A Year In News: Slices of Life’s Year In Review

I have come to the conclusion that if I am fully intent on pursuing a side career in blogging, I should practice myself in the art of writing year enders. This is probably due to the fact that I’m a firm believer in the saying that has been oftentimes attributed to the Philippines’ national hero, Jose Rizal: “Ang hindi marunong lumingon sa pinanggalingan…” [forgive me, the verbatim quote escapes my memory at the moment]. Basta, the gist is there: moving forward will always involve a certain level of ‘looking back’ and ‘reflecting’ on the past, and that, my good friends, is the reason for this entry. 😉

Disclaimer: I’m basing the significance of events on personal opinion. I’ve seen and read my share of 2013 Best Ofs, and they’ve helped me in one way or another, but this is purely all me. Agree and disagree if you please, and if you want, do share your own list of the most memorable events of 2013.

1. Typhoon Yolanda + The Philippines, on the World Stage 

While some of us lost a day of class on November 8th, many lost homes and others lost lives. Words cannot express how devastating Typhoon Yolanda was to the Visayas region– in fact, it’s going to take some time before things can even go back to the way they were. Will things even be able to go back? Definitely not.

With this tragedy came the international media, which put the Philippines on the world stage for the second time (the first being during the Quirino grandstand standoff). Premiere news networks like CNN and BBC flew to the country in order to cover relief efforts, exposing a large number of the Philippine government’s response issues in the process. Yet despite the negative PR, there came the overwhelming positive response from the rest of the world. Donations flew in from anywhere and everywhere– even standoff rival China offered aid in the wake of the devastation. The world may have gotten the chance to see the negative side of the Philippines (Korina Sanchez, I’m looking at you), but it also got the opportunity to see the Filipino spirit at it’s finest. This spirit went beyond Manny Pacquiao and Jessica Sanchez and Charice, this spirit was exemplified in how the average Filipino braved one of the strongest typhoons in history and prepared himself/herself to move forward in the wake of unparalleled devastation. Let’s hope that in the months that follow, the Philippines (specifically the central Visayas region) will be able to move forward from what happened. Let’s also take part in making sure that relief and restoration efforts will be monitored fairly. Just because the media doesn’t focus on monitoring relief efforts, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t as well.

Postscript: The Anderson Cooper- Korina Sanchez Snafu: Best Lesson for Journalists-to-Be on what NOT TO DO when on the air.

On a personal note, I was fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to participate in full-scale relief efforts for the first time in my college life. It was a tiring, yet fulfilling experience. I can only hope and pray that the bags we packed were received by those who needed them the most. 

2. Hope for Christianity: Hello, Jesuit Pope! 

Pope Francis’ election as pope following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI marked the beginning of a surprisingly positive year for both the Church and for Christianity in general. Okay, maybe not just yet– there was a point during the year that the Christian world was stupefied by Pope Benedict’s sudden resignation, but all of us have to admit that Pope Francis definitely closed out the year strong. His outspoken opinions on gay marriage, coupled with his manifestations of simple living presented the Christian world with a new and hopeful picture of a church leader willing to be open and willing to allow the Church to adapt to the modern world (remember that much talked about selfie?). Let’s hope and pray that history’s first Jesuit pope will have more prosperous and progressive years on the throne of Saint Peter’s.

P.S. We forgot to mention that he’s probably the first pope with a Twitter account. 😉 Talk about progressive!

3. Pork Pork Pork, and Public Enemy Number One 

One could almost give Janet Lim-Napoles the moniker “The Most Hated Woman in the Philippines”, a title that is well-deserved following the discovery of her involvement in the pork barrel scam. Napoles is said to have been the point person for the accused lawmakers, aiding them in funneling pork barrel funds into false NGOs and later giving said lawmakers a cut of the money. As of this writing, she is currently facing charges not just for money laundering but also for illegal detention of one of her former employees, Benhur Luy.

Needless to say, Filipinos were nothing short of outraged at the news that their legislators were pocketing money intended to be spent for infrastructure and government services. This prompted one of the biggest protests of 2013: the “Million People March” against pork barrel held in Luneta Park (as of writing, succeeding protests against pork have followed this).

I was fortunate enough to have been at Luneta on the day of the Million People March, and I have to admit it was an unforgettable experience. Never in my 19 years of existence have I been fortunate enough to be a part of a group brimming with solidarity and collective outrage. Yet we have to remember that this does not end with continual protests, we need to be on top of this issue, always remembering that we must push the media to keep track of the developments of this issue. 

4. Sad Losses: Cory Monteith and Paul Walker 

Both were unexpected, both had promise, both were unfortunate, unfortunate ends. God Bless to both of them, and Rest In Peace. Until now, my heart is with Gleeks, Lea Michelle and the cast of the Fast and the Furious franchise. For the sake of loyal fans, let’s hope those rumors of Justin Bieber replacing Paul Walker won’t be true. Hehe. As for the status of Glee, it’s going to be really sad to see the show end, but it won’t be the same without Cory (I’m sure fans agree with me on this).

5. Goodbye, Mandella 

The world lost an icon when anti-Apartheid activist and former South African president Nelson Mandella passed on in late 2013. His vision, his legacy and his mission continue to serve as an inspiration for South Africa and for the world. May his legacy live on even though his physical spirit has passed.

These are just some of the events that made 2013 one of the most memorable years in the history of the world. In fact, my countdown isn’t complete. [The truth is, I just can’t remember any other events hahaha!]. I invite everyone to make their own top five lists of notable 2013 happenings. I propose making it a tradition every year.

Happy 2014, all!

x Colleen

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