The peaks and valleys of November 2022
By Jewyz Ann Bunyi and Mharla Francesca Santiano
November prepared us for halted moments in history, goodbyes that fueled our nostalgia, and freshly-written chapters waiting to unfold. Though stillness was at bay this month, these changes painted November abundantly.
Here are the bits of November that took their time.
1. Resumption of full face-to-face classes in public schools
The gleeful feeling of wearing uniforms and the familiar breeze of school grounds tickled every student’s longingness as the full five-day scheduling of face-to-face classes in public schools finally resumed on Nov. 2, after more than two years of forced virtual learning. The Department of Education (DepEd) also announced a day prior to the implementation of in-person classes that face masks would no longer be required in classrooms.
As the S.Y. 2022–2023 commenced last August, approximately 90% of the private and public schools in the country gradually started to enforce face-to-face classes, whereas some were to conduct blended classes, a combination of in-person classes, and distance learning setups. However, vice president and education secretary Sara Duterte allowed the extension of blended learning as an exemption to some public schools, especially for schools affected by calamities and were opting for alternative delivery modalities, by submitting a request for continuation. Duterte also approved the continuation of blended classes for private schools with two-day in-person classes and three-day virtual classes, also giving them the option to implement full-time distance learning.
Meanwhile, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chairperson Prospero de Vera III signed Memorandum Order 16, which was issued last Nov. 11, mandating all colleges and universities to commence full-time in-person classes or hybrid learning in the second semester of the academic year 2022–2023.
2. A historical moment for Queen Taylor
When the clock strikes at midnight, you already know the drill!
Queen behavior emanated from Taylor Swift when she slayed all 10 slots on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with songs from her newest album, Midnights, marking her as the first artist in history to achieve this feat. With Anti-Hero as the cherry on top, Swift beat Drake’s record of nine out of ten tracks to top the charts set in Sept. 2021. Released on Oct. 21, the highly appreciated Midnights album also had the largest first week of sales since Adele’s 25 in 2015. It also established a record for becoming the most-streamed album in a single day on Spotify.
“10 out of 10 of the Hot 100??? On my 10th album??? I AM IN SHAMBLES,” Swift tweeted.
The artist also announced her first US stadium tour after 5 years, The Eras Tour, which would go on from March 2023 until August, consisting of more than 50 shows.
3. The AlDub delusion
One of the most popular showbiz pairings in the Philippines, AlDub, which comprises actors Maine Mendoza and Alden Richards can be considered a cultural reset. The former pairing tagged along a sold-out show at the Philippine Arena, shook their fellow competitors in television, and of course, a multitude of fans all over the world. But even if the tandem’s airtime already ended, and Mendoza, half of the pairing, is already engaged with another actor, many AlDub supporters believe that their sunken ship is still sailing up to this day.
In a recent interview with comedian Ogie Diaz, Mendoza expressed that she personally reached out to fans to clear up their belief that she and Richards are married. She also called out the fans who believe that the former tandem has children together. But even with Mendoza’s efforts, she concluded there was nothing she can do with those fans, especially when they also refused to believe that Mendoza herself reached out to them, saying that she was just the admin of the account. Even the literal component of the former tandem herself could not bring down the walls of these fans’ delusions.
As portions of the interview shocked many netizens, clips of the fandom’s activities also made rounds on social media. There was a clip that showed the supporters chanting the names of the tandem while they raised the candles we usually see in Holy Week processions. Another video of a supporter who said that the former pairing is already married with children also went viral and even encouraged viewers to analyze more, instead of getting angry at the fandom, AlDub Nation. With this, netizens reflected on the dangers of fanaticism, shared delusion, and deemed the fandom as a cult. The circulating videos and the supporters’ ignorance of the truth even from their idols prove that this is beyond a fixation.
4. Margaret Therese Laurel claims top rank in the nutritionist-dietitian boards
UST garnered a passing rate of 97.87% in the October 2022 nutritionist-dietitian licensure exam (NDLE) after five Thomasians bagged the top slots, lauding it as the second top-performing school. Thomasian alumnus Margaret Therese Laurel led the new batch of board passers with a score of 90.10%, according to the results released by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) last Nov. 8.
Among the board, passers were Thomasians Kohleen Rose Caballero and Ren Christian Panganiban who both secured the sixth spot (89.40%), Chelsea Vida Rosal at the ninth spot (89.10%), and Bea Roselle Romulo, who landed on the tenth spot (89.05), along with Ceres Natalie Basuel of the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB).
The licensure boards took place last Oct. 30 and 31 in the cities of NCR, Baguio, Cebu, Davao, Legaspi, and Zamboanga.
5. Earth’s moon bleeds red for the last time
Skywatchers and selenophiles were treated with the sight of the “Beaver Blood Moon” last Nov. 8. The total lunar eclipse occurred for 85 minutes, and reached its peak before 7 pm that night. The scene was immortalized in many photographs all over social media, capturing the eclipse’s glow until it returns in 2025. The celestial body was also captured behind iconic locations all over the world, including on top of the hand of the University of the Philippines Visayas’ Oblation statue, and among the clouds of Siargao Island.
It became a “blood moon” because, during a total lunar eclipse, the earth’s shadow completely covers the moon in its full phase. In turn, the dimmed moon reflects the rays from the sun with a reddish hue, earning its name. And as the sun finally sleeps, the moon becomes a red sight to see.
The term “Beaver moon” became a nickname to call the full moon that November brings. It came from Algonquian languages spoken by Native Americans in the New England territory. And as the full moon coincided with the eclipse, many marked the event as the “Beaver Blood Moon.”
6. UST ranks 3rd in November 2022 pharmacist boards
Another win for the Thomasian community!
UST landed on the third spot as the top-performing school in the November 2022 Pharmacist Licensure Board (PhLE) with a passing rate of 91.83%.
According to PRC’s November 15 results, five Thomasians secured the top spots in the examination: Honey Lynn Isip marked the second spot (92.55%), followed by Reign Walther in the third place (92.20%), Alyanna Alterado at the sixth spot (92.13%), Rendzborg claimed the eighth place (91.88%), and Shane Audrey Lim, clutching the ninth spot (91.83%).
The said examination was held last Nov. 9 to 10 in the cities of Metro Manila, Baguio, Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, Koronadal, Legaspi, Lucena, Pagadian, Pampanga, Rosales, Tacloban, Tuguegarao, and Zamboanga.
7. Halted progressions and rights for the Philippines
In pursuit of a progressive society, expect trials and tribulations along the way.
Despite repeated attempts from a United Nations body, the Philippine government has refused to enact the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) Bill and legislation allowing same-sex marriages, divorces, and abortions. Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla headed the Philippine delegation to the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the nation at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHCR), resulting in this decision. Remulla explained on his radio program last Nov. 19 that they rejected the following recommendations since they are “not acceptable” in the Philippines, a country with a strong Catholic culture.
The LGBTQIA+ community in the Philippines has been long advocating for the approval of the SOGIE Bill, yet the bill has been kept under wraps for years. And the queer community’s strong advocation was more epitomized when Rep. Bienvenido Abante Jr. filed a bill that seeks to recognize, define, and protect the rights of heterosexuals. The Heterosexual Act excludes the whole queer community that has consistently faced homophobic remarks, sexist viewpoints, and pervasive discrimination over the past years.
“Wala pong pakinabang ang isang batas na ‘for heterosexuals,’ considering that heterosexual o straight ang matagal nang tinitingnan bilang ‘normal,’” Bahaghari chairperson Reyna Valmores said in a tweet, deeming the said bill “a pathetic joke of the law.” TV personality KaladKaren also marked her stance in a tweet, noting that providing the queer community with equal rights does not imply fewer rights for others.
As for the divorce law, Remulla stated the possibility of the divorce law being enacted now than in the past when former senate president Vicente Sotto III strongly opposed it. Remulla also mentioned that they rejected the recommendation to legalize abortion in the Philippines, which the UNHRC saw as a stepping stone in upholding women’s rights. The rejection of these reforms and legislations strays the whole nation away from the rights and inclusive society the majority have longed for.
8. ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’ to become a memory
It’s the end of an era.
The drama that revived letters of hope on television is about to come to an end. Host of the show and ABS-CBN executive Charo Santos-Concio thanked the past 31 years of the support and stories received by the show on Nov. 22 on her Instagram. Charo also expressed gratitude for the opportunity of being the storyteller for the stories of humanity and hope since the show aired in 1991. She also thanked all the actors, the crew, and especially those who sent the letters which became the core of the show.
MMK is a drama anthology that features stories of letter-senders. Every episode offers a lesson to both the characters and the audience. The show also gives news perspectives of the world, portraying the story of all walks of life in its episodes.
To most, the show also provided a space for the family to bond every Saturday evening, carrying with them a competitive thrill to win mobile load when they guess the title of the episode correctly. To some, it has become a platform to celebrate Filipino lives: always with love, family, and hope.
Maalaala Mo Kaya will air its three-part finale episode from Nov. 26 to Dec. 10.
9. Kamala Harris affirms allyship to PH
“The US-Philippines alliance is strong. We are committed to you. We are committed to your success,” US vice president Kamala Harris said in a speech in Palawan on Tuesday, Nov. 22.
She ended her three-day trip to the Philippines with this assurance, on the island that faced conflict with China regarding the West Philippine Sea. This can also be seen as a rebirth of the relationship between the Philippines and the US, considering how the ties were unsteady during the previous administration.
Harris’s speech may be a breath of relief to some, settling into that newly-gained confidence for the conflict between the Philippines and China. But without major political measures to reclaim what is rightfully the territory, the two countries’ conflict could just be a cycle.
10. Baskin-Robbins to end its PH run
On Nov. 26, ice cream chain Baskin-Robbins announced the closure of all their Philippine stores by the end of the year.
The chain thanked customers for their successful operations that lasted for eight years. With that, they offered three promos running from Nov. 26 to Dec. 31, 2022. However, the promos could not conceal the fact that customers were saddened as the post garnered 42,000 engagements on a Facebook post, with 32,000 of them being sad reactions.
There was no reason specified for the store’s closure.
“Once again, thank you very much for everything. It’s been an honor to be of service to all of you,” the announcement concluded.
Perhaps, November brought us a whirlwind of emotions in spite of its calmness. The highs and lows masked by its tranquility gave us the courage to conquer what the last days of this year have in store for us. November 2022 molded us to finish the year stronger.