Corazon Cojuangco Aquino (1933-2009)

She was the only candidate for president whom I had voted for who eventually went on to become president of the Philippines. Mrs. Corazon Cojuangco Aquino, fondly known as Tita Cory, passed away on August 1, 2009, at 3:18 am at the Makati Medical Center.

She was 76. She died of cardio respiratory arrest and had been battling Stage 4 colon cancer since March 2008.

We condole with her family and offer prayers for the repose of the soul of President Cory. We also pray for strength for her family, relatives and friends during this difficult time, and for our nation. May we not only learn from Tita Cory's example of sacrifice and courage, but most importantly, from her demonstrations of faith in the Lord. People power was really first and foremost, prayer power. Tita Cory, true mother of the nation that she is (and will always be), brought all of us Filipinos, her children, closer to the Lord by showing us through her life that with God, any difficulty is bearable and that everything is possible.

I was talking to my 7-year old daughter a few days ago and I told her that I was sad that Tita Cory was sick. She was quite surprised and stated: "But you don't really know her..." True, I did not know her personally but I did catch glimpses of the person that she was, even so briefly.

In the year 2000, I joined a Ninoy Aquino Writing and Song Competition. I was an Honorable Mention in that contest and awarding was held at DZBB on the radio program HTA sa GMA on November 26, 2000. When I got the letter telling me that I had won, I had second thoughts of whether I would still attend the awarding to get the cash prize. Luckily, I decided to go since it was only when we arrived there that the awardees were told that former President Cory Aquino was going to come for the awarding. When she finally came, she arrived with a box of fans, and gave each winner a fan made from one of her paintings.

So there we were, all crammed in the small radio booth with former Senator Heherson Alvarez (who is HTA), all the awardees, and Tita Cory. At some point during the program (the radio show was still on-going and just about to end), Tita Cory stood up suddenly to leave since she had another appointment to go to. I then realized that if I wanted a photo with her, I would need to ask her now or forever lose the chance. I hurriedly stood up from my seat, practically ran out of the radio booth after her, and just as some of her security men were getting antsy about me, Tita Cory stopped, turned around, and looked at me. Somehow, I found my voice, and politely asked: "President Cory, may I ask for a photo with you?"

She motioned to her body guards and smiled and replied: "Of course." She then tried to figure out where we wanted her to stand and my husband Manuel took my photo with President Cory and my son Adi.

Photo: Corazon Cojuangco Aquino

I have long spent the money I won from the contest but more valuable than the money was the chance to meet President Cory in the flesh and get a certificate personally signed by her. She was very happy that day that all of us would honor her husband by writing about him.

On yet another occasion, I attended a children's birthday party and Tita Cory was also around. One of the kiddie guests at the party got into an accident and I could see that Tita Cory was very concerned like a true lola (grandmother). She talked to the yaya (baby sitter) of the kid, tried to make the kid feel better, and instructed that people should get in touch with the parents of the child. I could see that she was a very caring person.

And so, the whole nation mourns the passing away of President Cory Aquino. Truly an inspiring leader and Filipina, but a prayerful person and mother, first and foremost. May her soul rest in peace.

[By Angelica Viloria | Saturday, August 1, 2009]

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