Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. was an influential and inspirational political figure from the Philippines who fought for independence and a free democracy. After serving prison time for his opposition to then President Ferdinand Marcos, Aquino, who had gone into exile upon his release, planned on reentering Filipino politics, but was assassinated upon returning to the islands in 1983. The holiday marking August 21 as Ninoy Aquino Day was created in 2004. It forever commemorates the life and legacy of a hero remembered as a beloved figure of freedom.
Ninoy Aquino Day - History
After Aquino’s assassination, a sudden presidential election is held — electing his wife Corazon Aquino — creating political mayhem in the Philippines.
Aquino is shot and killed while getting off of a plane at the Manila International Airport.
Aquino suffers from two heart attacks and is sent to the United States to receive medical help.
After martial law is announced, Aquino is sent to prison.
Aquino on the Attack
Ninoy Aquino becomes a well-known critic of the current President of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos.
How to Observe Ninoy Aquino Day
1. Attend an event
Throughout the day, there are several events hosted by the EDSA People Power Commission (EPPC) that focus on Aquino’s fight for democracy. Some of these include parades, speeches and other celebratory activities.
2. Remember a hero
Even though and your friends may have to work on this holiday, this doesn’t mean you still can’t mark the occasion. Spend time with friends and family. Engage in activities that further honor his legacy of the man whose death led to Marcos' downfall.
3. Raise money for a good cause
Since Ninoy Aquino felt was so passionate about freedom, this holiday is the perfect opportunity to make a difference in another’s life. Whether you choose to volunteer at a homeless shelter, donate to a charity of your choice or help out at an animal shelter, use this day to fight for those in need, just as Ninoy Aquino did for the people of the Philippines.
5 Interesting Facts About Ninoy Aquino
1. He Was Born Prosperous
Aquino grew up wealthy in Tarlac, Philippines.
2. He Was Politically Active Even As A Teenager
At age 17, he was the youngest war correspondent to cover the Korean War for The Manila Times.
3. Twin Passports
After being exiled 1979, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would not allow Aquino to be issued a passport so he had one made under the alias Marcial Bonifacio.
4. He met his wife in elementary school
Aquino met his future wife, Cory Cojuangco — who also grew up in a wealthy family in Tarlac — at a birthday party when they were nine years old.
5. He Was a Born Again Christian
During his seven-year imprisonment, Aquino read “Born Again,” a novel that led him to becoming a born-again Christian.
Why Ninoy Aquino Day is Important
A. It’s a commemoration
Ninoy Aquino Day celebrates the life of a man who did many positive things for the Philippines. Although Aquino’s life ended violently, this holiday enables his name to live on in a positive and inspiring way.
B. It honors the workers
Although Filipinos do not get the day off from work to celebrate Ninoy Aquino Day, their efforts do not go unnoticed. Employees receive a 30% bonus for working the holiday.
C. It’s a reminder of freedom
In addition to celebrating the legacy of Ninoy Aquino, this holiday serves as a reminder to the people of the Philippines of the progress their country has made.