Video: Excerpts from Why is Yellow the Middle of the Rainbow?, the 1994 film by Kidlat Tahimik. All rights reserved. More details. The banner above is a collage of stills from this film, and makes prominent the landmark Our Lady of Atonement Cathedral of Baguio City.
Other EDSAs. Photos from People Power: The Philippine Revolution of 1986: An Eyewitness History.
Parade in Iloilo:
Approaching the midpoint of the Aquino administration, EDSA 27 will be an opportune time for all Filipinos to gather together as an expression of unity and support behind the unprecedented political, legislative and economic gains of President Benigno S. Aquino III.
The highlight of EDSA 27 is the re-enactment of the Salubungan to be held in Manila, Dumaguete and Zamboanga on February 25. All three simultaneous celebrations will also feature businessmen, government officials, religious representatives and volunteers signing their commitments for the fulfillment of the promise of EDSA. President Aquino will be leading the flag-raising ceremony at the People Power Monument.
Commemoration activities will also be held on February 23 and 24 to highlight the many ways by which Filipinos are inspired by People Power to continue to work together for the good of their communities.
Laying of the Wreath at the Libingan ng mga Bayani
On February 23, 7 AM, to commemorate the collaboration between civilian and military forces in 1986, former President Fidel Ramos will be leading a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig.
Run for Juan, Run for Good Governance
The EPPC, in partnership with the Association of Philippine Medical Colleges Student Network-NCR (APMCSN-NCR) will hold a fun run at EDSA on February 24, 6 AM. The route of the fun run covers White Plains Avenue to EDSA Santolan. Members of the military will be running with the thirteen medical school members of APMCSN-NCR to promote social responsibility, patriotism and good governance.
Human Rights Reparation Act
President Aquino will also be signing into law the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013 at the People Power Monument. This landmark legislation will be an official recognition by the government of a previous administration’s atrocities against its own people and it will grant reparation for human rights violations victims during the dark years of Martial Law.
In the afternoon, Malacañang will open its gates to welcome children from various orphanages to the Kalayaan grounds from 1-6 PM. The program opens with storytelling activities imparting Filipino values. They will also be able to enjoy performances and listen to young leaders who will take the lead in inspiring them to make their own pledges of what they can contribute for the country.
For more information, visit edsapeoplepower.com×
“Ngayong dalawampu’t pitong taon na tayong malaya mula sa tanikala ng diktadurya; ngayong nakaabante na tayo mula sa halos isang dekadang pagdausdos dahil sa pang-aabuso’t panlalamang ng nakalipas na pamahalaan—higit kailanman, dapat lamang na maikintal sa puso’t isip ng bawat isa: Hindi natatapos ang laban sa pagbangon.” – President Benigno S. Aquino III at the 27th Anniversary Celebrations of the EDSA Revolution
This year marks the 27th anniversary of the 1986 People Power Revolution. During these momentous four days in February, Filipinos showed exemplary courage and stood united against a dictator. In honor of this milestone in our nation’s history, the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO) presents rare, personal footage of the 1986 Revolution through the lens of esteemed Filipino filmmaker, Kidlat Tahimik. With his permission, we feature part of his opus, Why is Yellow the Middle of the Rainbow? (1994). This footage documents and records the musings of father and son as they go through the tumultuous days of February 1986. Each narrator engages in the telling of a story that is deeply personal and also profoundly significant in this nation’s history.
On February 7, 1986, nationwide snap elections were held for the presidency and the newly restored position of vice-president. The contenders were the tandem of Ferdinand E. Marcos and Arturo M. Tolentino of the KBL, versus Cory Aquino, widowed spouse of assassinated senator Benigno Aquino, Jr. and Salvador H. Laurel of UNIDO. In the film, the young Kidlat gets an asthma attack in anticipation of the elections. His father, the elder Kidlat, has promised to take him along when he casts his ballot. They arrive at a small voting precinct in Baguio City and just as he marks his ballot, the father motions for his son to move away from behind him. He casts his vote in and reveals to his son that it is the “secrecy of the ballot that guarantees that the will of the people is granted. Secrecy is what protects voters.”
In the far-flung region of Benguet in the Mountain Province, elections take place as they do in other parts of the nation. Surprised as they are to be afforded this opportunity by a president who has ruled for nearly two decades, people cast their votes risking life and limb. The integrity of the ballot afforded people hope that perhaps the results yielded might deliver them from the grip of a dictator. However, the Comelec numbers show Marcos and Tolentino the winners, a result made official by the KBL-dominated Batasan Pambansa. As government tried to rubberstamp its way to victory, a series of astounding events began to grip the world’s attention: computer operators tabulating Comelec votes walked out; the bishops of the Catholic Church issued a pastoral letter saying a government that cheated was devoid of legitimacy; Cory Aquino called for a civil disobedience campaign and a boycott of crony-owned corporations until the opposition victory was recognized. Within two weeks of the February 7 snap elections, multitudes of demonstrators would fill the vast expanse of Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) calling for the peaceful ouster of a dictator.
However accelerated these events of February 1986 may be, revolutions do not take place overnight. The Marcos years, characterized by the Machiavellian exercise of power preservation, fomented political unrest. Allegations of graft and corruption against the administration and her cronies would forge a disparity of wealth and grow the gap between the extremely wealthy and the very poor. Civilians took to rioting and fed the administration’s hunger to be on the defensive and thus able to practice aggression against them. This heightened sense of control meant the suppression of civil liberties and before long, President Ferdinand Marcos found himself addressing the public, justifying the need for power to be vested solely in his hands. The September 23, 1972 declaration of Martial Law planted the seeds of discontent that would make revolution necessary, even vital to the restoration of democracy.
The 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution gathered throngs of people, filling the capital’s main artery. However, the spirit of their movement didn’t remain contained in the streets of Manila. Pockets of dissent manifested nationwide creating a stir in local communities and uniting the nation in the desire to attain freedom. Cebuanos and Davaoeños gathered in their own plazas, packing streets with slogans and singing the anthems of the revolution. All were guided by the voice of Radio Veritas—the one station whose dedication to truth helped topple the regime. Many looked to this station as the beacon of light. No doubt, People Power was set ablaze elsewhere in the nation because of the Veritas broadcasts.
While opposition groups formed outside the capital, many people also went out of their way to be counted. In the featured film, the De Guia’s drive from Baguio to Manila just as others would leave the comfort of their homes to be counted in this movement. People from all walks of life would converge and even creeds were no hindrance to a people standing united against a dictator.
When EDSA was celebrated seven years ago, the Philippine Daily Inquirer published accounts of those who had participated in the revolution and among them was a touching story of a Muslim who was tasked to organize Company D:
“More than a hundred men and women from Maharlika, the Quiapo mosque and the Tandang Sora Muslim communities responded to our call. We turned down the women and warned the 85 men of Company D that not all of us could return alive.”
Later, the account also describes how people grew watchful of food and made sure that pork was never served to their Muslim brethren. Once, a truckload of food arrived and as people made their way toward it, the driver was quick to say, “for Muslims only.” To the one recalling the story, this was the definitive moment being Filipino was most clear—that somehow away toward belonging had been found.
These stories are few among many more untold ones that we have not heard of because often, EDSA is quickly reduced to being a movement done in the capital or by the big people in history. Clearly, this is not the case.
When news of President Marcos leaving the Palace reached Jaro, Iloilo, it was late at night and yet the lights came on and residents made their way toward the Cathedral of Jaro. Suddenly illuminated and with ringing bells to boot, then 16-year-old high school student, Ruby A. Dumalaog, stood in awe of her town.
“I realized that what was happening at EDSA was also happening in Jaro. Soldiers patrolling the city shook hands with people on the street. People who didn’t know each other were embracing each other and crying. That night, I realized that although the islands in the Philippines are far apart, although we are far away from EDSA, although we were not there to face the tanks, in our hearts we are one, we have one dream and we can be together.”
- The PCDSPO
The footage is made up of excerpts from Why is Yellow the Middle of the Rainbow?, a 1994 film by Kidlat Tahimik.
The juxtaposition of his nom de plume, literally “silent lightning,” evokes the startling moment when lightning cracks, and light fills the sky. Renowned Filipino filmmaker and performance artist Kidlat Tahimik grew up amidst the American community in Baguio City, which had a profound impact on the man behind the camera and his idiosyncratic art. Internationally acclaimed, he has been the recipient of several awards, including the International Critics Award at the Berlin International Film Festival for his first film Perfumed Nightmare, and the University of the Philippines’ Gawad Plaridel for film. recently, he has received the Fukuoka Prize for Arts and Culture.
Why is Yellow the Middle of the Rainbow? showcases the tumultuous Philippine landscape in 1986 through personal home videos, shifting from key moments in the nation’s history to intimate portraits of Tahimik and his son, Kidlat who narrate their story together.
Martial Law regime began with eerie silence, in the wake of media outlets that were closed down and long distance telephone lines that were shut down in the middle of the night. Government-sanctioned media stations filled the ensuing void with an audio-visual façade of cartoons and muzak. Musically-speaking, the New Society would be more like the Japanese Occupation, with a pop twist. Combined with the bombast of the Bagong Lipunan March, martial law was accompanied by patriotic tunes imbued with the ideology of the New Society—”Ako ay Pilipino” with its reference to “Dugong Maharlika,” being an example.
For its part, the opposition appropriated popular American music such as “Tie A Yellow Ribbon ‘Round the Old Oak Tree” and “How Much Is That Doggie In The Window,” used to pillory the cronies of the ruling regime. The opposition would respond with the thundering beat of ati-atihan drums at Ayala Ave. and in the massed ranks willing to be teargassed in the ‘parliament of the streets’, and would finally find its anthem in “Bayan Ko,” whose purity was a stark contrast to Handel’s “Messiah” (“And He shall reign for ever and ever…”) at President Ferdinand E. Marcos’ 1981 inaugural, or his efforts to put forward a ‘We Are The World’-style rendition of the National Anthem which scandalized the nation.
When, in February 1986, Filipinos trooped to the polls to throw out Marcos, only for the The Batasan Pambansa to proclaim Marcos the winner of the snap elections, a Civil Disobedience campaign was launched to show support for his opponent, Corazon C. Aquino.
Then, EDSA happened. This was a revolution, but this was also a revolution accompanied with a folk song, a jingle, a hymn, and jubilation would be expressed through a dance.
“I have never seen a revolution like this. People are dancing and singing. You see this in the movies, in fiction. This is real.”—Freddie Aguilar quotes a foreign correspondent’s observation on the People Power Revolution
Forever intertwined with Philippine history, these five songs were played and replayed during the four days of struggle in February 1986—over the radio, out in the streets. The peaceful revolution found outlet in these tunes: at once, a tender tribute to the beloved country, yet also a resolute call to action. In the strums of a guitar, or in a haunting melody, this was the music that stirred people to rise—evoking the injustices of the past, while remaining hopeful for the future. These were the songs which perfectly encapsulated the swell of emotions of the time, and soon came to embody the People Power Revolution.
- The PCDSPO
“Tie a yellow ribbon ‘round the old oak tree.
It’s been three long years
Do you still want me?”
Upon the suggestion of former Senator Eva Estrada-Kalaw, Tony Orlando’s popular song was originally intended to have been the homecoming song for senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino. Apt, for Ninoy had spent the past three years in self-imposed exile in the United States of America—however, he was assassinated upon his arrival at Manila International Airport, before the opening bars of the song had even begun to play.
“A simple yellow ribbon’s what I need to set me free.”
It was soon adopted by the opposition, and the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution bore witness to the power of yellow, which adorned the streets in the form of ribbons, pins, armbands, confetti, and other paraphernalia.
After Radio Veritas was taken off the air, June Keithley used these songs in her broadcasts on Radyo Bandido, to help listeners identify her with Radio Veritas:
“Aking adhika, makita kang sakdal laya.”
Perhaps no other song has expressed the struggles of the nation so succinctly as this kundiman, written by Jose Corazon de Jesus and set to music by Constancio de Guzman in the 1920s. What came to be known as the definitive version of Bayan Ko was recorded by Filipino artist Freddie Aguilar in 1979, seven years before the revolution. In his own words:
“When I was singing that song, without accompaniment, beside the coffin of Ninoy Aquino, I broke out in goose pimples. I was thinking: ‘I am full of conceit. All I do is talk. This man gave his life.’ From then on, I became part of the protest scene—all the way until the revolution, still singing Bayan Ko.”
After Corazon C. Aquino took her oath of office as President of the Philippines, the crowd erupted in cheers before eventually bursting into song—the Lord’s Prayer and then the unofficial anthem of protest: Bayan Ko.
“This things isn’t over yet, this revolution. And people will keep on singing Bayan Ko in EDSA.”—Rofel G. Brion
After the Marcoses evacuated Malacañang, civilians stormed the Palace. One civilian recalls that, in the piano in dining hall of the Palace, someone immediately began to play Bayan Ko.
This campaign jingle, written and composed by Raul Maglapus and credited with sweeping Ramon Magsaysay to the Presidency in the 50s, resurfaced in the 80s, after Keithley played the jazzy tune during her broadcasts to boost morale. The lyrics were a subtle jab at the rampant corruption and flagrant human rights violations of the Marcos regime.
“Everywhere that you would look
Was a bandit or a crook
Peace and order was a joke
Til Magsaysay pumasok.
That is why, that is why
You will hear the people cry
Our democracy will die
Kung wala si Magsaysay.”
Magsaysay had run on a campaign to stamp out corruption and strengthen the country’s democratic institutions, in a stark contrast to a fellow Ilocano who had done the opposite.
(Listen to the track on Soundcloud)
The 19th century hymn was also adopted by the members of the 1986 People Power Revolution. Intermittently played over Radio Veritas, and later Radyo Bandido, the solemn hymn served to encourage the soldiers by reminding them of the unity of the opposition.
With the heartfelt lyrics of Jim Paredes of the APO Hiking Society, written just after the revolution, Handog ng Pilipino sa Mundo became the collaborative effort of a group of Filipino recording artists released in April 1986.
“Handog ng Pilipino sa mundo,
Mapayapang paraang pagbabago.
Katotohanan, kalayaan, katarungan
Ay kayang makamit na walang dahas.
Basta’t magkaisa tayong lahat.”
The song evokes the sentiment of the peaceful, non-violent revolution, and, as a fitting tribute, the lyrics are inscribed on a wall of the EDSA Shrine at the intersection of EDSA and Ortigas Avenue.
(Watch the video on Youtube)
Corazon C. Aquino took her oath of office as President of the Philippines in ceremonies held in Club Filipino, San Juan, on February 25, 1986. Her oath was administered by Justice Claudio Teehankee Sr.