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Friday, August 07, 2009

Lea Salonga’s ‘Bayan Ko’ rendition brings mourners back to EDSA ‘86





LIKE EDSA AGAIN. Lea Salonga’s ‘Bayan Ko’ rendition transported people back to 1986 when the song became the anthem of a peaceful revolt for democracy. GMANews video grabLea Salonga performed a soaring rendition of “Bayan Ko” at the requiem Mass for the soul of former President Corazon Aquino with mourners raising the “L” or “Laban” (fight) sign reminiscent of the rallies and demonstrations during the dying years of the Marcos regime.

A patriotic song written during the American occupation of the Philippines, “Bayan Ko” (My Country) gained prominence during the funeral of assassinated former senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino in 1983 and in subsequent protest rallies that culminated in the People Power Revolution of 1986.

Crowds gathered outside the Manila Cathedral also applauded as the last verse of “Bayan Ko” was sung. Yellow confetti poured down from a nearby building.

In 1990, Mrs. Aquino gave Salonga a Presidential Award of Merit for bringing pride to the country with her success in Broadway theater in the US and UK.

Dressed in white, the world-renowned performer was requested by the Aquino family to perform at the requiem Mass before the late President is laid to rest Wednesday afternoon at the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque.

“Parang EDSA ulit. Naluluha ako (It’s like EDSA all over again. I’m tearing up),” said one of the mourners who braved the rains outside the Manila Cathedral.

Mrs. Aquino, who was propelled to power by the “People Power Revolution” of February 1986, restored democracy in the country after more than 13 years of Marcos’ dictatorial rule.

She peacefully died on Aug. 1 after over a year battling stage-4 colon cancer.

Her remains will be placed beside those of her husband, Ninoy, at the family’s mausoleum.

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