Flower petals fell from the sky, ships sounded mournful horns, volunteer fire trucks wailed their sirens, and hundreds of thousands of people, soaked with rain and fighting exhaustion, bade Corazon C. Aquino farewell on her final journey home.
Around the country, church bells tolled and military canons boomed in a salute to their former Commander in Chief before Aquino was laid to rest at
Everywhere along the 22.8-kilometer route—from Manila Cathedral, where a Requiem Mass was held for Aquino, to the cemetery—chants of “Cory! Cory! Cory!” rang out.
It is believed that Cory is the most loved Filipino in our country’s history. The nation showed it’s greatest outpouring of love for the former President during the funeral procession comparable only to that of former President Magsaysay in 1957 and of Tita Cory’s husband Ninoy in 1983.
A common theme may be found along the route – that of how people endured the pounding wind and intermittent rains, waiting for hours just to catch a glimpse of the casket of the former President and say goodbye.
Wednesday’s procession took about nine hours. It left the cathedral at about and reached the gates of the park at
The atmosphere seemed joyful rather than sad as people cheered, clapped, sang and danced in the rain, as though to celebrate the life of their beloved icon of democracy.
Crowds were so thick the procession was delayed for hours. Dozens of men and women in yellow shirts marched with the cortege.
At times police had to shoo away the crowds so that the procession could move on. Volunteers formed human chains around the “Cory Truck” to prevent the crowd from blocking its path.
Roads, highways, center islands, footbridges and flyovers were packed. At times, greatly outnumbered policemen and volunteers could hardly contain the crowd pouring into the streets.
Barriers were of no use as portions of steel fences were forcibly parted by residents who wanted to cross over to South Luzon Expressway and watch the cortege pass.
In other areas, the crowd, many in yellow shirts and holding umbrellas and yellow flowers, stood fast even as the rain poured.
Obet Sumayao was among those who said goodbye.
But what set him apart from others was that he was on a wheelchair.
“This is my way of paying homage to Cory for giving us back our freedom,” Sumayao, 45, said in Filipino.
“This is a small sacrifice for her.”
Sumayao, who lost his legs in an industrial accident in 1983, said he was determined to reach
The funeral cortege had to skip the Buendia flyover which swarmed with a thick crowd.
The endless waving of yellow flags stretched as far as the eye could see.