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EDSA People Power Revolution Anniversary

EDSA People Power Revolution Anniversary 2017 and 2018

People Power Revolution is an annual event every February 22nd through 25th in the Philippines, which commemorates the peaceful demonstrations that occurred on those dates in 1986 and led to the overthrow of the corrupt rule of President Ferdinand Marcos.

YearDateDayHoliday
201725 FebSat31st EDSA Revolution Anniversary
201825 FebSun32nd EDSA Revolution Anniversary

People Power Revolution, since 2010, has been a school holiday in the Philippines. This means that both public and private schools close down, while businesses remain open. In previous years, February 25th was a work holiday, but today, the Monday nearest that date is a holiday only for schools. Traffic is somewhat diminished in Manila during this time, but all public transit is still up and running so people can easily attend the many ceremonies that occur around town.

The demonstrations were the culmination of unrest that began years earlier in 1983 and were immediately triggered by the assassination of opposition senator Benigno Aquino, Jr., and the widespread belief that elections had been rigged to keep Marcos in power. At the time, these were the largest non-violent demonstrations in the world, and they succeeded in toppling a 20-year-old, oppressive autocrat without shedding a drop of blood.

Today, People Power Revolution is celebrated as the time when democracy was restored in the Philippines and is remembered as “the revolution that surprised the world”. The name of Marcos has remained synonymous with corruption to the present time, though there have been some efforts at historical revisionism. There are also those who decry the revolution as an example of “Imperial Manila” at work because few from outside the capital took part in the overthrow of Marcos. It is true that most People Power Revolution celebrations take place in and around Manila, but there are also celebrations throughout the country, showing that the Imperial Manila criticism is not held by all who live outside the capital.

The revolution is also known as the “Yellow Revolution” and the “EDSA Revolution” due to the color worn by the original protesters and the street, Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue, where the protests took place. Many celebrate People Power Revolution by gathering in EDSA, wearing yellow, and attend concerts and church services in the vicinity to commemorate the 1986 events. The political party that led the revolution is known as “LABAN,” which means “fight,” and the crowds hold their hands up in an L-shape while gathered in EDSA to show support. Television and other media cover the event profusely each year, and documentaries on 1986 and general patriotic programming abound.

Events

Some of the most notable activities that take place on People Power Revolution, which anyone visiting the Philippines at this time might wish to attend, include:

  • Street celebrations at EDSA, where the revolution took place. Besides the concerts and masses, you can also visit the EDSA Monument and the Lady of Peace Shrine, where you will find a museum with many photographs from 1986.
  • Salubungan reenactments throughout the Philippines. Salubugan means “place of encounter” or “hard exchange of blows” in Tagalog (Filipino), and there are such reenactments not only in Manila but also in Cebu, Zamboanga, and elsewhere throughout the country. Salubungan celebrations involve film festivals, documentaries, street parties, concerts, art exhibitions, and photo displays.
  • In Libingan ng mga Bayani, or “Heroes’ Cemetery,” you can witness the laying of a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The cemetery is located in Ft. Bonfacio in Taguig City, not far from Manila. Here, you can see the graves of Philippine and American soldiers who died at Bataan, Corregidor, and other World War II battles. The American section is called the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial.
  • TAYO-related events. The Ten Accomplished Youth Organization, or “TAYO,” Search takes place every year during People Power Revolution. It recognizes youth organizations that “exemplify the spirit of the revolution.” There are numerous ceremonies and a an awards ceremony that the current president typically attends.

In 2001, a second People Power Revolution took place, overthrowing President Joseph Estrada, also deemed by many to be corrupt. Thus, there is a very real sense in which People Power Revolution continues beyond simply the holiday celebrations. However, those in the Philippines this time of year will certainly find much in those celebrations to teach them of Philippines history and patriotism.