1/20/2016
It's a landmark-y number, fifteen

I don't remember it like yesterday, but for some reason I remember more details of that particular day than most others.

I think it was because that was the day I took my high school entrance exam.

I don't remember the questions, nor the faces. I do remember that, during a break, I opened a pack of Chips Ahoy and munched on those. I stayed on my seat in the classroom, mindful not to let any crumb fall on the floor, because this could be my school for the next four years and I want to make a good impression.

The test ended just before lunch time. My father was going to pick me up; my mother couldn't drive yet then. I was trying to look for the canteen - it was still open, despite it being a Saturday - to get something to drink while I waited. There were only a handful of people inside: a few servers, a janitor or two, and me, all massed around the television, watching the news.

There normally isn't any news on a Saturday, more so on a Saturday afternoon.

There was a flurry of activity at home. My mother was cooking an unusually large number of chicken legs. Some will be for us, but most of it will be for them. They were also packing bottles of water. They're going somewhere, and they don't know how long they'll be there. My grandmother was going to watch over us while they're gone. The television was still tuned in to the news.

And then, suddenly, they won't be leaving anymore.

The president had resigned.

The television was showing images of the president getting on a boat, waving goodbye to whoever was at the shore.

Last night I realized that all that happened fifteen years ago. Fifteen years - someone ought to be celebrating this, right? It's a landmark-y number, fifteen. Fifteen years since we proved, once again, that people power works. Fifteen years since we showed the power of popular democracy. Fifteen years since we forced another corrupt president to step down.

Of course, there are caveats. Gloria Arroyo also proved to be a corrupt president, maybe more so than Joseph Estrada, depending on who you ask. Things have gotten worse, also depending on who you ask. Yeah, it was our fault we believed things will get better the moment we kick out someone we don't like. Yeah, it was our fault we did not really follow things up, conflating the first step with the ultimate one. There really isn't much of a reason to celebrate. I mean, the guy we supposedly deposed is now mayor of Manila, and is looking to run again, still very much a kingmaker!

And yet, you know, we're still celebrating the first time we forced a corrupt president to resign. In a month, actually, we mark thirty years. It's also a landmark-y number, thirty. Like everything changed for the better after that. Like that was enough. Like believing in the so-called "spirit of EDSA" is enough to bring change to a society that still insists on shortcuts and get-quick-rich schemes and pretending that you care about the greater picture when, really - and I can't blame anybody on this - all you care about is yourself.

And your responses...

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