A supplementary essay for my Making History creative project, which features my mother, music, and a bit about Cory Aquino (more details below)
Written for Philippine History class with Katherine Lacson, July 2011
Growing up, I’ve only admired two things: music and my mom. I loved how I could freely express my deepest emotions and everyday troubles through songs and lyrics. More so, I appreciated how my mom would support my interest; she would never fail to teach me everything she knows about life (in general) and music (in particular), as if she was passing on to me a family legacy. She probably was, for our clan has such an adamant passion on the field of music: my lolo had his own band as he entered college while my mom and her eight siblings joined and eventually won every vocal solo contest there was back when they were in high school. At this point, it’s safe to say that my love for music runs in the family.
However, as days went by and the busyness of school took its course, Mom and I hardly had enough time to bond over storytelling and music. Instead, I was too occupied with getting high grades on my classes that sooner or later I lost interest in music without my knowing. I transferred from one hobby to another, all thanks to my short attention span and in time, settled for writing—news to be exact. And it was a fun experience, regardless of having to go through the same creative process over and over again for the past six years. On the plus side, I got to be less ignorant of the things around me, especially of those events happening in the Philippines.
As I was learning and relearning the things of the past, I was so struck with the EDSA Revolution, of how a woman—a housewife at that—named Cory Aquino, moved by the death of her husband, changed the lives of many through advocating peace and fairness in the nation. More than a love for country, she loved the people of her country; she listened to and addressed their needs. With this, she eventually became the first woman president of the Philippines, overthrowing the Marcos regime which seemed too dictatorial rather than democratic at that time. In contrast, Cory’s reign was that of motherly love and care. She sacrificed a lot for her people, making them her top priority in everything that she did.
In this light, I couldn’t help but see the connection between my mom and Cory Aquino, and even as well as any other mother I know. Theirs is a love that is unconditional, that springs beyond reason and obligation. Unyielding and endless, like a looped song, they won’t give up on the people they care for.
I was 10 years old when my parents separated and I couldn’t ignore the fact that they did: I cried day and night, as if the world was coming to an end. Surprisingly though, as soon as our dad went off with his other woman, my mom stood her ground and didn’t exhibit any trace of weakness. She took care of her five children on her own with the help of her small-scale business. She worked twice as hard just to let us survive and thankfully, we did. If anything, my mom was the bravest person I know, and my respect for her grew more and more as I did.
In the Philippines, where everything’s a song and dance, we tend to look at the bright side of things no matter how gloomy may lie ahead. Just when I thought that my favorite song was coming to an end, my mom was there to continue humming the tune for me. She made sure that she always got my back.
The Philippines may be lucky to have had a mother in Cory. But I was luckier, for I had and still have my own. Despite the problems we faced and are still facing, I’m glad to have my mother by my side, through thick and thin. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
But there’s a story behind everything. How a picture got on a wall. How a scar got on your face. Sometimes the stories are simple, and sometimes they are hard and heartbreaking. But behind all your stories is always your mother’s story, because hers is where yours begin.
— Mitch Albom (Author)
And this, this is my story, my song, in which I have my mother to thank for.
About the project
The task was to write an essay or pursue a creative project incorporating Philippine History to our life. Wanting to highlight the significance of my mother and music in my life, I created a music album, “Mahal Kong Nanay” which featured songs usually associated to a mother’s unending and unconditional love. All songs were performed by Filipino artist Carol Banawa, who, coincidentally, was one of my mom’s and mine favorite singers. The CD case shown below was supplemented by the above essay.
Inside and outside case design
Actual CD case