Best of the Year: 2011, it’s a wrap!

Woman of the year: Anne Curtis

MANILA, Philippines – Besides hosting Showtime, where she dazzles everyone with her smile and sense of style, Anne Curtis starred in the talked-about box office hit No Other Woman, became the first Filipina L’Oreal endorser, and received a star at the Eastwood Walk of Fame. She also released her debut album Annebisyosa, which received a gold record award three weeks after, giving hope, as Anne said so herself, to non-singers who dream of recording best-selling albums. Anne has conquered everything that comes her way and she’s going to give established singers a run for their money when tickets start selling for her first solo concert next year. She’s all that and a bag of chips and to prove it, she became the first Rogue girl to receive triple covers and made like KC Concepcion (but without the cameras) and rode the notoriously packed MRT just to catch Kylie Minogue perform in Araneta!

Beauty queens of the year: Shamcey Supsup, Gwendoline Ruais, Dianne Necio, and Athena Imperial

Annual beauty pageants are the Super Bowls of beckys, so it was a good year for our sisters when Shamcey Supsup, Gwendoline Ruais, Dianne Necio, and Athena Imperial won respective titles in the pageants they participated in. Shamcey Supsup was awarded 3rd runner-up at Miss Universe, Gwendoline Ruais won 1st runner-up at Miss World, Dianne Necio placed in the Top 15 of Miss International (being the fourth consecutive Filipina contestant to do so), and Athena Imperial bagged the Miss Earth-Water title. With all the titles our beauties have been bagging this year, we wonder why Veejay Floresca, Martin Bautista, Lex Librea and Aleq Africa haven’t recorded themselves jumping up and down in their pajamas for old times’ sake.

Festival of the year: Cinemalaya

Cinemalaya, the bastion of Filipino indie cinema, has received its long-awaited and well-deserved recognition from mainstream media. Films from the festival in July, such as Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank, Ligo Na U, Lapit Na Me, Ang Sayaw Ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa, Zombadings: Patayin Sa Shokot Si Remington, and Rakenrol received commercial release, much to the delight of fans. Interest in indie films has increased over the years mainly because mainstream actors have started participating, most notably Eugene Domingo, much to the dismay of purists. Most exciting is Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank’s entry into the Oscars shortlist of Best Foreign Language Film. Whether or not it brings home the big win, is beside the point because finally, we may be evolving from formulaic teenybopper dramedies.

Network of the year: TV5

A great shift began in local television when business mogul Manny V. Pangilinan bought TV5 in 2009. The network has been MVP-fied for two years, but the masses only felt the change when big stars started transferring, beginning with Dolphy, Ruffa Gutierrez, and Willie Revillame in 2010. This was soon followed by Aga Muhlach, Nora Aunor, Lorna Tolentino, and Sharon Cuneta, whose move was rumored to have cost the network over P5 billion. TV5 under MVP shook the industry, changing the game from a two-player deal to a free-for-all, threatening those who relaxed in a one-competition setup. The successful rebranding of the network has made MVP even more relevant (especially after the Digitel takeover last month), probably as relevant as the PNoy himself, but we hope TV5 won’t monopolize the entertainment industry by getting all the artists — imagine Marian Rivera and Kris Aquino ending up sharing a talk show!

Breakups of the year: John Lloyd Cruz and Shaina Magdayao, KC Concepcion and Piolo Pascual, and Mo Twister and Rhian Ramos

The Ruffa Gutierrez-John Lloyd Cruz-Shaina Magdayao love triangle was confusing, then amusing at best, and KC Concepcion’s breakup with heartthrob Piolo Pascual was intriguing because of all the ambiguity during her interview with Tito Boy Abunda. After all, what are we supposed to think when she said “May mga hinahanap ako na basic lang na hahanapin ng isang babae sa isang boyfriend, sa isang lalaki.” But shortly after KC’s tearful tell-all, Mo Twister stole her thunder with the anonymous uploading of a “repaired video” wherein Mo detailed Rhian’s alleged abortion of their child. Though Mo denies having anything to do with the video’s public release, Rhian and her lawyer slapped him with a case accusing him of violating the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act. Since then, another video surfaced of Rhian straddling Mo while dry humping, groping, making out and giving icky poo loooove declarations to the camera. For Rhian’s sake, we hope nothing worse surfaces. —Cai Subijano

Most celebrated musicians of the year: Adele and Amy Winehouse

Adele may have been performing since 2008 with the release of her studio album “19,” but it was the January release of “21” that propelled the British crooner to international fame. Her hypnotic voice gained a large following with her proclamation that she makes music for ears, not eyes. Despite the criticism on her weight, her hit single Someone Like You became an anthem (and the subject of a hilarious SNL spoof) and her cover photos for magazines, like Rolling Stone, British Vogue, and Cosmopolitan, are proof that big talent is beautiful. Her passionate and soulful voice reminds us of another tortured soul, Amy Winehouse, who we sadly lost this July, but we hope that Adele goes past the infamous 27 Club, which has taken many of our musical greats, to make the album “28.”

Icon of the year: Steve Jobs

News of the death of Steve Jobs came as a huge shock, especially for those who lived by the gadgets he created, from the iPod, the iPad, and everything in between. His death in October was due to a rare form of pancreatic cancer, which he rarely talked about since being diagnosed in 2003. Steve is credited for leading the technology wave with revolutionary products that changed how we viewed communication. Currently, rumors regarding the iPhone 5 are spreading (again), but things haven’t been the same without Steve, who was celebrated for his personality aside from his products. Many believe that the company would do just fine, even when the maker has met the maker.

Box office diva of the year: Vice Ganda

Patrons of comedy bars in the days of yore knew who Vice Ganda was even before Showtime. The comedian has been in the comedy circuit since 1999, delivering the punchlines that would eventually break a Philippine record. He dominated national consciousness when he joined the hit series Showtime, where his jokes, which centered on the “may nagtext!” theme became insanely popular. But it was his self-deprecating attitude that endeared him to many fans, and he still remains the unkabogable judge, meaning he’s un-evictable (though we believe he would be a staple even if he could be booted out). His biggest coup for the year was starring in Praybeyt Benjamin, which broke the record for highest-earning Filipino movie of all time. Call him a horse as many times as you want, but Vice Ganda will be galloping all the way to the bank.

Arrest of the year: CGMA

We’ve all heard of the tragic executions of the suspected drug mules in China and our hearts go out to their families, but the biggest arrest for this year is of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. An arrest warrant for electoral sabotage was charged against the Pampanga representative while she was at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig City where she was nursing a rare bone disorder. This was one of the missions of President Noynoy Aquino, but he didn’t seem satisfied as he went on a vicious tirade against the Supreme Court and Chief Justice Renato Corona for blocking his efforts with Corona immediately impeached. The furor raised against this was so great that pundits are calling the President a dictator, which is of course not true because the mark of a true dictator is having a Tumblr account of him looking at things or dropping the bass.

Good riddance of the year: Osama Bin Laden, Kim Jong-Il, Muammar Gaddafi, and Hosni Mubarak

It was a good year for politics as we saw the deaths of terrorist Osama Bin Laden, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, and the ousting of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. These four have led different lives, but what they have in common is the feeling of discomfort they gave while in power, whether it be for their nation’s people or people from around the world. Bin Laden was finally captured by a US special forces military unit, Kim Jong-Il passed away due to a heart attack, Gaddafi was beaten and shot to death, while Mubarak was ousted after 18 days of protest. Suddenly, with the exception of natural calamities, the world suddenly seems like a safer place.

Team of the year: Team Philippines!

The Philippine Azkals paved the way for Filipino athletes getting the recognition they deserve by making the most out of a crack at entering the World Cup and putting up a good fight against David Beckham and the rest of LA Galaxy. The Philippine Volcanoes managed to live up to all that underwear-related hype by bagging the silver medal at the Asian Men’s Rugby 7s Championships. The Philippine Dragon Boat team has won five gold medals and two silver medals at the 10th World Dragon Boat Championships in Tampa Bay, Florida, on top of their gold medal wins in 2007 and 2009. All this athletic popularity proves that becoming a professional athlete in the Philippines is a viable career because if all else fails, you could also go for being a sought-after endorser. —Cai Subijano

Discussion of the year: The RH Bill

From the ridiculous schism among Ayala Alabang residents over whether a doctor’s prescription is needed to buy oral contraceptives to the intense verbal wars between Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Mommy Dionisia, and Lea Salonga and Manny Pacquiao, the RH Bill was one hot topic people couldn’t stop talking about. The discussions reached their peak with the exhibition of Mideo Cruz’s “Poleteismo” where even The Huffington Post took note of the way he offended the CBCP by gluing a wooden penis on Jesus Christ’s face on a poster. Admittedly, the exhibit was shocking, but the CBCP’s involvement in its removal begged the question of whether the Catholic Church was meddling a tad too much in society’s affairs. They may insist on refusing Holy Communion to politicians who support the pure logic of the RH Bill, but messing around in matters of art may be taking their position of power way too far. —Cai Subijano

Facelift of the year: NAIA

It took an international double blow for us to realize that NAIA 1 was overdue for a makeover. The Guide to Sleeping in Airports blog ranked NAIA 1 as the worst airport in the world and fifth most hated airport in the world by CNN’s travel site. A plan to rehabilitate the airport turned awry when renowned designers Kenneth Cobonpue, Budji Layug, and Royal Pineda revealed that Cabinet officials commissioned them to prepare a pro bono design. Teddy Boy Locsin demanded that the designers should be given subpoenas to reveal who these officials were, hinting that the officials granted them permission in exchange for free or almost-free furnishing. In spite of all the negative backlash, what’s important is our government has been moved to action. PNoy signed off on a P1.1 billion rehabilitation plan — P500 million for the interior design, with the help of the team behind Singapore’s Changi International, P340 million for structural upgrades, P300 million for much-needed rapid exit taxiways, P20 million for 72 new toilets (thank God!), and P20 million for urinals and other amenities. Hey, if an airport was named after your father, you’d better make it a priority!           —Cai Subijano

Disappointment of the year: Banned underwear billboards on EDSA

Clothing magnate Bench has always pushed the boundaries when it came to advertising, but one series of billboards along EDSA apparently went too far and bothered the wrong people. Described by Mandaluyong City Mayor Benhur Abalos as “inappropriate,” he had them dismantled. Ads featuring Aly Borromeo, along with the rest of the Philippine Volcanoes, the brothers Younghusband, Angel Locsin, and Lovi Poe in provocative wear were also removed because they were “offensive.” While it may appear that the MMDA has a personal vendetta against fit people, the organization’s chair Francis Tolentino said that they were removed because the operators didn’t have the proper permits. Whatever the reason — because really, most, if not all, of the ads removed had barely-clothed endorsers — EDSA is probably now safer, with less road accidents, but a lot less eventful.

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