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How June 2023 gave us the good and the bad

8 min readFrom fun-filled conventions and crazes to events that momentarily made the world hold its breath, here is a roundup of what transpired in the month that marks the end of the first half.
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Published about 1 year ago on June 29, 2023

by Denise Julianne Pangan

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(Photo by Neiro Villaescusa/TomasinoWeb, Artwork by Mikaela Gabrielle de Castro/TomasinoWeb)

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In just a snap, we're already halfway through 2023! June was such a rollercoaster ride that you would never know when to wake up to a piece of good or bad news.

From fun-filled conventions and crazes to events that momentarily made the world hold its breath, here’s a roundup of what transpired in the month that marked the end of the first half.

1. The lato-lato craze

(Photo from iStock)

(Photo from iStock)

It seems K-Pop idols aren't the only ones making a tremendous comeback. A viral toy from the 90s is making noise along the streets, in schools, and even across social media platforms.

At this point, it's already a part of our daily routines to hear the endless click-clackings of lato-lato—a toy composed of two solid plastic balls connected by a string with a finger tab, swung up and down to create a continuous clacking rhythm.

According to Umpang, though lato-lato gained prominence in Malaysia and Indonesia, it originated in America during the 1960s and was called clackers. The term lato-lato came from the Bugis word "latto-latto," which means "making clacking sounds."

To play and win the lato-lato game, one must clack the toy the longest. Children and adults reliving their nostalgic Batang 90s childhood take on the challenge, creating a TikTok craze dominating our For You Page and our daily lives just the same.

It's refreshing to see children out on the streets with their colorful lato-latos, away from their gadget screens. But let's be honest; it gets too annoying to hear the click-clacking sounds from morning to evening. Netizens even express their frustrations through funny tweets and memes online, wishing the world to return to a time when lato-lato never existed.

But as they say, they can only be children once. So let's endure the noise in the meantime, and set up a 6 p.m. lato-lato curfew, maybe?

2. ‘Overpromised, undelivered’: CONQuest Festival 2023

(Photo by Phillip Perez/TomasinoWeb)

(Photo by Phillip Perez/TomasinoWeb)

CONQuest Festival 2023 should have been an exciting weekend getaway for gaming, music, pop culture, comics, and anime enthusiasts—except that waiting in long lines, being unable to enter the venue, and dealing with disorganized events are not something con-goers would want to do in the summer heat.

Following its success in 2022 as a two-day and one-venue event, AcadArena's CONQuest 2023 expanded into a festival from June 2 to 4, taking place in five venues: SMX Convention Center, Seashell Lane, Mall of Asia (MOA), National University (NU) MOA, and Conrad Manila.

For big conventions like CONQuest, it is one thing to line up for hours upon entry. Being unable to enter the venue due to overcrowding is another, and con-goers had no choice but to endure it.

As early as 6:00 a.m., an endless line of people was already waiting outside the SMX Convention Center on Seashell Lane, even if doors would open at 10:00 a.m. With the overcrowding inside the convention hall and escalators ceasing operations, security guards had to stop allowing people inside by lunchtime. The situation was no better inside as people struggled to roam around the event areas and booths, not risking it to either eat outside or visit the other venues.

The first-come, first-serve method of MeetZone (all free meet/photo-op sessions with CONQuest 2023 guests) ticket distribution also changed to a random drawing at such short notice. Panel stubs, initially advertised to be distributed 30 minutes before each panel schedule, were all gone by lunchtime.

AcadArena's co-founder Justin Banusing apologized on Twitter, saying the three-day event was "overpromised and undelivered." However, on June 26, in a now-deleted Twitter post, CONQuest released a PR statement saying, "To some degree, we still consider this year's CONQuest as a success," which angered the disappointed con-goers even more.

CEO Kevin Hoang and COO Ariane Lim each released a Facebook statement informing the public that they had a different stance from what they posted. And everything that transpired during the three-day festival was a lesson for them, ending it by saying the CONQuest brand would have a reset and retire.

3. It’s a win for bookworms!: Philippine Book Festival 2023 and Big Bad Wolf’s comeback

(Photos from @bookfestph and @bbwbooksphilippines/Facebook)

(Photos from @bookfestph and @bbwbooksphilippines/Facebook)

It's a win for bookworms this month as two book festivals come their way, making them hoard and add more books to their never-ending TBR (to-be-read) pile, not minding the lack of shelf space.

Bookworms and Philippine literature enthusiasts gathered at the World Trade Center for this year's Philippine Book Festival (PBF) in Manila from June 2 to 4, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The National Book Development Board (NBDB) organized the country's largest traveling book fair to celebrate the "best of Philippine literature, culture, and content" through education, entertainment, and shopping.

With its four sections, Kids Lit, Booktopia, Komiks Land, and Aral Aklat, PBF showcases a wide range of exhibitors from numerous publishers, events like exhibits, panel discussions, workshops, and book releases.

If you're like me who missed the opportunity to visit the festival, don't worry because PBF will make its way to SMX Davao on Aug. 18 to 20—or you can go check out Big Bad Wolf Manila (BBW) from June 23 to July 3!

After three years, the Malaysian book fair finally returns to the country! Located at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) Forum Tent in Pasay, BBW is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m., showcasing around two million books with discounts as high as 95%!

Don't miss the chance to hoard and discover more books for a budget-friendly price, bookworms!

4. Mayon unrest

(Photo by Ram Nabong/INQUIRER.net)

(Photo by Ram Nabong/INQUIRER.net)

Throughout the month of June, Mount Mayon has been showing increasing signs of unrest, alerting and forcing people living near the perfect-cone volcano to evacuate and mesmerizing the public with how lava spews and flows from its crater at night.

Here is an overview of Mayon's volcanic activity as documented by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS):

June 5 - The warning status of Mayon increased to Alert Level 2 (Increasing Unrest) following a substantial increase in the frequency of rockfall from its summit lava dome.

June 8 - The warning status of Mayon increased to Alert Level 3 (Increased Tendency Towards Hazardous Eruption) upon observing pyroclastic density currents (PDCs) as far as 2 km from the summit crater in the Bonga (Legazpi City), Mi-isi (Daraga), and Basud (Santo Domingo).

*PDCs are composed of gas, ash, and fragmented volcanic particles that accelerate rapidly down volcanic slopes.

June 10 - A new summit lava dome erupted from the crater. Phivolcs recorded 654 rockfall occurrences and seven PDCs.

At 4 p.m. on June 26, PHIVOLCS released a notice informing the public of the "increased seismic activity and ground deformation in Mayon Volcano" after recording 100 volcanic earthquakes, a little lower than the 102 observed during the 24 hours between June 25 and 26.

5. Warring noontime shows: TVJ and It’s Showtime switch networks

(Photo from @EBdabarkads/Facebook)

(Photo from @EBdabarkads/Facebook)

As TVJ Productions Inc. works to reclaim its throne in the noontime slot on TV5, It's Showtime finds a new home in GMA Network's GTV Channel, both set to air and switch networks starting July 1.

Following their separation from the production company Television and Production Exponents Inc. (TAPE) on May 31, Eat Bulaga's mainstay trio Tito Sotto, Vic Sotto, and Joey de Leon (TVJ) signed a contract with MediaQuest Holdings Inc. on June 22.

Together with the "legit Dabarkads," TVJ is now producing their newest noontime show set to air on July 1 on TV5, the home of ABS-CBN's It's Showtime for just one more day.

On June 20, ABS-CBN released a statement on It's Showtime's departure from TV5 after declining the 4:30 p.m. timeslot the network has offered due to the "new programming movements."

It's Showtime will air on GMA's GTV Channel instead starting next month from Monday to Saturday at noon.

6. Submersible Titan implodes; kills 5 aboard

(Photo from OceanGate Expeditions)

(Photo from OceanGate Expeditions)

OceanGate's submersible Titan, en route to Titanic wreckage, suffered a 'catastrophic implosion,' killing five passengers aboard, said US Coast Guard on Thursday, June 22.

A remote-operated vehicle (ROV) deployed from a Canadian search vessel discovered the submersible's tail cone and additional debris on the seabed about 1,600 feet from the Titanic's bow, said US Coast Guard Admiral John Mauger on Thursday morning.

"In consultation with experts from within the unified command, the debris is consistent with the catastrophic loss of the pressure chamber," said Mauger.

Stockton Rush, the founder and chief executive officer of OceanGate Expedition, an undersea exploration company taking people to explore the century-old Titanic shipwreck for $250,000, was piloting the 22-foot tourist submersible.

With him was British billionaire and explorer Hamish Harding, 58; Pakistani-born and British citizens businessman Shahzada Dawood, 48, and his 19-year-old son, Suleman; and French oceanographer Paul-Henri Nargeolet, 77.

The submersible Titan went missing on June 18, an hour and 45 minutes after its descent into the North Atlantic Ocean, causing a five-day multinational search.

7. QC cares: A progressive win for Pride Month

(Photo from @RightToCareCard/Twitter)

(Photo from @RightToCareCard/Twitter)

The Quezon City (QC) local government officially launched the Right to Care Card program during the LoveLaban Pride Festival 2023 on Saturday, June 24.

The care card is a Special Power of Attorney card that grants LGBTQ+ couples the same authority to make medical decisions for their partners as those covered by a civil marriage contract.

"Dito sa care card na ito, ang isang LGBT couple na matagal nang nagmamahalan, through a special power of attorney, will be able to have authority over the healthcare decisions," QC Mayor Joy Belmonte said in an interview with Usapang QC.

The program is the first of its kind in the Philippines as the current constitution does not recognize queer couples as next-of-kin, unauthorizing them to decide for their partners during medical emergencies.

Through the care card, queer couples can also include their partners as beneficiaries in their insurance contracts. "We had a battery of lawyers going through this, kung pwede natin gawin ito. At sabi ng mga abogado pwedeng-pwede through a special power of attorney. Parang special contract siya," said Belmonte.

To effectively implement the program and address the needs of the LGBTQ+ community, Belmonte acknowledged the need for thorough discussions on the guidelines.

Before the Right to Care Card, the QC local government passed other progressive city ordinances protecting the rights of the LGBTQ+ community, such as providing gender-neutral restrooms in public places and LGBT desks in health centers in hospitals last 2014.

8. Supreme Court unanimously disbars Larry Gadon

(Photo by Michael Varcas/The STAR)

(Photo by Michael Varcas/The STAR)

The Supreme Court unanimously disbarred Larry Gadon on June 28 over a viral video of him swearing and insulting a journalist.

In a unanimous vote of 15-0, the Court resolved to disbar Gadon over a video where he "repeatedly cursed and uttered profane remarks" against journalist Raissa Robles, describing it as "indisputably scandalous that it discredits the legal profession."

“The privilege to practice law is bestowed only upon individuals who are competent intellectually, academically, and, equally important, morally. There is no room in this noble profession for misogyny and sexism," the Court stated in the press release.

Gadon said he had no regrets for his previous actions because his president won the elections but would file a motion for reconsideration "on the ground that the penalty is too harsh for the alleged cause which was my outburst against a reporter who was blatantly spreading lies against the president."

Gadon was recently appointed as the Presidential Adviser for Poverty Alleviation by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on June 26.

9. No PH in The Eras Tour

(Photo from @taylorswift13/Twitter)

(Photo from @taylorswift13/Twitter)

Bakit malungkot ang Filo Swifties ko? (Why are my Filo Swifties sad?)

If Taylor Swift asks us this question, we'd say it's because she seems to have forgotten about her Filipino Swifties when the country was not one of the international stops for the Asia, Europe, and Australia leg of her The Eras Tour.

On the dates released on June 21, Japan and Singapore are her only stops in Asia for 2024. Filipino Swifties, who were sad about the Philippines not being on the list, took it to their social media accounts and posted funny tweets and memes.

Someone posted a meme about Taylor having her "favorites" using a popular meme template from the iconic movie Four Sisters and a Wedding. Fans even brought up how Filipinos are her top listeners, with seven of her albums included in the ten most-played albums in the country and Quezon City placing fifth in the list of cities of Taylor's top listeners.

The whole "skipping the Philippines" situation also opened conversations about how the country does not have a proper national stadium to accommodate Taylor's stage and screen productions without compromising the concert experience.

With Japan and Singapore as the only Asian stops, Swifties from nearby countries struggle to buy tickets for either. About eight million fans registered to secure tickets for The Eras Tour in Singapore, adding three more shows due to an "overwhelming response."

10. Long live Batch 2023!

(Photo by Jeanesis Velasco/TomasinoWeb)

(Photo by Jeanesis Velasco/TomasinoWeb)

It was the end of a decade But a start of an age

After countless sleepless nights, mental breakdowns, and heavy academic workloads, Batch 2023 finally closed another chapter of their lives.

Following their sendoff during the annual Baccalaureate Mass on May 30, 9,743 Thomasian graduates from different colleges and faculties attended their completion ceremonies and solemn investitures throughout the month of June. The Faculty of Pharmacy's ceremony marked the start of the University's graduation season on June 1, while the College of Information and Computing Sciences was the final unit to graduate on June 30.

As Thomasians leave the place that opened doors of opportunities and honed them to become the person they were supposed to be, in their hands are not only diplomas but also a great sense of accomplishment and fond recollections of their time at the University.

Armed with knowledge, talents, courage, and the unbreakable Thomasian spirit imbued with unending grace, they will embark on a new chapter of their lives, remembering all the magic they made.

Long live Batch 2023!

As we bid goodbye to the first half of 2023, may we enter its second half like our Thomasian graduates step foot in the real world—with growth in mind and hope for better days.

June Roundup 2023

Pride Month

Taylor Swift

Submersible Titan

Pop Culture Conventions

Profile picture of Denise Julianne Pangan

Denise Julianne Pangan

Blogs Writer

Denise Julianne Pangan was a Blogs Writer at TomasinoWeb. Denise is a journalism major exploring the many faces of popular culture and its intertwinings with society. Though she has yet to discover her beat as a newbie blog writer, she writes easy-to-read listicles and social commentaries. When she's not drinking too much coffee, she watches anime and EN-O'CLOCK vlogs, reads fiction novels and Twitter seryes, and romanticizes cleaning her bookshelf.

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