The EDSA Revolution of 1986 in the Philippines, also known as the People Power Revolution was and is still considered one of the Filipino people’s shining moments in history. For most young people today, this event is probably just one part of Philippine history they have to study. Ballet Manila‘s latest production REBEL which will be staged on February 25, 26, 27, and 28, 2016 at Aliw Theater will relive the story of Ferdinand, Imelda, Ninoy, and Corazon in the context of the EDSA Revolution. This full length ballet which tells about the journey of a hero to freedom should give us a better appreciation of this event in time with the celebration of its 30th Anniversary.
What Was the EDSA Revolution About?
The EDSA Revolution was not a one-day event that happened in February 25, 1986. Rather, it was a series of events that started soon after the assassination of Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. in 1983 which culminated in the 3-day demonstration held along the stretch of Epifanio delos Santos Ave. (EDSA). The main goal was to remove Ferdinand Marcos from office and to install Corazon Aquino as the rightful president. This followed the proclamation of Marcos as the winner in the snap elections held in February 7, 1986, an electoral exercise that was marred by fraud and violence.
These obvious election irregularities prompted the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM) to stage a coup against Marcos. However, Marcos learned about the plot and ordered the arrest of its leaders including Juan Ponce Enrile who sought the help of then AFP Chief of Staff Fidel Ramos. The Catholic Church for its part through Cardinal Sin aired its message over Radio Veritas for civilians to support the rebels after Cardinal Vidal’s prior declaration of the Filipinos’ moral obligation to “repair a wrong” in reference to the snap election results. The brave and overwhelming response of the Filipino people eventually resulted to the exile of Marcos, together with his wife Imelda and his children to Hawaii. This was attained through a peaceful revolution, something that was noted by an American anchorman of how the Filipinos is taught the world about democracy.
REBEL: A Tribute to EDSA Revolution
Inspired by the story of “Spartacus” and set against the backdrop of the 1986 Edsa Revolution, REBEL is Lisa Macuja-Elizalde ’s dream project. “I’ve had this in mind since 2010,” says the prima ballerina. “I was waiting for the right choreographer to share my ideas with and when I met Mr. Lawrance two years ago, the concept resonated well with him. I knew he was the one so we shook hands and went to work right away.” she said.
REBEL is Lisa’s own way of bringing back the spirit of nationhood which earned praises world wide. “EDSA gave every Filipino a strong sense of pride, and I believe it is important that the younger generation realizes its value. Whether they learned about People Power in text books or have lived through the experience themselves, we want to remind the audience of that proud moment in time when faith, non-violence, and unity swayed the course of our nation’s destiny. We hope that in some way, the memory will help revive our idealism to commit ourselves to be the change we all want to see.”
The characters in REBEL are Ferdinand the dictator, his wife Imelda, Ninoy the rebel and his beloved Corazon. Lisa takes on the pivotal role of Inang Bayan in the production. Also featured are internationally acclaimed singer-actress Joanna Ampil and the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Gerard Salonga. REBEL features music from “Spartacus” by Aram Khachaturian.
I am among the Martial law babies and grew up somewhat in an environment of fear, not fully understanding why some things cannot be done or said in a supposed “free country”. During that time, it took a lot of courage to line up at Sto. Domingo Church to see the remains of Ninoy Aquino or even to wear a pin declaring support for Cory Aquino, but it was liberating. Sometimes, it needs experiencing the opposite before one can appreciate the freedom we are enjoying now, no matter how imperfect it is. I am truly fortunate to have witnessed a part of history unfolding before me which was the EDSA Revolution.
My children have only heard my stories. On February 25, 2016, they will get to see the ballet version of the story of the main characters of the peaceful revolution through REBEL. Come watch it yourself and be reminded once again of how Filipinos can teach the world a thing or two about real courage under pressure.
REBEL is presented in cooperation with the Manila Broadcasting Company, Star City, ACS Manufacturing Corporation, First United Travel, NCCA with Official TV Partner – 2nd Avenue. Special thanks to Philcom, Empire Salon, Island Rose, Ramada Hotel, Oasis Park Hotel, Manang’s Chicken, Papa John’s Pizza, Slimmer’s World, Microtel, Armada Hotel and Hot Star Chicken.
Ballet Manila’s REBEL goes onstage at 8pm on February 25, 26, and 27, and at 3pm on February 28 at the Aliw Theater in Pasay City. Tickets are available through Ticketworld at 891-9999 or at www.ticketworld.com.ph.