The Gist


Does anyone else remember this time last year when the whole world was enthusiastically sharing their goals and wishes for the new decade, and we had such high hopes for 2020? When we look at the big picture, that has definitely gone down the drain. But maybe there are small wins that deserve to be celebrated this year, too.

/ 31 December 2020

It doesn’t really take much time to think about everything that went wrong this year globally, locally, and even in our personal lives. With several typhoons devastating parts of the country, media shutdowns cutting off the coverage of one of the largest local broadcasting networks, injustices happening left, right and center, and all our personal milestones being pushed back by months and years due to the pandemic that’s hitting us in full force, it’s easy to look at this year and see it as just a waste of time. A year where aging should stop alongside everything else hitting “pause,” and a year that we, as a people, should probably just unanimously agree does not count.

The year has definitely given us more than we can chew, and snatched away more than we can endure. The whole world is just ready to move on and start anew in 2021, but perhaps, although it’s hard to see in light of all the big losses, there are still some small wins that we should acknowledge before the year formally comes to a close.



You can say what you want about TikTok, but it definitely brought us a lot of joy and entertainment in these bleak times, especially at the beginning of lockdown when we suddenly had too much time on our hands. In one way or another, the app has taken hours away from our boredom, and it also became a valuable tool in informing and educating each other in bite-sized clips about a wide range of topics.



As majority of the country was forced to stay indoors, face their home interiors 24 hours in a day, with a health concern floating around outside, Filipinos took it upon themselves to bring in some plants and harvest their own greens. For some reason, 2020 was the year almost every household became obsessed with plant babies, hence the growing “plantita” or “plantito” movement. As much as the cultural movement serves our houses well with plants giving it a new breath of life, it’s also a wonderful initiative to work towards a sustainable society in which we can grow our own crops that could later on add to the dining table.



It took a global pandemic and a local lockdown for Filipinos to start taking out their old bicycles for a ride, especially when public transportation was first limited in the early days of quarantine. As more and more cyclists went out into the city, local authorities have started paying attention to the community’s safety by building bike lanes. Although there’s still so much to work on in terms of creating a city that’s safe and encouraging for cyclists, it’s definitely a step towards the right direction. This might eventually open up to more urban planning opportunities that would cater to more natural sights and recreational spaces. Plus, the impact this will have on the environment is enough to put our support behind it!



In line with the whole global movement of working to produce less waste through more sustainable alternatives, thrifting has also grown more and more popular, especially this year. On top of going against fast fashion, thrifting also provides unique vintage styles that aren’t very common in major clothing brands today. As online shopping took over the local retail scene during quarantine, many ukay (thrift) Instagram accounts opened dedicated to curating and styling vintage pieces for accessible prices.



2020, for some reason, undoubtedly became the year the Philippines told and consumed so many Boy’s Love stories with pioneers Gameboys and Gaya Sa Pelikula spearheading the cultural movement. So many stories centered around love between men came out this year, and it seems that the Filipino audience is finally ready to appreciate and celebrate them. Hopefully, as more and more perspectives from the LGBTQIA+ community come out in the near future, the country will also be there to support them.

More importantly, when it comes to real world issues like rights and equality, let this be a way for us to realize that our brothers and sisters deserve the same happiness and freedom we are privileged enough to enjoy. May these stories pave the way for a society that’s fueled with more empathy, understanding, and respect.



Being stuck indoors with nothing but our phones giving us a peek of the outside world, this year was a time of reflection and eyes being opened, especially among the youth. Whenever injustices happened and discussion was loud on social media, more and more people started to become educated on national issues like rights, accountability, and abuse, to name a few. There was nowhere to hide, per se, unless you take the extra steps to mute certain topics or people on your timeline. As a result, current events had our undivided attention for the first time ever, regardless if we wanted it or not.

Though it gave us an immeasurable amount of stress and anxiety, it was definitely a wake up call to all the injustices happening across the country, and outside of it. And so, young people online became more active and critical of local officials, corporations, and other personalities that needed to be called out. There were several incidents in 2020 where the real power of the youth was seen online, but perhaps the most important initiative is the general promotion of registering as a voter in time for the coming national elections in 2022.

So, yes, 2020 was a big let-down in terms of graduations, weddings, travel plans, businesses being shut down, employees being laid off, loved ones suffering from COVID-19, and everything else. The year wasn’t what any of us expected, or wanted, for that matter. But it did make way for certain important things and issues to get the attention they deserve, instead of the cold indifference they might have seen if circumstances were different.

Here’s to hoping for a better new year for all of us. May things go back to normal—or to a better normal, rather—and may we finally be free of all the hardships 2020 threw at our faces. No amount of “small wins” can make this year a good one, but at least it wasn’t all that bad.