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It was the time of disquiet then; the protest movement against the dictatorship intensified in many parts of the country after the death of Ninoy Aquino. I knew during that time that I shall be taking a different path from the ones chosen by many, including my siblings and friends, who graduated from my university. I left the comfort and familiarity of my home became an organizer in the youth and student movement, preparing myself to work with people in the margins in the countryside. I left home one day in October, leaving a letter of thanks and expressing my gratefulness to my parents for being there for my siblings and me from the very beginning. I know, in my heart, that one day my parents would be able to accept me, their activist daughter.
So many things happened after I left home. I learned the value of hard work, sacrifice, and commitment during those days. I realized how much I missed my family when I watched the stars at night and wondered how they were, praying that they knew that I loved them so much in their hearts.
It was when I saw my mother in the sidewalks of Morayta, right before a protest rally scheduled at Mendiola, that I learned the depth of my mother's love. I learned that she tried to look for me at protest marches, watching from the streets, going to the places I have been to, praying, and hoping we may see each other again.
We both cried after seeing each other.
I am writing this to remember a woman who gave me the love she could provide, who went with me to a protest concert at St. Theresa's College, who decided to look for me one day at Morayta, knowing that she may see me in the protest march.
I am writing this to pay homage to a woman, who may not be the perfect mother for me, but who I've learned what grit and determination means.
I love you, Nanay, and know that I am sharing the lessons of the memories you left with your grandchildren. Praying for you on your birthday.