Mang Mar

Mang Mar, 2008
©Stella Kalaw

Traffic was ever present in the city despite the complicated flyovers that were built to relieve congestion. Even with the MRT, the public rail system that ran from Pasay to SM North Edsa, did little to alleviate the situation. Buses still zigzagged in out of their lanes and the jeepneys roared loudly while smoke fumed from their exhausts.

To pass the time, I would encourage Mang Mar, my parents' driver, to share stories from the latest celebrity gossip to just about everything including the day to day life in Manila. One of the things he revealed was that he used to work for Radio Veritas for several years. The radio station was the communication lifeline during the 1986 People Power revolution. Millions of Filipinos tuned in to their broadcast to receive the latest news update from the opposition. The Marcos regime controlled the media so it was the only trusted source.

During the takeover of Channel 4, He was the driver that carried the crew from Radio Veritas to the TV station. I could tell the excitement in his voice as he recounted his experience. He sounded as if it recently happened.

"Pagdating namin doon, may mga namatay na. Nakita ko yung mga bangkay-- mga apat o lima yata yung binaril nila!"

(When we arrived, they were people that were killed. I saw the dead bodies- 4 of 5 of them were shot dead!)

Earlier that day, his boss told him he could go home to his family but he felt compelled to stay.

"Lahat kami natatakot pero bahala na!"

We were all scared but it was up to fate if anything happened to us!)

I really enjoyed listening to his personal story. It is probably an irrelevant detail to the bigger picture of the revolution but it revealed something about his character. Despite all his faults, it is heartening for me to know that my parents are in good hands.