Briones: History as I remember it

·2 min read

I was studying in an American boarding school in Baguio City when the Marcos family fled Malacañang back on Feb. 25, 1986.

Our headmaster, Pa Caleb, was a staunch and very vocal Marcos loyalist.

So you could just imagine the atmosphere in the dining hall where everyone gathered, students and teachers alike, during meal times.

Since then president Ferdinand E. Marcos had called a snap election, politics was the main topic at the table. There were disagreements. But these never got out of hand.

Although my roommate and I rooted for Cory, we still had to be careful, considering the then first lady’s niece and nephew were also studying in the school and we knew both of them. Plus, Marcos was still in power. Plus, Pa Caleb made no secret of his admiration for the Marcoses and their achievements.

There were rumors that then first lady Imelda made it possible for Brent to open a campus in Manila inside the University of Life complex.

Back then, we relied on the radio, TV and the newspaper, for the latest update on what was going on out on the streets and in the capital. Of course, it also depended on who you listened to, watched or read.

But let’s face it. We were teenagers. Our lives did not revolve around politics.

We looked forward to the weekend so we could grab some pizza at Shakey’s along Session Road or eat Chinese food. We also got drunk. In fact, it became a contest of who would be sober enough in time for dinner.

You see, I and my fellow boarders were only allowed off campus on Fridays and Saturdays. We had four hours, twice a week, to experience the “real world.”

It wasn’t until a week before the Marcoses went into exile that we had to take the matter seriously.

Our American classmates were whispering about being airlifted. There were talks that the NPA would attack the school.

And I was like, “What about me?” My parents were abroad. My closest relatives were either in Cebu or Davao. How was I supposed to make it to them if all hell broke loose?

Thankfully, it didn’t.

And so I found myself in a bus bound for Manila with two of my closest friends on Feb. 27, 1986. Two of us were in a celebratory mood. The other one wasn’t. He told us his family was planning to move to Australia.

Even though I wasn’t in the frontlines, I still lived through the Edsa Revolution. I know it happened. Just as I know that Cory did not play mahjong with the nuns inside the Carmelite Monastery in Cebu City when she sought refuge there in the face of uncertainty.

Of that I am certain.

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