When I caught a glimpse of Cory Aquino from my bus window during the snap election campaign somewhere in Kidapawan many years ago, I was still 16 on my way home from school after dropping by at the Kidapawan diocese where they showed some pictures. Now, as I heard about her leaving, I became aware that my little boy is 16, and I looked back to those tumultuous years, wondering how I first became aware of something about to burst, of something about to explode violently like a dam.
It was my heart. Silenced and deprived of “fact” all through the Martial Law years, I felt a creeping sense of disgust at the pictures I saw at the Kidapawan diocese that day. They showed dead bodies on the road; and one of those I did not recognize was the Italian priest Fr. Tulio Favali. Those pictures had the color of blood. But it was only much, much later, when I’d begin to associate the way that I felt with the right colors. Right at that moment, I thought the color was yellow.
So, when I heard the crowd chanting “Cory” that day, waving the Laban sign as the convoy of yellow and green passed by, I could feel my heart lurch. Laban was (and still is) the Tagalog word for ‘fight.’ I could hear the pulse of other passengers as we watched the passing convoy in silence.
Now they tied yellow ribbons in front of hotel facades to mark her passing. As the jeepney I took rolled by, I became aware of the yellow bells and the yellow marigolds outside the SSS building along JP Laurel street; of some rickety yellow car overtaking us; of the bright yellow scarf that the teenage girl seated across from me wore. Even the gibbous moon up in the sky was yellow. But in yellow, I feel an acute sense of absence; an acute sense of something missing.
Now, it’s all up to me to find out what it is!