Angela Stuart-Santiago's

By Domini M. Torrevillas
The Philippine Star, February 24, 2000

An EDSA Diary
For a lot of people, what happened at EDSA in February, 1986 is now just a memory. Some real lovers of freedom, justice and democracy keep that event aflame in their hearts and spirits for they shed blood, sweat, and tears to make EDSA happen. But what about the young generation? Their knowledge about EDSA would basically be hearsay, and by piecemeal. The yearly celebration would not mean a lot to them.

Fortunately, the Foundation for Worldwide People Power, Inc. has put out Himagsikan sa EDSA, which according to the foundation president, Eugenia D. Apostol, is "the first complete version in Filipino of the EDSA people power revolt," narrating as it does the event in a way that will appeal to all readers. Its author is freelance writer Angela Stuart-Santiago, and Nonoy Marcelo put together the photographs, cartoons and illustrations in its 250 pages. It expresses the mission of the Foundation, which, says Apostol, was set up in 1995 "to promote the gains and lessons from EDSA, as well as to connect with other countries that have also experienced people power."

I'm a poor Filipino reader, but Angela's style is clearly understandable, reliving the events that led to the People Power Revolution. I've almost forgotten the details of the himagsikan, but Angela gives them blow-by-blow. I can breathe the events as though they happened only yesterday. All the protagonists of Philippine history from the 60s to the 80s ­ Ninoy and Cory Aquino, the Marcoses, Enrile, Ramos, the military generals, everyone who contributed to the making of EDSA ­ are in this book which every country-loving Filipino should read and keep for the younger generations.

Angela premises her work with the convicntion that EDSA was no miracle, but was brought about by People Power. "Ang totoo, kung hindi sa People Power, walang EDSA. At kung hindi sa mag-asawang Marcos, na diumano'y nagpakulong at nagpapatay kay dating Senador Benigno 'Ninoy' Aquino,walang People Power. Sa kahulihan, ang kuwento ng EDSA ay sukdulang yugto ng tagisan nina Marcos at Ninoy na hindi naawat, bagkos ay pinag-ibayo ng rehimeng militar. At kuwento rin ito ng isang maikli ngunit dakilangyugto sa pakikibaka ng masang Pilipino na naging huwaran para sa mundo ngunit naging hungkag na tagumpay sa sariling bayan."

Angela traces the beginnings of EDSA to 1965 when Marcos was first elected president, to his placing the country under martial rule in 1972, to his incarceration of Ninoy who was eventually killed by his henchmen, and whose wake was characterized by a deafening noise barrage. In her diary, she relives the past palpably, its ignominy and glory ­ the fluctuation of the Philippine peso, the snap presidential elections, the boycott of enterprises owned by Marcos and his cronies, the shifting of loyalties among the military officers, the role of media in the whole affair, the heaving masses of poor and rich and nuns and priests, men and women and children on EDSA, the role of American in the support of the government of the Marcoses and in their spiriting away on February 25, 1986.

The author challenges everyone to know the history of EDSA:
"Intindihin natin ang orihinal na pangyayari, alamin natin kung paano ito nagsimula, ano ang naging papel ng taong-bayan, paano nagkaisa, saan tayo naging malakas at saan mahina, saan at sino ang nagkulang, at paano nakamit ang tagumpay. Nang sa gayon ay hindi na maulit ang mga pagkakamali at maipaglaban ang Inang Bayan nang puspusan, patay kung patay, walang bibitaw, hanggang makamit ang kalayaan at karangalan na pinakaaasam."

Back to Book Reviews
Himagsikan sa Edsa