Chapter 2015-Page 365
The year 2015 has been a momentous year for the entire country and my countrymen. As I look back of the year’s few highlights and events to sum up the year a season of glorious moments. Here are some of the headliners of the year 2015. Quick highlights to look back.
Papal Visit: Pope Francis in the country from January 15 to 19, 2015. Francis is the third pontiff to visit the Philippines after Popes Paul VI and John Paul II. His visit marked the first visit of a pope to the Philippines in the 21st century with the last visit by a pope to the Philippines by Pope John Paul II in 1995. The pope visited Manila, plus Tacloban and Palo, Leyte, to pay a visit to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda). Pope Francis became the second pope to go beyond Manila during a papal visit to the Philippines, after Pope John Paul II, who visited Cebu, Davao, Bacolod, Iloilo, Legazpi, Bataan, and Baguio, alongside Manila from February 17 to 22, 1981. The Filipinos nicknamed him Lolo Kiko (“Grandpa Francis”) as a term of endearment, which he commended. Pope Francis’ visit to the Philippines had become the largest papal event in history with around 6-7 million attended his final mass at Luneta surpassing the then most significant papal event at World Youth Day 1995 in the same venue 20 years earlier. Source Wikipedia
Season: The year 2015 opened with Tropical Depression Jangmi active within the Sulu Sea to the north of Malaysia. The system subsequently moved south-eastwards, made landfall in Malaysia, and dissipated later that day. The first tropical system of the season developed on January 13 and was named Mekkhala which affected the Philippines and Pope Francis’ visit to the country. Heading towards the year ending in December, a tropical disturbance became Tropical Storm Melor, which further intensified into Typhoon Melor; Melor reached Category 4 status as well while nearing the Philippines. The country has gone through 27 storms officially recorded by PAG-ASA and one tag as unofficial. Source PAG-ASA.
Economy: The Philippines’ economy gained steam in Q3, helped by skyrocketing public spending, robust private consumption and rising fixed investment. However, the external sector continued to be a drag on growth and October’s prolonged decline in exports points to ongoing weakness in Q4. Nevertheless, the domestic economy will remain on a stable footing: private consumption will be supported by remittances inflows and the expanding Business Process Outsourcing sector, investment will benefit from the government’s public-private partnership program, and public spending will pick up ahead of May’s presidential elections. In Q1 2016 in particular, public spending will likely receive a substantial boost as the government announced that it would front load up to 60% of next year’s budget to this period. In the political arena, December’s ban of independent candidate and frontrunner Grace Poe from the upcoming presidential elections left Vice President Jejomar Binay and the administration’s candidate Mar Roxas as the main contestants in the race. Source Focus-Economics.
Sports: Amid the roar of a crowded hell bent on seeing them lose, Gilas Pilipinas fell versus the giant China, 78-67, to settle for silver in the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship on Saturday, October 3 in Changsha, Hunan, China.
The Philippines missed the outright berth to the 2016 Summer Olympics and will instead be relegated to the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament happening in 2016 from July 5 to 16. That qualifying tournament will have 18 national teams from FIBA’s main events divided into three competitions of 6. The winner from each tilt will qualify for Rio 2016.
After its silver medal finish in the recently-concluded Fiba Asia Championship, the Philippines improved its place to 28th best in the world in the rankings released by the international governing body for basketball. Source Rappler Philippines.
Politics: APEC Philippines 2015 was the year-long hosting of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit which concluded with the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting held on 18–19 November 2015 in Pasay. It was the second time the Philippines hosted the summit, the first being the 1996 APEC summit.
The agenda of the Philippines’ hosting of APEC 2015 is exemplified by its theme that focuses on promoting and advancing inclusive growth in the Asia-Pacific region. This goal of promoting inclusive growth is divided into three stages: domestic/national, regional, and macro levels.
Many Filipinos outrage to express their horrible experience and dissatisfaction caused by the summit. What could have made it worse is the privileges received by delegates such as dedicated traffic lanes and faster internet speeds?
The Metropolitan infamous traffic growl badly and the inconsistency between the stuck open roads and delegates’ lanes became the subject of mocking online. Source Wikipedia
International Scene: The Miss Universe contestant from the Philippines is this year’s winner, but for one brief moment, it appeared as if it might be a repeat win for Colombia.
Colombia contestant Ariadna Gutierrez Arevalo was wearing the crown as this year’s Miss Universe winner when host Steve Harvey returned to apologize.
Mr. Harvey said it was his mistake, and he would take responsibility for not reading the card correctly that named contestant Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach this year’s winner and Colombia the first runner-up.
Ms. Wurtzbach appeared stunned as she walked to the front of the stage alongside the crown-wearing Ms. Arevalo before last year’s Miss Universe from Colombia removed the crown and placed it on Ms. Wurtzbach’s head instead.
The pageant that pits international beauties against one another returned to Las Vegas on Sunday to crown a winner on a new network, with a new Spanish-language broadcaster and a new pageant owner beginning with an elaborate costume contest inspired by the women’s countries.
Filipino talent shined the brightest in the international stage this 2015.
Filipina beauties proved that the women from the Philippines are the most beautiful and most glorious in the world — or the universe, rather — after taking home the top crowns internationally.
Christi McGarry scored the first runner-up in the Miss Intercontinental 2015. Four Filipino beauty queens reigned the international pageant stage: Transgender Trixie Maristela is Miss International Queen 2015, Ann Colis is Miss Globe 2015 while Angelia Ong is Miss Earth 2015. Pinoy animator currently based in U.S. Ronnie del Carmen co-directed Inside Out, a different Disney-Pixar animated film tackling psychological issues. Singer Rachelle Ann Go will also reprise her role as Fantine in the Manila leg of legendary musical Les Misérables.
Other Filipino singers made it big in international singing competitions. Filipino-American jazz singer Amy Vachal ended in the Top 9 of The Voice U.S. Filipina sister act 4th Impact reached the Top 5 of The X-Factor UK and they will be touring with the group in the UK. Filipino-Australian crooner Cyrus Villanueva hailed the grand winner of The X-FactorAustralia. Source CNN Philippines.
The year could have been concluded to become an overall triumph mark another milestone for the country. The year is soon ending as we all welcome the new year. It is my high hopes and optimism that the year will endeavor, everyone, a prosperous life. May God Almighty bless each one of us good health and better opportunities to look forward throughout the entire year.
A Prosperous New Year Everyone!