A new decade has come, but one must know to look back on the past now and to recollect the lessons we learned from the mistakes we made then.
2010 | J3J3MONS
3ow pHowZxsT!!! w4zS4p d3cAd3 tw3nTy t3nsxcT!
If you didn’t understand the phrase above, I congratulate you for successfully dodging that terrible phase!
Jejemon widely became a nationwide sensation in a matter of months during the early 2010s. The phenomenon was especially widespread among the youth, however, it was also criticized by most people from the education sector and upper class.
Since short message service (SMS) was limited to around 160 characters per message, users were pushed to economize spaces. Hence, the popularity of shortcut terms and abbreviations, which was then called text-lingo or textspeak.
At first, many favored the efficiency of using the text language. But then, for some reason, someone had the awesome idea of combining alphanumeric and randomly switching between the upper and lower cases as a means of style (not to mention the fashion that came with it too, but that’s another story to tell some other time).
Because apparently, plainly saying “brb, kakain lng” is bOrin6 and “bRb, ka2in LhUn6zxt” is c0oL.
Jejemon was heavily discouraged by many, especially for students for (1) its peculiar and awful way of writing, which made it indecipherable for its recipients and non-Jejemons; (2) their representation which oozes idiocy; and that (3) it’s considered a threat to language and the overall image of the Filipino society. Some even pointed out that it represents the country’s education problem since most of its members came from the lower classes—where educational opportunity is rare.
Meanwhile, some experts see this as a natural phenomenon for language evolution that will soon reach its tail end. The rise of Jejenese (Jejemons are the people, Jejenese is the language) is an indicator that our language and communication continues to be alive and evolving (though, it seems to regress during this phase); just how generations transitioned from Jeproks (70s) to Jologs/Japorms (80s-90s) to then Jejemons & Bekemons (2010s).
Ten years have passed and truly indeed, the subculture has now become nothing but a cringy memory that would forever haunt former Jejemons (such as myself). Nonetheless, text language continues to exist—reused by users in any way possible as a way of self-expression.
If we look at it a little bit further, the Jejemon phenomenon somehow projected as to how we communicate throughout the decade—the edgy and creative ways of self expression, but at the same time, undecipherable and misleading meaning of messages.
But can we all agree when I say, “aren’t we glad that phase was over, yeah?” J3j3j3
2011 | TROPICAL STORM SENDONG
“The Philippines is highly vulnerable to natural disasters like typhoons, sea storm surges and tsunamis. People living in vulnerable areas – for example, housing projects that are almost built at sea level – would be courting further disaster,” shared Country Director for Oxfam (Oxford Committee for Famine Relief) Bangladesh Snehal Soneji. (Prevention Web, 2011)
On February 10, 2012, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) released a final report on the effects and emergency management of Tropical Storm Sendong (internationally known as Washi). The tropical storm first entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on December 15, 2011, where it proceeded to wreak havoc and cause chaos for the next few days until it finally left on December 18.
1,206 of the 1,268 people reported dead were from Region X with 674 from CDO, 490 from Iligan City, and the remaining 42 from Bukidnon. This was presumably caused by the failure to heed the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA)’s warnings. A significant number of the victims included residents near two major rivers: the Cagayan de Oro River and the Mandulog River.
The following year, as the country braced for Typhoon Pablo’s impact, Former President Benigno Aquino III urged the Filipinos to prepare seriously for it—and rightfully so. A report from CNN detailed that Philippine Red Cross Head Richard Gordon reported that some building’s iron roofs soared through the air like “flying machetes.”
And while resilience is a good trait to have, there’s a call to stop romanticizing it in the face of calamities. Think about it.
Would you rather be a victim, survive, then be called resilient for doing so or be prepared enough to prevent having to experience the typhoon’s effects at all?
Resilience is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it’s a source of strength to be able to carry on. But on the other, it can just as easily make us complacent—leaving us vulnerable to both man-made and natural disasters.
2012 | RISE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Ah, 2012. The year where Snapchat, Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter, and most especially Facebook, started gaining more popularity than anyone could ever imagine. In fact, the Philippines is one of the countries with the most Facebook users.
Facebook also allowed Filipinos to use a few select features for free—making it one of the platforms that spearheaded the normalization of using social media.
Similarly, Snapchat drastically increased the number of snaps (a term used to describe pictures and videos sent using the app) shared among friend groups. Similarly, Pinterest inspired its users to discover new hobbies and hone their existing skills. Tumblr grew to be a popular blogging platform for diverse communities. And Twitter— easily became a go-to for people who are interested in sharing their thoughts on a whim. It’s now also filled with people who are considered to be “woke” (see 2018 down below).
Since then, we have become dependent on Facebook and Messenger as a primary communication tool. Moreover, others have been on these platforms so much that it has caused social media addiction. The phenomenon has become so widespread that others use the amount of engagement they gain online (in the form of likes and reactions, comments, and shares) to validate their beauty, confidence, and self-worth.
Ultimately, this begs a question for the future: will it continue to help our country progress or make it take a turn for the worse?
2013 | NEW ERA FOR ORO GOVERNANCE
A big shift of leadership in the local Oro government took place following the 2013 election. And as the new mayor put on the captain’s hat, former Misamis Oriental Governor Oscar Moreno was declared as the new mayor of the booming city.
Moreno had exerted his political will, making seemingly impossible projects possible. The persistence of Operation Hapsay Dalan, construction of hundreds of public school classrooms, the revival of the J.R. Borja Memorial City Hospital—including several free medical services for the less fortunate, are just some of the administration’s achievements within six years of service in the city.
Moreover, the administration was able to bag a handful of awards for the city, including national awards and recognitions such as the Seal of Education Governance and the most recent, Presidential award of the most child-friendly city.
Within the decade of 2010, CDO steadily progressed and was even recognized by the National Competitiveness Council, earning the city a place among the Top 10 Most Competitive Cities in the Philippines. It became a growth driver for Region 10 as the city perfectly sits at the gateway of Mindanao. Moreover, it attracted several multinational companies to invest—from big industries such as automotive to manufacturing and business process outsourcing. Homegrown industries such as startups and small-medium entrepreneurs also contributed to the booming economy of the city. See what impact harmonious coordination between government, the investors, and of course, the people can do to a developing city.
As long as the current and the future administration will continue to focus on investing on growth and development, not just on industrialization but also on other areas such as keeping the agriculture alive and providing education to the poor, in no time Cagayan de Oro will be among the thriving metropolitan cities in the country.
2014 | SELFIE CULTURE
Duckface, fish gape, messy-hair look, or even a double-chin—Filipinos love taking selfies. In gyms, cars, comfort rooms with great lighting and huge mirrors, taking a Selfie was one of the most trending activities to do in 2014.
As the technology of cellular phones continued to progress into smartphones, the popularity of the camera, one of its most used features, also grew. Consequently, good old digicams slowly faded into the background as more users preferred the all-in-one device.
Combined with the growing popularity of social media platforms such as Instagram, millions of users used hashtags such as #OOTD, #iwokeuplikethis, #carfie, #gymfie, #groupfie, #SELFIE to caption their self-portraits. Phone manufacturers, of course, took advantage of the virality of self-photographs and innovated their photo capturing technology. Companies such as Oppo, Viva, Huawei, and even Apple made efforts to improve their front and back cameras.
Although the selfie is said to have empowered self-esteem and self-appreciation, experts highlighted its psychological effects, including vanity and narcissism. Moreover, unfortunate cases such as accidents and death emerged along with the trend.
Yes, while Selfie culture indeed taught us to appreciate ourselves and served as an outlet for self-expression, the extremities it causes is something we should have a double-take.
The amount of effort some people exerted just for likes on social media platforms became some sort of a do-or-die competition. Drastic moves arose such as taking inappropriate selfie photos, doing daredevil stunts for the sake of video selfies, and the most common of all, orchestrating a seemingly perfect life to hide the sadness brought by the bitter reality.
This subculture, whether we liked it or not, has already become embedded into each of our lives. Along with the advent of our smartphones, taking photos became much easier for us. So the next time you take a photo—before you press that shutter button, ask yourself first: Am I taking this photo to safe-keep a memory or for the affirmation of others?
2015 | ‘CONFIDENTLY BEAUTIFUL WITH A HEART’
To be a Miss Universe is both an honor and a responsibility. If I were to be Miss Universe, I will use my voice to influence the youth and I will raise awareness to certain causes like HIV awareness that is timely and relevant to my country. I want to show the world—the universe, rather—that I am confidently beautiful with a heart. (Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, 2015)
This was the answer of Pia Wurtzbach that won her the crown of Miss Universe back in 2015. Wurtzbach, who grew up in Cagayan de Oro City, was the third Filipina to bring home the crown following Gloria Diaz in 1969 and Margarita Moran in 1973. A woman who exceeds beauty and brains, she also embodies perseverance and is the epitome of the saying ‘never give up‘.
Beauty pageants have been a national obsession for many Filipinos for many years now. The enthusiasm for them started way back from the Spanish era and fueled most Filipinas’ dreams of joining one. It has been embedded in our culture that even kids, the LGBT community, and overseas workers have their own version of pageantry.
In the local context, Cagayan de Oro has its own version, with the annual Miss CDO every August. Ladies residing in different barangays in the city, as all pageant contestants do, go into months of rigorous training in preparation for one big night. Contestants also take the pageantry seriously and give it much enthusiasm, just like it was an international one. And as the years go by, truly, the organizers of the local beauty pageant have improved—from its presentation to the standards it’s set on determining which ladies make it to the stage. But does this affect how Kagay-anons define beauty?
Zooming back out again on Philippine culture, the field of pageantry also has its fair share of critics—raising concerns on how it objectifies women and promotes pity competition among women.
Wurtzbach captured the real essence of the real definition of beauty, inspiring the young generation, as well as other women, to look beyond skin-deep when defining beauty. But as beauty pageants continue to persist and thrive in the country, should we also start asking ourselves who truly benefits from it? Is it the standardized contestants, the ogling audience, or the organizers?
Does it really promote skin-deep beauty or just conformity of women to the ideal standard of beauty and competition against each other to prove who’s more beautiful?
Nonetheless, perhaps one day, another Kagay-anon will bag the crown and bring pride—not only to the city—to the whole country.
2016 | STREAMING SERVICES
What’s your favorite show and where do you watch it? Are you caught up with its latest episodes?
The Philippines met 2016’s surge of streaming services with enthusiasm. Finally, you had access to tons of series and movies whenever and wherever you wanted them. Regardless of your style preferences (choosing between animation and live-action) or favorite genre, you could easily watch them with no problem. Others also incorporated binge-watching, also known as the act of watching multiple episodes of a series in one sitting, into their lifestyle.
Independent creators now also have a more accessible platform to showcase their creativity and work. For instance, Mikhail Red’s Dead Kids was released as the first original Filipino film on Netflix in 2019
As a bonus, streaming services also heavily discouraged content piracy as it guarantees viewers high-quality content to an unlimited number of media for a lower price in comparison to purchasing copies of each one individually.
On the flipside to all of its benefits, this may lead to a decline in the number of mainstream media viewers. Furthermore, with other free streaming services (like YouTube), it’s also becoming easier for us to stream videos, whether if we’re with a group or alone.
Do you remember the times when your entire family would gather around the TV because the teleserye you were all following was now showing? You might if you’re one of the lucky ones. Because instead of sharing this bonding experience, streaming services can easily divide us too. For instance, your siblings lounging in your living room watching a movie on Fox+ while you could stay in your room binging a series on Netflix.
Could the continued use of these services create a rift in our once, long-standing family ties? Are families doomed to drift apart?
Likewise, if we’re not careful, the opportunity to enjoy these shows whenever and wherever we please can easily cultivate impatience within ourselves. Once you’ve been hooked on the latest series you’re watching, why would you wait a while to watch it with someone else when you could do so now?
2017 | POP CULTURE CHALLENGES
As soon as 2017 came, it didn’t matter whether you had two left feet. More likely than not, you’ve participated in a few dance crazes here and there. Now try and look back, can you remember yourself doing the “whip” and “nae nae”? Can you still groove to Gangnam Style?
On another note, this was also the year where a lot of challenges emerged. You’ll often see participants “do it for the gram” wherein they take time to practice a challenge and then record themselves simply doing it to post on Instagram.
A few popular ones included the Try Not to Laugh Challenge, Bottle-Flipping Challenge, and the Cinnamon Challenge—with the third one being taken too seriously, consequently becoming deadly in other countries.
2017 calls us to explore the concept of virality. Does it really come and go just like that? And if you were truly “doin’ it for the ‘gram,” would you be seen less, if not irrelevant, if you didn’t?
Additionally, this trend heavily contributed to the rise of having carefully curated feeds, thus further affirming the need to compete for a better, and more aesthetically pleasing layout of images to prove your relevance. You can say that this also emphasized the need to establish a strong brand, regardless of whether it’s personal, professional, or both.
2018 | WOKE CULTURE
Woke culture is especially prevalent in the world of politics, the environment, and all types of fights for equality. It essentially entered mainstream media after its use during campaigns and protests. It involves spreading awareness, regardless of the size of your audience. Being woke means that you’re someone who actively speaks out against discrimination—whether it’s directly or indirectly brought upon by racism, classism, ableism, etc. At the very least, to consider yourself woke, you need to be aware of the harsh acts of injustice faced in society.
For the most part, woke Twitter (and perhaps woke culture in general) is a good thing. In the right circumstances, it enables people to make more informed choices. It also empowers others to fact check when they learn about something. And as a result, they become even more informed. But in the same way that woke Twitter educates others, clarifies misconceptions, and thrives on fighting for the good, it can also be toxic.
Social media is becoming filled with people who feel as if they’re more entitled or educated than others.
In a lot of ways, woke culture has empowered diverse communities. It’s allowed people to learn how to analyze situations more carefully and be more critical of the decisions of others. Moreover, because of woke culture, people are now less likely to be tricked by fake news, among other things. And though the country still has a long way to go before being able to reach its full potential, this has at least provided its citizens’ sturdy stepping stones.
2019 | MEME, THE COMFORT FOOD OF THE DECADE
In case you haven’t caught on, Memes are now the new universal language. Through the use of images and short and witty phrases and puns, everyone can certainly relate no matter what gender, race, nationality, or age. If you surf around from one platform to another, the probability of you scrolling past a meme is about a hundred percent, especially for Filipinos. With our unique sense of humor, we can turn things comical, even in moments of seriousness.
Viral posts became more relevant and prevalent during this decade, for one because of the advancement of the internet that affected our ways of communication. Now, as long as you have a photo and place relatable and witty dialogues, chances are the post you placed for the world to see will blow up.
Some even use cute photos such as furbabies and babies or expressions caught on cam such as laughing, sad, confused, or disgusted—and the possibility of getting thousands of likes and shares are high.
In Mackenzie Finklea’s Ted Talk, she explained how we humans want to become part of something bigger apart from ourselves. But at the same time, stand out and have something to leave behind after we are long gone—to become a legend. Finklea also mentioned how virality is a phenomenon of a completely random chance. Enumerating three reasons as to why we create memes: for validation, to make fun of our friends, and to laugh/distract ourselves from commonality. Moreover, virality also builds relationships that eventually turn into communities because of being able to connect through relatability.
Memes as well became a bridge for people in different communities, even from different generations to connect.
Like a thriving, living virus, Memes continue to multiply and spread out throughout our newsfeeds. While half of it certainly made us laugh, some also infected our definition of entertainment like some deadly virus
Such examples would be memes such as “Paano mo nasabi?” and “Wala, finish na.” Their statements were turned into catchphrases and circulated throughout the country, ignoring the fact that they were criminals.
Likewise, we’ve only started in 2020, but memes have already gone too far. With possibilities of World War III, some netizens are making satirical jokes about it. Whether it’s to comfort ourselves about the potential horrors of these nations disagreements or just a way of mockery, the possibility of a war is something we should take seriously.
Not to be a bummer or boomer here, alright, but if we continue to put humor on sensitive matters, it could lead us to more serious trouble. Knowing how influential the internet language has become, it now has a say on how we shape our future, and if we are not careful enough, we might scar this and future generations to come.
So the next time you see a meme, before hitting that share button, ask yourself: does this bring amusement or mockery to human affliction?
Looking forward to what 2020 has in store for us?
The decade of 2020 is barely starting, but a lot of things have already taken place—from uncontrollable catastrophe caused by nature to man-made conflicts that seem to push each other to the edge.
Is this a foreshadowing of an impending conflict we will go through or a message for us to shift gears as soon as possible to prevent irreversible horrors in the future?
Let us know what you think in the comments down below!
—(Co-written By Winona Serra)
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