| GEO World|
| Thousands reach Manila Cathedral to pay last respect to Aquino|
| Updated at: 1353 PST, Sunday, August 02, 2009|
MANILA: Thousands of mourners are gathering at Manila Cathedral to pay their last respects to their beloved leader former Philippine President Corazon Aquino Sunday.
Aquino, who died at the age of 76 on Saturday after a long battle with colon cancer, led millions of Filipinos in protests against dictator Ferdinand Marcos in a popular revolt in 1986, before taking over as president.
Popular as Aunt Cory, Aquino was to be buried on Wednesday after a family-led ceremony, in accordance with her wishes not to be given a state funeral, the presidential palace said. Schools across the country were to close for the day.
She will be laid to rest beside her husband, Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino, who was assassinated in 1983 after flying home from exile to lead the anti-Marcos opposition.
Hundreds of ordinary Filipinos filed past her coffin overnight Saturday as it was opened for public viewing.
By Sunday morning, thousands more had lined up to see the former president lying in state at a Catholic school in Manila, many of them wearing yellow clothes or ribbons, the symbol of the revolution that swept her to power.
Tributes came in from around the world for the woman who served as president from 1986 to 1992, during which time she restored the country's democratic institutions and survived several bloody coup attempts.
In Manila's Makati financial district, huge posters of Aquino went up while neighbours left flowers and lit candles outside the family home. Special masses were held across the overwhelmingly Catholic country.