why is it being commemorated? what is so important about a date when we as a country collective forgot what it is to be free? for a dude who was born years after martial law, what is the significance of this date?
my image of martial law was painted way before dekada ’70 made its way to the silver screen. when someone mentions martial law, i remember tita corit and her friends. i remember that she used to have a room for herself at our house, where me and my brother would sleep over whenever she is around. we would cuddle in her wide bed and listen to the likes of asin, sampaguita and buklod sing boldly about hush hush topics (which i found out later on).
i liked sleeping over, because the tagalong songs seem to lull me to sleep. the next day, whenever tita corit’s friend espie is around, we would be treated with pugo eggs for breakfast. we had so much fun eating it because we have to roll the eggs between our palms in order to crush the shell… yey! food play, i like it that way.
then tito doy, would also come around and play with omar and me. he would tickle us whenever we come near him. and as if we were addicted to this, we would get nearer and nearer him, as if we would never run out of laughter.
but all this fun fare, did not drown stories of some of our housemates. in their nonchalant conversations, i would hear “aktibista yan” “nagtatago” “military”. they thought that i was very young to understand, but somehow they were wrong. i understood why my tita and her friends would sometimes stay at home for long days at a time, meeting and meeting. i understood why they have to pause a while when they watch tv, whenever marcos would speak. as if there is a chasm of hate in their eyes for someone on the tv. they would bite their lip as if to show solidarity who have been silenced forever and they would go back to their conversations almost teary eyed and all fuelled up.
i kinda wished to be like tita and her friends at one point before. but my freshman year in UP disappointed me. there is no more marcos, no more colonial america, no more instances to fight an imperialist foe.
good thing there was my fraternity in the university. we espoused the rj paradigm on neo-activism. now the enemy is ourselves. the marcos who has squandered our country has been shamed, packed his bags, left and gone, and now we face the bitter reality of building from the ruins. we also face his facets scattered anew in government.
and as we face yet another year, i wear a weak smile and remember my tita and all that they have fought for. at the same time, i marvel for most wishes still come true. i may be somewhere else not in the ranks of real activism. but i have my own battles to fight here in davao, i have my own enemy to contend with. and i fight for myself and for the farmers and fisherfolks in our coalition.
in memory of this day, 32 years ago.