The highs and lows of June 2022

By Mharla Francesca Santiano

Artwork by Mikaela Gabrielle de Castro/TomasinoWeb

June has become the reset button from the busyness of May 2022. But the journey wasn’t linear, as the days of the sixth month of the year were spent with soaring numbers, grand returns, and marks of history.

These are only some of the many notes that were written on the midpoint of 2022.

1. A Thomasian peaks in the 2022 CPA licensure exams

Photo courtesy of Jester Ramos/TomasinoWeb

BS Accountancy alumna Jhoone Cyrelle Nacario landed the first spot in the newest batch of licensed public accounts, with a score of 88.63 percent, announced by the Professional Regulation Commission this June 1.

Other Thomasians also scattered across the top 10 with Charlene Mae Perez notching the third spot, Gerimee Mappatao landing eighth, and August Joshua Dela Cruz placing tenth.

73 out of 117 Thomasians officially became licensed public accountants as the University also garnered a 41.24 percent passing rate.

2. Bulusan volcano covers Sorsogon

Photo from Sorsogon PIO

The Sunday of June 5th was covered by ash from Bulusan Volcano in Juban, Sorsogon. This pushed at least 500 residents to evacuate. Independence Day (June 12) also marked the second time the volcano spews ash.

According to an observation summary of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) on June 22, Mt. Bulusan caused 48 new volcanic quakes. Phivolcs also reminded the possibility of more phreatic eruptions.

Mt. Bulusan remains under Alert Level 1, noting a slight increase in volcanic earthquakes and steam activity. Phivolcs recommends that entry into the Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) must be prohibited, as well as alerting residents in nearby valleys and river or stream channels to stay vigilant of lahars, and sediment-laden stream flows.

3. The return of F2F Baccalaureate Mass and Solemn Investitures

Photo by Ina Yabut/TomasinoWeb

The void from virtual classes was finally filled by the Thomasian graduates of 2020, 2021, and 2022, getting to walk out of the Arch of the Centuries, march on stage, and switch their tassels — all on the grounds of the University.

On June 3 and 4, the graduates completed the tradition of exiting the Arch, a symbol to close their chapter as Thomasians.

Issues also ran with the eventful evenings as a pride flag was taken by one of the University’s marshalls, garnering almost 14,000 engagements on Twitter, and 17,000 views on Facebook. The following day, a pride flag was once again waved in the University, led by the Conservatory of Music during their walk. The guidelines for both days did not state that “pride flags” were prohibited.

Reforms in the education system, conquering as an “experimental” batch, and surviving the limits of being a student in the pandemic became the core of speeches and homilies as graduates bid their goodbyes.

4. A preview for the gays: Awra, Mimiyuuuh, and Sassa Gurl graces June 2022 ‘Preview’ cover

Photo from Cenon Norial III and Mav Bernardo

Content creators Awra Briguela, Mimiyuuuh, and Sassa Gurl painted the June cover of Preview Magazine released on June 6, chiming in with Pride Month.

They continue to influence audiences across social media with humor and wit that are uniquely theirs, their lives under the lens of domesticity, and even their political stances.

“We are not asking for acceptance, we’re demanding it,” Sassa said in their Preview interview where they also discussed their viewpoints on love, identity, and career. As Awra, Mimiyuuuh, and Sassa continue to assert their presence online and with popularity, they make the space bigger for queer artists and creators.

5. Thomasian alumna declared as national artist

Photo from Slim’s Fashion and Arts School

When Malacañang announced the 2022 national artists on June 10, Salvacion “Slim” Lim-Higgins was one of them. Lim-Higgins was posthumously declared and now places herself in the halls with 18 other Thomasian national artists.

She majored in painting at the previously named UST Department of Architecture and Fine Arts in 1940. The Slim’s Fashion & Arts School was founded 20 years later; securing the title of the Philippines’ first and oldest fashion school.

Fashion company VINTA Gallery calls Lim-Higgins “The Mother of the Modern Terno” because of her impact not only on the Philippine fashion industry, but also because of the creative traces she left behind that still flow in the bloodline of fashion today.

6. Nostalgia feasts at Tropical Hut

Photo from TROPICAL HUT HAMBURGER/Facebook

It all started with one tweet. And as it carried more than 40,000 engagements, Filipinos tapped into their favorite delivery apps to try out Tropical Hut Hamburger. Many also took to the dining experience.

Nostalgia accompanied the replies to the tweet; recalling their past experiences at the fast-food chain, sharing their favorites from the menu, and even surprising some people about the food place’s existence until now.

Because of this renewed interest, the e-commerce mobile app Grab had to remind customers to have “a bit of patience,” and said that their riders will ensure that their orders will be delivered. The official Facebook page of Tropical Hut Hamburger thanked customers for the “heartwarming words of appreciation,” as well as strengthening their mantra, “#SarapnaBalikbalikan.”

7. BTS takes a (much-needed) break

Photo from BANGTANTV/YouTube

Since their debut in 2013, BTS has become the biggest boy band in the world. And as the past nine years blessed the charts with addictive singles and albums, it has also led them to finally take a break.

In a live stream on June 14, BTS leader RM shared that he couldn’t grasp the boy group’s identity anymore after releasing “Butter” and “Permission to Dance.” He also mentioned that the “idol system” has always pushed them to “keep doing something,” leaving no space and time to “mature” and find their identity.

V, one of the group’s vocalists, said that they would take their time to focus on their individual activities, and on their return as a group, their “synergy” and dynamics will be more enhanced, and “like no other.”

BTS’s youngest member and main vocal Jung kook also reassured and promised fans of their return. Hybe, the group’s management, also clarified that they will not be taking a hiatus, but only focusing on the members’ individual projects.

8. Historical oaths for a historical win

Photo from Ezra Acayan/Getty Images

Vice president-elect Sara Zimmerman Duterte-Carpio took her oath as the next vice president of the country 11 days before her actual term starts on June 30 as stated in the Constitution of the Philippines. She pledged before thousands at San Pedro Square, Davao City.

Duterte emphasized the voice of the majority who voted for her, 32.2 million to be exact, and linked this with a pledge to serve the nation.

She insisted on swearing as the 15th vice president earlier than usual to attend president-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Romualdez Marcos Jr.’s. This also gives her a brighter spotlight as it was also a first for an incoming president or vice president to hold an inauguration ceremony outside of Luzon, making it Davao’s first time to host an inauguration.

Meanwhile, Marcos Jr. held his oathtaking at the National Museum of the Philippines in Manila on June 30. Behind his win were junked petitions against him and a historical majority vote. The latter was also obtained by vice president-elect Duterte.

In front of allies and supporters, his speech highlighted resilience, the future, and of course, unity. The specifics of his platforms remained absent in the core of his speech. Marcos Jr.’s swearing into office was also held just less than three months before the 50th anniversary of the declaration of martial law by his late father, former dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

9. SUV runs over guard in Mandaluyong

Screengrab from Rappler

According to a GMA report, Christian Joseph Floralde, a security guard, was violently run over by Jose Antonio Sanvicente, the owner of the vehicle, at the intersection of Julia Vargas Avenue and St. Francis Street on June 5. The incident was seen in a now-unavailable video on Facebook.

Sanvincente did not stop to face the events that occurred. Instead, he fled the scene, and enforcers failed to catch up with him.

As the law took its time, Sanvicente held a press conference where he personally surrendered to the Philippine National Police (PNP) at Camp Crame. However, upon surrendering, PNP officer-in-charge Lt. Gen. Vicente Danao Jr. said it has already been 10 days since the incident occurred, so they could no longer detain Sanvicente in accordance with the law.

An explosion of opinions and conversations flooded social media, and even prompted veteran broadcast journalist Karen Davila to comment on how the case was “disturbing on so many levels.” Along with many netizens questioning the current administration’s justice system, outgoing senate president Tito Sotto also had a say, asking, “What’s happening to our country Mr President?”

10. Fuel price hikes become a constant

Photo from Roberto Machado/Getty Images

June has been consistent with the rising numbers of gas station signages almost every week. This resulted in jeepney drivers stopping their daily operations on the road, looking for alternative jobs as fuel prices continue to loom, and hoping for the promised subsidies from the government.

Land transportation is not the only sector that feels the burden of high fuel prices, farmers do too. Some also rely on Diesel to run their farming machines and equipment, but because of the prices that cost more than their daily expenses, spending was cut back which eventually affected their farmlands.

With the country’s inflation rate spiking, the peso weakening, and fuel prices not becoming a stranger to their own rise, the government should also open its doors to not only giving subsidies, but also to significant legislative developments as soon as possible.

11. Roe versus Wade, the law versus women

Photo from Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

After almost half a century, the US Supreme Court overturned the historic “Roe v Wade” case that placed a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion.

Individual states and their elected officials now possess the authority to regulate and restrict abortion. The decision was pushed to its finality by conservative justices nominated by former US president Donald Trump. Speaking on behalf of the majority, Justice Samuel Alito emphasized the need to “overrule” the decision because of its “exceptionally weak arguments,” and how it was “egregiously wrong.”

From the streets in front of the Supreme Court in Washington to several states in the country, the nation has already seen marches of many reproductive and abortion rights advocates. “Abortion Saves Lives,” and “The hardest decision a woman can make isn’t yours!” are only a couple of the thousands of demonstrators’ convictions written on their placards. This has also prompted many of the country’s largest companies to cover safe and legal abortion access for their employees — seen as a gesture of solidarity against the decision.

The ruling was seen as a victory by the religious right and anti-abortion groups who have also been pushing for banning the process nationwide. It is a loss, however, for women in states with conservatively regulated laws that may force them to travel far — all with the pandemic’s dangers, and legal uncertainties.

Looking from afar, the presence of asking how and why should lawmakers control what women do to their bodies remains.

12. Philippines celebrates Pride

Photo by Gian Kyle Pua/TomasinoWeb

Several cities and provinces celebrate Pride Month with rainbows in the air, calls for legislation reforms, and statements in style and iconic music.

Quezon City Memorial Circle was painted with rainbows on a sunny Saturday with almost 25,000 attendees. Metro Manila Pride Festival, which was held at the Cultural Center of the Philippines complex grounds, was also home to flags of all colors, and protests for legislative developments. The festivities also provided free HIV testing, booster shots, and an expo for small businesses. Rallies of the LGBTQIA+ community also did not stop for Baguio City’s rains as they make their voices heard on justice, allyship, and their existence. Love also claimed its victory in Marikina, Iloilo, Cebu, Butuan, Romblon, and more.

The celebrations offered not only a stage for members and allies of the LGBTQIA+ community to express and affirm their identities, but also a platform to remind everyone and those in power of the importance of issues they hold onto; the passing of House Bill 4982 or the SOGIE Equality Bill, calling on justice for LGBTQIA+ victims of homophobic and transphobic attacks, and even calling out those in the incoming administration.

However, on June 27, the Philippines ranked 117th out of 202 countries that are considered to be ideal for gay travelers according to a report by the Gay Travel Index of German portal Spartacus, an organization that has been releasing annual reports since 2012. The index ranks these places by analyzing their living and legal conditions for the LGBTQIA+ community.

With this, the country still has to patch up more holes in the legal sphere, as well as strengthen its implementation not just to improve the lives of the gay community, but also to widen the legislation’s scope to inclusivity; benefitting people with disabilities, senior citizens, and the marginalized members of the community. And though Pride festivals are a step in the right direction, the march should also start with those in authority.

As we try to hail a smooth ride going into the latter half of 2022, June’s roads were bumpy. There were moments when we rose through the obstacles, but some were too rugged. It can go two ways though — to leave with the success of overcoming them or to prepare us for more.

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