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The Year in Internet Controversy: the Philippines' 7 Top Trending Stories

Politics, controversy, and the odd piece of good news defined our year, says data analytics company Research and Tech Lab.
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We're in the last few weeks of the year, which means that there's plenty of time yet for our politicians and fellow online denizens to come up with more...surprises.

So, while we recognize that this list may change before 2019 comes rolling around, digital data analytics company Research and Tech Lab listened in on the "total noise volume of issues across different digital and social media platforms" to see which stories were most talked-about online by Filipinos over the past year.

Research and Tech Lab (which counts among their clients "mostly big brands and politicians") aggregate all public online data, which is then analyzed by their pool of researchers. In an email, RTL explains that, for this particular study, the group was able to find "25,575,684 publicly available comments, shares and reactions and analyzed them to track the most talked about issues online. They were ranked according to the number of traction/share of voice gathered." 

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#KwentongJollibee2018 Series

This pre-Valentine's Day campaign consisted of three videos that tell modern love stories. Nothing new, perhaps, but viewers were taken by the series' fresh storytelling: “Signs,” directed by Theodore Boborol, is about a woman asking for cosmic signs that her crush is The One; Joel Ruiz's “Homecoming” shows how two people fell in love via sticky notes; and “Status” by Ianco de la Cruz gives us an insight as to how people can find love in unexpected places.

Angel Aquino and Tony Labrusca's kissing scene in Glorious

The trailer for the iWant Original movie racked up 8.3 million views in 24 hours after it was released on November 4, with many people singling out the, uh, torrid kiss between the two leads. Tony Lambrusca, you lucky dog, you.

Halik TV Series

The ABS-CBN drama series Halik has become the most talked-about series in social media—one imagines it has to do with its daring scenes, complicated relationships, and weekly revelations and confrontations between its characters. 

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"Five-Minute Girl" Viral Video

Posted August 16 on the page Gadget Addict, the video entitled "Birds of a Feather" showed a woman aggressively refusing to surrender her driver's license to MMDA enforcers. Dubbed the "five-minute girl" by online commenters, the driver was being apprehended for illegal parking, having gone over the five-minute grace period.

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The original video has already amassed more than 217k reactions, 144k comments and 288k shares, and has been reposted on other pages. 

Sili Inflation

In response to alarming news of inflation rates, people pointed out that market prices of siling labuyo had skyrocketed to a ridiculous thousand pesos per kilo. Becoming a symbol of Filipinos' frustration with rising prices, the Internet instead chose to make light of it, producing memes and even corporate promos to make light of the problem.

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SONA 2018

No news is good news, especially when you're the president. When he delivered this year's State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 23, President Rodrigo Duterte miraculously stayed on script.

More than that, however, there was a behind-the-scenes political tussle that resulted in the ouster of Davao del Norte Representative Pantaleon Alvarez as Speaker of the House, replaced by Pampanga Representative (and former president) Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

The Ban on OFWs in Kuwait

Of more than 2.3 million OFWs stationed around the world (as of 2017), over 262,000 Filipinos work in Kuwait. When President Duterte issued a ban on Pinoys leaving for Kuwait beginning on April 30, the news attracted a lot of attention both here and abroad. The president was responding to the grisly murder of Joanna Demafelis, a Filipino OFW, in Kuwait. 

The ban was only lifted by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on May 15 following the memorandum of agreement (MOA) signed by representatives from the Philippines and Kuwait on May 11 that would provide additional protection for OFWs in the Gulf state.

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