The Miracle of EDSA: The Road to Freedom
Epifanio de los Santos Avenue or EDSA for short spans around 24 kilometers. Named after a Filipino historian, it was once known as Highway 54, it forms a semi-circle road which links the cities of Pasay, Makati, Mandaluyong, Quezon and Caloocan and considered to be one of the busiest thoroughfares in Metro Manila (with about more or less 200,000 vehicles per section everyday!). Also called C-4 or Circumferential Road 4. I know that this wouldn’t be my last post about this very interesting road that we have at the heart of Metropolitan Manila.
A major artery of socio-economic force not just in the capital but also of the country itself, as it connects several important financial, educational, residential and government institutions of the country.
Written on August 01, 2009 — I just learned earlier this morning of the passing of a Philippine icon of democracy. A caring housewife and widow of a senator turned into a mother of millions of people after ousting 2 decades of autocratic rule. As the heavens of Manila cried over the passing of Corazon “Tita Cory” Cojuanco Aquino, former president of the Republic of the Philippines, she has left a mark in Philippine history that restored democracy, weathered several coup d’etats and became a symbol of power of Filipino women and a mother. This article I write shows defiance on that fateful day when the heavens created a miracle, and Cory was one of its instruments. To Tita Cory: Many thanks and be happy with Ninoy and to God, you have done well in your life. Padayon!
On February 1986, being the location of two important headquarters of both the PC (Philippine Constabulary, Camp Crame, successor is today’s Philippine National Police) and the military (Camp Aguinaldo), people barricaded the streets in protest and defiance with the Marcos rule. The public outrage, brought by the assassination of the opposition figure late Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino in 1983 and the so-called “dayaan sa (cheating at) Snap Elections” in which Tita Cory (wife of Ninoy) run against the Marcoses during those times.
“Sobra na, Tama na, Palitan na!” (It’s too much, that’s enough, let’s change it) was the battlecry of multitudes who went in to EDSA on that day, defying and courageously confronted the tanks and guns with flowers, food and rosaries.
As the people cried for change, this strong defiance of status quo has reached it’s mark when the Marcoses fled to the United States and installed Corazon Aquino as the new president of the republic. That was a fateful February. I was only 2 months old by then.
It was not so long ago when people went here and ousted another president, that was in 2001. Former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada was accused of corruption that sparked another revolt, and yes they all went to EDSA once more. Meeting place: EDSA Shrine.
Tell me, what’s with this place that it seems to be a magnet of protest and defiance on authority on a peaceful note? Perhaps the lure of the first EDSA People Power Revolution of 1986. The shrine was constructed in 1989 as a remembrance of the mass action that ousted a dictatorship. A miracle that happened at EDSA with no blood shed in the road.
The big statue of Mary, Queen of Peace is a famed landmark. A reminder of the democracy that we Filipinos cherish more and that peaceful day when millions joined hands in facing what it seems to be an impenetrable forces.
It does not only serve as a reminder and a landmark, but also its a venue for Catholic masses as well. Yes, its not just a monument, but also a Catholic Church.
Today, its located just at the corner of EDSA and Ortigas Avenue in Quezon City. Going there is as easy as pie. You can take an MRT (go down at Ortigas Station and walk towards Robinsons Galleria), bus or taxi here from almost anywhere in the Metro.
So whenever you think about EDSA, think again. It has done probably so much of its span in much of our daily lives that we didn’t noticed the little things it has done for us today. Philippines stood here, historically and socio-economically.
More photos below: