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ARMYs in a state of ‘euphoria’ as McDonald’s launches BTS meal

According to the McDonald’s PH website, the limited-edition meal will be available nationwide from June 18 to July except for the following stores: SM City East Ortigas, Meycauyan, Anonas, Aurora Blvd, Baguio Sunshine, SM Sta. Mesa, Petron North, Mindanao Avenue, Dumaguete Perdices, and Roxas Boulevard.



The BTS meal launched by McDonald's on June 18. Photo courtesy of Erika Briones.

With the recent release of the McDonald’s BTS meal in the Philippines on June 18, fans of the South Korean superstars came flocking to stores and food delivery applications. 

For 270 pesos, customers get 10 pieces of chicken nuggets with medium fries, a medium Coke, and new dipping sauces. The meal is packaged in paper bags adorned with the boy group’s logo in purple—their signature color. 

BTS, also known as Bangtan Boys, debuted in 2013 under the label Big Hit Entertainment. The group is composed of Kim Namjoon, Kim Seokjin, Min Yoongi, Jung Hoseok, Park Jimin, Kim Taehyung, and Jeon Jungkook. Their rise to fame was due to their catchy songs and the support from their strong fanbases (or ARMYs) all around the world. In 2018, the group had their first performance at the Billboard Music Awards and was nominated in the Top Social Artist category for the second time. 

Considering the massive number of BTS’s local fanbase, the arrival of the meal flooded the internet. ARMYs were quick to post their goods with the hashtag #BTSMealPH and #BTSXMcD. 

Bea Masiclat, a creative writing senior, shared that she initially decided not to buy the meal. But to her surprise, after tweeting about the BTS meal, one of her best friends ordered for her on the day of its release.

Nagulat ako kaninang umaga habang natutulog ako, kumatok ‘yung kapatid ko tapos may hawak na BTS meal…pinadala pala ng isa sa mga best friends ko,” she said. 

Masiclat was ecstatic as ‘MUSTER’, a special event by BTS, just finished days before she had the special McDonald’s meal.

The music of BTS is well-received by their fans of all ages, as even parents and adults cannot escape from their talent. 

UST journalism program coordinator Felipe Salvosa II shared that as an SNL ARMY and a huge fan of the McDonald’s chicken nuggets, he felt that it was about time that the two fandoms collided.

“This is also a reflection of the marketing genius of BTS and its agency, the now publicly listed, HYBE,” he said. 

Salvosa also mentioned that the collaboration is a “tremendous success of South Korea’s creative economy strategy and projection of soft power.” 

“My fascination over BTS centers on their music and artistry, but having been a business journalist, it goes beyond that,” he added. 


BTS-themed packaging and new dipping sauces

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Compared to McDonald’s regular chicken nuggets, the BTS meal comes with two new sauces––Cajun and Sweet Chili. On the McDonald’s website, the Cajun flavor was described as “hot mustard with chili peppers,” while the latter is “sweet and sour with a touch of heat.”

While Masiclat preferred the Cajun flavor, she also recommended the Sweet Chili one for spicy-flavor lovers.

As a Taehyung and Jungkook bias, AB Communication senior Erika Briones felt excited as the two large names have come into a collaboration.

Dumagdag rin sa excitement ‘yung fact na people already tried it and [are] waiting for you to buy one rin,” she said.

Briones also lauded the visual appeal of the meal’s packaging, as well as the food riders’ handling of the product.

Since the BTS meal is a limited-time offer, there are ARMYs who put the food packaging in frames and acrylic boxes as a memento.

However, some people take advantage of the fans’ sentiments. On eBay, some of the boxes and cups used for the BTS meal are being sold for more than 20 US dollars.


Should you buy it? 

Masiclat believed that the experience of eating and having the meal was worth it, “Kahit ordinary na nuggets lang at fries, the fact na inendorse siya ng BTS makes me happy,” she said.

Given that the meal is complete, Briones felt that customers get what they pay for. “I think it’s a reasonable price naman for a collab, since the McNuggets alone costs around 180 [pesos] na ata? So I think the 270 is okay.”

The price of the regular a la carte 10-piece McNuggets is 190 pesos without drinks and fries, while the 6-piece meal with fries and drink is sold at 196 pesos. 

According to the McDonald’s PH website, the limited-edition meal will be available nationwide from June 18 to July except for the following stores: SM City East Ortigas, Meycauyan, Anonas, Aurora Blvd, Baguio Sunshine, SM Sta. Mesa, Petron North, Mindanao Avenue, Dumaguete Perdices, and Roxas Boulevard. 

The BTS meal was launched in many McDonald’s branches worldwide, but some countries such as the United States, Vietnam, and South Korea had an early release on May 27. Several McDonald’s branches in Indonesia had to close temporarily after the meal’s debut on June 9 due to the COVID-19 threat.



AB org? How two Artlet graduates conquered the UST org life

Although a myriad of degree holders share the same story annually, the two went beyond the pursuit of academic learning.



Batch 2021 Faculty of Arts and Letters graduates Loreta Arroyo (left) and Miguel Punzalan (right) from the program of Journalism and Communication

Before their awaited virtual graduation wrapped up another milestone for them on Friday, July 30, Loreta Arroyo and Miguel Punzalan were struck with nostalgia as they approached the end of their stay in the University to become newly declared Thomasian graduates.

Although a myriad of degree holders share the same story annually, the two went beyond the pursuit of academic learning.

Arroyo and Punzalan, two recent graduates from the Faculty of Arts and Letters (AB), upheld extracurricular duties as organization executives while enduring academic responsibilities as students. In the end, they did not only graduate with flying colors, but they also became holders of cherished memories beyond the four corners of the classroom.

Arroyo, UST Journalism Society’s former president, reminisced on her memorable experiences as a student leader, especially on her first leadership training seminar in July 2019.

“I got to meet a lot of [student leaders] [and] marami pala sa kanila [ang] kagaya ko na aligaga [at] loka-loka […] yung mga taong may ugali na talagang nag l-lead because of the passion to lead, not because of the titles,” Arroyo, who is also a Cum Laude graduate, told TomasinoWeb.

She also shared a touching reminiscence of her time with AB’s Board of Majors. She defined their relationship as something that is “united above everything.”

“These are the people na sobrang mahal ko talaga, na sobrang grabe yung wholesomeness nila,” she said.

Apart from the memories they’ve made over their four-year stay at the institution, they’ve established a great attachment to it and its people, prompting them to serve not for themselves but for the sake of their promised oath.

Punzalan, the former president of the Tomasian Media Circle of Talents (TOMCAT), admitted that serving an organization is not always convenient as students have to endure academic and organizational responsibilities simultaneously.

Despite these, the communication graduate said that an organization’s established rapport helps students ease the pressure and distress.

“With the help of the organization, you can at least somehow relieve the stress by doing the stuff you like,” Punzalan, who is also the Benavides Outstanding Award recipient of the academic year, said in an interview with TomasinoWeb. “I usually work for TOMCAT lang, and everything just goes in place,” he added.

Conquering the difficulties

Arroyo found it challenging to juggle all of her obligations at the same time in senior year, making it the most challenging phase in her university life.

Apart from managing her thesis and internship, she also had to look out for her constituency as a student leader.

Last August 2020, she met with her co-members in the UST Journalism Society to prepare for the freshmen week event, all while having to comply with a meeting with her internship supervisors later that day.

“Imagine how hard I have to multitask, halos mangiyak-ngiyak ako nung mga panahon na yun kasi sobrang hirap talaga,” Arroyo said.

Like what Arroyo experienced, Punzalan also acknowledged that he faced difficulties during his presidency in TOMCAT. The difference was that students had to transition from face-to-face to online learning, which limited the number of events the organization could host.

“The shift [from on-site] to digital is really something else [and] we came in unprepared,” he said.

Arroyo echoed this sentiment, who found that the lack of personal communication affected her relationship with her colleagues. According to her, sincerity through online messages is not always conveyed or translated well.

“[S]a online na not everyone is available all the time, it sounds so robotic,” Arroyo said.

To prevent that from happening, she had to make herself available all the time, not only for her org mates but also to other students who see her as an ‘ate.’

Concurrently, Punzalan’s way to connect with his members is by conducting frequent online kumustahans or kulitans, a monthly or weekly meeting for the organization to check each other’s well-being.

“I think that it’s really an effective way of bridging the gap of what the digital setup did during this term,” he said.

From rookies to leaders

Punzalan said a key element to achieving his goals is to “never start what you cannot finish.”

“It’s cliché as it seems, but it’s a process. You don’t just get something nang basta-basta lang,” he said.

Likewise, Arroyo asserted there will always be failures and disappointments, which is fine in the long run. For her, it is essential to detach oneself from the fear of being a rookie.

“You will be a rookie, and you have to learn how to be a master in whatever comes your way, tsaka ka pa lang gagaling, tsaka ka pa lang makaka-achieve ng perfection,” she added. 

Now that she already graduated, she wondered if she made enough memories as a Thomasian.

“I-enjoy niyo ang bawat araw or bawat month na nasa UST kayo, ‘wag kayong magmadali kasi sobrang bilis lang ng mga pangyayari, and if mamadaliin niyo, you won’t create as much memories as you would like,” she said.

As a last piece of advice from Punzalan to aspiring Thomasian student leaders, he said that they should serve for the sake of the University.

“Mahalin niyo rin yung UST,” he said. “It really starts [with] your love for the university and for its people.”

With their degrees, the two AB graduates are currently employed in their respective fields. Punzalan now works as a Performance Marketing Specialist at the Universal McCann, while Arroyo is employed as a Multimedia Specialist and writer for


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Thomasian K-pop fan treats Foodpanda rider on Korean artist’s birthday

“This proves that K-pop is more than that crazy idolatry, massive fanaticism, immature fan wars, and all other misconceptions,” the K-pop fan said. “[It] can also be a tool for kindness to prosper.”



Journalism senior Jade Veronique Yap treated a Foodpanda rider during the birthday of a K-pop idol. Screengrab provided by Yap.

Most K-pop fans are thrilled to splurge on music albums and other fandom merch. But on the special day of one of the industry’s idols, a Thomasian fan decided to do something different.

Jade Veronique Yap, a journalism senior, was excited about celebrating Lee Taeyong’s birthday, a member of the South Korean boy group Neo Culture Technology (NCT). To commence her first mini-celebration for the event, she placed an order on Foodpanda, a local food delivery app.

The order was not for herself but for the rider and his family.

On July 1, the 20-year-old K-pop enthusiast posted a screenshot of her conversation with the rider on Twitter, referencing Lee’s kindness as the main inspiration for the act. Knowing that giving him a tangible gift would be nearly impossible, she chose to help other people as a present to her idol.

“As his fan, I wanted to live with his purpose of making people happy and doing good deeds,” Yap told TomasinoWeb.

Yap originally wanted the food delivery driver to take the food home for his family. But considering that it was already around 8 p.m, the driver preferred to just share the food with the rest of the riders who were with him.

K-pop for a cause

Yap has been looking up to K-pop idols who use their platforms to spread kindness, such as Jaemin of NCT and Siwon of Super Junior, who both worked for the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF).

As a K-pop fan, she desires to do the same.

“K-pop idols and fans are like mirrors. [We] reflect each other,” Yap said. 

It was not the first time she reached out to others with her enthusiasm for K-pop.

Even before she treated the Foodpanda rider, Yap already initiated her first fundraising event titled #SeeYouThereSeeYouSoonYJH for one of her favorite K-pop groups, HIGHLIGHT, last year. The drive was especially dedicated to its member, Yong Jun Hyung, as a gift for their 11th debut anniversary.

The donation drive garnered warm responses from the fandom, and its total funds were distributed to three charities: World Vision, UNICEF, and One Tree Plant Foundation.

Aside from this, Yap also organized her second donation drive amid the impact of Typhoon Ulysses. She used the collected funds to buy relief goods which she sent to a family in Marikina City.

“This proves that K-pop is more than that crazy idolatry, massive fanaticism, immature fan wars, and all other misconceptions,” she said. “[It] can also be a tool for kindness to prosper.”

Helping through K-pop

Yap said that the act of helping is common in the K-pop fan culture, may it be in a fandom setting or for larger adversities outside the community.

“We are more than willing to help our country at least cope up in these trying times,” she said.

According to Yap, the costly lifestyle of a K-pop fan is not a barrier for the community to help other people. She said that they are also willing to contribute to donation drives or anything that would benefit the majority.

“We are united not only in supporting our favorite artist but in helping our kababayan too,” she said.

After her encounter with the food delivery rider, Yap felt nothing but joy knowing that she got to extend good deeds to others.

“I know it’s just a small amount of food, but I’m just happy to share this little act of kindness [with] other people,” she said.


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Pride in identities: neopronouns venturing the English language

Neopronouns emerged as one of the many language reforms catering to identity expressions that do not adhere to gender representation, deviating from the common binary pronouns such as “he/him” and “she/her.”



(Artwork by Bernard Louis Garcia/TomasinoWeb)

With the half of 2021 opening upon the entrance of June, internet natives have sparked conversations revolving around gender identity and new linguistic innovations in pronouns to honor this year’s Pride month.

No, it’s not just the standard narrative about non-binary pronouns like “they/them,” but something deeper.

Apart from these conventional gender-neutral pronouns, neopronouns emerged as one of the many language reforms catering to identity expressions that do not adhere to gender representation, deviating from the common binary pronouns such as “he/him” and “she/her.”

According to a New York Times article, neopronouns may vary from created words like “ze” and “zir” that function as a pronoun without indicating gender to pre-existing terms such as animals and mythical creatures like “bun/bunself,” “kitten/kittenself,” “vamp/vampself,” etc.

Even before the pandemic, John Paulo Hererra, a professor in the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Faculty of Arts and Letters’ English Department, said he frequently heard about neopronouns as a member of the LGBTQ and academic communities.

“I’ve read articles about it; I have friends who are currently using it, not just for aesthetic purposes but also for identity,” he told TomasinoWeb.

But it is not all about gender identity, said Herrera. These pronouns are also used by “neurodivergent” people, such as people with Asperger’s syndrome and autism, to get around their complicated relationship with gender identity and expression.

“[I]t’s also now about finding something, or object, or person, or whatever that you feel connected with, and then you identify yourself as such,” Herrera said.

Prof. Rachelle Lintao, the incumbent chair of the UST Department of English, noted that neopronouns are particularly noticeable in a virtual setting.

“I first came across the use of neopronouns on Twitter and during online meetings when people would include in their social media handles and Zoom names of those neopronouns,” Lintao told TomasinoWeb.

‘Creative, innovative, and liberating language’

“It mirrors language [usage] to serve their purpose of inclusivity, of providing space to the marginalized members of the society,” said Lintao, who is also the Philippines’ Country Representative for Clarity, an international plain language association.

With new spectrums in language, Lintao believes that neopronouns denote the creative ways humans use language in a progressive society.

Although neopronouns somehow altered the language spectrum, Lintao does not see it as a complication in the field. Many complex changes have already materialized for centuries, creating the English language people know today.

“There is no such thing as over-complication of the English language,” she said. “People will  definitely adapt to these changes given their ability to use language.”

Herrera, being a language enthusiast, emphasized that the use of neopronouns is more of an innovation than a complication, given the dynamic nature of language.

“[I]t’s innovating [the] use of English language, and I’m big on innovations,” he said.

More than the creativity neopronouns entail, UST Hiraya’s director for gender equity Rozene Adremesin sees the concept as a part of the LGBTQ community’s continuous movement for liberation.

“The use of neopronouns validates and honors their identity and expression,” Adremesin said, who is also an incoming English Language Studies (ELS) junior.

Meanwhile, Marianne Manalo, the incumbent president of the UST English Language Studies Society, believes that neopronouns promote everyone’s preference.

“I think it’s really revolutionary and parang nagiging way siya to accept everyone’s identity,” Manalo told TomasinoWeb.

Problems in innovation

The acceptance of neopronouns is not without flaws and could be regarded with apathy.

“[P]eople could use it to mock or disrespect and use it without any knowledge at all,” Adremesin explained.

This issue has already surfaced. According to Herrera, people on social media have been “joining the bandwagon” and using causes such as Black Lives Matter (BLM) to create neopronouns like “BLMself.”

“[T]hat’s going to offend people that belong to [a certain community] or [stand] with that advocacy,” Herrera stressed.

Having people utilize it solely for aesthetic reasons is also a problem to observe, according to Herrera and Adremesin.

“[Using neopronouns only for aesthetic] defeats its purpose of representing a person’s identity,” Adremesin stated.

Neopronouns in the academe

As a new notion in language, academic studies and publications have yet to acknowledge neopronouns in the field of English, particularly in a Philippine English setting.

However, unpublished studies about neopronouns are “already in the works,” he asserted, as the subject matter is slowly being introduced to students from diverse levels across various institutions, even to ELS undergraduates at UST.

But on a typical campus day, the gender-neutral pronoun culture is alive and growing in the University.

While working with UST Hiraya, the first feminist organization in the University, Manalo stated that they pay high regard to pronouns in emails, where they address people with “Mx” instead of “Ms./Mr.” when the gender of the recipient is unknown.

In a Thomasian classroom setting, Herrera would also see his students invested in the discourse of neopronouns when the topic emerges in their lectures.

“I think it’s becoming a trend also in the academic community who are very much knowledgeable about the topic,” he said.

The future of neopronouns

Neopronouns still have a long way to maintain sustainability, and it will not happen overnight, Herrera said. But with thorough research, he believes that people in the academe like him can educate people about the matter and eventually have it entirely accepted in society.

“Again, we go back to educating them,” he said.

As a call for inclusivity, neopronouns will be indeed be sustained in the future, according to Lintao.

“Given that language and society are inseparable, as people may clamor for equality and inclusivity, then such use of neopronouns may legitimize,” Lintao said.


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