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‘Red (Taylor’s Version)’ is a memoir of the heartbreak woes we kept like an oath

‘Red (Taylor’s Version)’ serves as Swift’s letter to her younger self, presenting a person who has grown, matured, and overcome the tribulations that shaped her fears and stripped off her self-agency.

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Photo courtesy of Taylor Swift’s official Instagram

Circa 2014, Taylor Swift announced her partnership with ice-cream brand Selecta Cornetto to promote the Asian leg of her Red tour. Along with the limited edition black forest and raspberry ice cream wrapped in the album’s logo, fans were given the chance to win a pair of tour tickets, signed merch, or even perform as an opening act. 

It was, of course, any Swiftie’s dream to see her in the flesh. While I was not blessed with the natural gift of performing, I did have a knack for devouring anything sweet. Long story short, the majority of my allowance during eighth grade was spent on frequent trips to 7-11 to buy a 20-peso ice cream cone. I cannot vividly recall how many lids I collected and how much sugar I consumed, but sadly, it was not enough to nab a concert ticket or merch. Needless to say, Red was the Taylor Swift album that had me in a chokehold. 

Heeding to the plea of her beloved fans, Miss Americana Taylor Swift dropped Red (Taylor’s Version) on Friday, Nov. 12. The 30-track album marks the second rerecording of her masters following an ownership dispute with her previous label in 2019. Since its release, Swift’s version broke two Spotify records in one day. Its perfect score from Rolling Stone also makes Red (Taylor’s Version) the first Swift album and the 21st album of this century to receive such accolade. 

For an album that influenced my impulsive buys (which I hold no shame for), it’s more than gratifying to see and hear it come alive again after nine years—but this time, with a hint of freedom. 

Recreating the autumn of 2012

If there were words to describe the fall of 2012, it would be a grande nonfat caramel latte with two shots of Jake Gyllenhaal, a drizzle of London heartbreak, and a red scarf on the side. But as a good friend of mine said, “There are no words to describe Red, only tears.” 

Most of the tracks on the old version capitalized on acoustic and electric guitars, percussion, strings, mandolins, harmonicas, and acoustic drums—a signature Swift sound that we’ve all audibly missed. Red (2012) was already laced with excruciating pain and rage, but the crisp instrumentals, additional reverb, and ethereal harmonies, and background vocals in Red (Taylor’s Version) made those emotions more poignant. 

‘State of Grace (Taylor’s Version),’ ‘Red (Taylor’s Version),’ and ‘22 (Taylor’s Version)’ has more amplified acoustics and punchier bass, while ‘Girl At Home (Taylor’s Version)’ gets its own Mia Thermopolis makeover thanks to Elvira Anderfjärd’s pop and electronic touch. Contrastingly, some instrumentals are also toned down in a few songs. In ‘All Too Well (Taylor’s Version),’ the electric guitar between verses is softer, somehow mellowing a rather heart-rending track. 

Besides the emotional realism depicted in each song, Red (2012) was noteworthy for pioneering Swift’s collaborations with other artists in her succeeding albums. 

Even after almost a decade, the sweet and gentle timbre of Ed Sheeran and Swift’s vocals persevered. ‘Everything Has Changed (Taylor’s Version)’ gives us a more mature sound about what seemingly feels like a Flipped love story. Rather than our exes or TOTGAs, it leaves us to reminisce about the times we’ve shared with the Juli Baker or Bryce Loski of our lives.

As dreamy as Sheeran’s feature may be, her collaboration with Gary Lightbody in ‘The Last Time (Taylor’s Version)’ is gut-wrenching enough to deserve its own 10-minute version or short film. This prelude to folklore’s ‘exile’ cuts deeper with its soft yet melancholic verse between two lovers at a breaking point in their relationship. The tension between the dialogue of Swift and Lightbody accentuates the uncertainty and fragility one feels when placed in the same spot. 

Sheeran and Lightbody definitely understood the assignment of how a rerecording should be done. But if there was anyone who outsold the previous version, it was Swift herself. 

In all 30 tracks, Swift delves into her psyche to convey the burning sensation of a “twin flame bruise” or how saying hello risked another goodbye. With every sigh she exclaims and breath she holds between verses, the intensity of the emotions augments, giving us an agonizing taste of what that blow to the chest felt like 10 years ago.

Swift’s vocals in this rerecording are evidently more resonant and have more power, almost abandoning the strain and grit of her country era. Despite being strikingly similar to the previous version, the changes in her vocal tone and inflection help give the rerecording its own character. And so, Red (Taylor’s Version) serves as Swift’s letter to her younger self, presenting a person who has grown, matured, and overcome the tribulations that shaped her fears and stripped off her self-agency.

Sincerely, Taylor from the future

As on Fearless (Taylor’s Version), Swift sought the help of pop masterminds Aaron Dessner and Jack Antonoff in the production of this album’s vault tracks. Joining the team was Swedish producer Elvira Anderfjärd, who once worked on a remix of ‘Love Story (Taylor’s Version).’ The difference in their music style clearly showed, as songs either fitted the epithet of Red or of other Swift albums. 

The OG Swifties would know by heart that ‘Better Man’ and ‘Babe’ didn’t make the cut in 2012, and were instead given to Little Big Town and Sugarland, respectively. Thanks to Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun’s treachery, we finally got to hear Swift’s rendition of these two tracks. 

Dessner pays homage to Swift’s country roots, utilizing a variety of acoustic and folk instruments in ‘Better Man (Taylor’s Version)’ and ‘I Bet You Think About Me (Taylor’s Version).’ With its indie-folk genre, ‘Nothing New (Taylor’s Version)’ could pass as either a folklore track or a record of Phoebe Bridgers herself. Meanwhile, ‘Run (Taylor’s Version)’ revisits Sheeran’s mellow sound in + (Plus) and Divide—one which I’ve personally longed for. 

Antonoff keeps it classic with pop, percussive guitars in ‘Babe (Taylor’s Version)’ and ‘Forever Winter (Taylor’s Version).’ With the coveted ‘All Too Well (10 Minute Version),’ the Bleachers lead singer whips a 1989 ‘Clean’-esque production with a dash of folklore and Lorde’s Solar Power

2010s pop and Barbie aesthetic fills ‘Message in a Bottle (Taylor’s Version)’ as Swift goes experimental. Anderfjärd’s work on the track ties well more with 1989’s core, and as something that frankly deserves a Carly Rae Jepsen feature. 

While the vault tracks each had a unique color, the context of Swift’s lyrics was still grounded on the tear-inducing nuances of young love encapsulated in Red. 

Swift belts out the sorrows and regrets of a love that’s gone to waste in ‘Better Man (Taylor’s Version)’ and ‘Forever Winter (Taylor’s Version).’ She then reels in the reality of an inevitable heartbreak in ‘The Very First Night (Taylor’s Version)’ and ‘Babe (Taylor’s Version).’

But of all the vault tracks, ‘Nothing New (Taylor’s Version)’ was the most universal—that is, it spoke not only to those who have been victimized by Cupid but also to those who struggled with the growing pains of adulthood. 

At the end of the first verse, Swift asks, “Lord, what will become of me / Once I’ve lost my novelty?” The soul-crushing “How did I go from growing up to breaking down?” snowballs into a slough of despond as the chorus reaches its climax: “How can a person know everything / At 18, but nothing at 22?”

As children, we were forged to be dreamers who envisioned ourselves accomplishing great things, or so we thought. Transitioning to adulthood is wading through raging floodwaters of tears, anxieties, and endless dilemmas. It’s perhaps the most vulnerable and volatile phase of living—one day you’re a free butterfly, but the next day your wings either get cut or you simply get tired of flying. 

Some of us easily get back on our feet, but the rest endure cycles of lethargy. As Swift puts it in the chorus, you stare at the ceiling with what seems like your nth bottle of liquid courage and wonder if people would still value you as a non-entity just as much as a dreamer. 

Swift’s lyricism in the vault tracks proves that her poetry can translate as an anthem of heartbreak woes for the broken or existential fears and mundane realities for the non-romantics. 

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned

Every second of ‘All Too Well (Taylor’s Version)’ was a hard punch to the solar plexus, but we knew there was always more to the story we screamed like an anthem of unity. The 10-minute version strips further to its core and gives us the most visceral pain of an unrequited turned toxic love affair—an experience that we’ve both yearned and dreaded. 

Swift’s unabridged retelling in the track and short film recalls a short-lived autumn romance that was taken for granted. Through her metaphoric lyricism and the female gaze, the audience and listeners are privy to her innermost thoughts and emotional turmoil of being suffocated for “three months in the grave.”

The first line immediately paints their love story as a disaster waiting to happen. “I walked through the door with you, the air was cold” is an antithesis to love supposedly being a warm feeling. Swift then uses the scarf she left as the focal point in their story, which is later conveyed in the film as the bitter aftertaste of overfamiliarity in relationships. 

 

Screengrab from YouTube/Taylor Swift

The exposition of the tragedy continues as Swift highlights the hypocrisy of her former flame’s “F*ck the patriarchy” keychain and his disrespectful behavior towards her. In an age where feminism is celebrated, there are a good few who establish genuine support for the equality of the sexes. Yet, there is also a handful who use feminist values as a facade to mask their impertinence and misogyny. These performative feminists march around with women empowerment on their chest for the sake of being seen as politically correct. They only show up when it’s convenient for them or when silence will put them in a bad light. This performativity merely touches on the superficial issues and instead exacerbates the root causes. 

Red flags are waving left and right, yet the couple still finds themselves back in each other’s arms. “Cause there we are again in the middle of the night / We’re dancing ’round the kitchen in the refrigerator light,” Swift recalls. Initially, this line seems to describe a sentimental memory that will make you go ‘aww.’ However, the film clarifies the context by juxtaposing the actors with contrasting hues to show the rift that had already torn open despite their countless reconciliations. The girl is illuminated by the golden hue from the window, signifying how she was still enamored of him; whereas the guy stands against the background of cold blue light, reflecting the emptiness he felt. 

Screengrab from YouTube/Taylor Swift

Building on the climax, Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well is quoted in the third verse. In contrast to how Swift used it in ‘Lover,’ the idiom is given a different meaning in the track. “They say all’s well that ends well, but I’m in a new Hell” strongly denotes that cutting ties with one another was not as easy as letting bygones be bygones. Swift makes this more prominent with Pablo Neruda’s “Love is so short, forgetting is so long” in the short film.

Ultimately, Swift reveals that the collapse of their relationship was rooted in the unequal dynamic of their relationship primarily driven by their age difference. “You said if we had been closer in age maybe it would have been fine,” she writes in the third verse. Their stark age gap is cleverly reinforced in the film through the casting of Stranger Things’ Sadie Sink and Teen Wolf’s Dylan O’Brien. Since we were so used to seeing Sink as a child in the TV show, putting her in one frame with a fully grown man was undeniably unsettlinga concern that the public merely shrugged off 10 years ago.

It’s no secret that some men (and women) prefer to date those in their early 20s because of their relative immaturity. At first, Swift’s ex places her under the false pretense that she gets the upper hand. But as their story unfolds, it was evident that he was the only one on the pedestal, the only one in control. Deviating from the original chorus, she cathartically exclaims, “You kept me like a secret, but I kept you like an oath” to recount how the one-sided secrecy of their love affair was a catalyst to their fallout. The infamous kitchen fight scene in the film further manifests the precariousness of this unequal dynamic with her ex’s blatant gaslighting and belittling remarks.

Screengrab from YouTube/Taylor Swift

Women who are intentionally victimized by these types of men are consigned to the ingénue, which Swift mentions in one of her vault tracks. The ingénue is more often than not restricted to her essence of being a young, idealist, innocent, and naive woman (In Filipino culture, this could be embodied by Maria Clara). Swift alludes to this aspect of cultural misogyny through the line, “The idea you had of me, who was she? / A never-needy, ever-lovely jewel whose shine reflects on you,” implying that her former lover only saw her for her fawn-eyed innocence and as an accessory that made him revel in his conceitedness. He further adds insult to injury by seemingly charming her father, but couldn’t be bothered to show up on her 21st birthdayan occasion that was supposed to be memorable. 

The denouement of ‘All Too Well’ evokes the aftermath of the storm. Swift denotes that, indeed, old habits die hard: “And I was never good at telling jokes, but the punch line goes / “I’ll get older, but your lovers stay my age.”” In the next line, “From when your Brooklyn broke my skin and bones / I’m a soldier who’s returning half her weight,” she alludes to the skin and bones lyric she penned in ‘Treacherous (Taylor’s Version)’ to describe the essence of a human being. So, this is simply her way of letting us grasp how detrimental the relationship was for her well-being to the point that it shattered her core. She closes the chapter by remembering how it feels to be alive even after being buried six feet underground by something that was never real.

Screengrab from YouTube/Taylor Swift

As great as other Swift tracks may be, I would go as far as to say that ‘All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version)’ is her magnum opus. It seems like a deja entendu because it is. Not only does it give us more context of their soul-piercing romance, but also broadens our understanding of human behavior by emphasizing the importance of basic human decency and doing the bare minimum. More importantly, it reminds us to never settle for less. We enter relationships not to find someone to complete us, but instead to find someone who will complement us. So that even when the ship sinks, the pain would leave you whole, not hollow. And for that, we have Taylor to partly thank. 

Reclaiming what has always been ours

“Red is about to be mine again, but it has always been ours,” Swift wrote in a tweet on the day Red (Taylor’s Version) was released. In an interview with Seth Myers, she happily expressed that anything with “(Taylor’s Version)” next to it is finally hers. And rightfully so. 

The success of Swift’s versions surpassing that of the previous is not only a reflection of her loyal fanbase, it’s poetic justice. With all the numbers and figures Swift’s rerecordings (including Fearless (Taylor’s Version)) have achieved, the pop hitmaker is well on her way to regain back what she has lost at the hands of greedy businessmen but at an even greater scale. 

From its production, writing, to its visualization, Red (Taylor’s Version) stands the test of time. Preeminently, it is a testament of Swift’s courage and determination as an artist and as a woman in the music industry, and we’re more than excited about the path she’s about to take next. It’s Taylor’s world, and we’re just living in it. 

I’m personally betting on 1989 (Taylor’s Version), but who knows? For now, wrap that red scarf around your neck and stream Red (Taylor’s Version)

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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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