Highlights of 2018 Here and Around the World
1/20 Kendrick Lamar bags Pulitzer
When the 31-year old rapper won the coveted Pulitzer prize last March 2018, fans were elated to see the talented musician recognised by the prestigious organization. However, as the first non-classical musical album to win the prize, Lamar’s fourth LP entitled “DAMN.” was met with a lot of criticism. Whatever you may think of his music, the win goes to show that the trend towards recognising diversity (not only racial, but moreso, in artistry) continues to grow strong and hopefully stronger in the coming year.
2/20 Facebook and the Mueller Indictment
Following the revelations at the Mueller indictment, Facebook was brought in to weigh the global repercussions of the alleged troll farms that seem to have possibly created a divide and unduly swayed the American public to vote for Trump. This opened up the social media platform to scrutiny in creating a more secure and legitimate space to be involved in. To date, Facebook is working with law enforcement and civil groups to fight fake news and disable trolls that exist in the space.
3/20 Saying goodbye to Stephen Hawking
Theoretical physicist, cosmologist, astronomer, professor and author -- Stephen Hawking was truly one of the greatest minds of our time. His career was marked by his work on general relativity, black holes, his collaboration with Roger Penrose on gravitational singularity theorems, among others. At age 76, this visionary and pioneer in the field of science succumed to ALS in his Cambridge home this March.
4/20 #MeToo and the arrest of Harvey Weinstein
While the #MeToo movement has existed way back in 2006, it gained international traction after the 2017 revelations and scandal that involved top Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein, among many others, in allegations of sexual harassment. This was followed by countless men and women coming forward about their own stories of abuse both in and out of the film industry. Come May 2018, Weinsten was charged with rape, criminal sex act, sex abuse and sexual misconduct, and was arrested after his surrender to the police.
5/20 The Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
The entire world stood still as Meghan Markle and Prince Harry exchanged vows last May. It was the wedding of the year that brought both a lot of attention on the crown and Markle from every detail of the wedding to the reactions of the members of the Royal family. Not long after the nuptials, Kensington Palace announced that the couple is expecting a child to arrive in Spring 2019.
6/20 Paying our R.E.S.P.E.C.T. to Aretha Franklin
Franklin was already a legend even before she passed away in August. The Queen of Soul has inspired countless artists, including Beyonce. Her 60-year career spanned the civil rights movement, where she used her voice to represent a generation of African Americans, and after that, she fluidly moved between genres to show versatility and also make a name in modern pop music.
7/20 Space X and its Falcon Heavy
This year, SpaceX launched the highly-anticipated Falcon Heavy that currently has the highest payload capacity compared to any operational launch vehicle, and the fourth-highest capacity of any rocket ever built. After its initial launch in February, the Falcon Heavy exceeded Musk’s predicted length of trajectory–having surpassed Mars–and returning to the Earth in no more than six hours. The future of travel, anyone?
8/20 Depression on spotlight with the loss of Kate Spade
Known for her light and joyful demeanor, Spade was a prominent figure in the American fashion industry. Her passing came as a shock to many. However, the designer will continue to be known for her dedication to creating items that bring joy and colour to everyday wear and living. She is survived by her husband, Andy Spade, and 13-yr old daughter, Frances Beatrix. Her death put a spotlight on depression, which was amplified when Bourdain also fell to the same cause a few days later.
9/20 Farewell to Anthony Bourdain
Anthony Bourdain’s passing represents loss for all of us who love life and living with passion. His wry humour allowed us to vicariously travel with him through his adventures with food in places we long to discover. Truly an inspirational man, Bourdain will be remembered for the way he touched many lives through his geniune character and love for the mundane.
10/20 Boracay undergoes rehabilitation
President Duterte made a drastic and shocking decision by shutting down one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations and considered as one of the top beaches in the world for environmental rehabilitation. Despite drawing mixed reactions from entrepreneurs, tourism operators, travellers and environmentalists, President Duterte proceeded with his choice. Months later, Boracay reopened with pristine beaches and improved infrastructure. With the claimed success of this rehabilitation, the government announced plans to do the same in other parts of the country including Palawan and Manila Bay.
11/20 Grab-Uber Southeast Asia Merger
Ride-sharing platform Grab acquired rival firm Uber’s Southeast Asian operations. The deal positions the Singapore-based tech firm as the undisputed market leader in the region, and is a landmark moment for Generation T listers Anthony Tan and Hooi Ling Tan, who co-founded the company just over five years ago. In the Philippines, while Uber no longer operates, it still maintains a Center of Excellence supporting other countries with the Uber platform.
12/20 The loss of Joel Robuchon
Renowned celebrity chef Joël Robuchon, a man who has been awarded time and time again, passed away from pancreatic cancer. He, as a chef and restaurateur, collected the most Michelin stars in the world (32). The world will continue to adore Chef Robuchon’s creations, indulge in his mashed potatoes and breads, while raising our glasses to a life well-spent.
13/20 TIME's People of the Year - Guardians and the War on Truth
In this era where fake news is widespread and the world is ever divided, TIME recognised individuals who have earned accolades in their own right to have fought for the freedom of the press. Targeted by governments and challenged by society, these individuals and associated establishments stood their ground and refused to be silenced. The list includes Filipino founder and journalist, Maria Ressa.
14/20 No more cameos for beloved Stan Lee
Marvel Comics icon and real-life hero to many, Stan Lee passed away in November after succumbing to health issues. He was one the personalities responsible for the foundations of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) which brought these cult characters to the mainstream moviegoing market. His imprint both in comics and superhero filmmaking is truly indelible. His cameos will be sorely missed!
15/20 Wakanda Forever: Black Panther shatters records
Despite the MCU churning out great movie after great movie, nobody expected a superhero flick to elevate itself in terms of substance as much as Black Panther. After earning stellar reviews, the movie broke many records and became the highest-grossing solo superhero movie ever. The overwhelmingly positive critical and commercial reception proves that the global audience is hungry for films that explore the stories and experiences of other cultures, especially those that barely get enough screen time.
16/20 Michael Kors acquires Versace
Global fashion house Michael Kors acquired Italian luxury giant Versace, adding a new layer to its offering after buying shoemaker Jimmy Choo last year. Michael Kors, with roots in the United States but headquartered in London, bought Versace for 1.83 billion euros ($2.1 billion).
17/20 New national artists recognised
Championing Philippine arts and culture, seven big names joined the coveted list of National Artists this year. Playwright Amelia Lapeña Bonifacio, composer Ryan Cayabyab, architect Francisco Mañosa, historian and literary critic Resil Mojares, filmmaker Kidlat Tahimik, fictionist Ramon Muzones, and cartoonist Larry Alcala’s decades of service, dedication, and hardwork are truly commendable and worthy of such tremendous recognition.
18/20 Crazy Rich Asians dominates at the box office
When news of an all-Asian Hollywood movie was in the works, the Internet simultaneously went into a tizz. From the casting to the premiere, all eyes were on this project especially after the tremendous success of Black Panther that premiered earlier in 2018. In the end, Crazy Rich Asians became the highest grossing rom-com in a decade, further strengthening the notion that stories about people of colour are undoubtedly bankable. Hooray for representation!
19/20 A truce between North and South Korea
North Korea's leader supreme Kim Jong-un and South Korea's President Moon Jae-in made a bold statement by shaking hands at the border of the truce village of Panmunjon at the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas. North and South Korea have been staunch enemies since the end of the war in 1953. This remarkable meeting was a first, marking the start of a promising turn of events as the two leaders mutually agreed to turn their border into a "peace zone." Is this finally the end of this long standing discord?
20/20 Catriona Gray brings home the crown
Joining a hand-picked elite of well-rounded and stunning women, Catriona Gray is the fourth Filipina to bring home the Miss Universe crown. Proving that she is not merely a pretty face, Gray shone brightly on the stage with her poise and intelligent engagement with the hosts and other representatives from all over the world. The Australian-Filipina bags the fourth Miss Universe crown for the Philippines following Gloria Diaz in 1969, Margie Moran Floirendo (who was just recently awarded Patroness of the Arts in our 2018 Philippine Tatler Ball) in 1973, and Pia Wurtzbach in 2015.