MANILA — During the EDSA People Power Revolution in 1986, a 3-year-old boy was caught on camera giving flowers to a soldier.
The boy's photograph, taken by John Chua, would later become one of the key images of the revolt that ousted former President and dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. The photo eventually became part of the old P500 bill.
Nothing more would be known about the boy until 36 years later, when he posted a picture of himself with Vice President Leni Robredo in New York City.
"It was just surreal," said the boy, Angelo Gutierrez, now 39 and a registered nurse in the United States.
"VP Leni was everything I imagined her to be: humble, gentle, grounded," he told ABS-CBN News.
Robredo had been in the United States to attend the graduation of her youngest daughter Jillian from New York University. She and her daughters returned home on Saturday.
Gutierrez recalled to ABS-CBN News how he had a chance encounter with the Vice President while jogging at Central Park in Manhattan.
"I was in Manhattan visiting relatives and friends and I knew that VP Leni was in NYC at that time for her daughter’s graduation. I didn’t expect that I’ll able to get a chance to see her in person nor be near her," he said.
"So when I passed by her while I was jogging at the Central Park, I did a double take. When I knew for sure that it was her, I did not hesitate to approach her and I was glad I did. I asked her if I could take a photo with her. Like I said in my Facebook post, she was very kind and approachable," he added.
Since the encounter was a quick one, he was unable to share his iconic involvement in the EDSA Revolution.
But Gutierrez said Robredo knew about it through their mutual friend, educator Gabby Lopez.
Gutierrez would go on to recall his version of his involvement in the People Power Revolution.
"I was with my parents, my aunt and my uncle, and we were caught in traffic jam along EDSA on the way to a relative’s house in Pasig. Knowing that there was a social movement happening, my parents decided to pull over and be one with the people. My parents lost sight of me in the middle of a huge crowd and got so worried, just to find out I was picking up stalks of flowers on the ground and handing it over to the people around me," he shared.
Years on, he still finds it "heartwarming" when he sees reposts of his story and photo of his younger self captured in an iconic moment.
"It was just a story of a small act from an innocent boy but if it creates even just a small positive impact, I am glad to have been part of that," Gutierrez said.
FROM THE ARCHIVES