November has been muted by the loud noise of the previous months' major events. The eleventh month is more of a filler, crossing us over to the spectacles of the incoming holiday season.
The rest of 2023 was characterized by some of the most important, almost over-the-top happenings. Now, even the most major headlines feel common. November's events have been comparably mundane but surely just as important.
From heated online debates to important political news, here are the top stories in November:
1. Questions about the new DA secretary’s education arise
(Photo from the Presidential Communications Office)
On Nov. 3, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. appointed Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. as the new Secretary of the Department of Agriculture.
Laurel owns Frabelle Fishing Corporation, which supplies seafood products locally and internationally. Following his appointment, the fishing tycoon said that his DA post is a 'full-time job' and that he has already divested his interests in his company.
Reports claiming Laurel was a UST alumnus came out following the news of his appointment. In now-corrected releases, it was claimed that Laurel graduated from UST in the Computer Science program. Laurel denied these reports on Nov. 13.
He stated that reports connecting him to UST or other educational institutions were untrue. Laurel also clarified that he dropped out at 19 to support his child. Instead of continuing his studies, Laurel focused on establishing his family company as a conglomerate.
2. UST holds the first Goodwill Games after three years
(Photo by Justin Rentoza/TomasinoWeb)
After a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the University held the Thomasian Goodwill Games again for the first time.
The event opened on Nov. 8 with a program in the Quadricentennial Pavilion. The opening ceremony featured the representative teams of the University's different departments. These teams also vied for special awards, like the Early Bird Award and the Best Gimmick Award.
This year's Goodwill Games featured basketball and volleyball tournaments with different categories for men and women. Games were held in the P. Noval court. In every game, students filled the court with their unique college cheers to support their representatives.
The games were scheduled for final matches on Nov. 24 but had to be rescheduled following the shift to online work and classes due to the transport strike. The final games are to take place by the end of the month.
3. 'Coffee shop culture' subjected to online debate
(Screenshots from Dale Philip’s video)
A short video of a vlogger filming people working in a cafe became the subject of online debate on Nov. 12.
The video reposted on X (formerly Twitter), featured a foreign vlogger walking past a coffee shop filled with people working on their laptops. Dale Philip, the original video maker, criticized people for using cafes as their "personal office."
Philip questioned why businesses would let customers stay for prolonged periods of time and allow them to use WiFi and electricity after buying just one item.
In typical social media fashion, the video gave birth to heated discourse. Some agreed with Philip's comments, saying spending so much time inside cafes shouldn't be the norm. Others argued it was normal and called for establishing more work-friendly spaces. Some, along with the reposted tweet, criticized Philip for 'Filipino-baiting' and not respecting Filipinos and local 'coffee shop culture.'
4. CFAD's Vinci's Market draws crowds of students
(Photo by Adrielle Agbayani/TomasinoWeb)
The College of Fine Arts and Design's CFAD Week opened "Vinci's Market," an artist alley, as part of their CFAD Week festivities on Nov. 13.
Much like a convention, the art mart featured the works of the college's homegrown creators. Students from different departments flocked to the Beato Angelico pavilions to check out the paraphernalia on sale.
The booths primarily featured stickers, art prints, and keychains. Each stall had its own style and theme, though most works referenced pop culture and the Thomasian experience. The artists themselves took to unique ways to promote their booths. Some tended to their stalls while in cosplay, while others set up elaborate displays to attract onlookers.
Alongside Vinci's Market, CFAD Week also had food stalls and a grand display in front of the Beato Angelico building, making it look like a toy box. The art mart wrapped up on Nov. 17, while the college week finished with a program outside the Beato Building on Nov. 18.
- Leila de Lima was released after years in detention
(Photo by Michael Varcas/Philstar)
After more than six years in police detention, former senator Leila de Lima was granted bail on Nov. 13.
De Lima had been detained since 2017 due to former president Rodrigo Duterte's allegations. Statements made against her claimed she was receiving payouts from drug gangs to fund her senatorial campaign in 2016. Known for being a harsh critic of the Duterte Administration, De Lima faced three drug charges. Two out of these charges had already been dismissed prior, and she sought to post bail on the final charge–which a Philippine court granted.
In a court decision, she was allowed to post bail amounting to P300,000. The presiding judge, Hon. Gener M. Gito, noted that the prosecution did not strongly establish De Lima's guilt. As a result, De Lima was allowed to walk free, albeit temporarily.
"Free at last," De Lima exclaimed in a conference after being released. She mentioned that her priority during her temporary release would be to spend time with her family, especially her mother. Other political personalities also celebrated De Lima’s freedom.
6. Red Velvet makes their return with ‘Chill Kill’
(Photo from SM Entertainment)
On Nov. 13, K-pop girl group Red Velvet released their 3rd studio album Chill Kill after almost a year of content drought.
Before the release of the title song and music video, a series of teasers were posted on the group's main social media accounts. The artsy image teasers were excitedly received by fans, who praised both the girls' looks and the artistic direction of the teasers.
Though the teasers featured dark visuals, the song Chill Kill featured snappy verses that led to a cheerful and harmonic chorus. Featuring hopeful lyrics like "Don't think about tomorrow / your sparkle is still on" on top of a cinematic, almost creepy music video, the song came as a surprise to most fans.
Fans got what they expected in the album's side tracks. Songs like Knock Knock and Nightmare put together the members' dreamlike vocals on top of instrumentals that perfectly capture the chilling aesthetics of their teaser photos.
Chill Kill puts the group in a safe spot. No risky or drastic changes, just the same Red Velvet that their fans have been waiting for.
7. UST Growling Tigers ends UAAP Season 86 with two-lone wins
(Photo by Neiro Villaescusa/TomasinoWeb)
Despite a series of losses in UAAP Season 86, the UST Growling Tigers ended their run with a victory.
The men's basketball team had their last game of the season on Nov. 18, in the Araneta Coliseum, against the FEU Tamaraws. Led by team captain Paul Manalang and leading scorer Nic Cabanero, the Tigers took the lead for most of the game. Victory was achieved with a final score of 57-53.
This result cemented the team's record for this season–2 wins and 12 losses. Both of the team's wins this season were against the Tamaraws. Earlier this year, the Tigers won against the Tamaraws with a score of 68-54, putting an end to a lengthy losing streak.
The team's head coach, Pido Jarencio, addressed the Tigers' S86 stint and apologized for a "disappointing" season. "We only had two wins. I take full responsibility," says Jarencio.
8. Philippines' Miss Universe bet falls short of the crown
(Photo from Miss Universe Organization)
Filipinos have proved yet again that they're some of the biggest pageant fans out there. As Miss Universe season arrived again, all eyes were set on the Philippines' representative, Michelle Dee.
On Nov. 19, the final program of the pageant was held. Dee walked the runway for the swimsuit and evening gown categories. Between the two, her evening gown look caught the hearts of Filipino netizens. Dee's gown was praised for incorporating elements of traditional Filipino tattoos.
Dee's performance dazzled Miss Universe viewers. So, it was a shock when her name wasn't called for the final five.
Filipino netizens took to social media to react to her elimination. While some cried foul over the result, other netizens sent congratulatory messages. Fellow beauty queens, including her cousin and fellow beauty queen, Winwyn Marquez, also wished Dee well.
After the pageant, Dee addressed her elimination and thanked fans in a social media post. "We did what we could, but destiny has greater things for us!" wrote Dee on Instagram.
9. PUV operators hold transport strikes against PUV modernization
(Photo by Justin Rentoza/TomasinoWeb)
In an effort to rally against the government's public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program, PUV operators held a strike and took to the streets to protest.
The strike, spearheaded by transport group PISTON, began on Nov. 20. Operators are protesting against the Dec. 31 deadline set by the government, which obliges individual operators to join transport cooperatives.
Most of the criticism of this cooperative system is rooted in the fear that corporations could monopolize PUV routes. Others also fear that not being able to join such cooperatives could leave them unemployed.
Several protests were held throughout the strike. The local folk joined PUV operators in their cause, especially commuters. Together, they called for policies that better support PUV drivers.
PISTON was later joined by another transport group, MANIBELA, who extended the strike until Nov. 24.
In response, the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said that they are considering the demands of the transport groups but will have to take time to process the necessary documents.
10. UST boasts a full passing rate in 2023 Speech-Language Pathologist Boards
(Photo from College of Rehabilitation Sciences - UST)
Thomasian examinees took the Speech-Language Pathologist Licensure Exams (SLPLE) by storm with a 100% passing rate.
On Nov. 13 to 14, the SLPLE was held across the country. This exam was the first batch of the licensure exams for speech-language pathologists following the enactment of the Speech-Language Pathology Act in 2019.
The Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) posted the exam results on Nov. 20, where all 199 examinees from the University were deemed to have passed the licensure exam.
In addition to the perfect passing rate, the list of topnotchers also featured 18 Thomasians. Highest among them was Sofia Ordinante, who had the second-highest score at 93.50. Additionally, several Thomasians shared spots among the top 10.
The performance of all examinees secured UST its spot as one of the top performers in the November 2023 SLPLE.
11. Iconic loveteam KathNiel announces their breakup
(Photo from Kathryn Bernardo’s Instagram)
Actors Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla, known to many as the loveteam KathNiel, announced their breakup on Nov. 30.
Rumors about their breakup have been circulating online earlier this year. These were only quieted after Bernardo confirmed the rumors herself. In an Instagram post, Bernardo wrote that her relationship with Padilla had been real, but it had also run its course. “We were genuinely in love,” wrote Bernardo.
Padilla followed shortly with his statement, expressing the desire for him and Bernardo to heal from the split. Bernardo and Padilla also thanked fans for their support in each of their statements.
The two have been partners on and off-screen for more than a decade. Their media appearances have amassed a large following, who strongly reacted to the breakup announcement. The pair’s fans called it the end of an era, highlighting the iconic KathNiel shows that formed part of their youth.
Though the breakup rumors have been confirmed, others continue to speculate about the reason for the split. Still, the two actors have expressed their desire to no longer talk about the matter and move on.
2023 has been an eventful year, and it's tough to think there's still a month left. Still, November reminded us that there is much to take from even the most mundane events as we wait for the seasons to change.