13 of 2013: People and Events that influenced Filipinos and the Philippines

The year 2013 has been a roller coaster ride for our country and our people. We have all witnessed how the Philippines went through tough times and celebrate in good times. And as we close this year let me give you a rundown of the 13 of the most influential events and people that shaped Filipinos and our country the Philippines. This is 13 of 2013, Nite Writer’s year-end report.

#13 – Pope Benedict XVI
The whole Catholic world was stunned by Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation as the highest leader of the Catholic church last February. The 85 year-old Pope cited his old age and failing health as the reason in relinquishing his post. That decision made him the 1st Pope to resign in modern times, following Pope Gregory XII’s resignation in 1415. Many theorist believed that the Pope resigned because he can no longer address the corruption issue in the vatican. But all in all, the decision made Catholic believers including Filipino Catholic faithfuls sad.

#12 – Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle
With the vacancy in the papacy, many names have emerged as the possible replacement to Pope Benedict XVI. And one of the most talked about Papabili was Philippines’ Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle. Pinoy hopes are high during the days prior to Papal election as Tagle became darling of local and international media organization as the possible next Pope. In all of the list of Papabilis released by foreign press, Tagle always emerged in the top picks because of his youthful aura and charisma that they often compare to Blessed Pope John Paul II. Because of that, many Pinoy were happy and hopeful that he will became the 1st Asian and Filipino Pope of the Roman Catholic Church.

#11 – Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire
After suffering from defeats, the 2 of the most exciting Pinoy boxers were back and again reigned the boxing ring. Donaire avenged his previous defeat by knocking down Vic Darshinyan in the 9th round. Pacquio on the other-hand seemed regained his former strength after 2 consecutive looses to Bradley and Marquez.

#10 – Pinay Beauty Queens
The Philippines is known pageant enthusiast, and this year the country raved and went crazy and Filipina beauties dominated all the major beauty pageants in the world. Mutya Joanna Datul started the great year for Pinay beauty queens as she won Miss Supranational 2013 making her the 1st Asian and Filipina to won the title. Following her was Megan Lynne Young who made history as the 1st Filipina Miss World. Megan was widely cheered by Pinoy in Indonesia during the competition, and the whole Filipino world cheered and celebrated with her when she finally get the most coveted crown of Miss World. In Miss Universe 2013, although Ara Arida were faced by left and right criticsm, many downplaying her chanes, she proved all her detractors the she has what it takes to represent the country in the prestigious Miss Universe pageant. Ara was named 3rd runner-up of Miss Universe 2013 held in Moscow, Russia. And before the year ends, another Pinay made the whole country proud as Bea Rose Santiago took home the 2013 Miss International Crown. Bea became the 5th Pinay to won Miss International following Gemma Cruz-Araneta, Aurora Pijuan-Manotoc, Melani Marquez, and Lara Quigaman-Alcaraz. Other beauties who placed in international pageants where Ali Forbes 3rd runner-up Miss Grand International, Koreen Medina 3rd runner-up Miss Intercontinental 2013 and Angelee delos Reyes top 8 Miss Earth 2013.

#9 – Gilas Pilipinas
With a heart full of pride and determination, Philippine Basketball team was able to bring honor to the country as they proceeded to the FIBA world cup in Spain. The Gilas team won silver (that secured them the ticket to Spain) in a match staged in the Mall of Asia arena last August. The Gilas win was highly welcomed in social media specially that Basketball is really a big deal in our country.

#8 – Philippines Credit ratings upgrade
For the 1st time in history, the Philippines has been given a credit ratings upgrade by top credit ratings agency. The move highlighted Philippines promising economy and good governance. It was Fitch who gave the country’s 1st credit rating upgrade in March followed by Standard’s and Poors, Japan Credit Rating agency and Moody’s. The ratings upgrade will definitely help boost the country’s economy through attracting more foreign investors.

#7 – Miriam vs Enrile
It was the battle of privilege speeches with this 2 seasoned Senators. Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago is known critic of Sen. Juan Ponce-Enrile and they’re rivalry was highlighted this year with Santiago’s statements regarding Enrile’s connection to the Pork Barrel scam. Those statements then led to Enrile’s privilege speech attacking Miriam’s character specifically her mental state. That Enrile privilege speech ired the lady Senator which also led her to issue a privilege speech detailing (according to her) Enrile’s crime. Public sentiments went to Santiago as Enrile’s privilege speech didn’t answer Santiago’s allegations in regards to the pork barrel scam.

#6 – Tanda, Sexy and Pogi
With the pork barrel scam hearing in the Senate, 3 names emerged and became subject of political jokes. In one of the hearings, main witness Benhur Luy through his testimony mentioned the 3 nicknames which according to him were the regular beneficiaries of pork barrel kickbacks. Although not directly mentioned the nicknames Tanda, Sexy and Pogi were easily associated to Sen. Enrile, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada and Sen. Bong Revilla which were also respondents in the plunder case filed by DOJ in the Office of Ombudsman.

#5 – Pope Francis
Following the resignation of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, a new Pope was elected in the person of Jose Mario Cardinal Bergoglio of Buenos Aires Argentina who took the papal name Pope Francis. Cardinal Bergogli became the first South American and Argentianian Pope and the 1st jesuit Pope. His election was warmly welcomed and was easily accepted by the Catholic world primarily because of his humble papacy. He was also became notable for his stands in gay issues and on atheism. And for this year time magazine made him Person of the Year for 2013.

#4 – Million People March
A move that just started in Facebook became a large movement of ordinary people asking for reforms and accountability. Million People March was a successful event aimed at calling the government to address the pork barrel issue and to made people involved accountable. Spontaneous and “un-organized”, the move was able to get government’s attention in addressing the pork barrel issue, leading to President Aquino’s abolishment of the Pork Barrel system in congress. Am happy to be part of the event.

#3 – Bohol Earthquake and Zamboanga siege
One natural calamity and one man-made disaster, this 2 events showed that Filipino’s faith cannot be shaken. The 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Bohol and some other parts of Visayas that ruined several national historical treasures in Bohol and Cebu and damaged some tourist spots showed how strong we Pinoy’s are. That our grounds can be shaken and buildings can collapse but our faith are strong enough to move forward and rebuild our lives. Just like the people of Zamboanga, with the bombings of the rebel groups which shutting down business operations and making the city almost a ghost town, Zamboangenos hold on to their faith and stand by their One Zamboanga One Philippines flag. Hats off to their Mayor who worked-hard to bring peace and order back to their city.

#2 – Janet Lim-Napoles
After the discovery of pork barrel scam, Janet Lim-Napoles became a name that’s been subject of public outrage in connection to corruption of public money. Dubbed as the Pork Barrel Queen, Napoles name was often associated to mis-use of public funds. She was a favorite subject in all media platforms showing Filipino’s strong concern on government money (since majority of it came from people’s taxes). Although she reiterated that she has nothing to do with the pork barrel scam, DOJ filed plunder case against her that led her to be detained in SAP headquarters in Sta. Rosa, Laguna

#1 – Typhoon Yolanda
Named as the biggest storm in recent history, Yolanda’s devastation caught the attention of the whole world. And although it was the worst thing that happened to our country with its range of damage, it also showed how the world loves the Philippines. We have seen how the world united for the Philippines and also how the many Filipinos worked for fellow Filipinos. Pinoy volunteerism was so alive during those days as Filipinos from all walks of lives tirelessly and selflessly mobilized their efforts to help fellow Filipinos affected by Yolanda. And that made me realized that we still have hope, that we can be one country whenever a fellow countrymen is in need. It may be a negative event, but it definitely showed every Pinoy’s goodness.

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