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titus toledo
image I WAS eighteen and watching TV when the "real thing" happened at Edsa. I may not be where the real action was but I am still pretty proud to tell my kids that we did have the "real thing" going in 1986.

The Real Thing.

They were starting to get the idea that People Power was a movie, like Rocky and Rambo and Star Wars— something you could rip and burn and put in a box among other pirated six-in-ones.


Listen: Before there ever were clear copies and cinema copies and clear copies of cinema copies we did have the "real thing" going back at Edsa in February of 1986, and anyone who tells you otherwise is— I am sorry— a briefly deficient tinhorn liar.

Tinhorn Liar.

Who or what would want to call Edsa "unreal?"

Cheap politics—

Or more precisely, any one of its practitioners with their bagful of bad propaganda who have the most to gain from peddling the least of their believable lies: You diminish the act in the hope that it diminishes the actors. Or, you diminish the actors in the hope of diminishing the act.

Diminishing the Act.

But we did have the "real thing" going back at Edsa 21 years ago, no matter what your neighborhood politician says. We did have the "real thing" going back then, no matter how diminished we may be as a nation right now.

It was still the "real thing," no matter what came after it and whether what came after it was not so good anymore— or true anymore.

Or Beautiful Anymore.

Whatever happened after Edsa— whatever happened to the promises made after Edsa (whatever those promises were and whoever else made them) is a different story. And however that story is made to go does not and will not invalidate the fact, the truth, the reality of Edsa People Power and its reason for being.

What is the reality of People Power and its reason for being?

Marcos, Ferdinand E., the late—

You remember him, of course: Father of The New Society, Engineer of The Green Revolution, The proverbial Malakas of Philippine folklore personified, and for a long while there the object of national hate.

National Hate.

Edsa was real because Marcos was real, even if on most days you wake up on the wrong side of your head and this 21-year-old episode hits you like McKinley's dream.

McKinley's Dream.

Marcos was as real as sunshine in the morning makes you happy. He was as real as your CAT-regulation haircut. He was as real as Ariel Ureta and his bisikleta, Gloria Diaz and the ghosts of CCP, Thrilla in Manila, Vivian Velez, Voltes-V, The Philippine mauling of The Beatles.

The Philippine Mauling of The Beatles.

Marcos was as real as Lorena Barros, Emman Lacaba, Edgar Jopson, Macliing Dulag, Evelio Javier, Ninoy Aquino, and 9,539 other victims of human rights abuse.

Now let me tell you the news: Marcos was— if you believe the writing on the wall— the first and the only "real" diktador-tuta before all the other presidents and so-called presidents after him started to warm up and feel at home and help themselves to the honor.

The Writing on the Wall.

And what about those who call People Power an illusion? Same difference. If People Power was merely an illlusion, what does that make Marcos? The rabbit in the hat?

If People Power was merely an illusion, then Marcos may not have been the "real" McCoy. He could very well be just another CIA concoction, somebody's big idea of what a grand Third World dictator should look like, an artist's half-hearted interpretation of an otherwise stately profile intended for old Philippine coins no longer in circulation, some face you could carved on a mountain somewhere in Imelda's Baguio for picture-taking tourists.

The Real McCoy.

Scout's honor: If Marcos wasn't the "real" McCoy then the "real" McCoy could still be alive— probably drinking lemonada somewhere in the hills of Sierra Madre, along with Hitler and Elvis "The King" Presley.

Elvis "The King" Presley.

Illusion, you say? How about People Power as a sham, a ruse, a hoax, a conspiracy theory, a kind of UFO sighting?

Marcos can be Big Foot or Tikbalang, and that famous September 21, 1972 footage of the erstwhile Philippine strongman placing the entire nation under martial law may very well be an actual video recording of an alien signal beamed from some yet uncharted galaxy in the American Milky Way.

The American Milky Way.

Call it what you want— fold, cut, mutilate, and spindle. Cook it the way you want it— deep-fry, stir-fry, bake, and boil. Cheapen it by staging sequel after sequel— make that prequel after prequel. Dismiss it on the premise that it betrayed the promise and failed to deliver the dream—

What was the promise, anyway? And what about the dream?

The Dream.

I was eighteen going forty when the "real thing" hit me and now it is no longer Marcos on NewsWatch Channel 9, even if on most days it sure still feels like the old fogey's still very much around.


[About the author. Titus Toledo has published extensively in discord. As of this writing, he digs space weather, code art, semiotics, guerrilla gardening, and crispy begukan—in that order. He comes in peace.]

-Posted: 9:10 AM 2/25/07 | More of this author on eK!