From sports’ triumphs and boo-boos to ‘stupid is forever’ to the country’s best lessons learned, here are just some of the most talked about Pinoy headlines of 2014.
A Year of Shoots and Misses
It has been a year of spectacular wins, heartbreaking losses, and a few infuriating events… Well okay, just one infuriating event.
Who could forget Gilas Pilipinas’ rise to fame? With a series of heartbreaking losses—most of which were only one shot away from the win—Gilas failed to make it to the 2014 FIBA finals in Spain. They did manage to win a game against the towering team of Senegal, which sent social media into a patriotic frenzy never before seen outside of EDSA. Despite Gilas losing the FIBA World Cup, they did win millions of hearts in the Philippines and abroad. Another testimony to the team’s battlecry: PUSO!
For the first time since 1998, the country finally got a gold medal in the 2014 Asian Games. Thanks to Daniel Caluag, a Filipino Olympian from the 2012 London Games, who won first place in the BMX Cycling event in the 2014 Asian Games. Caluag’s first place win is even more historical because it’s the country’s first ever win in the said event.
Oh, and remember that time when the International Premier Tennis League came to town? Yeah, nothing major. Andy Murray, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Treat Huey, Gael Monfils, Ana Ivanovic, Goran Ivanisevic, Serena Williams, Tomas Berdych, and Maria Sharapova just swung some rackets and tossed some balls around. Oh, and did I mention they were super friendly and down-to-earth and they interacted with their fans like they weren’t the tennis gods and goddesses that they are? Yeah, it was epic. Definitely one of the most unforgettable sports moments in PH history.
If you’re a huge basketball fan, perhaps one of the biggest—if not the biggest—letdown of your fanatical existence was (or is) the PLDT Fibr All Star “Game” in Manila. Goodness. Just the name of the event makes me cringe a little bit. Filipino NBA fans were all giddy when PLDT decided to fly some of the biggest NBA stars—Kawhi Leonard, James Harden, Brandon Jennings, Terrence Ross, Tyson Chandler, DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, and Damian Lillard—to the Philippines and compete with our home team Gilas Pilipinas. Instead of cheers and excitement filling the Smart-Araneta Coliseum that night, anger and confusion filled the air. Not all players showed up and on top of that, no game actually occurred. Apparently, NBA did not give the players the clearance to play in Manila. And should the games happen, they would face huge fines and even possible suspension. With no actual game on the hard court, fans only watched a practice session between the teams. The organizers had no choice but to refund the tickets of thousands of disappointed fans.
And of course, the year won’t be complete without the “Pambansang Kamao” Manny Pacquiao. Fresh from crushing American boxer Chris Algieri in November, Pacquiao said that he wants to fight Floyd Mayweather, Jr. next.
Not one to back off from a fight (or at least not stay quiet about the possibility of a fight), Mayweather called Pacquiao’s challenge on Twitter and Instagram and said he wants the big match next year.
Will the mega fight happen? Perhaps we’ll know next year.
A Year of Non-PDAF-Related Headliners
Without a doubt, PDAF scam all-stars Janet Lim-Napoles, Bong Revilla, Jinggoy Estrada, Juan Ponce Enrile, and even Vice President Jejomar Binay were the show-stealers of the year. However, there are still a few non-PDAF-related headliners that deserves to be included in the list.
One of the country’s most wanted fugitives, Delfin Lee of Globe Asiatique, was arrested last March at a hotel in Pampanga. Lee allegedly used false documents to get millions of Pesos through PAG-IBIG Housing loans under the names of from several Globe Asiatique clients. He is now spending his days at Pampanga provincial jail for syndicated estafa.
This year, actor and endorser Coco Martin walked the runway and raised hell with it. With a female model on a leash, Martin strutted his stuff for The Naked Truth fashion show by clothing megabrand Bench. Various groups—from feminists to human rights activists—lobbied to boycott said brand for alienating women’s rights and objectifying models. Some even dubbed the fashion show as an over-sexualized event. Just a few days after the show, Martin and Bench issued an apology for the incident.
Former First Lady and now Ilocos Norte Representative Imelda Marcos also made news when alleged raids were conducted in her offices and house where millions’ worth of paintings were seized by the Sandiganbayan. Paintings by Michaelangelo Buonarotti, Francisco de Goya, and even Pablo Picasso are now in custody of the Philippine government. Mrs. Marcos also made news earlier this year when she visited former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Arroyo was in hospital arrest and Mrs. Marcos brought wine and flowers and proceeded to call President Benigno Aquino III “unjust and cruel.” I wonder how Mrs. Marcos defines “unjust” and “cruel” in her own vocabulary.
Noranians can still probably feel all the bitterness when Malacanang did not bestow the title of National Artist in July to superstar Nora Aunor despite numerous acting awards and recognition here and abroad. President Aquino later on revealed that Aunor’s drug case in the U.S. was the reason behind Malacanang’s seal of disapproval.
After three years of hiding from authorities, a careless ATM transaction led to Major General Jovito Palparan’s arrest in August. He was actually hiding in plain sight—a low key hideout in Sta. Mesa, Manila. The former military man—dubbed as “berdugo” (executioner)—is responsible for the disappearance of student activists Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan of the University of the Philippines. He is now detained at the Philippine Army headquarters.
“Dala ka foods [sic]” (bring some food) became a catch phrase after comedian-host Vhong Navarro was mauled by businessman Cedric Lee and his posse in a condominium owned by model Deniece Cornejo. Lee and his group allegedly came to Cornejo’s aid after they reportedly caught Navarro in the act of raping the young model. Navarro then appeared on national TV—badly bruised and swollen all over—and filed legal charges again Lee, Cornejo, and their group. All rape charges against Navarro, including another accusation from beauty contestant Roxanne Cabanero, were dropped. Meanwhile, Cornejo and Lee posted bail in September.
The Iron Lady of Asia, veteran Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, made headlines—not for her classic pick-up lines and quotable quotes, but for her health. In July, Sen. Miriam announced that she is suffering from lung cancer, hence the lengthy leave of absence from the Senate and even her stepping down as a judge at the International Criminal Court. Now, just roughly six months later, Sen. Miriam is almost back to her always-feisty state. She recently launched a book (“Stupid Is Forever”) and even announced that should her health continue to improve, she will give the presidential race another go in 2016.
A Year of Resiliency and Lessons Learned
After the unexpected chaos that was Typhoon ‘Glenda’ that caused over P1-billion in damages, the Philippines braced for another supertyphoon (which was downgraded to typhoon after its first landfall) as December started.
Typhoon ‘Ruby’ (International Name ‘Hagupit’) made six landfalls from December 1 to 12, starting with Eastern Samar—a province that also suffered from Supertyphoon ‘Yolanda’ (International Name ‘Haiyan’) in 2013. Total damages in regions affected by ‘Ruby’ were roughly P5.09-billion (US $113.6 million), but it could’ve been worse if not for the Philippine government’s preparations.
Political leaders and experts all over the world commended the government and its agencies for its great work in preparing for ‘Ruby.’ The country’s weather bureau PAGASA made sure its updates were as prompt and as accurate as possible, while the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC)—together with the local government of respective provinces—made sure people were evacuated safely, relief goods were distributed, and rescue operations were conducted.
The government was also very satisfied with their performance. Like a well-oiled machine, everyone worked together and cooperated to save as many lives as possible.
Indeed, with the lessons learned from the tragedy that was ‘Yolanda,’ countless lives were spared from ‘Ruby.’ Once again, the Filipinos proved their resilience to the world.