More than the Ninoy and Cory Shirt we fashion

Written by: Dion Lorenz L. Romano
Ninoy & Cory Aquino Leadership Journey Batch 1

People always think that for a person to become a hero, death is imperative. Yes, it may be true. But for these two great Filipinos, Ninoy and Cory Aquino, death alone is not a prerequisite in becoming a hero, but more for the life it brought after. Ninoy’s death due to his gallant quest for freedom in 1983 brought life to every Filipino to stand up and be awakened from the shadows of apathy and fear. Cory’s death in 2009 brought a contemporary spirit to live out the sense of sacrifice and love for our country that once again vividly changes the face of the Philippines.

“I am burning the candle of my life, in the dark with no one to benefit from its light. The candle slowly melts away, soon, its wick will be burned out, and the light gone! If someone will only gather the melted wax, reshape it, give it a new wick—for another fleeting moment, my candle one again light the dark, be of service one more time and then good- bye” (March 12, 1976).
These are the lines that Ninoy wrote during his third year of exile, which encourage people that after the melting of his wax, someone shall gather it, reshape it and light the new wick to become of service of light to others.  And now, this is us, together gathering the lessons left by Ninoy, shaping the indomitable spirit to fight for what is right and the compassion to say that “the Filipino is worth dying for”. As one, we are molding our country’s body into a firm and unified nation; and individually, we light the fire on the new wick to be of light to others. Once again the melted candle of Ninoy continuously lights the country through us. This is how moving the passage was for me and how the spirit of Ninoy soars even up to this moment.

“As President of all my people, I will not betray the cause of peace by which I came to power. As I came to power peacefully so shall I keep it, that is my contract with my people and my commitment to God”-
Cory Aquino’s lines from her speech show how Cory led the Philippines. She may not have been as powerful as others, may not have had the level of charisma of her husband and may not have had the political experience compared to others before they took the Presidency. But great things that were brilliantly distinct in her leadership were her SINCERITY in action and MORALITY in character.  The contract with her people and her commitment with God to do her best for the country was crystallized by the millions of Filipinos who prayed and became one with her even in her last moment on earth. The hundred thousands of Filipinos on the street just to see her coffin, the overflowing yellow banners waved in the air, the people who sacrificed and spent time falling in line through rain or shine just to glimpse her for a few seconds were enough to say that she moved us and made the whole country weep for her death. We, the youth of today, feel like we were alive during EDSA People Power and experienced the struggles of our country during Cory’s difficult transitional administration as shown in our participation in 25th EDSA Anniversary and in praying for Cory’s death in 2009. Now, I realized this is how goodness moved, decade to decade.

More than the Ninoy eyeglasses that we wear, the Cory and Ninoy shirt that we fashion, the baller IDs that we wear on our wrists with the line “The Filipino is worth living for”, the Cory watch that Swatch produced, and the “L” sign that we proudly raise in the air while singing “Magkaisa”, there is the truth that there is a hero in us, that there is a Ninoy or Cory in us and that we are the little Ninoys and Corys of our time. This led to the emergence of the “I am Ninoy, I am Cory campaign” in 2008 that raised 2, 245,520. 46 pesos out from the patronage that we, the youth, showed in buying the memorabilia and collectible items.

The death of Ninoy and Cory Aquino paved the way for the birth of the new breed of young leaders inspired by the NINOY AND CORY AQUINO LEADERSHIP JOURNEY. Using Ninoy and Cory Aquino as role models, the program seeks to reintroduce spirituality as a major foundation for Filipino leadership. Harnessing their innate values systems, the participants take part in a process of self-reflection that will ultimately lead to self transformation and self-commitment for others and country. The program invites the youth to undergo a transformative experience and be living witnesses of leadership.  In that experience, it is the hope of the program that the young person is moved to commit to a life of service and mission through effective and impactful community work.

It is designed to take place in an informal atmosphere; speakers from the different sectors of society who have journeyed with an experience of profound love of God as anchor are to be invited.  The talks are in the form of testimony sharing and witnessing to provide the living examples to the participants. The journey then is experienced through joy, camaraderie, and the youth’s language of music, arts, and visual form.

Now that we have Ninoy and Cory as our own heroes and models of leadership, you can HOPE in us. Thank you Ninoy and Cory for sharing your light with us. It is now our time to gather your melted wax, shape it on our own and put a wick to spread the light among others. This will be a cycle forever in the hearts of every FILIPINO. Pilipinas, ang mabuhay dahil sa inyong inspirasyon!


Dion Romano served as the Student Government President of Universidad de Sta. Isabel, Naga City (AY 2010-2011). He was also recognized as one of the Ten Outstanding Students of Bicol in 2010. In June 2011, Romano joined the International Center for Innovation, Transformation and Excellence in Governance (INCITEGov) as a Program Assistant of the Constituency Unit, focusing on coordinating activities for the People Power Volunteers for Reform.


Application to the Ninoy & Cory Aquino Leadership Journey Batch 6 is ongoing. Deadline for submission is on Wednesday, April 18, 2012.



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