Running Account: Filipinos bid final goodbye to Cory Aquino

5 August 2009 at 8:13 pm 1 comment

8:51 The body of Corazon Aquino, the first woman president of the Philippines and regarded by the world as “Icon of Democracy”, is finally laid to rest. Farewell, our beloved Tita Cory.

8:46 Cemetery workers put finishing touches in the sealed tomb of Cory Aquino as the bereaved family and friends look on. Religious hymns fill the air.

8:30 Timor Leste President Jose Ramos-Horta breaks diplomatic  protocol and joins the entire Filipino nation in sending former president Corazon Aquino to her final rest. The Aquino family politely declined the Philippine government offer for a state funeral.

8:28 One by one, members of the family, friends offer flowers as “Bayan Ko” is sung.

8:23 As the casket is being placed inside the crypt, the solemn mood is broken when the emotional crowd burst into applause.  Chants of “Cory, Cory, Cory” fill the air.

8:13 Bishop Socrates Villegas performs the last religious rites before the coffin of Cory Aquino is put and sealed in a crypt beside the tomb of her assasinated husband, Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr.

7:50 After about nine hours, the funeral march finally ended. At the air.e Manila Memorial Park — where the body of former president Corazon Aquino will be laid to rest —  members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines rendered arrival honors and gave a 21-gun salute to the late commander in chief.

1:31 Even a heavy downpour can never make the people patiently waiting along the streets to leave.

1:00 The funeral procession continues and is now currently traversing the Quirino Highway. People in their thousands line up the streets, many clad in yellow shirt and carrying farewell placards, to bid farewell and express their gratitude to former president Corazon Aquino.

11:55 The funeral march continues where a big truck covered with yellow and white flowers carries the body of former Cory Aquino. The remains of the world-renowned democracy icon will be brought to the Manila Memorial Park where she will be laid to rest. Thousands, mostly clad in yellow shirts, line up the streets waiting for the cortege to pass through to have a final glimpse of the former leader. Yellow confettis continue to shower from the sky.

11:24 At the cathedral, pop singers Martin Nievera and Pop Fernandez belt out The Prayer.

11:19 Philippine security forces render military honors to their former commander-in-chief just outside the cathedral. Yellow confettis rain from above.

11:14 Honor guards now carry the casket of former president Corazon Aquino as her body leaves Manila Cathedral in the historic Walled City of Manila. Mourners at the cathedral erupt into applause as her coffin draped with the Philippine flag.

11:10 State dignitaries present at the requiem mass are former president Fidel Valdez Ramos, former president Joseph Estrada, former vice president Teofisto Guingona, Vice President Noli de Castro. Members of the diplomatic corps who hear the mass include US Ambassador to the Philippines Kristie Kenney.

11:00 World-renowned singer and theater actress Lea Salonga sings “Bayan ko,” a patriotic song solemnly sang by millions of Filipinos when they turned up in the streets in 1986 to end the 20-year martial rule of dictator Ferdinand Marcos and put to power the reluctant housewife of Ninoy Aquino. Earlier, Star in a Million winner Erik Santos sang the Lord’s Prayer. Veteran singer Dulce and matinee idol Piolo Pascual rendered religous hymns during the farewell mass for Cory Aquino.

10:48 Shortly before the requiem mass ends, Kris Aquino, the celebrity daughter of Cory, expresses her gratitude on behalf of the whole family to the entire Filipino nation for joining them during their most difficult time. In tears, she remembers her mother trying to conceal the pain as she bravely fought colon cancer.

“Mom never allowed us to her vulnerable. Because she knew it was from her that we got our strenght.”

10:28 am Family, friends, state officials and members of the diplomatic corps gather at the Manila Cathedral in the Walled City of Manila to hear the requiem mass for former president Corazon Aquino.

This as hundreds of thousands men, women and children brave the rain, lining along the streets and patiently waiting for the funeral march in a bid to have a final glimpse of the woman regarded by the world as Icon of Democracy.

Across the country, millions are tuned in to their television sets and radios and surfing the internet as the media give a blow by blow account of the final rites for Aquino, who died last Saturday after a year and four month battle against colon cancer.

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