Last Monday was supposed to be a holiday commemorating the death of Ninoy Aquino, the father of our country's present president. Many people were looking forward to a long weekend.
Despite the decision of the government not to declare it a holiday, the day would not be left unmarked.
I got home late afternoon and was able to catch the news. I had seen posts on Facebook in the morning about a hostage-taking in Manila. I was surprised that the problem had dragged on till evening.
Seeing footages of hostages released earlier, I thought the situation would end peacefully.
Then the ugly turn of events. Police struggling with the brother of the hostage-taker. Family members and media crowding around the scene. The brother being shoved forcefully into a patrol car. Then gun shots and the bus lurching forward. It felt like scenes from a movie.
Police hacking their way into the bus. Rapid gunfire inside the bus. The bus driver escaping and running to safety, shouting to media that everyone inside was dead. No sign of movement inside the bus, even after cans of tear gas had been thrown.
I was so horrified at the turn of events I had to call C who was still in the office to watch the events with me. It was so surreal and horrible.
8 hostages died and the hostage-taker was felled by a bullet to the head. After a long and slow ordeal in heavy rain. What an ugly thing.
I have no more words to describe what happened and not enough words to describe how I (and most Filipinos) feel.
We too mourn your loss as if it were our own.