How I spent June 30, 2016

HUMMING IN MY UNIVERSE By Jim Paredes (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 3, 2016 – 12:00am

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PNoy with (from left) Noel Cabangon, the author, Virgilio de los Reyes, Bro. Armin Luistro, Dinky Soliman, Mely Nicolas, Zenaida Monzada and Leah Navarro

I woke up at 5:15 on Thursday morning, took a shower and put on a Barong, white undershirt and black slacks, up and ready for the inauguration of the 14 th Vice President of the Republic of the Philippines. I was to go first to 36 Valencia Street in New Manila where shuttle buses would bring guests to the VP’s office located at the former Boracay mansion.

I felt honored to have been on the guest list for this occasion. I was one of the early birds who got to Valencia practically an hour before the buses left to take guests to the venue. I was too excited. I wanted to see friends whom I worked with to convince Leni, the reluctant candidate, to run for Vice President of the Filipino people, and campaign for her.

It was at a Kaya Natin party two years ago when some of us gathered for dinner to celebrate board member Marissa Leynes’ birthday. Leni and I were there as members of the Kaya Natin board. It was also an occasion to discuss politics. Towards the end of the evening, I casually asked Leni Roberedo who was seated on my left, a question that many members of the board hadreally wanted to ask her. I asked if she was interested in the VP position. She smiled, showing
disinterest. When more people at the party pursued the question, she gave us a look that said her life was fine the way it was. She was a congresswoman who served district well, and a widow who was taking care of her three daughters and she wanted nothing more. She doubted that anyone would even vote for her. Then she turned to us and asked if we were really her friends.

The rest of what happened is, of course, history.

I got to the venue, sat with friends and since we were early, we looked around the mansion that now houses Leni’s office and took a few pictures there before the ceremony was to start. I also got to chat with outgoing cabinet members about their stint in government.

The VP’s arrival was announced, and every one of the more than 600 guests stood up to welcome Leni Robredo, radiant in a re-cycled, re-styled dress she once wore as a wedding sponsor. We cheered as she entered the huge tent where the ceremony was held. A children’s choir sang the National Anthem followed by invocations by four religious leaders (Christian, Muslim, a holy man from the Cordillera, and a Franciscan nun). Then, Leni went up the stage to be sworn in by her chosen barangay captains. She raised her right hand and solemnly swore in Pilipino that she would follow the Constitution and carry out her duties as best she can.

Her speech was truly inspiring, rallying everyone to help her continue pursuing her vow to serve the poor and dispossessed (‘ang laylayan ng lipunan’). It was such a privilege being witness to history being made. VP Leni made her way through the crowd slowly, greeting everyone
individually, posing for selfies, and hugging and throwing kisses athose who were beyond reach if a handshake.

Meanwhile, snacks were served inside the Vice President’s official home. When she finally came in, she tirelessly and gamely posed for even more photos.

After Noel Cabangon and I had our turn having our pictures taken with the VP, we rushed to Times Street where we joined the neighborhood association and two priests welcome Citizen Noynoy Aquino back to his old neighborhood. After singing a few songs, we ended up having lunch at the Aquino residence where we saw Pnoy, members of his cabinet and friends, watching the last few minutes of incoming President Duterte 's inaugural speech. The room was silent.

Then Pnoy called everyone to eat.The mood was light. There seemed to be a feeling of relief. The president was in a joking mood, relaxed and smiling, lying on a butaca. It was quite a sight seeing him, and his cabinet laughing along.

I left Times Street at about 2 pm and tried calling for an Uber car. The signal was bad. Luckily, former DAR Secretary Gil de los Reyes offered me a ride home, saying he was free and had nnothing better to do. We talked about his boss Noynoy for whom had the highest praises, and the often tireless and thankless job of working in government. He felt he made a difference. He served the people to the best of his ability and he was happy to be going back to private life.

I got home, took a nap and by 5 pm, I was on my way to the Quezon City Memorial Circle with my sisters Lory and Paulynn for the inaugural party for VP Leni organized by her Facebook followers. It was great to be with so many people who were in a celebratory mood. There was a
concert going on with some of the best Filipino performers giving their all.

Leni arrived at around 7 pm. As she spoke, the crowd hung on to her every word. She thanked us for making her VP, reminded us that her long journey has just started and asked for our continuing support. She called on those who experienced the ugliness, hate and ill-will
which pervaded social media during the elections. She acknowledged the hurt of those who fought and defended their candidates. She asked us to let go of all the negativity. The pain,bitterness, suffering, hate will soon go away, she said, and what will remain is the good.

Her message was simple but profound, a healing call for unity and cooperation that brought a lot of people to tears, including myself.

When my sisters and I congratulated her after her talk, she
apologized that she made us cry, but she added, there was just too much hate last elections that has to dissipate. My sisters and I went home aglow from the experience of Leni and her message of peace.

Finally on my bed, I felt exhaustion overcome me but, it was a satisfying kind of tiredness. I had done my share supporting Leni and witnessed her inauguration that sealed the whole deal. With a small sense of fulfillment, I said a short prayer of thanks and whispered ‘Mabuhay ang Pilipinas’ in my mind before I drifted to a deep satisfied sleep.

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The author Jim Paredes with Vice President Leni Robredo

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23 Comments
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Jose leonidas
4 years ago

Thank you for.sharing this. As if you also carried me with our.Philippine.flag. Mabuhay nag Pilipinas!

Thea ordillano
Thea ordillano
4 years ago

If you’re all for healing and unity, please stop hating our President. Rather, support him just like how u support our Vice- president. After all, we are all part of this nation. If you want change, then start within yourself. Stop the hate now willya?

Conrado Leonardohi, jim
Conrado Leonardohi, jim
4 years ago
Reply to  jimparedes

hi, jim i just wanna say thank you for sharing the event, and i feel too the pain hate, but when i read ur letter, and what our vp messages, i feel the same too.and i pray n hope that the others side will be the same . no more hate no more pain .. let all unify a one nation.one people . mabuhay ang pilipinas . i will be back there . CONGRATS TO MOM LENY…..PEACE…. YOURS TRULY, MR< CONRADO RAMOS LEONARDO…CALIFORNIA,USA.

Dolores
Dolores
4 years ago
Reply to  jimparedes

Thea Ordillano, shouldn’t change start with the President himself? I hate it in myself that I hate him in such a way that I never hated someone ever in my 57 years of life. Thank you, Mr. Jim Paredes for yet another inspiring article. I’m forever your fan, as a musician, as an APO member, as a contributor in Phil star. I have several clippings of yours before, now, I do screenshots and save and share to those whom I know love your writings, too. God bless our new VP, (and our new President!) Mabuhay tayong lahat.

larcy
larcy
4 years ago
Reply to  jimparedes

I agree!Words and actions should match.

Maria Celeste b. Dela cruz
Maria Celeste b. Dela cruz
4 years ago
Reply to  jimparedes

A man and a woman of peace indeed…mabuhay po kayo sir Jim sa walang sawang paglingkod sa bayan…mabuhay po ang ating VP leni sa pagtugon sa tawag ng ma’s malawak na paninilbihan..mabuhay po ang ating bayang pilipinas!

Tess Exmundo
Tess Exmundo
4 years ago
Reply to  Thea ordillano

I feel the same way Mr. Paredes. The President must behave respectable to be a model to younger generation. Since he won, I hear more young ones cursing and don’t hesitate to threat to KILL playmates.

Raquel Mueco
Raquel Mueco
4 years ago

VP Leni, the quintessential leader. A woman of substance. God bless her.
God bless you too Mr. Jim Paredes. I am also in awe of your love for our country.

Beverly Joy Serrano
4 years ago

I was teary eye while reading this article. It was a good fight. With VPLeni’s leadership, I’m proud to be a Filipino. Mabuhay po kayo Sir Jim! Mabuhay po ang Pilipinas

gener s. porto
gener s. porto
4 years ago

i am also in tears reading your article. Good job Mr. Jim!!! we’ll continue to pray for our VP Leni’s success.

Olivia Velando
Olivia Velando
4 years ago

Thank you for your unequivocal support to our VP. My family loves her.????

Maria Luisa B. Yrstrz
Maria Luisa B. Yrstrz
4 years ago

I’m so happy with this article, i almost cried. We are all or VP Leni. Gone with the sleepness noghts while monitoring Leni’s election results, praying fervently that she wins the VP bid. Thanks be to God, she won. Thanks also to Sir Jim for your efforts. Lets all rejoice and be glad. God bless us all.

yolly bautista
4 years ago

Very imteresting to read …
Love it.

Imelda Galmesa
Imelda Galmesa
4 years ago

Good on you Jim I was a fan. But I’m amazed your concern to our dear Pinas although I’m living abroad for a long time I still care for the country. It is worth fighting for. What can we do to help saving or savour living in the Philippines but. We cannot just close our eyes n see them in their wrong doing. All. Wrong. It doesn’t seem right.

pinky crescini
4 years ago

You’re GOOD in HEART, and in MIND.. hope i can be a Friend..I’m a mother of one, German but have rise my daughter like Leni..

Evelinda Lacanilao
4 years ago

Great moments in history making with our VP. A new way of leadership is unfolding.. the Leni way. Thanks Jim… mabuhay ka! Mabuhay ang Pilipinas.

Orville M. Dela Cruz
Orville M. Dela Cruz
4 years ago

It’s nice to hear that you kept fighting for the good of the country and campaigned hard for Vice President Leni Robredo and pray for her success. We support her advocacy of caring for people of laylayan and help educate them not to be exploited by trapo! Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!

Edna Flores
Edna Flores
4 years ago

Thank you Mr. Jim Paredes for this article, like you I also felt VP Leni’s sincerity, humility and the purity of her intentions to serve for the best interests of our country. May God bless you both.

Marlon from guam
Marlon from guam
4 years ago

THANKS A LOT TO YOU SIR!!! Isa ka sa totoong tao sa pinas, maging instrumento ka sa lahat dahil ang kabilugan at liwanag ng buwan ay nabiyayaan ka! Ang tulad mo at mga ginaqa mong kanta ay hindi malilimutan at di dapat kalimutan…… im dreaming and hoping na makapa picture sau, sa ganitong paraan maipagmamalaki sa family ko at mga friends ko….

alona jumaquio-ardales
alona jumaquio-ardales
4 years ago

Sir Jim, you’re also like VP Leni because of your genuine love & concern for our country and you mean it with your sustained and tireless effort to be politically involved as a good citizen, simply as a good citizen who loves this country. I remember you in EDSA People Power in 1986, I was only 16 then, but until now I remember in my heart, the essence of our song ‘MAGKAISA’ to fight and protect our democracy. The campaign in May 2016 election and the recent June 30 inauguration challenged many Filipinos to advocate for active non-violence in the midst of pain, hatred, and divisiveness. We do not know each other on personal level, but we are almost always together in one place, standing all together to voice out our dreams beyond ourselves. In deed, VP Leni is setting a good example as well as you. May you continue to inspire us, too. Marangal ang lahing Pilipino. Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!

Tess
Tess
4 years ago

You love your country indeed. Thanks for supporting PNoy, Mar and VP Leni!

Elaine Pedrosa
Elaine Pedrosa
4 years ago

Thanks Jim for sharing. I am a fervent fan of yours, PNOY and VP Leni. Sana before we are called back by our Almighty in our original home maging okey na ang lahat para sa ating mga anak at ating mga apo…..