'Yellow-ribbon fever' for Cory spreads to the Web
MARK MERUEÑAS, GMANews.TV
It all started with yellow bows tied to trees and posts – a simple yet powerful gesture of support for former President Corazon Aquino, who is battling colon cancer.
Well-wishers were heeding the call of close friends of Mrs. Aquino led by her former appointments secretary Margie Juico, who called on the public to "tie a yellow ribbon" to manifest support for the ailing Philippine leader.
"Rekindle the flame of democracy that Cory began. Believe that the Filipino is worth dying for. Tie a yellow ribbon today: Cory hindi ka nag-iisa
(Cory you are not alone)!" read a text message from Juico Thursday.
YELLOW RIBBON FEVER. Netizens have come up with simple, ingenious ways of expressing support for former President Corazon Aquino in their blogs, tweets, and video tributes. GMANews.TV
Last Thursday July 23, Filipino-American blogger La Kapitana who maintains Barrio Siete
("Keep social climbing alive!") began the online campaign with an appeal: "My fellow bloggers, I invite you to Touch a blogger: Tie a yellow ribbon for Cory Aquino!"
Within days, the "yellow-ribbon fever" had spread all over the Web with various blogs and social networking sites expressing their love for the country's democracy icon, and adorning their pages with yellow ribbon images. Others handed out free templates of the iconic bows.
Meanwhile, calls for prayers and support began pouring out from social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. Some users personalized their profile pictures, dabbing them with shades of the color Mrs. Aquino is most famous for.
“For the curious, I’m yellow for former Philippine president Cory Aquino, who is currently battling cancer," said comic book writer Gerry Alinguilan on his twitter account
have even gone to the extent of tweaking their pages to carry Aquino-inspired yellow themes.
for Mrs. Aquino have been cropping up in the video-sharing YouTube for the last three months.
"She was and will ever by the mother of our nation at its best. She guided us as a nation newly born under democracy," said one comment in describing Mrs. Aquino, who played a pivotal role in helping the Philippines get back on its feet after the dictatorial rule of strongman Ferdinand Marcos.
Symbol of protest
The tying of yellow bows is a take-off from the 1970s hit "Tie a Yellow Ribbon 'round the Ole Oak Tree," a song about a man who is asking his beloved to perform the gesture as a sign that she still longs for him.
Anti-Marcos protesters adopted the song and yellow ribbon theme as a gesture of support for Mrs. Aquino's husband Benigno Aquino Jr. upon his return from exile in 1983. After he was gunned down at the airport, the color yellow along with ribbons and confetti became the symbol of middle-class protesters.
Mrs. Aquino, the widow in yellow, became the global icon of people power when she rose to the presidency in the wake of the February 1986 popular revolt that ended the Marcos dictatorship.
The message board on the website put up by the Benigno S. Aquino Foundation for the former President continues to be flooded with words of encouragement and appreciation. Overwhelming support for the democracy icon is expressed in close to 1,640 messages that have been posted since April.
"You (Mrs. Aquino) are an inspiration to us all and selfish as it might sound, we need you to be here, to be our beacon, our voice of reason, and one of the best examples of how a mother and leader should be," wrote supporter "Ellen."
Mrs. Aquino’s ordeal has struck a chord even among people outside the Philippines who expressed sympathy with the former President in her bout with cancer.
“I pray for you throughout the day. My mother fought colon cancer 1998 and was healed… I am praying and requesting to God that he would grant you the same," said Marie Medina of California in her post.
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The “yellow ribbon fever" has reached Mrs. Aquino’s home province of Tarlac, north of Manila, where rows of trees have been adorned with the yellow bows.
GMA’s Sandra Aguinaldo, in her Balitanghali report on Saturday, said yellow ribbons festooned trees surrounding the Hacienda Luisita – the 6,000-hectare estate of the Cojuangcos in Tarlac.
On Friday, Aquino ally Mayor Jejomar Binay ordered yellow ribbons to be placed in key areas in the city. In Manila, yellow ribbons were also tied in posts and trees near the Manila City Hall.
“We wanted to show our sympathy para ma-boost ang morale niya at maka-recover. All of us are praying," Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim said, referring to his order to tie ribbons near the city hall.
No significant changes
In her report, GMA reporter Mariz Umali said Mrs. Aquino is resting and doctors are closely monitoring her condition. Earlier reports said the former President was in “relatively good condition" and was asleep most of the time Friday.
Mrs. Aquino’s son and Sen. Benigno “Noynoy" Aquino III told GMANews.TV Saturday that there were so far “no significant changes" in the condition of his mother.
“She wakes up from time to time," Noynoy said.
Umali said Mrs. Aquino remains under therapy in an effort to ease the pain from colon cancer. She was diagnosed with the disease in March 2008, and was rushed to the hospital last month due to loss of appetite.
On Friday, supporters of the former President who were hearing mass at the Manila City Hall burst into tears after they were told Mrs. Aquino had "died" but the report turned out to be false. Similar rumors have prompted the Aquino family to issue a statement urging the public and the media to rely solely on announcements coming from the five children and grandchildren.