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Retrospective: Highlights of 2017

By REYANNE LOUISSE AMPONG and CARLITO P. TOPACIO

art by JAMIE ANDREA L. TURALBA

IT WAS a year of definite twists and turns for everyone; Filipinos were simply left thinking that 2017 was being “extra” with its roller-coaster ride. Moments of surprise, terror, and unity brought people together and somehow managed to make this year bearable. Now that 2017 is almost coming to an end, the Flame presents some of the things that made this year eventful.

Vast landscape of television shows

This year made it exciting for people who love binge-watching television shows or Netflix series. Yes, fans still love and always come back for the humor Friends offer, but it is also great to see and learn from something new.

New series focusing on teenage drama and mystery, murder, satire, racial dialogue, and forms of authoritarianism made up for a vast and varied television of 2017. It gave people entertainment, lessons, and distractions from the real world. Among the new series that premiered in 2017 were Riverdale, The Handmaid’s Tale, Big Little Lies, Dear White People, Big Mouth, and One Day at a Time. Surely, it was both thrilling and eye-opening for the people who have watched it.

Donald Trump’s inauguration

When Donald Trump is not busy flipping properties, he flips the world of politics on its head instead. This real estate tycoon-turned-president sparked a number of controversies on Jan. 20 as he was inaugurated as leader of one of the most powerful nations in the world.

Often regarded as a polarizing figure, Trump made a name for himself through his brand, achievements, and scandals. While some view him as a xenophobic misogynist, others put him on a pedestal, claiming that he will make America great again. Regardless of how one views his impact in the world, for better or for worse, it is undeniable.

A beacon of hope

What may seem to be an insignificant glimmer in the sky might just become a beacon of hope for astronomers and space buffs across the globe. Feb. 22 marked a monumental discovery about the ultra-cool dwarf star known as TRAPPIST-1.

While the scientific community has been aware of the star’s existence for years, it was only recently that they discovered that seven planets were revolving around it. What makes it even more exciting was the fact that three of these planets were found on the Goldilocks Zone, making them suitable locations for liquid water which is a key requirement for life.

Conflict in the city

The Battle of Marawi brought terror and alarm in the Philippines as the Islamic State (IS)-inspired Maute group attacked and occupied buildings in Marawi City, the capital of Lanao del Sur. The armed conflict started on May 23 and has resulted to President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao.

Almost five months later, on Oct. 17, Filipinos were brought to relief when Duterte announced the liberation of Marawi from local and international terrorists following the death of IS-inspired leaders Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute. On Oct. 23, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana announced the termination of all combat operations in Marawi.

A drug buy-bust busted

It was just a normal drug buy-bust operation for policemen, but for the whole country, it was a wake-up call. Aug. 16 was the faithful day 17-year-old Kian Delos Santos met his untimely and brutal end.

While the perpetrators raised points insinuating Kian’s potential involvement in the drug industry, a number of witnesses and pieces of evidence came into light showing that the young man may have been innocent. This caused a nation-wide uproar, opening the eyes of the masses to the potential injustices brought by extrajudicial killings.

Trouble in Paradise

A battle for the ages broke out in Paradise, Nevada. Dubbed as the biggest fight in combat sports history, two heavy-hitting figures in the world of athleticism went head to head in what could only be described as a sports enthusiast’s wet dream.

On Aug. 26, a light-middleweight boxing match between Connor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather Jr. ensued. Attracting fans all around the globe, it became the second best-selling pay-per-view fight in history. By the end of round 10, Mayweather claimed his 50th victory in a row, edging out former Hall of Famer Rocky Marciano’s 49-0. Serving as Mayweather’s last match, this fight was a fitting end for a legendary athlete of his caliber.

An army of restless voices

Bereft of Kevlar and rifles, Sept. 21 was a skirmish unlike any other. With the streets as their battlefield, the brave activists of the Philippines waged a protest against corruption and injustices in the society through rallies and performance art.

It was a “Day of Protest,” a revolutionary holiday whose purpose was to serve as stage for the heralds of change, an event that served as a monumental victory for the muffled screams of yesterday. Protesters showed the ugly truths behind extrajudicial killings, the Duterte regime, the state of the nation, and historical revision of Ferdinand Marcos’ atrocities.

‘Partners for change’

Filipinos gave support—although some did not—as world leaders gathered in the Philippines for the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit. The country hosted the three-day event with the theme “Partnering for Change, Engaging the World.” The region’s leaders and dialogue partners from Canada, China, Japan, India, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea, the European Council, and the United Nations, discussed regional and international issues.

Among the accomplishments of the 31st ASEAN Summit was the signing of the ASEAN Consensus on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrants Workers.

Hashtag as a rally cry

Female solidarity and empowerment made waves online through the hashtag #MeToo in which women were encouraged to share their own stories of sexual harassment. The hashtag campaign started with the tweet of American actress Alyssa Milano who asked the victims of sexual harassment to reply “me too.” The tweet came after allegations of sexual assault were thrown at Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. In the local scene, indie bands like Sud and Jensen and the Flips were also called out by women for their sexual misconduct.

The #MeToo campaign shed light on the sensitive issue of sexual violence and showed every kind of face of sexual harassment—a famous actor, a fan-favorite band member, a co-worker, or a friend.

Something new for the crowd

The Mall of Asia Arena was once again filled with school spirit, cartwheels, stunts, and graceful dance moves by various universities’ cheering squads. The latest University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Cheerdance Competition was historic as the results showed. National University Pep Squad lost its supposed five-peat win to the Adamson Pep Squad, which claimed its first championship title.

University of Santo Tomas’ Salinggawi Dance Troupe bagged the second place while the University of the East Pep Squad landed third place. The University of the Philippines Pep Squad returned after not joining the competition during the previous season. It was quite a shock that the team placed sixth for they have always been included in the top three since 1995.

The year 2017 went out with a bang. From man’s greatest conquests and achievements to some of the worst occurrences in recent years, this year has been nothing short of extraordinary. As a new year approaches, may we all come together and look back on what has happened to us during the last months. May we learn from our mistakes, appreciate the journey we have trekked, and tackle the future head-on with this past year as our guide. F

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