January 25, 1933: Corazon Cojuangco Aquino was born in Manila, the sixth among eight children of former congressman Jose Cojuangco and pharmacist Demetria Sumulong.
1946 to 1953: Cory finished high school and college in the United States; she majored in French and mathematics at the College of Mount Saint Vincent in New York City.
1954: She married Benigno Servillano “Ninoy" Aquino, Jr. who would later become mayor of Concepcion in Tarlac, senator of the Philippines, and main political opponent of strongman Ferdinand Marcos.
1972 to 1980: Her husband Ninoy was imprisoned by Marcos during Martial Law.
across the globe, Filipinos are mourning the death of former President Corazon Aquino and Philippine mission offices in several countries have opened books of condolences for the Aquino family.
In the United States, deputy presidential spokeswoman Lorelei Fajardo said Filipino communities visited by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo during the weekend were saddened at the news.
“Malungkot na malungkot. (We were all very sad.) We all paused in silence for prayer, we offered a prayer for the late president," Fajardo said in an interview on dzBB radio early Sunday.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Sunday announced that books of condolences would be opened at all Philippine Embassies and Consulates.
In a statement on its Web site, the DFA said the gesture would allow foreign friends and Filipinos overseas to pay their last respects to President Aquino, who died early Saturday after battling colon cancer for more than a year.
The DFA will receive message of condolences from members of the Diplomatic Corps in Manila while the Philippine flag at the DFA grounds will be flown at half-mast during the 10-day period of national mourning, which was announced by President Arroyo on Saturday.
“With her profound love for country and her deep faith, President Aquino carried the torch of democracy for the Filipino People. Through her relentless efforts, the light of Philippine democracy continues to shine to this day and inspire other nations," the DFA statement said.
It added the officers and staff of the DFA are deeply indebted to President Aquino for being instrumental in strengthening the Philippine Foreign Service under her leadership.
“President Aquino will remain an inspiration to those whose lives she positively touched and influenced in working diligently for our country and people," it said.
Pinoys in the Middle East
In the Middle East, thousands of Filipino expatriates in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) grieved over the death of Mrs. Aquino. The Philippine flag flew at half-mast Saturday at the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi and the consulate-general in Dubai Saturday. Books of condolences at the two missions were opened 9 a.m. Sunday.
Philippine Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates Libran Cabactulan said the death of Mrs. Aquino is a loss for all Filipinos as the nation remembers her role in the 1986 EDSA people power uprising.
“When we remember her, we always remember Ninoy Aquino (her husband). She remains an example for all Filipinos in her life. Ninoy always says that the Filipinos are worth dying for. Indeed, for the country and the Filipino people, it is sad to know she’s dead. But, we have to move on," he said.
A special Mass in Tagalog will be held for Mrs. Aquino at St Michael’s Church in Sharjah at 8 p.m. Sunday, and at St. Mary’s Church in Dubai at 8 p.m. Monday.
Many Filipinos are expected to wear yellow ribbons, the color of the Aquino administration that restored Philippine democratic institutions after the fall of the 20-year rule of Ferdinand Marcos.
Fr. Sergio Arenga, who will conduct the mass in Sharjah on Sunday, urged Filipinos to wear yellow dresses.
Many Filipino expatriates have offered their condolences to the Aquino family through online networking sites Twitter, Facebook and Friendster.
Many also sent electronic cards (e-cards) to express sympathy with the family of the first woman president in the Philippines.
Art Los Baños, public relations consultant and Filipino community leader in Dubai, said Mrs. Aquino symbolized change in the political system through peaceful means.
“This is her legacy not only to the Filipinos but to humankind as a whole. This virtue of a government leader is timely considering what is happening in some African countries and even here in the Middle East, specifically in Palestine," he said.
Manuel Pachico, 43-year-old painter in Dubai, said Mrs. Aquino was the only Philippine president who had no record of corruption.
“She was very honest, God-fearing, and a people-centered state leader. I have nothing to say against her except that she was surrounded by corrupt men. But she was a clean president. Had she decided to run again for president, I would surely have voted for her," he said.
Riolyn Martinez, 29, saleswoman in Sharjah, said Mrs. Aquino exemplified the life of a housewife, who brought good principles for the country and the Filipino people.
“She was the only president whose image was not tarnished with controversy, corruption and anomaly. She finished her term without any bad record," she said.
Philippine consul general Noel Servigon recalled he was a law student at UP Diliman in 1986 when he volunteered for the Cory-Aquino-for-President Movement to conduct election law orientation seminars.
“In 1993, I had the chance to tell my story to the former president when she attended the World Human Rights Congress in Vienna where I was posted as vice-consul. She was so delighted to know that I was her long-time supporter," he said.
Servigon said he cherishes a photo taken with her when he escorted her to Prague during a side trip and a book she gave him with her personal dedication.
“Her passing away is a definite loss for the country. I just hope that those in politics today will continue to fight for what she started when she was in power – a country free of corruption and oppression," said Arlene Contreras, an aeroparts coordinator.
“It is a sad moment in the Philippine history. I can’t imagine how people back home must be feeling. I am here, yet I feel saddened by the news. I hope this episode will not be a setback, but a pivotal moment in our country’s politics," said Danny Cagasan, a food service crew.
Moment of unity
“This moment is unifying, just like when Aquino came into power by EDSA people power uprising. Filipinos are once again united although it is with a sad spirit this time," said Delia Mijares, a sales consultant.
Rose Tongol, a special services officer, said: “She is still very young to pass away, but at least she is free from suffering now. I just hope that our fellowmen will easily come to terms with this loss and use this moment as an inspiration to strive to achieve what she had set out to do when she was elected. I hope we have more politicians like her."
Mary Jane Oca, 31, sales staff of a leather wear company, was all praises for Mrs. Aquino's spiritual devotion.
Armando Aveno, 33, Filipino businessman, said Mrs. Aquino was the icon of democracy in Southeast Asia, the first woman president in Asia who rose from a mere housewife to lead the Filipino people back to democracy.
In Saudi Arabia, online news site Arab News said overseas Filipino workers expressed pain and sadness over the death of Mrs. Aquino.
“All of us are extremely sad, to use an understatement. The kind of revolution she led was the first of its kind and was copied by other countries to effect change in government," said Dr. Carlito Astillero, a community leader.
“She left us with good memories to remember her by; this also makes her passing more painful," said Rene Layug, of the sports group Siglakas and Bukabin.
“She not only took care of her own children after her husband was assassinated, but she also showed that she was a mother to the whole country," said Roi Alojado, a community leader.
Dionisio Tabuco Jr., another community leader, said: “Her passing is a great loss for us Filipinos. She served the country selflessly."
In Kuwait, Filipinos offered prayers at a memorial Mass for Mrs. Aquino at 5 p.m. (midnight in Manila) at the Philippine Overseas Labor Office there.
Fr. Ben Barrameda, chaplain of the Filipino community in Kuwait, said they will never forget Mrs. Aquino as an icon of democracy.
“During my assignment to St. Paul the Apostle Parish along Timog Avenue, I often passed by her residence hoping to see her and personally thank her but failed," Barrameda said in an article posted on the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Web site
Barrameda said he is personally grateful to Mrs. Aquino for sponsoring him for a year through his seminary years.
He said he always included Mass intentions for her recovery when he learned she had colon cancer. Mrs. Aquino’s family announced she had colon cancer in March 2008.
Also, Barrameda said it is time Filipinos in the Philippines and abroad express their thanks and offer their sincere prayers for the repose of Mrs. Aquino’s soul.
In Manila, the funeral for Mrs. Aquino will be held at the Manila Cathedral due to the expected huge number of people who want to pay their respects.
Manila Cathedral rector Msgr. Nestor Cerbo said the remains of Mrs. Aquino will arrive at the Cathedral at around 2 p.m. Monday.
A Mass will be held at 8 p.m., followed by public viewing of Mrs. Aquino’s remains.
Her family had decided she will be laid to rest beside her husband, former Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr., at the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City. - GMANews.TV