Perhaps you’re wondering why this “shrine” deserves a separate post, when it could easily be incorporated in our previous post on the Ninoy Aquino Day. Or why not feature the more famous Ninoy monuments/statues in Makati City or in Tarlac?
It just so happened that I was at the Capitol Medical Center, around two blocks away from the Ninoy monument. It was 2:00 a.m. and I was dead bored. I know, men’s clubs abound in the area, good antidote for boredom. Let’s just say I have a better chance of coming back to a men’s club here than taking time to visit the Ninoy monument (labeled as a “shrine” by some).
It’s not a place that, on its own, you purposely visit. This is not really a “shrine” in its grand sense. Perhaps you could drop by the monument on the way to the wide array of restaurants and gimmick places in Timog Avenue and Tomas Morato Avenue (or, at night, the men’s clubs that abound along Quezon Avenue, literally a stone’s throw from the Ninoy shrine . . . I guess this still falls within the ambit of the freedom that Ninoy fought for.)
The Ninoy monument seems to be totally out of place in this area. The location (at the intersection of two major roads, Quezon and Timog Avenues, and surrounded by commercial establishments) and the way the statue looks (with right arm raised, as if hailing a taxi or bus), a public transport driver will mistake it for a commuter one of these days.
Apologies for the blurred photograph. It was way past midnight and the “shrine” was not lighted. Either they’re conserving electricity or they’re not giving enough importance to this monument. Compare this to the well-lighted memorial known as the 11th World Scout Jamboree Memorial Rotonda or simply the “Boy Scout Circle“, also located along Timog Avenue intersecting Tomas Morato Avenue, in honor of the 22 Filipino Boy Scouts who died in a plane crash on the way to Marathon, Athens during the 11th World Scout Jamboree.
You won’t really mind, though, that the Ninoy Aquino monument is not well-lighted — the statue does not resemble Ninoy anyway (at least he’s wearing the iconic pair of glasses). It may be fitting to light up this monument, a symbolic beacon in the middle of the night, seemingly out of place, surrounded by establishments that cater to the flesh (then again, talking about contrasts, at the next block lies the Saint Paul The Apostle Church).
You’ll know that this is dedicated to Ninoy Aquino by the marking at the foot of the monument, with a plaque which reads:
“Quezon City dedicates this monument in honor and lasting tribute to BENIGNO Ninoy AQUINO JR, whose life embodied that of a fiery fiscalizer who lived an exemplary patriotic life.
In 1950, 17-year old Ninoy became a Manila Times War correspondent in Korea. In 1952 when he was assigned to Indo-china covering the last moment of French colonialism in Asia at Dien Bien Phu. Three years after, at age 22, he was elected as the youngest mayor of his hometown, Concepcion, Tarlac. He was Most Outstanding Senator in 1957 and voted Man of the Year in 1971. He manifested heroism in leading his party in Plaza Miranda as he survived the bomb blast to continue his fight for democracy.
On September 22, 1972, a day after the declaration of Martial Law, Ninoy was arrested, detained and imprisoned at Fort Bonifacio and in Laur, Nueva Ecvija for 7 years and 7 months in solitary confinement. He went on a protes hunger strike while in prison from April 4 – May 13, 1975. On May 8, 1980, he was released from Fort Bonifacio to undergo tripe bypass operation at Texas, U.S.A.
On August 21, 1983, Ninoy returned in his homeland and was assassinated at the airport after disembarking from the plane. This was the event that changed the course of Philippine history. Ten days after his death, a funeral march from Sto. Domingo Church in Quezon City to Manila Memorial Park was joined by around two million people. This was considered the longest funeral march in world history.”
The QC government unveiled the monument during Ninoy’s 77th birth anniversary. Added: We happened to pass by the monument when we were discharged from the hospital, so here’s a clearer view:
Incidentally, the inauguration of Ninoy’s only son, Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, as the 15th President of the Republic of the Philippines is on June 30, 2010, which has been declared as a national holiday (see also, list of 2010 and 2011 holidays; Cory Aquino Memorial Shrine and Ninoy Aquino Monument (Manila City); EDSA People Power Monument).