Monday, August 03, 2009

I sang for President Cory Aquino, for the first and the last time

On Saturday, August 1, I woke up to an sms from my co-UP Concert Chorus Alum, Ging, that our dear former President Corazon Cojuangco Aquino or Tita Cory, had passed away. Her message was quickly followed by another one, asking if I was willing to come over and sing for the 8pm mass set that evening in La Salle, Greenhills where the late President's body was brought for public viewing. It was going to be the first mass for the wake of Pres. Cory Aquino...

I knew there was going to be a lot of people, tight security because of all the VIPs coming, parking was going to be difficult, not to mention I haven't sung with the UP Concert Chorus in a long time...but there was no hesitation when I replied: Yes, I will go.

After some errands in Makati and a light KFC take-out dinner in the car, Liz and I made our way to La Salle, Greenhills. Along the way, we could already see the yellow ribbons on the vehicles around us, on the branches of trees along Ortigas Ave, even on lamp posts and road blocks, all leading us to where we needed to go.

When we got there, we found La Salle had been closed for entry so we parked across the street and walked to the gymnasium where the mass was going to be held. There was already a long line of people waiting under the rain, hoping to get one last look at the beloved former President.

Inside the gym, the lights were bright but the mood somber and respectful. There were chairs arranged in rows in front of a makeshift stage, and in between was the casket with the remains of Tita Cory. There were 2 cameras on extensions, several more cameramen going around, and there was a row of tables with laptops and other gadgets on them which I assumed were the press people.

I looked around and saw her family: I saw Kris Aquino was being interviewed, I saw Jiggy Aquino-Cruz, one of her grandsons who I happened to read about in a magazine just before going to the wake, Mikee and Chynna Conjuangco were there too.

Mayor Sonny Belmonte was there, VP Noli De Castro, Mayor Alfredo Lim, Sen. Loren Legarda, former President Fidel Ramos and a host of other political figures were present. Media personalities and celebrities were also in attendance: David Celdran, Charo Santos-Concio, Bianca Gonzalez, Tessa Prieto-Valdez. Singers Jose Mari Chan, Jaime Rivera and Gary Valenciano were also present, and later gave tributes and sang after the mass ended.

Being inside the "VIP" area, we did not have to line up from outside to view the remains of the late President. So we took a short queue from inside the barricaded area, Liz and I went together, to see her in person for the first, and for the last time.

Cory looked peaceful, her face bright, her hands clasped and holding a golden rosary. I uttered a short prayer for her, and before we left, I gave her a small bow to show my respect. I would have preferred to have sung for her in a different setting, but I guess it must be this way. Even though I was singing with 20+ other people in the choir, it felt like it was my personal tribute to her. It was an honor to sing for her. I will always remember her as a shining symbol of hope and democracy for the Filipino people and for the world.

Thank you for the inspiration, Cory Aquino.




Here's the only Youtube video I found of the mass with us singing in the background: Click here.


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34 comments :

  1. what an honor. a day you will remember i am sure.

    Recent blog:=- Flowers

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  2. wow. what a great opportunity. di ko man nakita yun alam kong you've done well. i know.

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  3. what an honor!

    and I agreed, it would have been nice if it were in a different setting... but like you said, it should really be that way...

    may she rests in peace...



    Recent blog:=- The Man That Blogging Built

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  4. wow..bigatin pala ang choir nyo. that is a big honor..

    Recent blog:=- Yellow Day

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  5. It was an honor, even if it wasn't the way I envisioned myself to be a part of history!

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  6. That was a very selfless gesture. I am sure that your voices resounded in the heavens and greeted here there.

    Z

    Recent blog:=- WOOF Contest – Top Picks July 24 (Late, but worth it!)

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  7. "Even though I was singing with 20+ other people in the choir, it felt like it was my personal tribute to her. It was an honor to sing for her. I will always remember her as a shining symbol of hope and democracy for the Filipino people and for the world."

    That much is true, Rey. Well said. I'm glad you wrote it all down here in your blog. Everything tastefully done, Rey. I'm proud of you.

    Recent blog:=- Jena Isle: Surrogate Mother, Sublime Writer, Incomparable Friend

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  8. Nice of you to write about it, Rey.

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  9. you're very lucky, you got a chance to see her at the very last time. We were not able to see her because of the weather and malayo yun dito sa amin.

    pero I always pray for her.. RIP cory...

    Recent blog:=- A Story Plus Some Photos of Our Flowerhorn Fish

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  10. Yeah. And what my memory cannot hold, I have written here. :D Blogging is great that way.

    It was an honor indeed. :)

    Recent blog:=- I sang for President Cory Aquino, for the first and the last time

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  11. Thanks for your trust Badong. We did our best to give Cory Aquino a good mass choir.

    Recent blog:=- I sang for President Cory Aquino, for the first and the last time

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  12. I've sang in the presence of Imelda Marcos, Fidel Ramos and even Pres. GMA, but I don't recall ever singing for Cory before. So this was really a first. and unfortunately, also a last.

    Recent blog:=- I sang for President Cory Aquino, for the first and the last time

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  13. it was an honor. a huge one.
    bigatin ba ang choir? hehe. :D =-O

    Recent blog:=- I sang for President Cory Aquino, for the first and the last time

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  14. I hope so. :D
    By the way, I saw your sonnet for Tita Cory. :D

    Recent blog:=- I sang for President Cory Aquino, for the first and the last time

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  15. Thank you for your kind words Master Jedi Jan! Wasn't it a good decision though? Thanks for supporting me!

    Recent blog:=- I sang for President Cory Aquino, for the first and the last time

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  16. I couldn't not write about it, really. It was brewing in my chest the whole time, i had to let it out. :'(

    Recent blog:=- I sang for President Cory Aquino, for the first and the last time

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  17. That's too bad Kelvin. But really, if I didn't need to be there, I probably would have thought twice about just going. Did you see the videos of the crowds yesterday? Wow.

    Recent blog:=- I sang for President Cory Aquino, for the first and the last time

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  18. I like that you choose to be tactful. If this chance to other bloggers, I'm
    sure they would have pulled out all stops to use the occasion. Madaming
    ganyan ngayon for the love of pageviews. Halata naman sa post mo your
    affection for Tita Cory. And I do appreciate it your restraint and good
    taste. :)

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  19. Wow ang sowsyal! :-D anung pyesa ang kinanta nyo?

    Recent blog:=- Kalyo or what?!

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  20. Your post made me teary-eyed. I don't know, I am emotional with Pres. Cory's death. Merely seeing the crowd yesterday as her remains are transferred to Manila Cathedral made me cry.

    You are one lucky person to have been able to sing for her...

    Recent blog:=- Bubbles

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  21. nic blog you hae here..
    salamat sa pagpasyal sa pamatay homesick
    i already add u on my blog list

    Recent blog:=- GaLiNG! hUwAW PiLipiNaS!

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  22. Hi Jepoy! Mass songs kinanta namin, mostly from Ryan Cayabyab's Mass for Peace book. Kinanta din namin yung "Empower Me" at tsaka yung "The Majesty and Glory of Your Name". :D

    Recent blog:=- I sang for President Cory Aquino, for the first and the last time

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  23. Indeed. I guess Cory is to me, one of those key figures in history that gave us all hope when we felt everything was lost. Despite everything people say, and despite her recent associations with Erap (oops), I still do respect her.

    I see her as a person of high moral fiber, and an enduring legacy of democracy for the Filipino people.

    Recent blog:=- I sang for President Cory Aquino, for the first and the last time

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  24. Bilis bumalik ah! :D Thanks sa pag add! wee!

    ps Both my dad and my sis are also expats. :D I know what it's like. :D

    Recent blog:=- I sang for President Cory Aquino, for the first and the last time

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  25. yikes. it was weird enough taking photos of smiling people at a funeral...

    Wakes and funerals make me uncomfortable. It actually makes it really hard to sing when you have a lump in your throat from trying not to cry.

    Recent blog:=- I sang for President Cory Aquino, for the first and the last time

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  26. Well at least you have shared something for the former president.

    Rest in peace, Pres Aquino. :'(

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  27. A true woman of substance. She united the Filipinos even until her death (IMO). Thanks for sharing your life. :)

    Recent blog:=- REMOTE CONTROL

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  28. Yeah, at least I got to sing for her, even just once.

    Recent blog:=- "To Where You Are" by Josh Groban

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  29. :D Thanks Tita Cory!

    Just saw Kris Aquino's Eulogy on replay. Nakakaiyak. :_(

    Recent blog:=- "To Where You Are" by Josh Groban

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  30. What is the line up of songs during the 8pm mass?

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  31. We sang mostly from Ryan Cayabyab's Mass for Peace, also Empower Me and The Majesty and Glory of Your Name. :D

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  32. Salamat ng Marami!!! God Bless

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  33. Galing ng version nyo ng EMPOWER ME and The Lord Bless you and keep you(Final Song)..

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