Granted, the feat wasn't accomplished overnight. As early as 1983, Filipinos instigated a series of nonviolent uprisings, mostly along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA), one of the most important thoroughfares in Metro Manila. But it wasn't until three years later that the so-called "revolution that surprised the world" finally accomplished its goals.
And now, February 25 is around the corner once again. Before we join in on the celebrations, let's have a brief look at what's different with the 2017 anniversary, and where you can go to remember one of the most pivotal moments in Philippine history.
Less Pomp, More Reflection
This year, the People Power anniversary will be celebrated on February 24, instead of February 25. Also, there won't be a "salubungan," or re-enactment of the mass gatherings that overthrew the Marcos administration. Finally, the celebrations will be held at the Armed Forces headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, instead of the People Power monument at White Plains (also in Quezon City).
According to Joey Concepcion, Vice Chairman of the People Power Commission, the changes are due to the need to "remove the pomp" and "make (February 25) a day of reflection." Whether there's more to that statement than meets the eye remains to be seen.
Since 2016, the EDSA anniversary is a special non-working holiday, as declared by then-President Benigno Aquino. In other words, if an employee chooses to work on that day, s/he is entitled to additional pay based on the Labor Code.
For example, if the anniversary will be on a Friday, and Friday is normally not a rest day in the Philippines, an employee working the normal 8 hours will be entitled to 1.3 times their daily rate. But if that employee works overtime, s/he will be entitled to additional pay equivalent to their hourly rate times no. of excess hours times 1.69, on top of the additional 30 percent of their daily rate.
A Tale of Two Monuments
In Metro Manila, two structures are dedicated to those who participated in the first EDSA Revolution: the Our Lady of EDSA Shrine, and the People Power Monument.
The Our Lady of EDSA Shrine — also known as the Queen of Peace, Shrine of Mary, or simply EDSA Shrine — stands at the corner of EDSA and Ortigas Avenue. It's easily recognizable by the giant bronze statue of the Queen of Peace, as sculpted by Virginia Ty-Navarro.
The shrine was conceptualized by the late Jaime Cardinal Sin, who played a major role in the People Power Revolution. Since he wanted to honor the men and women who risked their lives to stop Marcos' military forces, Sin reached out to the Ortigas and Gokongwei families, and persuaded them to give up that prime plot of land and make way for the shrine.
Aside from the Queen of Peace image, the EDSA shrine also hosts a plaza, where bronze sculptures of the 14 Stations of the Cross are scattered around the area. You can also pray at the nearby church designed by architects Francisco Mañosa, Leandro Locsin, and William Coscolluela.
The People Power Monument, on the other hand, is at the intersection of Temple Hill Drive (White Plains) in Quezon City and EDSA. Sculpted by Eduardo Castrillo in 1993, the monument depicts a group of people waving flags. But the most notable part of the monument is the central figure of the late Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr., whose hands and arms stretch towards the heavens, as if supplicating himself in prayer.
By day, the People Power Monument looks like any other stone sculpture. By night, if you drive slowly by the monument and look closely, you can see three colors shining on the sculpture — red, blue, and yellow — that represent the colors of the Philippine flag.
It's certainly significant that both monuments are situated on EDSA, and that they're 0.90 kilometers (0.56 miles) apart from each other. Perhaps they're waiting for Filipinos to rise up, and gather between the monuments once again, to fight another bloodless revolution against an oppressor.
Most Filipinos — especially the ones born on, or around, 1986 — will probably take EDSA for granted. After all, it's been over three decades since then, and no one's had a reason to hold a revolution within the last 10 years. Still, the People Power Revolution undoubtedly shaped modern Philippine history (causing the amendment of the Constitution, among others), so it must be commemorated no matter what the cost.