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Dec 31, 2016
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The year is almost at an end and it gave all of us a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs throughout its whole span.

But somehow, it seems like there were more downs, bad vibes and negativity surrounding the events of this year.

So we compiled some of 2016’s uplifting stories that show this year wasn’t all about the bad stuff. Let’s take a short look back at some of the stories that made 2016 a year that wasn’t so bad after all.


1) Kylie Verzosa wins Miss International 2016

The Philippines isn’t quite done yet in winning international beauty pageants after Kylie Verzosa took home the Miss International 2016 crown.

In case you missed it, here’s her perfect Q&A portion:

Kylie also looked glorious during her crowning moment.


2) PH confirmed as Miss Universe host

Rumors have been going on for months that the Philippines will finally be hosting the Miss Universe pageant in 2017 after more than two decades.

This was finally confirmed by the Department of Tourism along with reigning Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach in November.

Following this, some personalities stepped forward to say that the country’s hosting of the prestigious pageant was at one point nearly canceled, which caused delays in the confirmation.

Anyways, here’s a sizzling photo of our candidate, Maxine Medina chilling at the beach. Best of luck, Maxine!


3) South China Sea arbitral ruling

In July, the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled in favor of the Philippines in its case against China over territorial disputes involving the South China Sea.

This was still considered a milestone for the country despite China not acknowledging the international court’s ruling as it was able to establish its sovereignty against the Asian superpower.

However, things have changed now after the recently formed Duterte administration chose to strengthen ties with China at the expense of not pursuing the favorable decision.

On the bright side, Filipino fishermen are now able to conduct their livelihood in the disputed waters, which was previously impossible due to towering Chinese coastguard vessels that shoo them away from the area.


4) Hidilyn Diaz’s Olympic silver medal finish

It was a big moment for the Philippines after Hidilyn Diaz bagged the silver medal for the weightlifting category during the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Her win came in as a sigh of relief for the country whose medal hopefuls bowed out from the games one by one.

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Hidilyn’s feat, which gave the Philippines only its third Olympic silver medal and tenth overall medal, was handsomely rewarded by the government with at least P5 million in cash prizes.

President Rodrigo Duterte even added another P2 million to Hidilyn’z prize in recognition of the honor she brought to the country.


5) The MRT-7 and other good stuff

If you were wondering why traffic started to get tighter along Commonwealth Avenue it’s because of the MRT-7 construction project that kicked off in April.

Yes, it worsened traffic, but this is actually great news as it will service some 350,000 daily passengers from Bulacan, Caloocan and Quezon cities, which means less traffic after and faster commutes.

We’ll only have to wait until April 2020 until it becomes operational, if the government manages to pull this off in time.


6) Kiefer Ravena makes it to NBA D-League

“The Phenom” Kiefer Ravena is one step closer to his dream of making it to the NBA after he was accepted as a developmental player in the Texas Legends team.

If all goes well, the 23-year-old prodigy might become a part of the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Summer League roster.

For now, here’s a video of the two-time UAAP MVP while strutting his stuff and making dunks look easy.


7) Jaclyn Jose wins Cannes best actress

Some of the best things in life are those that you least expect to happen and that is what occurred to veteran actress Jaclyn Jose during the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.

Jaclyn’s name was called out for the best actress award for her role in Brillante Mendoza’s Ma’ Rosa, which revolves around the life of a small shop owner who deals with drugs on the side.

She was so shocked that with the win that she didn’t know what to say during her acceptance speech.


8) Palawan is the world’s best island

For the second time since 2013, Travel + Leisure awarded its best island honors to Palawan, Philippines for its powdery beaches and picturesque landscapes.

Not far from the top are Cebu (sixth) and Boracay (eighth), which proves to show the country doesn’t have over 7,000 islands for nothing.


9) End of the ‘laglag bala’ modus

The ‘laglag bala’ extortion scheme made headlines in 2015 after numerous victims, both foreigners and locals, started to file complaints about an alleged modus operandi at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

Apparently, airport personnel would slip a bullet into your luggage, which will be detected by the scanners and confiscated. You, on the other hand, will end up in detention for further questioning.

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To make this go away all you had to do was give a little bribe money to the officials and they would act like nothing happened.

Fortunately, the Duterte administration had a swift solution to the rampant and brazen modus; they instructed al airport personnel not to detain passengers caught with bullets in their luggage.


10) Aunty Yolly

Sometimes, it’s the small things that matter. This is exactly how Singaporean Olympic gold medalist Joseph Schooling felt for his Filipina nanny, Aunty Yolly.

Yolly took care and raised Schooling for 19 years so this is why he decided to give back by featuring his ‘second mom’ and acknowledging her support over the years in a touching video.


11) Geraldine Roman wins in Congress

Who says politics is only for men and women? Certainly not Geraldine Roman, the first transgender congresswoman to be elected in the country.

Aside from making history and breaking gender barriers, Geraldine has been hard at work in Congress passing bills that tackle anti-discrimination and promote LGBT rights.


12) PH airports part of best in Asia

Four local airports made it to a travel website’s list of top airports in Asia for 2016.

According to The Guide To Sleeping Airports, the following were part of Asia’s best:

Iloilo International Airport - 12th
Mactan-Cebu International Airport ranked - 14th
Clark International Airport - 15th
Francisco Bangoy International Airport -  26th

And if you were wondering, NAIA was fifth worst airport in Asia but this is an improvement compared to being billed as the world’s worst back in 2011 and 2013.


13) Executive order on FOI bill

Government transparency is vital tool for the nation to guard against corruption.

So it’s a good thing when President Rodrigo Duterte signed an executive order that promotes the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill.

The only problem is this order only covers the Executive branch of the government. But this will do until a proper FOI bill covering all branches is eventually passed.


14) Manny Pacquiao wins his comeback fight

Despite the hate that he is receiving as of late for his views on the LGBT community and his political ambitions, Senator Manny Pacquiao is still the people’s champion when it comes to boxing.

His recent win against Jesse Vargas proved that he still has what it takes to dominate against younger boxers.

Aside from uniting the nation and bringing pride to the country, Manny also knows how to hype up his fans as shown in the photo below which was posted after his fight.

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15) No shortchanging

Isn’t it annoying when the cashier asks you for a smaller bill even when you only hand over P100?

It’s a great thing that the No Shortchanging Act lapsed into a law in July. Under this law, all establishments are required to give you your exact change, no questions asked.

Additionally, sellers who offers other goods as change, such as candies, can’t do this anymore.


16) Record number of drug surrenderees

If there’s one positive thing about the Duterte administration’s war on drugs then it’s the unprecedented amount of individuals who turned themselves in to authorities.

So far, some 700,000 drug suspects have surrendered out of fear for their lives in this bloody drug war. At least we now know that they’ll be taken to the new drug rehabilitation facility in Nueva Ecija.

But this doesn’t take away the fact that extrajudicial killings and collateral damage costing the lives of innocents continue to stack up each day.

Perhaps the government can learn a thing or two about the preservation of life and due process.

 

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