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Residual power of sentiment

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At Large

Residual power of sentiment

When P-Noy and his siblings dropped in last week for their regular Sunday get-together at a restaurant in Ayala on 30th in the Ortigas area, the other patrons applauded when they saw the former president make his entrance. Also, when one of his sisters went for a medical procedure recently, the attending physicians refused to charge for their services, saying they wanted to honor the service to the nation that their mother Cory and P-Noy had rendered. She had to beg the doctors to please charge her, she said.

These may be isolated incidents, but they do testify to the still-tremendous residual goodwill P-Noy and the other Aquinos still enjoy even if, as their Ate Ballsy put it after Tita Cory’s death anniversary memorial Mass, the Aquino name no longer smells as sweet as when their brother was president.

But really, the physical manifestations — the adoring crowds, the fawning tributes — may no longer be felt by the Aquinos these days. But their name, reputation and presence still resound, be it in public “displays of affection” or in private by people who still remember the sacrifices made by Ninoy, Cory and — perhaps given the threats aired against him — Noynoy. It is a sentiment whose power may have receded somewhat but, who knows, could be stoked anew at the most unexpected moments. Even if, and I write this as someone genuinely concerned for them, P-Noy and his siblings deserve a longer respite from the very public roles they have had to play in this continuing drama that is the Philippines.

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Shortly after the floodwaters of “Ondoy” filled our home with almost seven feet of sewerage in 2009, I realized that perhaps the most vulnerable things in the world (aside from our feelings) are books.

Appliances could be rehabilitated back to usefulness, muddy clothes and soiled shoes and bags could be laundered or cleaned. But waterlogged books are beyond rescue. At first, we tried hanging up the books that were still intact — so many others had crumbled into damp powder — on clotheslines. But the books were next to useless as the pages stuck together, reeking of mold.

Still, through the ensuing years, my book collection has once more grown, prompting the hubby to complain once again that we are fast running out of shelf space.

Well, I’ve found an “out.” My friend and TOWNS sister Tessy Ang See writes of their “very simple, easy but very successful project” at Kaisa, the Filipino-Chinese foundation she spearheads that promotes our shared culture.

Through Kaisa, Tessy accepts donations of books for public schools and public libraries. Even our “encyclopedias gathering dust” will find new homes in rural areas that don’t have electricity, ruling out access to the internet.

Donors and desperate homeowners may deliver their books to the Kaisa Heritage Center, 32 Anda corner Cabildo streets in Intramuros. For really large collections, Kaisa can even have them picked up.

At one time, Kaisa had 33 boxes of books for delivery to a barangay in Escalante, Negros Occidental. They had the books trucked for free (by Fortune Tobacco) to the town hall, and “when officials saw my name, the mayor decided to attend the turnover of books.” The barangay folk said: “Because of Tessy Ang See, our mayor, whom some of us have never seen, was forced to visit us.” That’s the power of books! And of Tessy, of course.

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Even as we “(forever) young women” of TOWNS get ready to fete “our” 2017 RM Awards laureate Lilia de Lima for her years of magnificent government service, we’re also celebrating another honor given to one of our own: Dr. Ma. Corazon de Ungria.

Cora was recently named one of the “Asian Scientist 100” in the field of biomedical sciences. Last year, she was given the “Philippines Promising Star Award” for her use of forensic DNA technology to “improve the Philippine criminal justice system and help in disaster victim identification.”

“Asian Scientist” is a magazine that covers research and development news stories from Asia. A team of professional science and medical journalists work with a mission “to highlight the best and most exciting science and technology stories from this community to a global audience.”

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TAGS: Aquino family, At Large, Benigno Aquino III, Kaisa Heritage Center, Noynoy Aquino, old books, Rina Jimenez-David, teresita ang-see
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