In the words of Horse ebooks, “Everything happens so much.”
On Dec. 31, 2017, Logan Paul released his Aokigahara Forest video. Yeah, you know the one, the one with the censored corpse and that stupid green hat.
In a weird, dumb way, that issue sort of set a tonal precedent for what this year would turn out to be. As the sun rose on 2018, and rage and annoyance and grief and absurdity and images of death carried over into what was supposed to be a new beginning. This was a long year, guys. So long we can barely fathom it. Here are 18 things that happened this year, noted down, if only to restore everybody’s sense of time.
We saw more representation in mainstream cinema
It’s been a big win for mainstream representation, with Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians raking in millions and critical acclaim worldwide. Add the female Doctor Who, a bunch of Spider-People, and Lara Jean and you’ve got screens — both big and silver — more and more looking like the world we live in.
North Korea and South Korea ended their freakin’ war
Of all the political hootenanny that went down this year, this development stood out as a Good Thing That Actually Happened. So far there haven’t been any takesies backsies, which is promising.
Hallyu fever 2.0
Momoland’s Bboom bboom, Baby Shark, BTS, and all the K-Dramas — all of what made up most of the mainstream Korean obsession in the country. While the K-everything fever has been sweeping the Philippines for quite a while now, the difference is that it’s spread all over the globe (see: all of Billboard’s K-Pop coverage). Notice how all of your friends got bangs this year?
Still not Uber
With the timelines filling up with Grab expenses, one can’t help but miss its much better cousin, Uber. In a devastating move last March, Uber sold its Southeast Asia operations to competitor ride hailing app Grab. We’re honestly still reeling in from this — monopoly should stay in the board games section and not in everyday life — and we can only hope for better Grab service. Better yet, a mass transit system that actually works. We have enough breakdowns on our own, LRT.
Do you remember all the memes about sili? Reports of siling labuyo reaching P1,000 per kilo, a crazy increase from P150, became the poster fruit for inflation. With Sep. inflation reportedly reaching 6.8 percent (the highest in Southeast Asia), not affording our daily necessities is becoming a possibility. Not that we need a kilo of sili every day, but when a meme like this blows up, you know it’s a way of coping.
We said goodbye to Stephen Hillenburg
Fun fact: Remember that one SpongeBob episode where he fights King Neptune in a cook-off, and at one point SpongeBob tucks two pickles under a sliced cheese blanket then reads them a bedtime story? Stephen Hillenburg thought of that gag. He was number one.
Random Facebook groups
For many of us, the Facebook group landscape was forever changed with 2017’s What’s Your Ulam, Pare? 2018 Facebook ventured into weirder territory for the normies out there, with the increasing popularity of groups like Jimmy Neutron croissantposting, Please show to Jim ! ! HA ! ! HA ! !, and We Pretend It’s 2007-2012 Internet.
The Supreme Court booted out former Chief Justice Sereno, and Tito Sotto became Senate President
Okay so, this is technically two things, but if you think about it, these events are like mirror images of each other. One shows an extremely competent woman having her position and authority taken away from her, the other shows a dumb male buffoon getting a position of power he doesn’t deserve. Just another day in Philippine government I guess.
Mocha Uson being… Mocha Uson
Social media’s a lot of things, like being responsible for the misplaced power of one Mocha Uson. It felt like with each new week came a boo-boo from the previous PCOO assistant secretary for social media, most memorably misplacing the Mayon Volcano. You gotta know where the places are, especially when you’re in the government (and with a basic pay of 106k a month). After a distasteful — even by her standards — song and dance about federalism, she resigned from the PCOO. She’s seeking an elective post this 2019 though, so we gotta do something about that stat.
Johnny Johnny Yes Papa was a thing
Those terrifying, uncanny valley videos about a family that routinely lies about eating and have their mouths forcefully pried open through interrogation? Those were wack. But also symptomatic of the greater horror funhouse of children’s YouTube.
Basketball underdog UP Fighting Maroons managed to score a championship game against the OG Ateneo Blue Eagles. What do you get with two schools with really strong school spirit? Memes, trash talk (one went as far as asking UP Town Center to change its name if Ateneo wins), and a display of never before seen school pride. The thrill pretty similar to a Pacquiao match or Miss Universe, but with collegiate basketball. Honestly it was all sorts of messy, but man, it was exhilarating.
Both men were comic book legends in their own right for many reasons, but were especially instrumental in the creation of Spider-Man, a character who best cinematic iterations manifested this year, both in the form of the PS4 game and Into the Spider-Verse. Excelsior.
The Spades saga
IV of Spades has been a powerful force in local pop culture ever since they broke out with Hey Barbara in late 2017. This year saw plenty of drama for the former four-piece, which is pretty impressive given that they haven’t even released a full-length album yet. In May, main vocalist Unique announced that he’d be parting ways with the band due to mysterious circumstances. Then in August, the Mundo meme craze. Don’t even get us started on the conspiracy theories from the Midnight Sky / In My Prison release debacle? And to top it all off, there’s also the Blaster cheating issue. Tsk tsk. Will they play their cards right in 2019? Abangan.
A star was born
A lot of great movies came out this year but we need to give a special shout-out to A Star Is Born, perhaps the definitive musical-movie of 2018. Who else is still belting Shallow in the shower?
We got a weird SONA
The president was late, he didn’t cuss, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was going renegade. The whole debacle wasn’t even terrible in an entertaining way, which — let’s be real — is something we look for in our politics, if only as a way to cope.
We lost Anthony Bourdain
On June 8, 2018, we lost one of the greatest writers, travel documentations, and chefs to have ever lived. No exaggeration. Bourdain possessed a sensitivity for other cultures and their foods that just doesn’t exist in other white media personalities in his field. Watch the Manila episode of Parts Unknown.
That one Bojack Horseman episode
Let’s forget about Bird Box and Bandersnatch for a minute. The most powerful, artful, cinematic Netflix-related thing to come out this year was Bojack Horseman S05E06. “Free Churro.” Hands down.
We’re boycotting a lot of companies
Boycott Jollibee, boycott Nutriasia, boycott Oishi. Regularize your workers!!! We don’t know if this is enough for us to see the collapse of capitalism and the true empowerment of the laboring class in our lifetime, but it’s a start.