about the people power that was of the spontaneous, disoriented, unorganized fluid and ambiguous kind. Filipinos from all walks of life discovered a collective will that they had never exerted before and a common bond they had never nurtured. Spontaneity, astonishment and interestingness were the very spirit of the vent. To conclude, people, when treated badly, can summon enough courage, solidarity and determination to stand up and resist.

“Old men forget, yet all shall be forgotten; But he’ll remember, with advantages, so what feats he did that day” (Shakespeare, King Henry the Fifth, Scene III, Act 4). Thirty two years later, I know that these Filipinos will always be my brothers and sisters. I was there. I wanted to make a difference. I was part of that history.


Wouldn’t It Be Nice

Wouldn’t it be good if you’re here?
Holding my hand to give me cheer
Watch the world as they slowly pass
And on the table our wineglass by the pier

Wouldn’t it be suave if we dance?
The light of the moon, that’s romance
You look into my eyes and how
My heart is beating fast somehow, like I’m in trance

Wouldn’t it be nice if we talk?
Like there’s no one else on the block
We have the whole time to ourselves
Reading poetry from the shelves and stay ad hoc

Wouldn’t it be great if we stay?
Like this forever and a day
And the challenges we can take
And all the best that we can make, we both say aye

For: Sweet

Other “sweet” posts:

Sunday Writing Prompt – July 2, 2017: Love Flowers

Love breaks my bone and I laugh
Charles Bukowski said that, I mull
What does it mean to me and you?
I know you always make me laugh
When I’m down, you try to put me up
Either by talking about it or other ways
Or you’d do weird stuff that I forget
And I notice all the flowers around
All the ones you’ve planted for me

The brew of the café in the carafe
Pancit you cooked which made me full
Hydrangea and irises, flowers that are blue
The air is full of your good-nature chaff
When it’s empty you put tea in my cup
And you’re always there to give me praise
I’m glad to have you, you’re such an asset
After all these years, you make me astound
With thee my life is full of love and glee

(c) ladyleemanila 2017

  • thanking Him Indoors for our 31 years and counting

For: Sunday Writing Prompt – July 2, 2017: Love Flowers, Thank God, It’s Monday! – Week of July 3rd 2017: 5 things I’m thankful for today


Thirty one years of devotedness and love
All the experience and our adventure
With you it’s like a cooing of a dove
Together we try to find some answer

We’ve made our home and oh so contented
Our son and bride join us and tortoises
We’re grateful to all and feeling so blessed
Places we’ve visited give us real buzz

We’re so different and we argue sometimes
Each other’s quirks and idiosyncrasies
We have created our own paradigms
One thing for sure, the day we always seize

This month we celebrate our Anniversary
Thank you for making my life full of glee

(c) ladyleemanila 2017