A writer-photographer documents the Leni-Kiko rally in Pasig
Disclaimer: this photo essay is a depiction of the writer's own thoughts, experiences and observations of the Leni-Kiko rally and in no way reflects the opinions of the publication on which it is shared, nor does it reflect the opinions of the publication's parent company or fellow businesses
I can’t count how many times I’ve wanted to leave the country in the past six years. I distanced myself from local headlines and reports because it was too heart wrenching seeing a government slaughter its own people, even in broad daylight. As much as we have progressed as a nation, women are regularly met with a tirade of insults—called demeaning names like “puta (bitch)” and considered emotional and thus “unfit” to lead—and more misogynistic comments, sadly from some of the most powerful figures in the country. In the pandemic alone, thousands of Filipinos were left jobless after a broadcaster giant was shut down in the midst of an economic recession.
We’ve collectively grieved the past six years as a Filipino people. And this May 9, we have the opportunity to change the narrative. We can no longer look away.
A record-breaking crowd of 130,000 “Kakampinks” were present at the #PasigLaban rally
A record-breaking crowd of 130,000 Kakampinks showed up last Sunday, March 20, engulfing the long stretch of Emerald Avenue in Pasig to show our support for Leni-Kiko (Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo and Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan). The #PasigLaban rally, a seeming manifestation of hope, is reminiscent of the EDSA People Power Revolution in ‘86. I was part of this “river of pink” that echoed the same sentiments; we want real change to transpire—for ourselves and the generations ahead of us.
|“Kulay rosas ang bukas (pink is the color of the future),” one of the campaign’s slogans||Everyone was present at the #PasigLaban rally, fur babies clad in pink included|
I arrived mid-afternoon with my family, clad in all pink, even adorned with chunky pink glitters on my eyes. By showing up amid the temporary “discomfort”—experiencing the scorching heat for hours and wading through the thousands of people present—I was reminded of my presidential candidate’s dedication to reaching those in the far-flung areas or “nasa may laylayan (the margins).” Day and night, VP Leni shows up and advocates for the Filipino people, especially those who have no one to fight for them.
As Vice President of the Philippines, Robredo targeted five core programs: hunger and food security, education, world development, empowerment and universal health care. In the pandemic alone, the sole female presidential candidate provided teleconsultation services, drive-through vaccination drives, job platforms for the unemployed, and free test kits and PPEs, among others. There’s no doubt that, as she stated in the recently concluded Comelec debate, “True leaders show up and man up. So in May, the best man for the job is a woman.”
A “river of pink” in Pasig
|“JeepniLENI,” the double-decker jeepney, which stole the show||“Leni lang malakas (Leni is the only strong one)” and other witty signs filled the space|
People from all walks of life were present at the #PasigLaban rally. Parents carried their children on their shoulders. Lolos and lolas who have experienced one term change after another held hands. Students, along with their very own communities, took to the streets and attended their first ever rally. Pet owners brought their fur babies along. Many from my own community, who have always stayed mum about political matters, posted photos from the rally. It was an incredible sight to behold.
A visual feast made possible by Leni-Kiko volunteers
“Walang Pilipinong pagkakaitan ng kalinga (No Filipino will be denied protection),” declares Robredo to thousands of Filipinos at the rally. After such a dreary period of longing for something better—an imagined future I would want for my children—I am starting to have hope again.
“L” for Leni
Photography Elisa Aquino
Art Alexandra Lara