The relevance of Edsa—to someone born long after it happened

At times, I feel like I’m a bad Filipino and a bad person for keeping silent

Illustration (2020) by Paolo dela Cruz

When I think of Edsa, what comes to mind is that it was a revolution for freedom and peace. It was distinct because it was a non-violent revolution. Filipinos came together and held demonstrations along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (Edsa), demanding an end to a regime of violence. I see it as one of the most important events in Philippine history, and in people’s lives. It was a cry for freedom in every form.

However, for me, over time, Edsa has become different faces. The idea of Edsa has been shifting.

When I was younger, Edsa was something I was proud of. (The author is 27 years old.—Editor) The idea that Filipinos fought for freedom was something I enjoyed learning about. I didn’t directly learn about it from my classes in grade school and high school; I just got bits and pieces of it from random places. When I got curious, I asked my parents or tita about it. During those times, Google wasn’t a friend yet. Also, the people around me didn’t talk about it. I’m not sure if it was the people around me, or people in general. Before, there was not much information about it.

As I got older and went to college, I became more exposed to stories about it—about how people took to the streets and demanded an end to a regime. How it was needed because of the state the country was in. And how Edsa’s players helped start the revolution. I found that exciting to hear. I was even given a chance to analyze Edsa as a concept. In a few years, I began to see that what I had been learning became a topic of discussion among ordinary people. I wasn’t the only one talking about it. It became a common conversation for Filipinos my age. It was all over social media. People posted memes, lengthy discussions, news, comments. They demanded that Edsa be remembered.

Because of the education I chose and the people I’ve met, I got exposed to conversations about it. I wasn’t deprived of exposure or information, yet I find myself indifferent these days, and see that I have not taken action regarding it. I like to tell people that I try to listen and see both sides of the situation. When I think of what I’m doing, I recall what a priest said when I was in high school. He once said a person who doesn’t take sides, or is indifferent, is the worst kind of person. At times, I feel like I’m a bad Filipino and a bad person for keeping silent. I sometimes ask, “Why do I remain silent?”

Edsa’s legacy carries a responsibility and burden that goes beyond those who participated in it

As I write this, I’m trying my best to think deep, and ask myself, “What do you really feel and think?” Deep inside, I feel different things. If I remove the fear and the filters that I’ve put up, I find myself with so much to say. I like to say I know what to think. I have enough knowledge about Edsa to make a decision. And I have come to a realization that Edsa’s legacy carries a responsibility and burden that goes beyond those who participated in it. It applies to Filipinos born even after it happened.

Edsa has become more than just history lesson. It has become a reminder for people to be outspoken

Nowadays, Edsa has become more than just an event or history lesson. It has become a flame and a reminder for people to be outspoken. It has encouraged people to demand democracy, to demand freedom, and never again be silenced. When I watch films about a Philippine revolution, I become proud and amazed. I think, “Wow, our ancestors fought for this.” They fought for freedom and identity. They fought for themselves and for their descendants. Edsa is like that for me. Maybe some of them didn’t think of the future while they held demonstrations, but they wanted the same thing as everyone else. They wanted a way out of oppression. They wanted life. One of my fears has to be if people forget or ignore what they fought for. I feel a sense of fear and danger that we don’t remember the goal of the Edsa revolution.

I ask myself what can be done. I believe we need more lessons about Edsa. About what happened, what happened after it, and what currently happens because of it. We need to voice out and make decisions for the greater good. For me it seems scary now, but it’s a lot scarier if we live in a future where we let go of the freedoms that we demanded and won. I realized that when freedoms are actually in danger or are taken away, the fight for it becomes scarier.

One random thought I got while writing this is that what we have now is the result of Edsa. What I’m doing right now is because of it. The life my generation and those after us will enjoy is the result of that non-violent revolution. I want to continue living in a country that has democracy and freedom.

About author


Mica describes herself: “I am a straightforward person who also can be a perfectionist. But I know there are limitations. And one thing I declared to myself is to live my life as if it was art. It sounds cheesy but true. I grew up in Rizal, and I believe that it built my character and exposed me to a lot of Filipino values and beliefs. I went to college at DLSU-Manila and took a degree in Political Science. There are times I feel like a nomad because, ever since college, I’ve been staying in different places to be closer to studies or work. I’m a nerd and I find that cool. I believe in the power of learning, and I see myself as the result of years of education. Good and bad. I expose myself to a lot of experiences. I have exposed myself to topics related to art, politics, literature, religion, history, medicine, etc. Consistently, I like to do a lot of things. I get bored easily so I keep myself busy. I have to say that I love art. It is home for me. When things get rough, I always find myself drawn to it, and see it as a way home. But I have to say writing has been my dream. These days it has become my way back to myself, and a path to my peace of mind. I have no formal training, but whatever I do, I believe it develops good content. I want to write things that matter, and I believe I do.

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