This day, Aug. 1, marks the 6th death anniversary of former president Corazon “Cory” Aquino who died in 2009 because of colon cancer.
Aquino’s death sparked a global empathy as world leaders extended their condolences to one of the world’s most prominent democracy icons.
Aquino, the mother of current President Benigno Aquino III, was lauded for her courage in spearheading the world’s first People Power Revolution on Feb. 25, 1986 which toppled the 21-year regime of then president Ferdinand Marcos.
Aside from being the wife of former Senator Benigno Aquino Jr., mother of current President Aquino, and the mother of Philippine democracy, here are 10 interesting facts about our beloved Corazon Aquino.
1. Her grandfather, Juan Sumulong, ran for the presidency under the Popular Front party against Manuel L. Quezon in the 1941 presidential elections. Sumulong lost by over a million votes to Quezon.
2. She graduated elementary on top of her class as batch valedictorian at the St. Scholastica’s College.
3. Aside from her mastery of English, Filipino, and Kapampangan (her native tongue), Aquino also is also fluent in speaking Japanese and French.
– She learned Niponggo when she was a child during the Japanese occupation and World War II in the country. There was one incident when she perfectly recited a poem in Japanese and was awarded a bag of sugar-coated peanuts by Japanese soldiers.
– She learned French when she enrolled at the College of Mount Saint Vincent in US. When she went for a state visit in France in 1989, she granted an interview in French.
4. After graduating from college in Notre Dame Convent School in New York, she studied law in the Far Eastern University. But after a year, she married former senator Benigno Aquino, Jr.
5. She was often portrayed by actresses for a major role in some films, such as Laurice Guillen’s portrayal in the 1988 HBO mini-series titled A Dangerous Life. In 1987, she was also portrayed as a main character in Boy Noriega’s stage comedy titled Bongbong at Kris which was a fictitious story that imagined a romantic relationship between Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. and Kris Aquino, Corazon’s youngest sibling.
6. Aquino developed a hobby out of painting. In 1996, she was mentored by painter Jeff Consumo. She likes to paint about flowers and women. Her works were used to fund her advocacies and were featured in some exhibits. However, Aquino doesn’t claim herself to be a professional painter.
7. Contrary to what her detractors used to say against her when she decided to run for presidency that she had “no background in politics,” she actually had a commendable political experience when she volunteered for the campaign of US Republican presidential candidate Thomas Dewey against then Democratic president Harry S. Truman in the 1948 US presidential elections.
8. She received 48 awards and honors, both local and international, including her inclusion as one of the 100 Women Who Shaped World History in 1994 and one of Time Magazine’s “65 Great Asian Heroes” along with other Asian democracy icons like Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore, Mahatma Gandhi of India, and Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar. She also had 22 honorary doctorate degrees that she had obtained in different universities in the Philippines and abroad.
9. She was still eligible to run for re-elections in 1992 but refused. Since she was not inaugurated under the 1987 Constitution, Aquino is still eligible to run for another term in 1992 but she refused, saying that being a president is not a “lifetime position” as opposed to her predecessor, Ferdinand Marcos.
10. Aside from being the democracy icon, she was also a model of humility. In the 1992 turn-over of presidency to Fidel V. Ramos, Aquino rode in an ordinary car when she left for home. Instead of riding in a posh Mercedes, she opted to be escorted by a simple Toyota Crown.