Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Cory Aquino's Funeral

Cory Aquino's funeral at the Manila Cathedral in Intramuros is perhaps one of the most well covered funerals in Philippine broadcasting history.

ABS-CBN and GMA7, two of the Philippines' biggest TV networks, battled it out again in a bid to get the best shots possible inside the cathedral where the funeral was being held.

Far from being the semi-private or private affair that most funerals are supposed to be, Cory Aquino's internment was as public a viewing as it could possibly be. Apart from the live TV coverage which started when Aquino's casket was moved from the La Salle Greenhills auditorium to the Manila Cathedral, both TV stations put out live video streaming of the funeral procession from start to finish.

GMA7's live streaming of Cory's funeral even allows you to interact with other people through Facebook status updates. This is the cyber version of what happens in most Filipino funerals where guests talk about the deceased incessantly and even make jokes.

One which I thought of yesterday is a fictional account of Cory Aquino answering a man's prayer from beyond the grave.
Man: Madam President Cory, sana isinama niyo na si President Gloria.

Cory: Anak, papunta ako ng langit eh.

But perhaps, one thing that was not a joke but kind of cruel, was that several reporters who were annotating the funeral procession that travelled from La Salle Greenhills to Manila Cathedral kept on referring to Mrs. Aquino as Mrs. Arroyo. I even heard one reporter say, "ang mga labi ni Mrs. Arroyo" or the remains of Mrs. Arroyo.

An article on Yahoo News which was shared on Facebook also featured the same glitch when a sentence meant to describe the circumstances surrounding the first minutes of Cory Aquino's death began with, "When they found out that Mrs. Arroyo died..."

It proved a bit hard to resist and I immediately sent a text message to Better Philippines, asking whether he thought the country would pay the same respects to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. I doubled up when he texted back his response.

As far as funerals go, I think I've had my share of it this year. Time to cast my eyes again on life, brutal and painful as it is in a third world country like the Philippines.

Lord help us.

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