Noynoy Trivia: 7 Interesting Facts About President Benigno Aquino III
Like any ordinary Filipino, former President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III had quirks and interesting hobbies behind the cameras. As the nation recalls the feats he had in his six-year term, Tatler details his colourful life one fun fact at a time.
1/7 He spent 16 years in Ateneo de Manila University
Noynoy is a true-blooded Atenista, he has spent a total of 16 years in its campus—completing his grade school (1973), high school (1977), and college education (AB Economics in 1981). On Saturday, 26 June 2021, the University opened its gates and held a funeral mass for the former President at the Church of the Gesù.
Hundreds of Filipinos trooped to the church to bid farewell and offer their prayers to Noynoy's bereaved family. The mass was streamed live on the Ateneo de Manila University Facebook (fb.com/ateneodemanila) and YouTube (youtube.com/AteneodeManilaUniversity) pages; it was also aired on Radyo Katipunan 87.9 FM.
The former President's cremated remains were brought to the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City for inurnment.
Read more: Goodbye Noynoy: Remembering President Benigno Aquino III's Six-Year Legacy
2/7 He is often seen with a bottle of Coke
In several accounts, people close to the former President said that he always had a bottle or glass of his favourite drink: Coke. In an ABS-CBN article, former presidential speechwriter Gian Lao described that every morning, Noynoy would smoke cigarettes, drink Coke Regular, and eat chicharon (pork crackling).
Rappler reporter Camille Elemia, who was assigned to cover the Presidential beat, also said that even in sickness, the former President would always have Coke beside him. "For him, there were things that were non-negotiable: smoking and Coke Classic – though I could imagine him saying, 'Camille, but on most days none.' He said he would still smoke one or two cigarettes but that was it. He said the first 24 hours were the hardest."
Former Malacañang Media Relations Office Assistant Secretary Paulo Espiritu, who conducted ocular inspections for Noynoy's official engagements, said that the latter would often require three things: "No flowers because of pollen, Coke regular, and chicharon".
3/7 A bachelor who dated well-known women
The former President was a bachelor who dated women who are successful in their respective industries. Even if he never married, he dated popular figures such as TV host and broadcaster Korina Sanchez, journalist Bernadette Sembrano, politician Shalani Soledad, actress Barbara Milano, and TV personality Grace Lee.
During his presidential reign, Noynoy was also linked to celebrity stylist Liz Uy and Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach.
Read also: Tatler Tips: Digital Dating
4/7 He has a bullet in his neck
In 1987, there was an attempted military coup against the Aquino family when Corazon Cojuangco Aquino was seated in the Malacañan Palace. Three of Noynoy's bodyguards were killed, while he sustained five bullet wounds. One bullet is still embedded in his neck.
Related: Journalist Teddy Benigno Writes About Ninoy Aquino's Life, Patriotism, and Sacrifice for the Philippines
5/7 He owns worn out "pambahay" clothes
Just like any other Filipino, Noynoy would wear comfortable clothes on his day off. According to former Malacañang Media Relations Office Assistant Secretary Paulo Espiritu, the late President has worn out pambahay clothes in his closet.
“Simple lang talaga siya. Hindi siya [maarte] sa damit. Siyempre matataas na tao sila pero minsan makikita mo ang Presidente bakit ganto lang manamit? For example, may isang photo na lumabas sa Zamboanga siege na nagb-briefing siya naka-shorts at t-shirt lang,” (He is a simple man, he is not meticulous when it comes to clothes even if he is seated on the country's top post. One time he went to the Zamboanga siege for a briefing and he only wore shorts and a t-shirt), Espiritu said in an interview with Inquirer.
“‘Yun siya eh. Kahit hindi na siya ‘yung presidente, pupunta kami sa Times, naka-pambahay lang–shorts na black, t-shirt na puti. Minsan butas pa nga." (That is him, even if he was not President anymore, he would be seen wearing his pambahay shorts and a worn out t-shirt with holes).
6/7 Pnoy and former Vice President Jejomar Binay were friends turned foes
It is no secret that former Vice President Jejomar Binay strongly opposed Noynoy during his term as President. But the two weren't always each other's nemesis.
In his farewell tweet to Noynoy, Binay recalled few of the "good times" they spent together amid the Marcos regime. "The day the revolution started, Noynoy and I were together in Makati, thanking the people for voting for his mother, former President Cory. Rest in Peace, Pareng Noy," he said.
In the 1970s, Binay represented political prisoners with no charge. In one of Noynoy's speeches in Makati, he honoured the friendship he had with the former Vice President. “At that time, I really became close to him because he put our welfare first before his. That was 30 years ago,” Noynoy said.
“It was clear to him that it was others first before himself… we counted on each other. We were against the dictatorship and we were ready to sacrifice our lives for our fellow men. That was how we had a deep relationship,” he added.
Read more: EDSA Revolution: A Look Back At The Historic 1986 People Power
7/7 His yearbook quote puzzled netizens in 2016
In 2016, Noynoy's yearbook quote circulated online, leaving many netizens baffled. The Ateneo graduate had this quote as his entry: “To be understood or misunderstood is not so much a struggle as it is to understand or misunderstand the longing for inner peace in each man’s heart. A sincere life is not to go above and beyond others and oneself, “…at high altitudes, a moment’s self-indulgence may mean death.” Should you ever come across me in your thoughts, never fail to include yourself, and your fellowmen, for in our longings, never at a moment forgetting one another, we together will struggle.”
People who read the ex President's quote gave their varying interpretations, but Noynoy never revealed what it truly meant.
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