After the pandemic first rocked the world in 2020, by no means was 2021 less uneventful, especially in the Philippines: from witnessing the Philippines’ first-ever Olympic gold to the 2022 election race, users in the Philippines rushed online to look up these headline-defining moments this year.
Amid loosening community quarantine restrictions, Filipino netizens’ online activity was still at an all-time high as they sought out their passions online like never before. Athletes and celebrities continued to dominate headlines, while politics and catastrophes remained some of the most-searched topics in 2021.
Yahoo’s Year in Review 2021 recaps the year through top trends, happenings, events, and personalities that Pinoys cared about the most.
Top newsmakers of 2021: Sports, politics, and history in the making defined headlines
Boxing legend, senator, and now presidential candidate Manny Pacquiao topped headline searches this year for multiple reasons, beginning from his unanimous decision loss to reigning WBA welterweight champ Yordenis Ugas in August to his decision to run for president in September under the PDP-Laban party.
Politics is clearly on Pinoys’ minds, in light of the upcoming 2022 elections: Filipinos also widely searched for Ferdinand Marcos (3rd) with Bongbong Marcos announcing his own bid for the presidency in 2022. Other political newsmakers include president Rodrigo Duterte (5th) who announced his departure from politics this year; his daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio (7th), who is running alongside Marcos Jr. as vice president; and former President Benigno Aquino III (6th), revered for combating corruption and championing economic reforms, who passed away in June this year of renal disease.
COVID aside, Filipinos also concerned themselves with major events: the threat of Taal Volcano (2nd) continued from last year after yet another volcanic unrest was recorded in July this year—prompting the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology to place Batangas province under Alert Level 3. Users also searched for updates on Typhoon Maring (9th) after it ravaged parts of northern Luzon; 15 national roads and highways made impassable due to flooding, thousands displaced and affected with around 40 dead and several others missing and injured. Pinoys also kept themselves updated on the tragedy of the Philippine Air Force C-130 (10th) crash in July that took the lives of 53.
Meanwhile, historical events topped searches in 2021: weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz was the fourth biggest newsmaker this year after her groundbreaking win at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics—snatching the first-ever gold medal for the Philippines. Netizens also searched for Rappler CEO and awarded journalist Maria Ressa (8th), who became the first Filipino individual Nobel laureate after being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize alongside Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov.
Most searched personalities: Bea Alonzo and Lee Min-ho emerge on top
Pinoy celebrities and Korean stars continued to dominate this year’s searches. Award-winning actress and prized ABS-CBN talent Bea Alonzo was the most-searched female celebrity this year after her transfer to rival network GMA-7 made headlines. Her latest relationship with actor Dominic Roque, following her breakup with Gerald Anderson, also caught the attention of users in the Philippines.
After topping last year’s searches, YouTuber and Kapamilya star Ivana Alawi slid to the second spot. Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray (3rd) was still one of the most-searched female stars after hosting this year’s Bb Pilipinas pageant, and news of her online course with the controversial Nas Academy made rounds. Miss Universe 2020 Rabiya Mateo (4th) and actress Angel Locsin (5th) rounded off the top 5. Stars such as Sarah Geronimo (6th), Julia Barretto (7th), TikTok’s Bella Poarch (8th), Ara Mina (9th), and Kathryn Bernardo (10th) completed the list.
The Hallyu wave continues to crash land on Pinoys well into 2021. Beloved K-drama superstar Lee Min-ho topped searches for male celebrities, while Crash Landing on You’s Hyun Bin (3rd) continued to be popular in searches, as well as Ji Chang-wook (7th). However, more Pinoy celebrities made up this year’s list, led by Ang Probinsyano’s Coco Martin (2nd) followed by Robin Padilla (4th). Heartthrobs such as Daniel Padilla (5th), Gerald Anderson (6th), Xian Lim (8th), Paulo Avelino (9th), and Dingdong Dantes (10th) rounded up the list.
Most searched athletes: Pinoy pride swells
Aside from Pacquiao (1st), the Philippines’ impressive run at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics has seen a spike in searches for Olympians and other athletes making waves globally.
2021 was truly Hidilyn Diaz’s (2nd) year as the first Filipino Olympic gold medalist, who shortly got engaged to boyfriend and coach Julius Naranjo. Basketball fans also followed updates on young star Kai Sotto (3rd) and his budding international career, while billiards legend Efren Bata Reyes (4th) continued to be popular in searches. Sports enthusiasts also kept tabs on Filipino-Japanese golf star Yuka Saso (5th), who won the US Women’s Open this year, and Australian Open titleholder Alex Eala (6th).
Olympians Nesthy Petecio (7th), Carlos Yulo (8th), Carlos Paalam (9th), and Eumir Marcial (10) rounded up sports searches.
The cryptocurrency fever in the Philippines
2021 was also a big year for cryptocurrency in the Philippines, as interest surged in the country. Binance Coin (1st), Bitcoin (2nd), Tether (3rd), Ripple (4th), and Uniswap (5th) topped crypto searches, while “meme coins” Shiba Inu (6th) and Dogecoin (8th) also made the list.
For the biggest moments online and other surprises from the year, take a detailed look at Yahoo’s Year in Review 2021.