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Reaching the finish line of July 2021’s stormy month

Dancing ‘What is Love?’ in the corners of our room seemed like the only way to cope. But what made July, July?

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Photo courtesy of Reuters

We’ve only sunk into the half of 2021, yet we can only hold so much in with our dispirited psyches and numb eyes.

Overcast with the unhinged adversities from the sky, sea, and land, and more false promises, dancing What is Love? in the corners of our room seemed like the only way to cope. But what made July, July?

1. Taal Volcano unrest, Typhoon Fabian, and Batangas earthquake

Photo courtesy of Norman Cruz

Caused by both magmatic and water unrest, the Taal volcano eruption bore another harmful threat during the pandemic on July 1. The epicenter of Batangas was placed under Alert Level 3 by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS). Over 14,000 evacuees sought shelter and transportation with the preparation of the Batangas Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC). 

Typhoon Fabian had transpired with rapid monsoon seasons. For the past days, it persisted within the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR), driving sustained winds of 150 kilometers per hour (kph) toward the southwest monsoon into the country. To add, the typhoon caused more than P44 million of total damage to agriculture in Bataan. 

Just when we thought things couldn’t get any worse, a magnitude 6.6 earthquake jolted the center of Batangas on Saturday morning, July 24. Tensions and aftershocks were also felt in parts of Metro Manila at 7 a.m. 

2. Filipinos slammed DTI’s standardized adobo 

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Another day, another food fiasco in the Philippines.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) proposed on July 10 a motion to standardize Filipino dishes including adobo, lechon, and sisig. This formed a sour aftertaste among Filipinos who lambasted the unnecessary move, noting that different adobo recipes come in unique forms and different family traditions. They added that the agency’s misdirected standards should have gone to pandemic-related matters and governmental standards instead. 

Days later, DTI clarified the purpose of the standards was for international promotion.

3. 3 million doses of Johnson and Johnson vaccines and COVID-19 Delta variant cases

Photo courtesy of Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

After over a year of quarantine and social distancing, the silver lining of this tragedy started to shine through as vaccination procedures began worldwide. The United States donated 3 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine to the Philippines earlier this July.

Unlike most vaccines, recipients will only need one shot of the Janssen vaccine to be fully vaccinated. Although convenient, only those 18 years old and above qualify to take the vaccine. Alongside, a rare side effect of developing a neurological disorder, Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), was found in approximately 100 patients that took the vaccine. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) attested that the benefits of the vaccines outweigh their risks, especially now that the storm clouds have begun to darken with the discovery of COVID-19’s Delta variant. The first case of the Delta variant was reported in India last December 2020, with the first known case inside the Philippines discovered earlier in May

Compared to the other three variants, Delta is the most contagious. As of July 25, there are 119 known cases of this variant across the nation, 42 from returning overseas Filipino workers and 72 local reports. The most vulnerable to the variant are those unvaccinated.

4. UST first, only PH university to earn five-star QS ranking

Despite its decline in the world rankings since 2021, the University garnered a five-star rating from the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS). This makes UST the only university in the country with such a rating.

The London-based education consultancy based their ratings on the following categories:

  • Teaching
  • Employability
  • Academic Development
  • Internationalization
  • Facilities
  • Arts and Culture
  • Inclusiveness
  • Doctor of Medicine

5. Olongapo court junked Anti-Terror Law against Aetas

Photo courtesy of Boy Santos/The STAR

Cases of Aetas Japer Gurung and Junior Ramos were junked by the Olongapo Regional Trial court (RTC) on July 15. The court dismissed the case due to the “blatant inconsistencies” between the soldier’s sworn statements and what they said from the court’s stand. 

“After a careful examination of the records, the Court holds that the prosecution failed to discharge the burden of proving the identities of the accused as perpetrators of the crime of violation of Section 4 of Republic Act No. 11479. Thus, the case for violation of this law against the accused must be dismissed,” Judge Melani Faye Tadili of Olongapo RTC branch 97 said in the decision. 

The Aetas were charged for allegedly committing terrorism after the government accused them of being a member of the New People’s Army (NPA) who fired at a group of soldiers in Barangay Buhawen, San Marcelino, Zambales. 

This is the first actual Anti-Terror law case filed against individuals.

READ  Anti-Terror Law castrates judicial process—NUPL chair

6. PDP-Laban feud with Senator Manny Pacquiao

Photo courtesy of the Malacanang

Ruling party PDP-Laban ousted Manny Pacquiao as President of the party on July 17.

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, now the President of the party, announced the vacancies of all national officer positions and committee chairs during the party assembly in Pampanga. This was after he and President Rodrigo Duterte exchanged heated tirades against each other.

Despite this, Senator Francis Tolentino still urged Cusi to reach out to Pacquiao and Koko Pimentel so they would not defect to another party.

7. All-male ambassadors roster for Canon Philippines draws outcry amid gender inequality

Photo courtesy of Canon’s Instagram

Camera company Canon released its male-dominated ambassadors’ line-up in the Philippines. It drew heavy flak among netizens due to the lack of inclusivity and diversity. They thought it sent a poor message on perpetuating the status quo that disregarded women and non-binaries. 

“Our Brand Ambassadorship is continuously growing and always welcomes more members who are interested and committed,” issued the company in a statement. Netizens demanded a public apology by owning up to their mistake instead of saving face.

One of the ambassadors, photojournalist Jilson Tiu dropped the deal and quit Canon, criticizing the non-apology of the company, and how his principles did not align with the former.

8. Milwaukee Bucks soar in the NBA Finals

Photo courtesy of Getty Images/Ringer illustration

After a title drought of 50 years, the Milwaukee Bucks finally got their NBA championship.

The first two games were dominated by the Phoenix Suns lead of both Chris Paul and Devin Booker, averaging 24.7 points and 27.0 points, respectively. However, the next four games were dominated by the Bucks, mostly led by Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday, and Khris Middleton.

The “Greek Freak” scored 50 points in game six bagging their first NBA title since 1971. Antetokounmpo was also hailed as finals MVP.

9. UST opens Practice Gym as vaccination site for Manila residents

Photo courtesy of Manila Public Information Office’s Facebook Page

On July 26, the University opened its doors as a vaccination site available for all Thomasians, non-Thomasians, Manileños, and non-Manileños. 

Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso and Vice Mayor Honey Lacuña-Pangan were present at the commencement, welcomed by the University’s Rector Magnificus Fr. Richard Ang O.P.  

The City Government of Manila said it will prioritize A1 to A5 priority groups, with initial 800 COVID-19 vaccines in the implementation.

Pre-registration, which is available here, is required to be inoculated. Gates are open from 6:00 a.m to 7:00 p.m. 

10. Unsurprising disappointment in Duterte’s final State of the Nation Address

Photo courtesy of the Office of the Senate

To kickstart his last State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Rodrigo Duterte began with a statement that contrasted the reality brought upon the Filipino people, “When I assumed the presidency five years ago, dominant in my mind were dreams and visions of a better life for all Filipinos.” 

In his usual fashion, he began listing down the so-called achievements of his term, with most of the bloodshed doused in sugar and the others under his credit but not his initiative.

Although the mentioned initiatives were done and completed under his term, these still leave uncertainty especially in this time of the pandemic. Education may be free in some local and state schools and universities, but its “accessibility” is far from enough because thousands of students and teachers are still deprived and excluded from its plans. 

The completion of the LRT and MRT may have been done under his term, but they were of the past administration’s initiative, not his. He may have completed Stage 3 of the Metro Manila Skyway and opened the Kalayaan Bridge, but the roads are still congested and the misery of commuting continues. These are inadequate, bare minimum projects that cannot compensate for the irreversible death toll prompted by his 2016 war on drugs and 2020 pandemic response.

Instead of focusing on pandemic-related matters, his much-outworn priorities were settled with endorsement elections, paternalizing the military and police, antagonizing the communist insurgency, and the formulaic war on drugs litanies. 

“We have worked towards the sustainable rehabilitation of communities where communists used to operate,” he praised the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC). Additionally, he ordered to “kindly shoot them [the communists] dead.” He also endorsed Senator President Vicente Sotto III, believing he would make “a good vice president.”

Duterte emphasized that he loved his country and does not want families to become dysfunctional due to drugs, unobtrusive that thousands of widows, orphans, victims have become dysfunctional and separated because of what he started. 

He also motioned for free legal assistance for soldiers and police, insensible to the absence of due process among normal citizens and lawyers who fell victim to the culture of abusive police brutality. 

In his nearly three-hour-long address, he allotted the longest time to discuss his administration’s war on drugs and corruption which he admits as a failure. However, he did not mention a word with the controversial Anti-Terror Law that has received 37 petitions and been called as an affront to the country’s justice system.

11. Metro Manila once again placed under ECQ from August 6 to 20

Photo courtesy of Jire Carreon/Rappler

On July 30, President Rodrigo Duterte approved the imposition to place Metro Manila under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) from August 6 to 20. Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque announced this in a televised conference to subdue the rise of the COVID-19 Delta variant, although “it is a painful decision”. 

From July 30 to August 5, however, Metro Manila will be placed under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) with heightened and additional restrictions.

ECQ entails the following:

  • Individuals below 18 and above 65, pregnant women, persons with health risks must stay at home at all times
  • Hospitals, groceries, pharmacies, office supplies, business logistics, manufacturers of medical supplies are allowed to fully operate
  • Banks, veterinary clinics, telecommunications, internet services, power and energy, funeral services, and machinery services are allowed to operate in a skeletal workforce
  • Mass gatherings, face-to-face classes, public transportation (depending on the allowance of the government), and domestic travel outside Manila are restricted
  • Dining in restaurants is also prohibited, but take-out and delivery are allowed 

12. Herstory: Hidilyn Diaz marks history as the Philippines’ first Olympic gold medalist

Photo courtesy of Reuters and Rappler

On July 26, hours after the State of the Nation Address (SONA), weightlifting fairy Hidilyn Diaz brought the Philippines its first-ever Olympic gold with a total of 224kg in the clean and jerk women’s 55kg event. 

Hopes are still high as the country might be getting its second Olympic gold following Nesthy Petecio’s victory against Irma Testa in the featherweight semifinals. Eumir Marcial is also a win away from another Olympic medal after defeating Yeones Nemouchi with a referee stoppage. 

Another Lyn brimmed with pride! Margielyn Didal finished off her first Olympic turn, bagging seventh place in women’s street skate. Although she came home without a medal, she captured the hearts of fans all over the world with her infectious and optimistic personality. Weightlifter Elreen Ando also closed her first Olympic stint with seventh place in the women’s 64kg event. 

Irish Magno bowed out in the boxing round-of-16 against her Thai opponent. Carlos Yulo placed 47th overall after unfortunately falling short in his trademark floor exercise event, but was still able to advance to the vault finals of the men’s artistic gymnastics. 

As of July 31, Thomasian student-athlete EJ Obiena has qualified for the men’s pole vault, guaranteeing him a place in the final 12. Boxer Carlo Paalam steamrolled to the men’s flightweight quarterfinals by a unanimous decision, advancing to the quarterfinals. 

With Filipinos left dismayed with the usual aftermath of the SONA, the victorious turnout of the Olympics instead found its way to become the brimming light at the end of the tunnel of Filipinos’ hearts as they cathartically celebrated the victory of Diaz. 

Retracing the history of how the administration unjustly red-tagged the olympian, Filipinos were quick to call out the poor support of the government toward its athletes that were now hopping unto her success with non-apologies

Poetic and symbolic, women broke through the glass ceiling gloriously with flying colors—a big blow to the misogynistic and patriarchal government. 

July was a month of Saudade—a full circle of good and bad slowly reaching its peak. We’ve witnessed a regime of tyranny nearing its end, a heart of gold bagged for the Philippines, and different voices resounding their call under many days of hard pouring rain. 

However, we forbade the weather to wash out our voices. Just like how Diaz triumphed amidst the maltreatment of an administration meant to support her. We, too, will and should arise amidst the snares of wickedness. 

Ian Patrick Laqui
Reports Editor, Reports Writer | + posts
Mikaela Gabrielle de Castro
Blogs Editor, Blogs Writer | + posts
Nathalie Porras
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2022 Elections Playlist: Tayo ang Kasaysayan

Sa darating na halalan, iboto ang alam mong titindig para sa karapatan nating lahat.

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Artwork by Mikaela Gabrielle de Castro/TomasinoWeb

Sa dinami-rami ng mga pangyayaring nagdaan sa loob ng anim na taon sa ilalim ng administrasyong Duterte, hindi na lamang ito isang karapatan. Responsibilidad na natin ang pagboto. Kahit sino ka man, kahit anuman ang estado mo sa buhay, kailangan mong bumoto. Hindi lamang para sa kinabukasan mo, ngunit pati na rin sa kinabukasan ng mga taong nasa paligid mo.

Para sa darating na halalan, gumawa ang TomasinoWeb ng 2022 elections playlist kung saan mapapakinggan ang mga kanta ng Eraserheads kasama sila Francis Magalona, Gloc 9, Ebe Dancel, at iba pang mga pangalan sa larangan ng OPM. Hanapin ang liwanag sa dilim sa mga tanyag na kanta ngayong darating na eleksyon. 

Iboto ang alam mong titindig para sa karapatan nating lahat. Nagkamali man noon sa pagpili ng mga pinuno, ito ang pagkakataon upang ihalal ang tunay na nararapat. Tandaan na nasa atin ang panahon.

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It’s time we talk about fetishization in BLs

There and then, when the object of production becomes subsumed into the gaze of only those who do not own the narrative and, by extension, to sell under the status quo, these stories translate to sheer fetishism. Same-sex relationships are only seen under stereotypes and cookie-cutter characteristics. 

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Artwork by Mikaela Gabrielle de Castro/TomasinoWeb

In the early days of lockdown, everyone was strapped in their homes for what would become a global health crisis. 

With time ticking ever so slowly while the world seems to collapse, people turned to entertainment to catch slivers of hope and in a time when our feelings swing unabated from anxious to sad, to fearful, to bored.

As I was scrolling through my Twitter feed one afternoon, I chanced upon this post about two young, good-looking Thai best friends (later, I learned that they are apparently love interests). People in the replies were gushing over them, of course, I had to poke around. I let it rest in my mind, at first, going on with my usual routinary, monotonous day in quarantine.

A week passed by and Bright and Win, “two best friends”, or, lovers’ names, kept horning in my feed, even on Facebook. Friends, through direct messages, kept telling me about it as well; how it was so refreshing to see a queer love story on a mainstream platform with so many fans talking about it. To put an end to all these virtual pressures, I had to check it out myself. In short, I fell into the Boys’ Love series wave.

I finished binge-watching one BL series after another. Sometimes, I’d sandwich one show with another to speed up my viewing time. Often, I’d pair it with films and other forms of content.

For me, after watching BLs, apart from the usual kilig and jitters, I feel a sense of novelty. Yet somehow I still feel discontented with what I saw. In other words, unrepresented. But before I take a deeper dive into the world of BL, I think it’s good to have a quick history lesson about it.

From yaoi to BL

Screengrab from MyAnimeList

The origins of the BL phenomenon as well as its roots as a literary genre come from Japan — primarily in its anime and manga literature — that thematizes young male homoeroticism between two men. 

Commonly referred to as “yaoi,” the genre began as fan works written by female fans from a personal interest to push the boundaries of comics at the time. 

In fact, the literary genre has been so that the term fujoshi, which translates literally to “rotten girls,” or female anime fans who enjoy and often obsess with male-to-male romantic relationships in the works came to light. This already gives us an idea how this grew as a spillover effect to the current forms of BL not only in Japan but also Thailand, China, and the Philippines. 

In its early days, it presented only fan works showcasing platonic relationships between male characters in the form of parodies. The magazine June is attributed by literary and media scholars to be the earliest iteration of the theme since it was one of the first magazines that published male-on-male tanbi literature in 1978. 

As time progressed, the proliferation of Japanese yaoi manga that was intended for women audiences and consumption converged with queer desires and transnational fandoms, generating a diverse, new set of platforms (music, films, and series) catering to broader audiences and creating more sundry narratives.

With this, I think it already gives us an overview of the problem with BLs in general, and, perhaps, it also handed me the answer to my iffy-ness with it afterward. While many developments have been made in the genre, I still do believe that BL has carried over remnants of its prime form: the intention to “sell” queer narratives to non-queer individuals who consume this content.

Just to add a caveat as well, while this is already the case for male homosexual narratives, much more whittling in terms of representation and focus is experienced by Girls’s Love or sapphic stories. Usual storylines would not even delve on their quotidian queer realities but instead highlight sex not to empower but to fetishize and become objects of sexual pleasure.

There and then, when the object of production becomes subsumed into the gaze of only those who do not own the narrative and, by extension, to sell under the status quo, these stories translate to sheer fetishism. Same-sex relationships are only seen under stereotypes and cookie-cutter characteristics. 

Towards a progressive gender politics

Screengrab from Hello Stranger/Black Sheep

How do we then draw the line between genuine representation and plain fetishism? 

I believe that the answer to this lies in the intent and the effect on its audience. With BLs’ audience getting broader, the responsibility to shift to more inclusive, gender-sensitive, and socially aware is all the more apparent. 

Of course, we can’t deny the roots of yaoi and BL. And progressive gender politics cannot be realized in a snap of a finger. What I’m saying is that perhaps it’s time to push the envelope away from stereotypes that fetishize queerness.

For BLs form and content not to develop and be swayed to the progressive causes, such as representation in media, are refusals to recognize issues that the subjects face in the context of their true environment outside of fiction. To refuse fetishism is to promote criticality and elevation of queer societal discourse.

I still do enjoy BLs, especially new releases. I just wish that moving forward, we can challenge dominant narratives, and realize our imagined aspirations. Else, we’re stuck and the genre’s progressive potential to forward causes and cultural development won’t come up to scratch.

Paolo Alejandrino
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April 2022: A new chapter approaches

Even amidst all this chaos, as what Jodi Sta. Maria said, ”papunta pa lang tayo sa exciting part.” While waiting for the new chapter to arrive, let’s look back at the events of April 2022.

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(Artwork by Mikaela Gabrielle de Castro/TomasinoWeb)

As days get dangerously hotter, the unpredictability of March bleeds into this month as the election season nears its climax. Thomasians also choose their next leader, both for their student councils and their country. Even amidst all this chaos, as Jodi Sta. Maria said, ”papunta pa lang tayo sa exciting part.”

While waiting for the new chapter to arrive, let’s look back at the events of April 2022:

1. Thomasians elect new CSC, local student council officers

(Photo by Aliah Danseco/TomasinoWeb)

UST students elected a new set of Central Student Council (CSC) and local student council officers last April 4.

Garnering 27,809 votes, former Civil Law Student Council president Nathan Raphael Agustin became the new CSC president. 

Agustin faced possible disqualification due to the non-issuance of his temporary transcript of records, which is a requirement for candidacy. 

Meanwhile, College of Education’s Francisco Mayuyu, UST-Alfredo M. Velayo College of Accountancy’s Benjamin Amper IV, Faculty of Arts and Letters’ Dale Dale Ignatius Marollano, and Conservatory of Music’s Rhojen Sianda are the new secretary, treasurer, auditor, and public relations officers, respectively. The position of the vice president remains vacant.

The elections were also held online through an electronic polling system like last year. This year, there was also a higher voter turnout, with 30,924 votes cast compared to last year’s 28,848.

The UST Central Commission of Elections proclaimed the officers for AY 2022-2023 on April 26, where it also affirmed Agustin’s win after facing a disqualification case.  

2. Provincial bus operators, commuters bemoan new window hours scheme

(Photo courtesy of Russell Palma/The Philippine Star)

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) implemented a “window hour” scheme to facilitate the return of provincial buses on Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA).

Based on the agreement of MMDA and provincial bus operators, buses with private terminals in Metro Manila can traverse EDSA from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. 

The buses should also terminate their routes at the North Luzon Express Terminal and the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange outside the window hours instead of their terminals.

The announcement confused bus operators, announcing that they would only operate during the window hours set by the MMDA. Commuters were also left stranded at terminals in Metro Manila as the buses cannot go directly to its private terminals.

People also lamented online over the window hour scheme, expressing how commuting to Manila became more difficult. Some lawmakers also want a House probe on the said scheme for the “significant delay and convenience” it caused.

The  Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) distanced itself from MMDA’s scheme, saying that the agency is not “privy” to the agreement’s details.

3. Holy Week activities resume after two years

(Photo courtesy of Kenneth Cedric Landazabal/TomasinoWeb)

After the coronavirus pandemic halted Holy Week activities for two years, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) allowed the resumption of Visita Iglesia, Salubong, and processions this year.

Visita Iglesia is a tradition of visiting at least seven churches during Maundy Thursday or Good Friday in remembrance of the Stations of the Cross. Salubong, on the other hand, is a reenactment of the meeting of the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ after the resurrection.

The CBCP advised devotees to place religious images in motorized vehicles instead of carozas pushed by people and shorten the procession routes. 

Although, the Department of Health reminded the people that kissing and touching religious images are still prohibited. Minimum health standards are also still in place even as more areas shift to COVID-19 Alert Level 1, the lowest quarantine classification in the country.

4. UST becomes fifth top-performing law school in “historic” 2020-2021 exams

(Photo by Vince Imperio/TomasinoWeb)

The University became the fifth top performing school in the cluster of schools, with more than a hundred first-time takers in the 2020-2021 bar exam.

The Supreme Court (SC) announced on April 12 that UST has a passing rate of 93.05, or 201 passers out of 216 takers. 

This year’s Bar Exams gathered a “historic” 11,402 examinees, as the SC suspended it for two years due to the pandemic.  

The Bar Exams were also held digitally and locally for the first time. Coverage was also shortened, with only two testing days instead of the four-Sunday Bar Exam.

5. ‘Agaton’ onslaught leaves 224 dead, P3 billion agricultural damage

Photo courtesy of Philippine Coast Guard

Tropical Storm Agaton flooded several parts of the country, leaving 224 dead and  P3 billion in agricultural damage.

“Agaton” formed inside the Philippine area of responsibility and intensified into a tropical depression on April 9. It made landfall on Basey, Samar, in Eastern Visayas on April 11.

The intense rainfall flooded parts of Visayas and Mindanao, displacing over two million people.The Department of Agriculture also reported that “Agaton” left around P3 billion in agricultural damage, affecting the livelihood of 67,586 farmers and fisherfolk.

6. UAAP opens its doors to live audience after two-year hiatus

(Photo by Corinne Vizconde/TomasinoWeb)

For the first time in two years, the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) opened its doors to a live audience last April 5. 

After initially starting Season 82 of Men’s Basketball through a “bubble” setup, the UAAP announced on April 1 that it would accept limited spectators, provided that they are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and follow minimum health protocols in place.

As of the writing, the UST Growling Tigers had three wins and 10 losses and was also out of the Final Four race after losing to the NU Bulldogs on April 26.

The Women’s Indoor Volleyball Tournament will start on May 5, with the Growling Tigresses opening the season against the FEU Lady Tamaraws.

7. EJ Obiena to carry PH flag at 31st SEA Games

Photo courtesy of Jerome Ascaño

After missing the World Athletics Indoor Championships due to the Philippine Athletics and Track and Field Association’s (PATAFA) non-endorsement, Thomasian pole vaulter EJ Obiena is set to be the country’s flag bearer at the 31st South East Asian (SEA) Games in Hanoi, Vietnam.

This announcement came after Obiena and the PATAFA found closure after the Commission of Audit cleared the former of his liquidation issues.

PATAFA also endorsed the pole vaulter for the SEA Games and the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Oregon, USA.

The Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino revealed they nominated Obiena and Olympic gold medalist, Hidilyn Diaz, to carry the Filipino flag at SEA Games. Although, only one flag bearer is allowed per country.

The weightlifting star gave the other thumbs-up, emphasizing that Obiena is the “story of every Filipino athlete who fights to bring home pride and glory to the country.”

Obiena is one of the 656 Filipino athletes competing in 39 sports in the SEA Games, which will run from May 12 to 23.

8. Thomasian groups endorse Robredo-Pangilinan tandem

A month before the May 2022 elections, more Thomasians supported Vice President Leni Robredo and Sen. Kiko Pangilinan’s bid for the two highest seats in the Malacañang.

Last April 2, six out of eight UAAP student councils, including the UST CSC, endorsed the Leni-Kiko tandem after the respective council’s mock polls.

Over 7,200 UST alumni also endorsed the tandem as both have “demonstrated integrity throughout their entire political careers.”

UST faculty members also backed Robredo, who said their students “can look up to and emulate.”

Last December 2021, several alumni, faculty, and students launched Thomasians for Leni Facebook page.

9. Several presidential bets hold joint Easter press con

(Photo by Lisa Marie David/Reuters)

Presidential aspirants Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson and former defense chief Norberto Gonzales held a press conference on Easter Sunday to “call for unity.”

In the presscon, both Domagoso and Lacson hit Vice President and fellow presidential candidate Leni Robredo for “fooling” them at the unity talks before filing their certificate of candidacies.

Domagoso urged Robredo to “make the supreme sacrifice” of withdrawing from the 2022 polls as he claimed that her rivals had a better shot of winning the presidency against Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., who was the top candidate in surveys.

Lacson also said Robredo rejected his unification “framework” as it required the latter to drop out of the presidential race if she lagged behind the polls. 

Meanwhile, presidential candidate Ka Leody De Guzman chided his rivals’ Manila Peninsula presscon. He also rejected their call for Robredo to withdraw.

Sen. Manny Pacquiao was also invited but did not show up at the presscon, much to the relief of his campaign team.

On the other hand, Robredo asked her supporters to intensify their campaign for her candidacy and for them to be unswayed by emotions after the tirades against her.

Several netizens urged others to ignore the presscon as it coincided with the surprise reunion of K-pop girl group 2NE1.

10. Scientists stage worldwide protest against climate crisis

(Photo courtesy of Brian Emerson)

Over a thousand scientists from 25 different countries staged the “Scientist Rebellion,” a worldwide protest against climate change and the inaction of governments to address it.

The protest followed the release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s report stating that the world needs to deeply cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 to avoid “irreversible” environmental damage before 2100.

The protest went viral after National Aeronautics and Space Administration scientist Peter Kalmus and other experts were arrested after chaining themselves to JPMorgan Chase & Co in Los Angeles, California, a top financier of fossil fuel projects.

“We’ve been trying to warn you guys for so many decades that we’re heading towards a fucking catastrophe, and we’ve been being ignored,” Kalmus lamented.

Many pointed out his call to the events of the movie “Don’t Look Up,” a satire about climate change and how the world ignores scientists and their findings.

The protests made the #LetTheEarthBreathe campaign went viral, prompting many to do little acts to help reduce their carbon footprint, from deleting unwanted emails to using search engines like Ecosia, which promises to plant a tree every day 45 searches.

Although some climate activists pointed out that systemic change can better save the environment, the top 10 percent wealthiest people in the world are responsible for 34 percent of the global carbon emissions, more than double what the 50% of the worldwide population in the low-income bracket produce.

11. 2ne1 rocks Coachella with reunion performance

Screengrab from Coachella’s YouTube page

K-pop legends 2NE1 surprised Blackjacks worldwide after their surprise return performance after seven years at the Coachella Music Festival last April 17.

After 2ne1 leader CL’s performance in the 88rising’s Head In The Clouds Forever, she went off stage, coming back with fellow members  Bom, Dara, and Minzy.

In a Billboard interview, CL revealed that the intention behind their performance was “simply” for the group, serving as a “celebration.”

K-pop fans also felt a wave of nostalgia, pointing out how 2ne1 remains iconic even after all these years. Fans also rejoiced after witnessing the return of Bom’s red hair, Dara’s wild hairstyles and Minzy’s dance moves.

The group debuted under YG Entertainment in 2009. The group disbanded in 2016, after their last performance as a group at the 2015 Mnet Asian Music Awards.

12. ‘Your daughter’ remix goes viral

Screengrab from AC Soriano’s official Twitter account

Papunta pa lang tayo sa exciting part.”

A new earworm arrived in town as netizens were left repeating the  “your daughter, is sleeping with my husband” remixed monologue in the show “Broken Marriage Vow.”

The remix came from social media content creator AC Soriano’s (@ItsAC’sLife) one-man show featuring the roles of actress Jodi Sta. Maria called “Jodi Sta Maria: The Unauthorized Rusical.”

AC, who was also known for impersonating actress Toni Gonzaga’s political performances (as “Otin G”), lipsynched to Doc Jill’s dinner revelation scene mixed with Benny Benassi’s “Satisfaction.”

The “Unauthorized Rusical” entertained more than 12,000 live viewers, including Jodi Sta. Maria herself. The actress even performed the acapella version at the show’s virtual media press conference.

Ian Gabriel Trinidad
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