Ninoy Aquino’s Letter to Ballsy (1973)

I receive this forwarded email this morning, and I would like to share it with you. It is the letter of Ninoy to his eldest daughter Ballsy, during her debut. At that time, Ninoy is imprisoned. It was Martial Law then. It is sad, heartwrenching. I can relate to the letter because I am also the eldest in the family.

August  18, 1973
Fort Bonifacio
Makati, Rizal

Ms.  Maria Elena C. Aquino
25  Times St., Quezon  City

My  dearest Ballsy,

I  write you this letter with tears in my eyes and as if steel fingers are  crushing my heart because I wanted so much to be with you as you celebrate  your legal emancipation. Now that you have come of age, my love, a voice  tells me that I am no longer young and suddenly, I feel  old. An  old poet gave this advice very long ago “when you are sad, remember the  roses will bloom in December.” I want to send you bouquet of roses, big  red roses from my dreamland garden. Unfortunately for the present, my  roses are not in bloom, in fact they have dropped all their petals and  only the thorns are left to keep me company. I do think it is fitting to  send you a thicket of thorns on this memorable  day!

I  am very proud of you because you have inherited all the best traits of  your mother. You are sensible, responsible, even-tempered and sincere with  the least pretenses and affection which I vehemently detest in a woman. I am  sure like your mother, you will possess that rare brand of silent courage  and that combination of fidelity and fortitude that will be the life vest  of your man in the tragic moments of his life.

During  my lonely hours of solitary confinement in Fort Magsaysay, Laur, Nueva  Ecija last March and April with nothing else to do but pray and daydream,  with only my fond memories to keep me company, I planned a weekend barrio  fiesta for you in Tarlac for your 18th birthday. I fooled  myself into believing that my ordeal would end with the fiscal year. I  planned to invite all your classmates and friends and their families for  the weekends. The  schedule called for an early departure by bus from Manila and the first stop will be Concepcion, where  lunch will be served by the pool. And after lunch, you were to visit the  SantaRitaElementary School to distribute cookies and ice  cream to the children of that public school where you were first  enrolled. I  guess sheer nostalgia prompted me to include Santa Rita. We were only  three then: Mommie, you and I. Those were the days of happy memories  little responsibilities, tremendous freedom, a great future ahead and  capped by a fulfillment of love.. You are the first fruit of our union,  the first proof of our love and the first seal of our  affections. From  Concepcion  we were to proceed to Luisita for the barrio fiesta. I intended to invite  a friend who could roast an entire cow succulently. Swimming, pelota,  dancing and eating would have been the order of the  day. Sunday  morning was reserved for a trip around the Hacienda and the mill and maybe  golf for some of the parents and later a picnic-lunch on Uncle Tony’s  Island…Return to Manila after lunch…I am afraid this will have to remain as one of the many dreams I had in  Laur.

Our  future has suddenly become uncertain and our fate unknown. I am even now  beginning to doubt whether I’ll ever be able to return to you and the  family. Hence, I would like to ask you these special  favors. Love your mother, whose love for you, you will never be able to match. She is  not the greatest mother in the world, she is your sincerest  friend. Take  care of your younger sisters and brother and lavish them with the love and  care I would like to continue giving them but am unable to do  so. Help  Noy-noy along and pray hard that he will grow to be a real, responsible  man who in later years will protect you all. You are the model for your three younger sisters.Your responsibility is therefore great. Please endeavor to live up to our highest expectations. Be more tolerant to Pinky, more accessible to Viel, our little  genius-princess, and more charitable to Krissy, our baby doll, and make up  for my neglect. Finally, forgive me, my love, for not having been an ideal, good and thoughtful  father to you all as I pursued public office. I had hopes and high resolve  of making up, but I am afraid my destiny will not  oblige. I  seal this letter with a drop of tear and a prayer in my heart, that  somehow, somewhere we shall meet again and I will finally be able to make  up for all my lapses, in the kingdom where justice reigns supreme and love  is eternal.

I  love you, Dad



  1. the message showed the love of a father to his children… i really admire ms ballsy traits eventhough we’re not meet in person…. thanx to ur dad and ur mom… for the legacy they leave to us… thank you..

  2. Wow.. Nakakaiyak naman po ang sulat na yan.. Dito ko lang po napag-alaman yan ah..

    Ako din po nakakarelate since panganay din po ako sa aming magkakapatid..

    Mahal na mahal pong talaga ni Sen. Ninoy ang mga anak niya.. At napaka-sweet pa rin niya despite all of the sorrow he was feeling then. Somehow nakadama pa rin ako ng inggit.. tsk..

  3. It really is heartwrenching and sorrowful, that letter.. And I can relate, too, because I’m also the eldest child in the family.

    Mahal na mahal talaga ni Sen. Ninoy ang pamilya niya. Kitang kita yun sa mga salita niya, dahil andun pa rin po ang sweetness at “lambing” niya despite of the deep hurt inside him.. Somehow nainggit pa rin ako sa senaryo.. tsk.

  4. Grabe…nakaka-iyak na nakaka-touch. Ang bigat siguro ng kalooban ni Ninoy nung sinusulat niya itong sulat na ito.

    Indeed, the best thing a parent can do for his or her child is to make him feel loved, important and cherished. The world may turn its back on you, but you can still move on, knowing full well that your family is there. I know, kasi nakaka-relate ako.

  5. I really admire this very simple woman who is very calm and dignified in every moves. Its my first time to see her when Pres. Cory Aquino’s died. She’s her mums pride. A real product of the couples love.

  6. Ninoy’s letter is so full of love & caring. I can feel the sincerity in each word. I could just imagine his tears flowing down his cheeks while he wrote this and on the other end I could also imagine Ballsy’s silent cry as she read each line. I have read this letter over and over again and I just can’t stop crying. It is so sentimental. And I love the way Ninoy handed over the responsibility to Ballsy to take care of her siblings in a manner that doesn’t impose. I highly suggest that a movie should be made about the Aquino family to help us remember the sanctity of democracy and the freedom that we as Filipinos almost lost.

  7. Thank You for sharing this wonderful letter of Ninoy to Ballsy, I really cry when I started reading thw whole letter, we nice letter I admire Ninoy for writing this. Ballsy among his kids are really calm in talking, I really cry that her father was not there on her 18th birthday. Like Ballsy I was the eldest too in the family so I know the feeling. I got emotional by this letter.

  8. Thank You for sharing this wonderful letter of Ninoy to Ballsy, I really cry when I started reading the whole letter, this is a nice letter I admire Ninoy for writing this. Ballsy among his kids is really calm in talking, I cry that her father was not there on her 18th birthday. Like Ballsy I was the eldest too in the family so I know the feeling. I got emotional by this letter.

  9. touching..
    i think more than 5x ko nang binabasa yet nakakaiyak parin..
    am not the eldest in our family pero i lost my dad too in my early age.that my father was not there during my 18th birthday..

    eventhough Ninoy was not there during her 18th birthday but you can feel his sincerity, love and care to his family.

  10. I feel good when I read this letter, as a parent I feel the real meaning of love,care and sincere, its nice to know how the parents love their children in quiet time even though the children they don’t know how its hard, whats is pain in our heart. but this message can give every one to know parents always there for their family…Ballsy may the lord bless you and continue to shine you always.

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