“PINOY PRIDE.” It began as a phrase describing one’s joy and excitement upon hearing of a fellow Filipino making it big, especially internationally. This slogan, although much-debated, has evolved into a battle cry of patriotism, now encompassing more than just global milestones, but also stories of spirit and heritage. Amidst political and social issues that plagued the Philippines this year, there are also stories that made us proud of our country. Here are eight moments of Pinoy Pride that stood out in 2014.
1. The Philippines named destination of the year
This accolade came from the annual TTG Travel Awards, which recognizes the best travel accommodations and destinations in Asia-Pacific. Philippine Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. graciously accepted the award in October during the ceremony in Thailand, where he announced our 2015 tourism slogan, “Visit The Philippines.” We all know the Philippines is an incredible place to call home — it’s time the world took notice too!
2. Typhoon Haiyan survivor stories
It’s been a year since the strongest typhoon to make landfall in recorded history devastated central areas of the Philippines such as Leyte, Eastern Samar, and Bohol. While there are millions still blighted by Haiyan (Yolanda to locals) and living in temporary shelters, there are also stories of hope, such as successful rebuilding efforts and communities coming together rather than breaking apart. Social networking hashtags such as #AfterYolanda, #AfterHaiyan, #TindogLeyte, and #Yolanda document these stories of bayanihan; the spirit of communal unity and cooperation.
3. Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA World Cup
In August, Philippine basketball team Gilas qualified for the FIBA (International Basketball Federation) World Cup for the first time in 36 years. Although they didn’t make it to the next round, defeating Senegal after five tries was a moment that uplifted the spirits of Gilas fans because it was the team’s first win at the World Championship since 1974. Despite knowing that the odds were against them, Gilas players gave it their best until the very last second, with fans chanting “Puso!” (heart!) throughout.
4. Vigan named one of the New7Wonders Cities of the World
The heritage city of Vigan was recently recognized as one of the New7Wonders Cities of the World, according to a poll conducted by non-profit foundation New7Wonders. The capital of Ilocos Sur, Vigan is famous for preserving its cobblestone streets lined with colonial houses that fuse Filipino, Chinese, and Spanish architecture.
5. Palawan voted best island in the world
When Condé Nast Traveler ranked the 30 best islands in the world, Palawan topped the readers’ choice awards, and our other popular getaway, Boracay, made it to #12. One of 7,107 islands in the Philippines, Palawan is home to one of the New7Wonders of Nature — Puerto Princesa Subterranean River — some of the cleanest and bluest waters in the entire world, and a bounty of waterfalls, lagoons, and beautiful, though endangered, creatures. We’ve known for ages that Palawan is a brilliant place to explore — it’s nice to have the rest of the world see that too.
6. Filipinos cast in Miss Saigon
It’s been 25 years since the first Filipino, Lea Salonga, played Kim in the West End musical Miss Saigon. For the show’s silver anniversary, many talented Filipinos made the cut — Rachelle Ann Go was cast as Gigi, Jon Jon Briones as The Engineer, Tanya Manalang and Julia Abueva as Kim understudies, Ela Lisondra (swing), Christian Rey Marbella, Ariel Reonal, and Fil-German Romeo Salazar (ensemble), and Fil-American Eva Noblezada as the lead, Kim.
7. Manny Pacquiao dominating Chris Algieri
You can count on Manila traffic going from Carmageddon to zero whenever there’s a Pacquiao fight, because everyone’s guaranteed to be away from the streets and watching the match somewhere. When he dominated the formerly undefeated Chris Algieri in November, it helped welterweight champ Pacman strengthen his status as a Pinoy icon.
8. Pope Francis coming to visit
When the Roman Catholic Church announced that the Pope is coming to visit the Philippines in January next year, government officials began contemplating whether they should declare the 5-day visit a holiday to give our predominantly Catholic population a chance to see the events. When Pope John Paul II celebrated the World Youth Day mass in Manila back in 1995, it drew about 4 million attendees, and so news of the new Pope’s visit is electrifying for many — practicing Catholics or not.
2015 will be ripe with Pinoy Pride moments, including when the Pope actually arrives — especially as he’s set to visit Leyte to break bread with the victims of Haiyan.