From anti-Marcos pals to post-Edsa family

Four friends share passion from marches to menu



They have come a long way since their activist days in the years leading to the Edsa People Power Revolution.

From being comrades in the struggle against the Marcos regime, Annie Santoalla, Lan Mercado-Carreon, Joel Saracho and Egoy Bans are now lifelong friends and, more recently, business partners.

They were just in their early 20s when they crossed paths: Carreon, Santoalla and Bans were marching on the streets, while Saracho was a newspaper reporter covering human rights issues and the mounting protests against the dictatorship.

Santoalla was then with the Ecumenical Movement for Justice and Peace, while Carreon was with the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), whose members included Santoalla’s future husband, Ed. Bans was then with a student Christian organization.

“Those shared experiences during those dark days kept our friendship alive to this day,” Saracho recalled some 30 years later.

Their bond grew strong as Saracho not only covered the anti-Marcos protests for Malaya newspaper but also the fact-finding missions conducted by his three friends’ respective organizations, mainly on human rights violations and the militarization in the countryside.

Carreon had already gone underground when the Edsa revolution, whose 27th anniversary is being marked today, broke out. Saracho recalled doing desk work for Malaya in a “safehouse” during the bloodless four-day upheaval.

That camaraderie didn’t end with the fall of the Marcoses. In the first few post-Edsa years, the four friends again found themselves together bearing witness to history.

Following the January 1987 Mendiola Massacre that left 13 people dead in a farmers’ march near Malacañang, they helped one another in coordinating indignation rallies and in issuing press statements.

Later that year, in September, student leader Lean Alejandro was shot dead outside the Bayan office in New Manila. “Ed and I heard the shots and were first on the scene when Lean was killed. Afterwards we marched to Annie’s EMJP office on Balete Drive. We were all working together in arranging the funeral, etc.,” Carreon recalled.

The following year, Carreon went missing for “nine months” after being abducted by a group of men who “suspected me of being a government spy.” She said she was held captive, tortured and moved to different locations in Manila and Nueva Ecija province.

In an interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer, she declined to give further details about her abductors, and just recalled with gratitude how her colleagues in the movement became “my search party.”

But Santoalla was more forthright about this episode, saying her friend was abducted on suspicions that she was a government spy during the split in the Philippine Left, a period marked by “purges” which they thought already claimed the life of Carreon.

“We could have chosen to be selfish. But we really looked for her and pressured people to surface her,” Santoalla recalled.

Carreon and Santoalla are now both with the Philippine office of the international antipoverty group Oxfam, while Bans is working in a government TV station. Saracho is now a theater and TV actor, having honed his stage skills as an occasional performer at Bayan rallies.

At one point, Santoalla and Saracho worked at the TV network ABS-CBN in different departments.

“But perhaps one more thing we have in common, aside from being activists, is that we all love to cook and eat. We were a bit crazy,” Carreon said with a chuckle.

She said her daily “allowance” then from Bayan was P10 a day, so she and her colleagues would often pool their money to prepare their own meals.

With the passing of the years and their ties now extending to each other’s families, the four friends have opened a new front for another common cause: Good food.

They are now co-owners of a small restaurant in UP Village,  Quezon City, called “Ed’s Table,” a 30-seater place named in memory of Santoalla’s husband who died of leukemia in 2011.

“We wanted to have a place where we can hang out and enjoy each other’s company and relive stories from the old days, and where we can share our favorite pastime—eating. So we thought, why not put up a restaurant?” Santoalla said.

Ed’s Table opened in October last year, offering mostly the so-called lutong-bahay fare. But more intimately for Saracho and company, it can be considered a testament to their enduring friendship, one that was forged in darker, stormier times.

“We are godparents to each other’s children, and even the children are now friends with each other. We have an unspoken pact to take care of each other,” Saracho said.

“We may not be family by blood. But we choose to be in this family, where the members look out for each other,” Carreon added.

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  • cion

    It is darker days for those unlawful  ( paid and promoted by special interest elite Fillipinos)  activists  during EDSA  whose only purpose was to enrich themselves, at the expense of the majority poor whose voice and sentiments  were never heard or included ..

    • Noel

      But today, many of these activists have enriched themselves.  They’re in the government and Congress.

  • Albert Einstien

    we should read the LESSONS of HISTORY to GUIDE us for directions of the FUTURE…

    PEOPLE should MOURN for death of democracy ..substituted by ANARCHY…they cant change HISTORY no MATTER how much DISTORTING they  would like to window dressed it….like what ninoy did to the COUNTRY  by exposing the govt secret claimof sabah in 1968…
    from 1968 to 1986 the beginning & finalization of PHILIPPINE degredation to the ABYSS of POVERTY & 2013..just look around sans the propaganda & paid surveys..just compare criminality, poverty, unemployment & prices of everything from 1986 to present..the AQUINOS promises for 27 years for progress, peace & prosperity are ALL LIES & they put us in this  dire situation ….so sad…
    “The opinion of 10,000 men is of no value if none of them know anything about the subject.”– Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor from 121-180 A.D.
    1861.. from CHINA to RP…..change of name…..the Cojuangco family can be traced back to Hong Chian( hongjian FARMERS village ) in Tongan province, China. Former President Cory Aquino’s,great grandfather was the first generation of the Cojuangco clan that came to the Philippines in 1861. His actual chinese name, Mr. Co Yu Hwan change his name to Mr. Jose Cojuangco.
    1900 Philippine revolution- ysidra cojuanco, BECAME one of the RICHEST at age 32
    Part One: Seeking the Holy Grail on Good Friday ( just google it )
    ” Encarnacion a friend and confidant of Dońa Ysidra, she is also the daughter of Eulalio Saulo who confirmed to her the story as one of the military escorts of the gold shipment to Ysidra. As far as we know this is the first direct evidence of a Cojuangco (and Ysidra at that) admitting what many Luna contemporaries long alleged, that the source of the Cojuangco fortune was the gold commandeered by Luna and regularly turned over to Ysidra. The combined assets controlled by the Cojuangcos total about P200 billion. To recover such wealth under Article 11, section 15 of the 1987 Constitution, one must go to court, and pay a filing fee of half a percent of the amount to be recovered, or P1 billion unrefundable win or lose. Who has that kind of money to risk ? ”
    1900 Antonio Luna-Cojuangco Affair.alleged .DIVERTION of REPUBLIC’s FUNDS (now called PLUNDER o PANDARAMBONG ) ..see their story ..REVOLUTIONARY GOVT of AGUINALDO easily LOST to AMERICANS due to the MISSING REPUBLIC’s TREASURE that should be USED for buying FOOD & MEDICINES as well as for paying soldiers & recruits…
    1944 JAPANESE Collaboration ( MAKAPILI tawag sa mga pilipinong TRAYDOR dati )-Benigno Aquino SR…..captured in japan & sent here in the Philippines charged with TREASON !
    1968 SABAH-exposed the RE-TAKING by marcos … Benigno” NINOY” Aquino Jr. he is a a FRIEND of malaysian leaders,on his clandestine with fake passports ( not heroic in fact that is a crime on itself ) return to RP;(wikipedia) —-Logan International Airport on August 13, 1983, took a circuitous route home from Boston, via Los Angeles to Singapore. In Singapore, then Tunku Ibrahim Ismail of Johor met Aquino upon his arrival in Singapore and later brought him to Johor to meet with other Malaysian leaders Once in Johor, Aquino met up with Tunku Ibrahim’s father, Sultan Iskandar, who was a close friend to Aquino..
    NO WONDER ..pres. cory & noynoy will not claim sabah..? SABAH has the potential to produce 1 million barrels of oil a day,”The estimated reserves from the present Sabah oilfields is 1.4 billion barrels of oil and 7.7 trillion scf of gas.”
    NINOY Aquino was imprisoned on charges of murder and subversion. He was found GUILTY of subversion and sentenced to death in November 1977. ( MARCOS the MERCIFUL )This was commuted into exile to allow a humanitarian medical treatment in the United States in 1980, accompanied by his wife. According to some through the efforts of Imelda Marcos convinced Pres. Marcos to be merciful..International media called marcos the merciful…even US president bush & reagan were FANs of marcos
    1987 SPRATLY-cory aquino allowed entry of china in spratly islands..and in 1988 went to her RELATIVES in china & celebrated with them instead of DEFENDNG or filng a protest against china intrussion…and in 1988 ENTRY of chinese WARSHIP in ur territory and established outpost there….NOW they are claming the WHOLE SCS..CORY ADMINISTRATION …freed all TOP communist & mulim rebels & members…then WAR ensued in all fronts….DEATHs abounds…REBELS group now became strong enough and asking TERRITORies in the south ( milf ) & CPP asking the pnoy govt to be PARTNERS in governance..the cojuanco-aquino clan .until now after 24 years of PROMISES of progress, peace & prosperity ..are NOWHERE to be found…despite daily propaganda & paid surveys …only their KKK’s became richer & richer day by day …
    If we take a CLOSER SCRUTINY …WHY RP is so POOR now…1968 is the SOURCE of the EVIL CALVARY & CAUSE of UNENDING CHAOS… was in 1968 NINOY divulged the marcos reclaim for sabah, in 1968 muslim rebellion begun, in 1968 MNLF were established & ALSO in 1968 CPP-NPA was established…LO & BEHOLD …rubbing salt to injury for peaceful loving citizensshe freed them in 1986….ninoy started it & cory FREED the enemies of the STATE ( who killed hundred of thousand citizens & govt forces & displaced MILLIONS of families ) ……ninoy was RUMORED as both a Communist stooge and a CIA agent at that time… just draw your own conclusion….america & western powers at that time cant get marcos approval to SIPHONED DEUTERIUM because it will be disadvantageous to the country…
    however in 1986 just months after they toppled marcos in 1986 ….CORY govt wanted immediately to harvest deuterium …cory hurriedly went to state visit to america which enrile allegedly asked her ..did they PROMISE you ANYTHING ? of course she fired ENRILE after that… but RAM boys went to regular & routine coups ..& the REDS are becoming more  INFLUENTIAL & more POWERFUL in the CORY govt….AFP forces loyal to marcos are still there ..MNLF became more POWERFUL…..with the POLITICAL uncertainties..foreign powers suspended their interest in phil. DEUTERIUM..
    NOW are you WONDERING why for the FIRST TIME in ANALS of WORLD HISTORY a so called REVOLUTION is BLOODLESS? ..because it is NOT a revolution it is a DESIGN with FOREIGN ARCHITECTS….the LANDSCAPE is DEUTERIUM…in fact during SNAP election marcos won over cory he got 10.8 million votes while cory ONLY got 9.2 million votes ….who says marcos cheated….. namfrel & technicians.. but who handled them ? who feeds them the data ?…. why US senator LUGAR & 44 americans were here during elections ? election OBSERVERS or more than observers.. ?
    CORY ALLOWED CHINA intrusion in 1987 to our Kagitingan Reef then ..they are NOW CLAIMING the whole SCS. The Geology and Mineral Resources Ministry of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has estimated that the Spratly area holds oil and natural gas reserves of 17.7 billion tons (1.60 × 1010 kg), as compared to the 13 billion tons (1.17 × 1010 kg) held by Kuwait, placing it as the fourth largest reserve bed in the world. These large reserves assisted in intensifying the situation and propelled the territorial claims of the neighboring countries. While vietnam fought china and regain their territory ..CORY instead of sending the navy as what marcos did..choose to celebrate with her BLOOD RELATIVES in china. She also lighted incense at the altar of the Ancestral Temple of the Xu (Co) Clan. She was quoted as having remarked “I am the President, but I am also the daughter of Hongjian Village” ( news item )
    .HACIENDA LUISITA was planned to be RETURNED & distributed to the FARMERS by MARCOS in 1968 ( The government’s first follow-up letter was written by Conrado Estrella of the Land Authority on March 2, 1967 …HACIENDA LUISITA ( 6,400 hectares ) the root of political & economic turbulence..the DECLINE of everything good for Filipino..& deprivation and injustice to the farmers 1968 to 2013 )…NINOY DIVULGED the MARCOS SABAH RECLAIM plan in 1968, MUSLIM rebellion begun in 1968, MNLF was ESTABLISHED in 1968, & CPP-NPA established in 1968…adding insult to the peaceful citizens… CORY RELEASED ALL ENEMIES of the state …now they are demanding their own territories ( milf ) & asking joint governance with rp govt ( cpp-npa )…
    2012 spratly & panatag Islands- Pnoy aquino- visited china in 2011 AFTER his ELECTION in 2010..he said to his relatives ” if one is to move forward, one must know how to look back. So I would like to thank the people of Hongjian—all my distant cousins, aunts, and uncles—for their warm welcome, and for being among the many who give me the strength to carry on and succeed,” ..china established a govt over the islands after backdoor negotiations on july 2012 …..just recently  10/2012 pnoy-MALAYSIA-milf peace deal.( why is MALAYSIA so interested in MILF TERRITORY ? )…they just talk to one small rebel group yet they already call it peace while there are plenty more rebel armed groups in the same area… consider it already a political entity bangsamoro..a new away territories not even within his power to give!
    Now 2013..Sulu Sultanate ARMY made a SUICIDE & PATRIOTIC move & RAISED PHILPPINE FLAG in SABAH and making a RE-CLAIM of NATIONAL TERRITORY & SOVEREIGNTY for the people……which the govt of pnoy should be doing ..instead PNOY govt is COLLABORATING with  MALAYSIA ( territory grabber & INSATIABLE LOOTER  of our resources ) for the RETURN of the hapless PATRIOTIC FILIPINO CITIZENS who are DOING the SWORN DUTIES of the GOVT…protection of sovereignty & territorial integrity , to serve & protect the people as prime duties of govt under the CONSTITUTION..!
    let HISTORY be the JUDGE..who are TRAITORS & HEROES……!!!

  • Noel

    In other words, these leftist and communists sympathizers are now very active around free to influence the state’s policies toward their ideology.  Thanks to Cory ! 


    GOOD story….will go and look for that eatery to try lutong-bahay that is very scarce this time.  Sana di lutong-makaw yan, ha.

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