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Be a Keeper of The EDSA Flame

Contest Winners

Thirty years after People Power toppled a dictatorship and restored democracy to the Philippines, the Inquirer is calling on all survivors and millennials to keep the Edsa flame burning by carrying on the lessons learned and stories shared by witnesses and survivors, that they the youth never forget this important time in our country's history for generations to come.

Here are the 21 winning entries to the Inquirer's contest, "Be a keeper of the Edsa flame!" where participants were asked to take selfies and write an essay on People Power. The grand winner took home an iPhone 6S Plus; 10 finalists took home the book, "The Inquirer Story: 30 Years of Shaping History," and another 10 were awarded Inquirer memorabilia as consolation prizes. The order of entries on this page is random, and not based on prize won or final score.

Click here for the feature article: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/771112/essay-contest-edsa-flame-in-good-hands

Jay Bernard G. Autor

Edsa is a historic moment for Filipinos. I told my son that Edsa was the dawn of justice. In a world of tyranny, the power of the people shined brightest during People Power. #OurEdsa

  • AGE: 37
  • NAME OF COMPANION IN SELFIE: Luke Anthony E. Autor
  • AGE OF COMPANION: 6
  • RELATIONSHIP WITH ENTRANT: son
  • ESSAY:
  • Ninoy Aquino was assassinated on August 21, 1983, which sparked the biggest revolution in the history of the Philippines not involving guns and bullets. He removed the fear in the hearts of the Filipinos and emboldened their determination to seek justice and overthrow the dark rule of oppression. Tyrants surmised that the bigger the artilleries, the longer they can stay in power. Edsa was a lesson to the world that love, peace, unity, fortitude, faith and hope are the strongest weapons to bring the enemy to their knees. After flanking tanks to intimidate the crowd, it was the ordinary people who stood up amidst the glowing flame inside their soul sparked by the ember of hope inspired by Ninoy's death. A military tank was met by a man on a wheelchair who would rather be trampled over than move away. The soldiers were met by children who brought towels and bread to rest and feed them. The armored cars were faced by nuns holding flowers, praying in the middle of the roads, unconcerned if they lost their lives that very day. This was the power of the people. This was People Power, the Edsa revolution. The power of the people was so immense that the soldiers themselves were transformed. They were unable to defy the flame that bound the people together. Ultimately, they succumbed against the irresistible call of justice and love, and the eventual dismissal of a longtime dictator. This was a lesson learned for 30 years but which is not yet fully understood to this very day. People continue to fight the enemy with the sword. (But) during our darkest hours, it was clear that the weapon of the soul, the will of the people and the power of love are the strongest weapons of all. I told my son that no matter how small you are, no matter how poor you are, no matter how insignificant you may think you are in the grand scheme of things, it is because of you that we can collectively overthrow despotism and achieve justice in the dawn of light. This is our truth. This is our Edsa. (This entry was awarded one of 10 major prizes.)

DINKA CELINE DE LUNA CALDERON

Edsa 1 is a historic moment for Filipinos. I have always wanted to ask my grandmother, "What do you think really awakened the Filipinos to go with (Fidel) Ramos and (Juan Ponce) Enrile in their fight to go against President Ferdinand Marcos?" #OurEdsa

  • AGE: 34
  • NAME OF COMPANION IN SELFIE: CELIA GATMAITAN DE LUNA
  • AGE OF COMPANION: 85
  • RELATIONSHIP WITH ENTRANT: GRANDMOTHER
  • ESSAY:
  • My grandmother, who we call Nay, keeps an old album about Edsa, a compilation of front-page news and events from different newspapers from Day One of the revolution until the Marcoses fled to Agana, Guam, on Wednesday, Feb. 26, 1986. I was specifically intrigued by the Philippine Daily Inquirer headline which says, "Enrile, Ramos: We will die fighting." "Did they really mean to die at that time?" I asked. And my Nay said, "They were fighting and were willing to die because they believed that President Corazon Aquino was the rightful president chosen by the people and not Ferdinand Marcos." Such belief was shared by millions of Filipinos and they went to the streets of Edsa to claim their right of freedom to choose their President. My Nay further said that Ninoy Aquino also believed the Filipinos were worth dying for, and his assassination ignited the fire in the hearts of all Filipinos, especially that of (Fidel) Ramos and (Juan Ponce) Enrile to fight for freedom. These answers to my question makes me understand, believe and appreciate more deeply the freedom we are now enjoying. It makes me think better and look forward to be able to choose the right people to lead us and not be carried away by my own selfish motives for better opportunities. Yes, I think the Filipino is worth dying for and I guess Ramos and Enrile were really serious about dying for freedom. That's what Nay said and I believe her now and smile when I look at her old album about our Edsa 1986. (This entry was awarded one of 10 consolation prizes.)

Liezl Ann Lansang

Edsa 1 is a historic moment for Filipinos. Separate generations do not stop families from being one in reliving the victories of Edsa 1. #OurEdsa

  • AGE: 19
  • NAME OF COMPANION IN SELFIE: Leonardo Lansang
  • AGE OF COMPANION: 70
  • RELATIONSHIP WITH ENTRANT: Grandfather
  • ESSAY:
  • I was born exactly a decade after the first Edsa Revolution and I did not experience it first-hand. But growing up with the historical stories of my grandfather gave me a perspective of how life was under the rule of Ferdinand Marcos–and how the collective action of the people won against the regime of the dictator. Lolo would always recount stories of how difficult it was for the people to be repressed. But nonetheless, the masses marched onto the streets despite the fear of being harassed or captured. Using all kinds of protests, from advocacies to religious calls, and even with the use of food and flowers, the Filipino nation rose as one in order to be released from the shackles of oppression–and onto freedom. My lolo and I will always talk about the past that was Edsa I, but if there was anything I've learned, it is to NEVER FORGET OUR VICTORIES. We should never forget that once, we have stood as one nation in the need to bring forth better changes for the country. We shall never forget that if we were able to do it in the past, then we can achieve unity and solidarity in the future too. Our generations may be different, but we must keep on cherishing our victories as one. (This entry was awarded one of 10 consolation prizes.)

Nancy A. Tan

Edsa 1 is a historic moment for Filipinos. I told my son that anything can be achieved if people will be united. #OurEdsa

  • AGE: 42
  • NAME OF COMPANION IN SELFIE: My Son, Jose Julian Christopher A. Tan
  • AGE OF COMPANION: 12
  • RELATIONSHIP WITH ENTRANT: Mother
  • ESSAY:
  • I told my son that anything can be achieved if we will unite for a common goal. I told him that Filipinos at that time wanted freedom. People from different sectors, young and old went out to the street to fight for their right. They were fearless of what will happen to them. They were not afraid because they were united. And with faith with each other, together they made history in fighting for our democracy. Their unity became their powerful weapon strong enough to make the most powerful man in the land leave the country. That happened without violence, a peaceful revolution praised by leaders around the world. Like my son, I was 12 years old when Edsa happened. My sister and I were dismissed early at school and were advised to go home immediately. I was also in Grade 6 that year, same as my son, at Malaybalay Central Elementary Pilot School in Malaybalay, Bukidnon. Back then, I couldn't understand why a "war" happening in Manila would affect us in the province. We're miles away and surely they can't harm us. My father was waiting for us to come home. We just walked home from school. That's about 2 kilometers away. Small feet slowly taking steps, no care of the news of revolution going on in the metropolis. At home, my parents were listening to the radio. Radio was the fastest way to get news during those days. The newscaster was talking about tanks and people lining up at Edsa. My young mind asked my father, "What's going on?" "It's about our government," he tried to explain. "People are asking for freedom." And that freedom was achieved because Filipinos become united. The history of Edsa can be taught very well as part of the lessons in school. Even young teachers who weren't even born during Edsa could read the story and details on Edsa. As a parent, the essence of democracy, freedom, courage and, most of all, unity and faith in God are the values that I want to pass on to my child. May he learn from these. The lessons of Edsa. (This entry was awarded one of 10 major prizes.)

MAHARLIKA BIEREN DOCTOR

Edsa 1 is a historic moment for Filipinos. I've always wanted to ask my Papa why only those at EDSA are remembered. #OurEdsa

  • AGE: 24
  • NAME OF COMPANION IN SELFIE: COLONEL MATEO TRIJO DOCTOR PAF (RET)
  • AGE OF COMPANION: 62
  • RELATIONSHIP WITH ENTRANT: FATHER
  • ESSAY:
  • FAR AWAY FROM EDSA I have always wanted to ask my Papa: Why are only those at EDSA remembered? What roles did other Filipinos play? He gave me this answer. Edsa is remembered because it highlighted the greatness of the Filipinos as a people, not only those who were there, but also those who were not there. My Papa and his men were not there. They were then securing a very vital communication station on top of the highest mountain in Zamboanga City, Mount Taguite. That was then the main military and civilian communication station linking Mindanao to Luzon and to other parts of the country. During that time, there were still no cellphones and satellite communication. In that critical period, upon hearing from their transistor radio that General Fidel V. Ramos had joined the rebels, my Papa and his men took over that station for General Ramos. They had never worked with General Ramos before. They just believed and trusted him. They wanted him to be their leader. They were about to disable the station, thus isolating the whole of Mindanao, when my Papa was persuaded by a trusted senior officer in their headquarters to hold on for a while. General Ramos was then still using their communication system in contacting and convincing senior military and police commanders in Mindanao to join him. True enough, after several days, my Papa and his men had no more reason to take over the station. All military and police units in Mindanao had joined General Ramos. Though away from the limelight, unknown and unrecognized, my Papa and his men had shown that wherever we are, we can also do our share, in our own little ways, for a cause as worthy as Edsa. There will always be another Edsa, for another reason, for another cause. Again we, as a people, will be called to show our support, our determination and our desire to be heard and call for change, whoever we are and wherever we are–as how my Papa and his men had done even very far away from EDSA. (This entry was awarded one of 10 consolation prizes.)

MARY PAULINE L. BALMES

Edsa 1 is a historic moment for Filipinos. I've always wanted to ask Sr. Ping how does it feel to be in the (front lines) during Edsa, leading the rosary protecting the civilians from the soldiers? #OurEdsa

  • AGE: 24
  • NAME OF COMPANION IN SELFIE: Sr. Ping Ocariza
  • AGE OF COMPANION: 57
  • RELATIONSHIP WITH ENTRANT: She was a guest in our event.
  • ESSAY:
  • Thirty years ago, I wasn't born yet. But the seeds of freedom that we enjoy now were already planted. Edsa People Power Revolution paved that way. And while memories still linger to those who witnessed the heart-rending era of dictatorship, many of us millennials–like me–fail to realize what Edsa People Power has done to us. A few days ago, I had this chance to talk to one of the Edsa 1 survivors: Sr. Porfiria "Ping" Ocariza of the Daughters of St. Paul, one of the two nuns in the iconic photo of Mr. Pete Reyes. She, together with Sr. Teresita Burias, led the rosary at Edsa as people from different walks of life gathered together to safeguard civilians from the armed forces and ensure a peaceful resolution of the crisis. Because we're used to seeing interviews of political personalities (or maybe because they're the only ones we know), every time we commemorate this historic event, I wonder how ordinary citizens like her dealt with the situation during that time. I've always wanted to ask her how she felt at that very moment. What was going on her mind? Wasn't she afraid? Her armor was not a gun but a rosary. Her prayer was for blood not to shed but for light to. They were surrounded by armed men and anytime it could have been her last breath. But she inspired us of her bravery and of her love for the country. She is a living testimony of the revolt's hunger for change and reformation. In this age of information, where threat of revisionism can easily persuade us, to be a keeper of Edsa flame is a challenge. While almost all information are available because of technology, a critical mind exposed in different avenues of dialogue is still important to deepen our knowledge. (This entry was awarded one of 10 consolation prizes.)

alberto b. ellema, jr.

Edsa 1 is a historic moment for Filipinos. I want my son to know that I was part of the long struggle that culminated in the People Power Revolution of 1986. #OurEdsa

  • AGE: 48
  • NAME OF COMPANION IN SELFIE: sir albert einstein robin ellema
  • AGE OF COMPANION: 15
  • RELATIONSHIP WITH ENTRANT: son
  • ESSAY:
  • Sustaining the flame of Edsa is the challenge to every Filipino who now reaps the blessings of freedom and democracy. The flame that was stoked before martial law had been kept burning by the brave women and men who fought the dictatorship. Filipinos ought to remember the darkest era that was blotted with gruesome and horrible events like the Plaza Miranda Bombing, the First Quarter Storm, the detention of opposition leaders like Pepe Diokno, Ninoy Aquino and journalist Chino Roces, and many others. That flame went aglow in that historic People Power Revolution of 1986. Efforts to douse the flame by the very people of the dictatorship who exploit our freedom and democracy in their sinister plot make a good image of what Tibo Mijares labeled as The Conjugal Dictatorship. We must not be blinded with falsehoods pointing to infrastructures as hallmarks of development that chained us to pay debts beyond our lifetime. The loot that merited the tag for the dictator as the greatest thief of all time in the 1986 Guinness Book of World Records, remains a burden upon us. Sustaining the Edsa flame must include the sacrifices of all those who fought martial law across the country. The undue focus on EDSA had trivialized the contributions of real heroes like Fr. Rudy Romano, Dr. Bobby de la Paz, Macliing Dulag, Evilio Javier and the countless volunteers of Namfrel who risked their lives in the 1986 Snap Elections, whose quick-count ignited the flames of the People Power Revolution. It is unjust that a principal author of martial law, Juan Ponce Enrile, is hailed a hero while the multitude that fought the soldiers at Edsa remain unrecognized. This is what I want to tell my son, that I did my share in the long struggle that culminated at EDSA as a Namfrel volunteer who took courage to guard the ballot amid the threats of the armed forces of the dictatorship. (This entry was awarded one of 10 major prizes.)

Raphael Descartes M. Roldan

Edsa 1 is a historic moment for Filipinos. I have always wanted to ask my teacher what made her decide to risk her life during those times. #OurEdsa

  • AGE: 19
  • NAME OF COMPANION IN SELFIE: Sr. Francesca Valdez, SSpS
  • AGE OF COMPANION: 67
  • RELATIONSHIP WITH ENTRANT: Teacher
  • ESSAY:
  • Three Decades of Freedom and Democracy Every time my teacher inserts tidbits of her memory of Edsa 1 in her lesson, I always wonder what made her decide to risk her life in those times. She said she was active in rallies that had overthrown the Martial Law regime. "It was the time when freedom was suppressed and extrajudicial killings were rampant," she said strongly when I asked her to describe those years. Because of the accounts of my teacher of Edsa 1 being perilous, I then have always wanted to ask what made her decide to risk her life during those times. "I risked my life for liberty, for Filipinos and for myself," she said. It was a time when freedom of speech was suppressed. It was a time when Filipinos who were against the government of Ferdinand Marcos like my teacher were being hunted and killed. Nevertheless, all of the threats cannot withstand the cause for freedom. Myriads of Filipinos had risked their lives to attain freedom from the oppressive government of Marcos. The myriad of Filipinos who fought the oppressive administration are martyrs of our nation. They had fought not only for their rights but also for the rights of others that echoed through the later generations. The millennials like me are the recipients of the deed they have done for the country. The earlier generation deserve the millennials' deep gratitude not only by applauding them but by keeping the history of Edsa 1 in their hearts. I owe to the older generation the freedom and democracy I enjoy today. By keeping in heart and mind the history of Edsa 1, I keep the flame of Edsa 1 burning. By advocating the first necessity to learn history, I keep the flame of Edsa I burning. By using the freedom and democracy responsibly which the older generation had fought for, I keep the flame of Edsa 1 burning for my generation. (This entry was awarded one of 10 major prizes.)

Yolanda Casilad

Makasaysayan ang Edsa 1 para sa mga Pilipino. Nais kong maisapuso ng aking anak ang bugso ng damdamin ng mga Filipino noong panahong ipinaglalaban natin ang ating kalayaan at karapatan. #OurEdsa

  • AGE: 46
  • NAME OF COMPANION IN SELFIE: Jochelle Casilad
  • AGE OF COMPANION: 20
  • RELATIONSHIP WITH ENTRANT: Daughter
  • ESSAY:
  • Kung pupunasan ko ang salamin ng kahapon, kung kailan binaril si Benigno Aquino, talaga namang mapupuno ang aking puso ng galit at panghihinayang. Simula ng pangyayaring iyon ay sumiklab ang kagustuhan ng mga Filipino na lalong makamit ang demokrasya mula sa isang diktador na pinuno. Ako ay simpleng estudyante lamang noon at kabilang sa milyung-milyong mga mamamayan na naghahanap ng liwanag mula sa isang kamay na bakal. Hindi man ako isang mamboboto, ramdam at alam ko ang hindi pantay na pamamalakad tuwing darating ang eleksyon na sumasagisag dapat sana sa sigaw at saloobin ng mga Filipino. Namulat sa akin maging ang istriktong pamumuno na naaayon lamang para sa mga makapangyarihan at ang kalayaan ng "media" ay nalimitahan din. Kaya naman sa pag patak ng ika-25 ng Pebrero 1986, nasubaybayan ko gamit ang aming telebisyon kung paano ipinaglaban ng mga nakararami ang ating karapatan.. Kung maaari lamang sana ay maiparating ko sa aking anak ang aking naramdaman sa mga sandaling iyon. Ang bawat segundo ay naglalaman ng kaba ng bawat isa ngunit ang takot ay saglit na dinukot nang naglapitan ang mga madre sa mga sundalo. Tumagos sa aking puso ang dinidikta ng kanilang mga mata na determinadong maipaglaban ang demokrasya. Bilang ako ay musmos pa noon, hinayaan pa rin ako ng mga madre na silang nagpaaral at kumupkop sa akin , upang matunghayan ang rebolusyon pagkatapos. Bumungad sa akin ang napakaraming kalat sa aming dinaraanan at ang malagintong reaksyon ng mga taong patuloy pa ring nagdiriwang pati na rin ang libu-libong mga sapatos ni Imelda Marcos. Nang mga oras ding iyon ay nasagot ang aking katanungan kung ano ang karangyaang tinatamasa ng aming presidente. Maaaring may mga detalye akong nakaligtaang isalaysay sa mga nangyari, ngunit ang aking naramdaman ay mananatili panghabangbuhay. Ibig kong malaman ng aking anak , kung paano ito naging inspirasyon upang mas lalo ko pang ipaglaban ang mga bagay na alam kong tama at makakabuti para sa nakararami. (This entry was awarded one of 10 consolation prizes.)

Tom Lin Deocampo Jr.

"Laban." Truth is essential in preserving a memory because the message that will be sent out is clear and will leave a mark in somebody's heart, like that of the People Power Revolution, my mother said. #OurEdsa

  • AGE: 15
  • NAME OF COMPANION IN SELFIE: Lovelyn Deocampo
  • AGE OF COMPANION: 40
  • RELATIONSHIP WITH ENTRANT: Mother
  • ESSAY:
  • The Essence of Truth The People Power Revolution way back in 1986 is a mirror of Filipinos' unity, bravery, optimism and resilience amidst the tidal wave of hardships especially socioeconomic unrest. Now, as we celebrate its 30 years, it's time for us youngsters to reflect and ponder on what was then the real "Bloodless Revolution." We, the millennials, are amazed of the visuals flashed on televisions about the Edsa revolution like nuns going flowers to the soldiers and other people offering food, chained their selves with each other while praying. It seems to overpower the idea that our fellow Filipinos also suffered and clamored to attain justice. Also, textbooks in History and Social Studies only contain the bright side of the revolution. They exclude the part that explains how the people were tortured or mercilessly abused. In order for us to keep and preserve this rich chapter of our history, we must reveal the truth and pass it to the next generation. Moreover, ads, may it be audiovisual or printed, are influential. Let's grab this opportunity to disseminate the real purpose of the People Power Revolution and the events that really occurred. There's no problem with revealing its bad side if being euphemistically expressed. It is high time for us Filipinos to let our minds grow and to realize the essence of something that had contributed and will contribute a lot to our everyday living. As my mother said when I asked her something about the People Power Revolution, "Truth is essential in preserving a memory because the message that will be sent out is clear and will leave a mark in somebody's heart, like that of the People Power Revolution." (This entry was awarded one of 10 consolation prizes.)

Emmanuel Q. Totañes, jr

Edsa 1 is a historic moment for Filipinos. I want my son to know that during Edsa, heroism encompassed age, gender, religion, economic status, etc to fight for democracy. #OurEdsa

  • AGE: 42
  • NAME OF COMPANION IN SELFIE: John Patrick Totañes
  • AGE OF COMPANION: 14
  • RELATIONSHIP WITH ENTRANT: son
  • ESSAY:
  • It is with great pride that I recount to my son JP the events that led to the People power revolution in 1986, which happened not just because of the rebel soldiers and their officers who decided "enough is enough, Mr. President," but more so because of the countless civilians who risked their lives by forming human barricades to shield the mutineers from government troops. People left the comforts and safety of their homes to be one with their countrymen in doing what years before was simply improbable, to topple the dictator. Filipinos flocked to Edsa unmindful of whether or not they were mingling with their own kind, the rich with the rich and the poor with their fellow poor. The young and the old bridged the age gap to fight for a common cause. Priests and nuns prayed alongside leaders and members of different sects. Had a firefight ensued, civilians would have been the first casualties, as they were the ones on the front-lines. They would have easily fell to rounds and rounds of bullets with markings that read " to whom it may concern." It was ironic to see civilians defending those who were armed but it was that very irony which made the situation even more remarkable. Edsa 1 was a display of Filipino selflessness and courage, and it was thrust into the global consciousness thanks to the round-the-clock media coverage. Filipino nationalism in its finest form was admired from every corner of the world. There may be some who claim that the Edsa revolution did the country more harm than good. Well, everyone is entitled to his/her own opinion. It is difficult to ignore the fact though that this democracy we enjoy today is a result of that one of a kind revolution. "Only in the Philippines" has people power been that powerful indeed. Thus, Edsa taught us a very important lesson, one that should last for generations to come: that we Filipinos can jump over any hurdle, how high it may be, so long as we stand united. Side by side. Kapit bisig. (This entry was awarded one of 10 major prizes.)

Alona U. Guevarra

Edsa 1 is a historic moment for Filipinos. I want my daughter to know that my generation of Edsa survivors tried to vanquish the deep-seated ills of society: Corruption, poverty, illiteracy and greed, etc. Some of us are still fighting that uphill battle, yet a good number of us have become part of the very system we fought hard to vanquish in 1986. #OurEdsa

  • AGE: 40
  • NAME OF COMPANION IN SELFIE: Ashley Alexis Guevarra
  • AGE OF COMPANION: 16
  • RELATIONSHIP WITH ENTRANT: Daughter
  • ESSAY:
  • I want my daughter to know that Edsa provided such a golden opportunity for real change to occur and yet my generation of Edsa survivors became too complacent. As a young person in that fateful revolution of 1986, Edsa taught my generation that in order for change and progress to take place one must envision a future beyond one that is focused on self, but a future that envisions self within a society, within a nation. Post-Edsa, my generation became too drunk, too euphoric on the promise of change that few of us did our part to make sure that change become instilled and institutionalized. It is said that, "in a democracy, people get the leaders they deserve," and we Edsa survivors seemed to deserve the controversial leaders we elected. Today in a globalizing nation (an oxymoron, yet a reality), my daughter and the generation of millennials she is part of, I plead with you to please learn from our mistakes. Complacency is the enemy that blinded us Edsa survivors. Do not let the same enemy strip your generation of a better future. The 21st-century Filipino should battle complacency head on through vigilance by maximizing the benefits of the information age. Learn as much as you can, speak your opinion, be heard. Listen to your countrymen. Give each sector opportunity to be heard, we are one nation after all. For only in knowing each other's pains and ideals can we move towards a solution for social ills big and small. Choose your leaders wisely. Never be complacent. Never settle for what is easy or available. Then perhaps Edsa's spirit can wrap around the entirety of the country. And with this, the Philippines would be worthy of the gift of Edsa's gift of peaceful revolution. (This entry was awarded the grand prize.)

sharon villaflores

Edsa 1 is a historic moment for Filipinos. I want my niece to know that Edsa is where we fought our way out of slavery. #OurEdsa

  • AGE: 36
  • NAME OF COMPANION IN SELFIE: Venice Vinluan
  • AGE OF COMPANION: 20
  • RELATIONSHIP WITH ENTRANT: auntie
  • ESSAY:
  • I want to pass on to my niece the same truth, same spirit that roused Filipinos to stand up as one people about 30 years ago. I want her to remember that Filipinos are free and will fight to gain freedom from any form of slavery. And it is still what we should be fighting for up to this day but not anymore against dictatorship but against our own self! You see, I pass by Edsa everyday. The traffic makes me think how progressive we have become but it also makes me think how selfish we can really be. Everyone wants to get ahead of another. Whenever I ride the MRT, people push each other to get a space inside the train not minding if one gets hurt in the process. Maybe unaware, but this self-centeredness is really everywhere on Edsa. And to me, this makes each of us a slave of our own personal desires. It's no longer a dictatorship of another ruler that is bringing us down as a people rather, it is our own selfishness that diminishes the spirit that was once Edsa. Really heartbreaking! But, my dearest, we are not without hope! I believe that the same spirit that brought us out of slavery gives hope when we try to refocus our gaze and look at things differently. There are things in Edsa that remain inspiring, if one can pay closer attention to it. Because whenever I see a person in a bus giving an old person or a woman his seat, I am encouraged! Whenever one car stops when traffic lights turn red, I am built up. Whenever, one student tries her best to line up and wait for her turn to get inside the train, I am filled with hope. I am certain that that Filipino spirit that desires freedom remains with us today and my only desire is for us to fight for that freedom everyday: to be less and less self-centered day after day. (This entry was awarded one of 10 major prizes.)

Feliza Iliana Bañaco

Edsa 1 is a historic moment for Filipinos. I've always wanted to ask my mom how a peaceful and upright cry for freedom put an end to regime violence and restored the country's democracy. #OurEdsa

  • AGE: 19
  • NAME OF COMPANION IN SELFIE: Mother
  • AGE OF COMPANION: 58
  • RELATIONSHIP WITH ENTRANT: Daughter
  • ESSAY:
  • I've always wondered how millions of Filipinos managed to gather and stand in unison to restore the country's democracy and put an end to regime violence in the most peaceful and morally upright way, despite all the horrid cruelty thousands of our people went through. The Edsa Revolution's most powerful message to the world is that violence is not overcome by violence. Violence is overcome by peace. While we should never forget this golden lesson EDSA taught us, we should also never forget all the horrid things that happened during those years our country was held by iron fist. My mother used to tell me a graphic account about how several people she personally knew had been taken, tortured and killed for breathing sadly about the administration. Their grieving families have chosen to remain silent–silence being most understandable because I know that these horrid stories are truly difficult to remember, and much harder to tell. As an Edsa millennial, I did more research and learned what exactly life was like during martial ;aw. I listened to firsthand stories of those who survived those years. I learned all the efforts of these young heroes that ended the martial law. I learned what has been stolen from our country. These are the stories we should work so hard to impart to the youth in order for the history to not repeat itself. We should never cease talking about all the genuine stories of violence and abuse during one of the most traumatic periods in Philippine history. Because once we start to forget we start to become vulnerable. This February 25, let us not only remember the Edsa Revolution and honor the deaths of thousand martyrs who sacrificed their freedom for ours. Let us remain angry. Let our collective outrage fuel our Edsa flame by condemning every single atrocities, corruption and human rights violations done in the 14 years the country was under a dictatorship. Let us keep the Edsa flame burning. Never forget. Never again. (This entry was awarded one of 10 major prizes.)

Ernesto Talatala Lapuz

Edsa is a historic moment for Filipinos. I told my son that at first I didn't care and then later I did. In time, he will, too. #OurEdsa

  • AGE: 50
  • NAME OF COMPANION IN SELFIE: My son
  • AGE OF COMPANION: 9
  • RELATIONSHIP WITH ENTRANT: i am the entrant
  • ESSAY:
  • My life was groovy under the Marcos dictatorship. I was a gin-drinking teen with no reason to question the government. It was the narratives of those the dictator called mosquitos (who reported realities), of older friends and of Ninoy Aquino himself that fueled the flame that moved me. I joined Namfrel for the 1986 Snap Elections. We chased ballot boxes being taken away by uniformed men. It was somewhat dumb chasing men with guns, but we were probably charged with the same flame that moved 35 brave tabulators to walkout of the Comelec "quack" count. On Edsa, Feb. 25, 1986, I got separated from my friends, but everyone there that day were my friends. We all held the same flame 30 years ago. "Never again" sounds empty now. Very early on, President Cory Aquino was quickly surrounded by the corrupt. All President Fidel Ramos did for Edsa was to reenact his jump. People Power was never the same, as we elected an actor for president, a real life thief who got ousted by bigger thieves. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo attempted to rule and enrich her minions indefinitely and tallied the highest recorded number of journalists killed under a Philippine president. But worse than the way Arroyo brushed off extrajudicial killings during her term, is President Aquino's way of simply ignoring it in his. Where is "Never again" in this picture? Meet the front-runners for our next president: Grace Poe, who thinks that investigating kidnapping and attempted murder infringes on religious freedom; Mar Roxas, whose machinery may include "Garci"; Digong Duterte, who promises to bring back martial law, execute small criminals and set the big ones free; and the top candidate, (Jejomar) Binay, aims to rule "one to sawa." We lost the Edsa flame save for a few who hold on to it. But don't despair, the flame is self-starting. Injustice awakens it. So we'll tell you about injustice, about the misguided who inflict it and the flame keepers who fight it. Let the narrative move you to affirm in the face of injustice: "Not today. Not on our watch." (This entry was awarded one of 10 consolation prizes.)

Celia Tobia-Bulan

Edsa 1 is a historic moment for Filipinos. I told my grandson that the enduring lesson of Edsa is: Freedom is the breath that gives life to a democracy. #OurEdsa

  • AGE: 68
  • NAME OF COMPANION IN SELFIE: Lorenzo Bunyi
  • AGE OF COMPANION: 14
  • RELATIONSHIP WITH ENTRANT: Grandmother
  • ESSAY:
  • Edsa is a historic moment for Filipinos. I told my grandson that the enduring lesson of EDSA is: Freedom is the breath that gives life to a democracy; without freedom and its boundaries, a democratic society decays and dies as in a flame untended. The flame of liberty was kept burning by thousands of ordinary Filipinos who risked their lives at Edsa, Santolan, White Plains, Libis, Circle and Channels 4 and 9! The soldiers who defied the Marcos government after massive fraud in the 1986 Snap Elections numbered only 200, but later augmented by decisive men in uniform. The daring and courageous front-liners, the nuns, directly faced the tanks with gun-toting Marines and led the crowds with their prayer power, calming and inspiring the people. The media who remained hidden, Radio Veritas and Radyo Bandido, evading detection of armed men, kept the people informed and vigilant through their broadcasts for help, additional barricades, people reinforcements, and updates on movements of the loyalist troops. And a third group to which I, your grandmother, and housewives with little children belonged, unceasingly prayed in our homes and heeded the urgent appeals of Jaime Cardinal Sin for food and drink to the battle-weary soldiers. It was not until late afternoon of February 25 that the exhilarating news of a people's victory over a 20-year dictatorship was announced. The words, "Marcos has fled!" were the best birthday gift I received. At this 30th year of Edsa People Power, I want to tell not only you, grandson, but also all the youth who do not yet know that their grandparents linked arms with many others, prayed fervently for God's protection, persuaded soldiers to silence their guns, and firmly stood in solidarity with one another, that we did this to preserve peace and keep the country free for the future generation–yours. We had tended freedom's flame, but not without the help of Almighty God. I HAVE TENDED THE EDSA FLAME. I HAVE FAITH THE YOUTH WILL DO THE SAME. (This entry was awarded one of 10 consolation prizes.)

Julie Garcia-Nolasco

Edsa 1 is a historic moment for Filipinos. I asked my dad what moved him and other Filipinos to take part in the revolution despite the success and monetary gains of his business endeavor or other's businesses under the regime of Marcos. #OurEdsa

  • AGE: 35
  • NAME OF COMPANION IN SELFIE: Father, Mother, and my Daughter
  • AGE OF COMPANION: 64
  • RELATIONSHIP WITH ENTRANT: Child
  • ESSAY:
  • I always wanted to ask that question because I need to understand why we need to take part on such pivotal event and why not just stay home or be nonchalant about it. At a very young age, I did not completely fathom the depth of our political, economic, and social circumstance because I was basically given all the material comfort that blinded me from the reality of life. And probably, my parents could have been struggling and working their hardest to ensure business will flourish. After all, it was the most opportune moment for cottage industry to thrive. However, my Edsa 1 experience will always give me a vivid memory. We went to our warehouse after Mr. Benn Cervantes plead to his fellow countrymen for all sorts of assistance they can provide, my father hurriedly gathered all our employees, about 80 of them that time, and we started loading the torches and made sure they would be sent to Edsa. People Power would ensue and my father thought bamboo torches could lit up dark skies when people start to mobilize. That unforgettable moment made me realize what my dad would always tell me. "Edsa symbolizes selflessness and sacrifice. No amount of financial achievement can give us the reward of democracy and freedom. We have to sacrifice our personal interest for the common good no matter how difficult it will turn out, the uncertainties, or even suffer our own financial security because it is not just about our family anymore but for the entire nation." Now I understand that we have to spare and donate our most precious livelihood, bamboo torches, instead of exporting them because we need to cause spark of hope and give light in times of darkness. (This entry was awarded one of 10 major prizes.)

Raji Paul C. Tañada

Edsa 1 is a historic moment for Filipinos. I've always wanted to ask Sr. Ping Ocariza why she was in the front lines during the Edsa People Power Revolution. #OurEdsa

  • AGE: 26
  • NAME OF COMPANION IN SELFIE: Sr. Ping Ocariza
  • AGE OF COMPANION: 58
  • RELATIONSHIP WITH ENTRANT: Colleague
  • ESSAY:
  • I have always been curious on why a nun was in the front lines of the so-called bloodless revolution while holding a rosary. When I asked the question to her, she jokingly said, "Kasi sabi nila (civilians) doon daw kami dahil wala kaming mga pamilya." But as the conversation got deeper, the true reason was revealed: It was because she was ready to die for the country. Love for country. In the world today, we can express our love for country in so many forms, but I guess no one will be brave enough to be in front of guns and tanks anymore. The battle now is clearly different from before. In this generation, all the means for development are offered with just a touch of our fingertip. The question really is how do we become the agents of love to this country. These people, including Sr. Ping, has the remarkable heart in offering their lives to regain the freedom they have longed for. Continuing the battle. As my talk with Sr. Ping got more engaged, she left me with a challenge: to protect the democracy they have fought for. To them, it is as if there is a dagger behind their backs every time they hear the millennials say that martial law was good and that it is the solution to the problems of the country today. To them, People Power is a failure if we do not continue safeguarding the freedoms we have gained. To them, we were the reason why there was EDSA People Power Revolution. Living in this world today testifies their triumph in the battle they got passionately involved in so will live in this generation freely. The ball is in our hands right now in effecting change in this country for its continuous progress. People power was not an event only of the elite, nor only of the business people, nor of the masses, it was the battle of the Filipinos. We shall continue their legacy and be keepers of the Edsa People Power flame. (This entry was awarded one of 10 major prizes.)

Ma. Czarina A. Fernandez

Edsa 1 is a historic moment for Filipinos. I've always wanted to ask my dad, what could have happened if EDSA hadn't? #OurEdsa

  • AGE: 19
  • NAME OF COMPANION IN SELFIE: Manuel L. Fernandez
  • AGE OF COMPANION: 67
  • RELATIONSHIP WITH ENTRANT: Father
  • ESSAY:
  • Childhood nights spent at my mother's hometown were never complete without the sound of the karaoke drifting throughout the house, and "Tie A Yellow Ribbon" was surely a favorite. My father always had the habit of teaching me little things, so he taught me the comeback song of an exiled politician and how his assassination sparked the People Power. I learned from my elementary teachers all about the restoration of peace and order and the bringing back of democracy. Even then, I have always pondered upon this: what could have happened if EDSA hadn't? My father narrated how my grandmother initiated their whole family into cooking ginataan to bring to the people rallying and the soldiers who stood guard there. What could have happened if my dad and his family hadn't cooked and helped the people there? What if Cardinal Sin hadn't called the people through Radyo Veritas to rally? What if nuns hadn't given out rosaries and flowers as a symbol of unity and peace? What if people didn't take the initiative to go to the EDSA shrine because they didn't think they could make a change? My father told me that without People Power, the country would have lived on chained in colonization to a Filipino dictator. The press would have been forever silent, desaparecidos would have been a part of everyday vocabulary, and people would have been now living in fear. I am a millennial, but I can keep the Edsa flame alive by remembering it and never letting it fade. As a campus journalist and aspiring writer, a Facebook status with the use of a few well-thought out words can inspire other millennials to never forget the day when democracy was restored. I yearn for the day when the Edsa will no longer be just another holiday, but a day when millennials will actually remember the dark days of the past, not to wallow in it but to always protect and fight for the country's freedom. I protect the Edsa flame by never forgetting, and always remembering where we would now be without it. (This entry was awarded one of 10 major prizes.)

Gabriel Lanz G. Barcelon

Edsa 1 is a historic moment for Filipinos. I've always wanted to ask my sponsor why Edsa deserves a living truth and what are its sweet untold secrets. #OurEdsa

  • AGE: 20
  • NAME OF COMPANION IN SELFIE: Ms. Evelyn Simon
  • AGE OF COMPANION: 67
  • RELATIONSHIP WITH ENTRANT: Scholarship Benefactor
  • ESSAY:
  • It was a bloodless revolution that may have kept local and worldwide history pages and books turning. Sadly to some, it only now marks a red tick in their February calendar; this infinite moment has to live. I'm privileged to have had the chance to first handedly gain insights from a millennial. The Edsa revolution was not an overnight miracle but an overdue statement of corruption and muted truth. It was a vantage point of the real state of the country. Unity echoed and wakened the warrior in every Filipino's heart. Kids waived fun times for valor, nurses tried to treat the untreatable condition of the state and businessman tore yellow worksheets as appropriate confetti for the remarkable event. Yellow was the new red. Midnight became daylight and mothers became mothers for all. Miles turned into minutes and space meant abstract. Society's black and white was silenced, as a magnificent enigma of unity was born. Generations may now had blurry visions on this, she said, which propelled me to use my ability to inform and be informed. This historic event still has its untold chapters and stained stories of pain and inspiration. The more we know, the more it saves the river that is running low. Let these millennials guide our way to a complete revamp: a modern Edsa. It is neither the start nor definitely the end; it's an eternal virtue for everyone to make amend. I AM EDSA. (This entry was awarded one of 10 consolation prizes.)

Rey Johnino Carinugan

Edsa 1 is a historic moment for Filipinos. I've always wanted to ask my mom's points of view. #OurEdsa

  • AGE: 30
  • NAME OF COMPANION IN SELFIE: Ernestina Carinugan
  • AGE OF COMPANION: 61
  • RELATIONSHIP WITH ENTRANT: Mother
  • ESSAY:
  • Sa pananaw ng aking nanay, ito'y kanyang isinalaysay. Ang kakaibang rebolusyon na ito, na nagpatalsik sa ating pangulo. Ito'y umukit sa kasaysayan, ang mundo, ito'y sinubaybayan. (This entry was awarded one of 10 consolation prizes.)