MANILA (Updated 12:43 p.m.) -- Filipinos all over the country held masses and paid tribute to late President Corazon "Cory" Aquino in commemoration of her first death anniversary Sunday.
A short program titled "Her Legacy, Our Promise" was held Sunday morning at La Salle Greenhills in San Juan City to remember the contribution of the former President to the country's history.
The gathering was led by Mrs. Aquino's son, President Benigno Aquino III, who unveiled a commemorative marker signifying the legacy of his mother and her contribution in shaping the country.
The unveiling was followed by a video presentation celebrating the "People Power People" program.
Rapa Cojuangco Lopa, Mrs. Aquino's nephew, said they will re-launch the program, which aims to promote volunteerism among citizens of the Philippines.
Ninoy and Cory Foundation, whose executive director is Lopa himself, also honored volunteer groups during the tribute.
Among the groups honored are One Tama, which encourages Filipinos to do something right for the communities and the country; Dynamic Teen Company, which was organized by CNN Hero Efren Peñaflorida; Sparks for Change, which seeks to create a healthy community through medical missions; and Gawad Kalinga, which works to provide homes to poor families.
The Aquino sisters -- Pinky Aquino-Abellada, Ballsy Aquino-Cruz, Viel Aquino Dee, and celebrity Kris Aquino-Yap -- and other family members, relatives, friends, and supporters also attended the program, which was followed by a commemorative mass at 9:30 a.m. officiated by Bishop Socrates Villegas, a close family friend of the Aquinos.
Politicians, celebrities and other known personalities attended the mass. Among those who arrived early were Congressman Gina De Venecia, CNN hero Efren Penaflorida, former Cebu Congressman Antonio Cuenco, Vice President Jejomar Binay and his family, Senators TG Guingona, Sergio Osmena and Rodolfo Biazon with son Representative Ruffy Biazon.
Some members of President Aquino's Cabinet were also present, including Budget and Management Secretary Butch Abad, Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman, and Bureau of Internal Revenue commissioner Kim Henares.
The heads of President Aquino's Communications Group Sonny Coloma, Edwin Lacierda and Ricky Carandang were also present.
The Aquino family proceeded to Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City after the mass at La Salle Greenhills Sunday to visit the grave of former President Cory.
Mrs. Aquino, who died in August 1, 2009 after a year of battling colon cancer, was buried at the memorial park beside her husband, Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr.
Security at the Manila Memorial Park is still tight as of this posting Sunday, with hundreds of people still visiting Mrs. Aquino's grave.
The Philippine National Police earlier deployed around 200 policemen to the area.
In other cities and provinces in the country, masses were also held in commemoration of Mrs. Aquino's first death anniversary.
A memorial mass was heard in honor of Mrs. Aquino in Zamboanga City.
The same happened in Panique, Tarlac, the hometown of the late President, as people gathered for a mass at Saint rose of Lima Parish Church.
In Cebu City, Carmelite nuns who sheltered the former President in Cebu in February 1986 also offered special prayers, while Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal sponsored a mass.
Cardinal said he admired the late President for her sincerity and her faithfulness to public service during her term of office, from 1986 to 1992.
"She didn't even want to extend her term. So in everything that she stood for, she has given an example to us all on how to serve democracy, and we pray that the Lord will give her rest," said the archbishop.
Masses were also offered in the cities and towns of Pampanga province by Pinoy Patriots in honor of the country's icon of democracy.
Pinoy Patriots is an umbrella of municipal, city, and national volunteers who supported President Aquino's bid in the May 10 national elections.
The local government of San Fernando, Pampanga also joined the commemoration by decorating thousands of yellow ribbons around the city to pay tribute to the country's first woman President.
The commemoration nationwide is expected to end late Sunday. (Sunnex)