February 25, 1986 is a momentous event in Philippine history. It was the time when the Filipino people revolted against a dictatorship that lasted for 20 years. For three days, the world monitored the news as tens of thousands of people went to the streets armed only with their faith and their dream of a better country.
The tension filled stand-off ended when the current administration vacated the Presidential seat at the Malacañang Palace leaving more than 50,000 people celebrating the departure in the capital’s main thoroughfare, EDSA.
The Philippine Consulate in Sydney with Consul General Ezzedin Tago
On its 34th year, the Anniversary of the People Power Revolution was celebrated last February 24 at the Philippine Consulate in Sydney. This was attended by a hundred Filipinos from all over Sydney composed of community leaders, new migrants, and Filipino students in Australia.
Spearheaded by the Consulate’s Sentro Rizal, the event billed “Ang Pagbabalik Tanaw sa Diwa ng EDSA: A Musical Event” was a half-an hour sensory experience interspersing live performances with an audio-visual presentation recounting the moments leading to the change in government on February 25.
Performers that evening provided outstanding renditions of several “makabayan” classics as powerful visuals depicting the Filipinos unfailing spirit was seen on screen as edited and voiced by Andrew Russell.
Hosted by Consul Emmanuel Guzman, the evening’s proceedings began with a welcome speech from Consul General Ezzedin Tago. Consul Guzman then introduced the performances with Criz Guce, singer and radio host, who gave a heartfelt rendition of the Freddie Aguilar anthem, “Bayan Ko.”
In between AVPs, Mae Galvez belted her version of “Dakilang Lahi” an Anthony Castelo hit made even more famous by Senator Tito Sotto’s daughter Ciara Sotto.
Jojo Sebastian’s emotional rendition of “Isang Lahi, Isang Dugo, Isang Musika” was an amazing precursor for Bryan Lorenz’s moving performance as he sang “Isang Lahi.”
The presentation ended with all the featured performers, including the Consulate's very own staffer, Nova de Lara, singing “Handog ng Pilipino sa Mundo” while encouraging people to stand and sing with them.
“It was so different because of the lighting and the music and the people…they were all well behaved .. very polite until the end. We could feel the spirit of EDSA ... the videos were very touching and I had to pull back because I wouldn’t be able to sing if I start crying,” said Brian Lorenz.
The experience on the other hand brought a lot of memories back for Jojo Sebastian, a former military service man in Hawaii, whose mother was in the middle of EDSA during the revolution while his father had to take care of him at home as they watched people use their bodies as barricades against tanks and armed soldiers.
This celebration was aired live on Radio Tagumpay (Triple H 100.1 FM) courtesy of broadcasters Violi Calvert, Criz Guce and Andrew Russell who were also making history with the first radio show airing live at the Philippine Consulate’s Bulwagang Rizal where they interviewed the new Consul General Ezzedin Tago earlier in the day.
“I think it was a good short program. The objective of the program is to look back at what makes us a people – our achievements and how we sat in history and that’s important especially for the Filipino-Australians who grew-up here in Australia. It’s good for them to also know what its significance is, regardless of whatever political positions they have," he said after the presentation.
Chi de Jesus was the writer and director of the event, “Ang Pagbabalik Tanaw sa Diwa ng EDSA: A Musical Event held at the Rizal Hall of the Philippine Consulate in Sydney last February 24, 2020.
Photo credits: Thanks to Manny Galvez and David Reyes FB for photo of the Filipino Student Council; other photos supplied by The Australian Filipina.