Today is a milestone for the Philippines as the country celebrates the silver anniversary of the 1986 People Power Revolution. Twenty five years ago, Filipinos took to the streets and staged a peaceful protest on EDSA to support the defectors of the Marcos dictatorship. The nearly bloodless mass action led to the downfall of a strongman and the installation of a humble housewife as President. Today, it’s quite fitting that the housewife’s only son is now President of this great nation (though it’s a testament to democracy that there are people who freely disagree!).
Even now, we see the fruits of that historic revolution elsewhere in the world as people stage protests against dictators and oppresors who have clung to power for decades. In Tunisia and Egypt, the citizens held mass rallies and protests. The result? President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who held Tunisia in his grip since 1987, has fled the country. Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s dictator for almost three decades, has resigned. Other countries are following suit and I hope that these will all be resolved peacefully, unlike what is going on right now in Libya, whose dictator, Muammar al-Gaddafi, is trying to avoid his two neighboring countries’ fate by resorting to extreme violence.
In honor of the People Power Revolution milestone, I’m featuring the EDSA Shrine located at the intersection of EDSA and Ortigas Avenue. Most Filipinos are religious and many believe that the Virgin Mary interceded and helped the country in 1986. Thus, we have a shrine to Mary to commemorate the event. (For the secularists and non-believers, we also have the People Power Monument further north along EDSA, and which I have featured here on Vista Pinas three years ago.)
Officially named the Shrine of Mary, Queen of Peace, Our Lady of EDSA (official website), this landmark was contructed in 1989 and functions as a church where daily masses are held. The shrine, which is under the Archdiocese of Manila, features a large sculpture of the Virgin Mary on top of the building. This was created by the late Virginia Ty-Navarro. (Read more about the shrine’s history.) In addition, the shrine is the location of the first station of The Way of Mary, the last project of the late Jaime Cardinal Sin. Eighteen other similar stations are located along Ortigas Avenue towards Antipolo City and the twentieth and last station is located at the Antipolo Cathedral.
Incidentally, two days ago marked the fifth year of Vista Pinas. It was on February 23, 2006 that I wrote the very first article. Yay! I decided to mark that milestone by blogging about the more important People Power Revolution milestone.