June 30, 2010 finally came—the day of the oath-taking of President-Election Benigno “Nonoy” Aquino Jr. Encouraged by a couple of friends to go to the Inauguration of the country’s 15th President, I found myself going to the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta Park. Since I didn’t really plan to cover the event, I only had my LC-A+ and an Olympus 35RC.
I would have felt ill equipped to cover such an event with adverse conditions. It was a cloudy day. It in fact drizzled in the morning. And there was an estimated crowd of about one million. Not so easy to move around. But the LC-A+ is known to respond to adverse conditions. It’s light metering overcame the cloudy weather. My main downfall was using an expired Kodak Ektachrome ASA 64. Hence all my shots were on the dark side. The Olympus rangefinder provided a few detailed shots I missed with LC-A+. I used manual mode with RF because it’s metering was off.
The event itself was moving, literally. You had to follow the flow of the crowd that wanted to go in to the Quirino Grandstand. Once inside, you just have to pick your spot and pray it doesn’t rain again. The grounds were muddy from the early morning drizzle. Our prayers were answered. It was overcast the whole time but it didn’t rain. The inagural rites started a little after 11 am. It began with several intermission numbers—mostly songs that had the crowd singing along. The oath taking was brief followed by a 21-gun salute and an 8-minute speech. The speech was perhaps the highlight of the event. It was straightforward and inspiring. President Aquino repeated his promises to the people and told the crowd that he was at their service, that the citizens were his “boss.” This is one president who won’t be taking advantage of his position for personal gain. Lets hope his cabinet follows his example.
I wasn’t able to secure a pass so I couldn’t go beyond the cordoned area, about 300 meters from the stage. So most of my shots are crowd shots. Not so bad really considering this is the “people power” that catapulted President into a landslide victory. Last detail I noticed is the million strong-crowd was mostly common folk. President Nonoy is clearly a president not only for the elite but for the masses. I wish him well.