It was a brutal year for the Philippines: flashfloods, bombings, suicides, mass graves, the whole repetitive narrative of bombings and killings that have crossed out the names of many that though they would welcome 2012.
But there are other stories, the odd events that make us believe that there’s still a universe left to fight for. This is a list of the good things, the everyday and the extraordinary.
Young actress Andi Eigenmann gets pregnant, gets rejected, gets called a whore, and tells the universe to get a life.
Jovito Palparan, fondly referred to as The Butcher, becomes the first military officer with a warrant for human rights violations after years of campaigning by relatives and activists, all of whom demand a public manhunt. The retired major general is still at large, as Palparan demonstrates that his belief in enforcing the rule of law only matters when his finger is on the trigger.
College sophomore Raissa Laurel, who lost both her legs during the 2010 bar exam bombing, walks again on her April birthday.
50-year-old Renato Rivera turns in his grandson Lester to the police after the 22-year-old confided he was responsible for the rape and murder of 19-year-old pastor’s daughter Given Grace Cebanico. Renato refused interviews, but was overheard saying “it was the right thing to do.”
Janelle Manahan, shot twice and put in critical condition by the killers of her boyfriend Ramgen Revilla, is out of the hospital and well enough to tweet on the state of the nation and leopard print pants over twitter.
A photo of elderly Aurelia Matias sitting on the curb at the corner of Buendia and Roxas Boulevard is posted by user Reddie Js and circulates over Facebook. Pinned to the back of Aurelia’s dress was a photocopied poster with a photo of her missing 78-year-old husband Luis, who had Alzheimer’s, along with their Pasay City address and contact numbers. After 60,000 shares, days of search and the assistance of many including major broadcast networks, Luis was found asleep by the Quirino MRT station.
Standard & Poor raises Philippines’ ratings outlook to positive from stable, saying the outlook is supported by the Philippines’ strong external liquidity and improving fiscal position.
Nine-year-old Analou Lapuerta, who lost her father, mother and three siblings after storm Sendong ripped apart their home, is found alive at sea 30 km away more than 24 hours after floodwaters punched through Iligan.
A man looking for his missing cow in the river finds 12-year-old Apolonio Lapuerta instead, and sends him home to his grandfather and sister Analou, who was found at sea a day after the storm.
Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez resigns from public office, shows no public rancor, saves the country the horror of another impeachment trial.
A boxer whose name is not Manny Pacquiao makes it to Sports Illustrated as Nonito Donaire knocks out Mexican Fernando Montiel with a left hook, giving the 29-year-old Filipino Donaire the World Boxing Organization and World Boxing Council bantamweight titles.
A group of UP Diliman janitors and staff who call themselves Da Boys gives up their Christmas get together to buy Christmas dinner for the Muslim orphans of Sendong.
A pared-down team from the Philippine Dragon Boat Federation of the Philippines flies to Florida on donated funds after being accused of being “too fast to be real,” and stripped of their national team status by the Philippine Sports Commission and Philippine Olympic Committee. They come home with five gold medals, two silvers, and a world record.
Remittances from Filipinos working abroad continue to rise in spite of an economic slowdown in the west and the explosion of the Arab Spring.
Golfer Juvic Pagunsan becomes the first Filipino to clinch the Asian Tour Order of Merit crown, hauling home a whopping purse and landing the spot for Asia’s best golfer.
The Philippines is removed from the US blacklist for human trafficking after convicting 25 human traffickers in 2011, including the country’s first convictions for child labor.
Scavengers Jonathan Sumbisi, 12, and Agustin Bayo, 9, find P300,000 in the garbage and turn it over to the junk shop owner who turns it over to the village captain who has announced it will be turned over to tire shop owner Norma de Belen.
Five years after its last run, the Bicol Express chugs its way into Ligao City, Albay, clocking in 12 hours of travel from Manila in spite of minor landslides, pedestrians, and a typhoon called Reming that devastated the province and ripped a billion pesos worth of train tracks five years before.
The Department of Justice enforces its power to ensure Arroyo legal counsel Ferdinand Topacio keeps his balls.
Seven river rafting guides from Cagayan de Oro’s Bugsay River Rafting Company use their rubber boats and a kayak during typhoon Sendong and save 500 people.
President Benigno Aquino III discovers a mid-life crisis is a danger to survey results, and decides to sell his Porsche.
Shamsey Supsup lands third runner-up at the Ms Universe beauty pageant, demonstrating that a girl needs more than a pretty face to be beautiful—it may also demands magna cum laude honors from the University of the Philippines and the highest score at the national architecture licensure exams.
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo gets charged in court and demonstrates that even the country’s most powerful woman is subject to the bang of a gavel.