“Para syang bangungot na di matapos-tapos,” ABS-CBN News reporter Chiara Zambrano succinctly sums up 2020 in the yearender report. And we couldn’t agree more. The Taal Volcano eruption, the Covid-19 pandemic, the ABS-CBN shutdown, our beloved cultural icons bidding us goodbye, the earthquakes, the typhoons, the floods. After all that we’ve gone through, we’re certainly keen to write off 2020. But not without lessons learned, a ton of blessings, a hopeful disposition, and a sense of humor.
We asked some friends to put down in words their goodbye message to this unprecedented year on its way out.
I was born in the Year of the Rooster. And according to the Chinese horoscope, 2020, being the Year of the Rat, was supposed to be a financially auspicious one for me. Cut to ten months and two retrenchments later, it turns out 2020 was a financial boon for me…but only because I had spent so much time indoors that all the money I had saved from not going out to restaurants and movies and booking Grab rides had actually rendered all the money I wasn’t earning moot.
That was the kind of terrible joke 2020 was for me. Never mind the cosmic, existential prank of a pandemic that will likely have surpassed 80 million cases and 2 million deaths by the time you read this—the resultant lockdown also gave rise to newly coined elisions like “Quaranteam” and “Blursday” and “Covidiot.” For a few weeks, famous scenery and international monuments became desolate vistas straight out of a de Chirico painting. A global reckoning on institutional racism came due, and still, an unhinged white couple who waved guns at passing Black Lives Matter protestors got invited to speak at the Republican National Convention. A divisive American president got repudiated, but he’ll still manage to raise enough money to cover bad loans he made as a failed businessman just by whining that he was cheated. Oh, and have I mentioned the U.S. being overrun by something called murder hornets?
In 2020, it seemed the world finally caught up with the absurdity which I like to call “my day-to-day life as a Filipino.” Republicans seemed to be taking notes on hypocrisy and utter shamelessness from their local counterparts, while local politicians demonstrated that there was still new ground to be broken. As lawmakers cluelessly co-opted a frontliner plea to stay home, they also decided that a raging pandemic, crippling unemployment, and back-to-back typhoons was the perfect time to shutter a media conglomerate. While people were penalized for small transgressions against quarantine regulations, policemen were having birthday celebrations and praised because they surrendered after murdering unarmed civilians. Oh, and have I mentioned our President getting pissed because Twitter deigned to ask where he was?
2020 gave me the perfect excuse to be a homebody, to become intimately acquainted with the four corners of my house and Netflix account. But it turns out enforced isolation also makes you look deep into yourself, and gauge what is essential versus what is ephemeral. And so 2020 may not have given me everything that I wanted—far from it—but it also taught me to be thankful for everything that I have. Doesn’t make you less of a dirty rat, 2020, but thank you.
Law professor, stand-up comedian
Either my mind is idle for the most part or due to the pandemic, I’ve actually realized a lot of things. Some profound. Others crazy. Here it goes anyway.
1. COVID, like karma, is a bitch. But at least karma can be your mistress sometimes.
2. I couldn’t understand why people pit PNoy against Digong. At the end of the day, only Erap has conviction.
3. Blessed are the dumb and stupid, for theirs is the kingdom of social media.
4. Sometimes, you need to be insane to maintain your insanity.
5. There’s a reason why there’s no ampalaya in “Bahay Kubo.” But here’s the deal...there’s patola.
6. Just because the left isn’t right doesn’t mean it’s wrong. So stop red-tagging.
7. Respect should be given to everyone, even to those who don’t deserve it. But should always be earned when demanded.
8. Political correctness of late is increasingly becoming more political than correct.
9. Finally, magbiro ka na sa lasing, wag lang sa sobrang woke!
Social media strategist
I recently visited a former employer and she asked me “How was the year for you?” I replied without batting an eyelash that it was good because I did not die. I don’t know if I can talk about 2020 without sounding boastful so I just want to talk about how I got through this goddamn year alive.
Because of 2020, I kept a pandemic journal. I had a blog growing up and nothing makes me more entertained and grounded than going back to the time when I thought the world revolved around me. Keeping a journal on a daily basis during the pandemic helps me have an attitude of gratitude and improve my rusty writing skills. I assure you I’m so used to writing plans for 2021 right now, I won’t have any problems writing a cheque come January.
Because of 2020, I started drinking regularly at 37-years-old (Surprise, Jerome!*) I never looked for alcohol in my life. I’ve been through heartbreaks, freelancing, quarter-life, and music festivals sober. But this year, I drank more in a month than my whole lifetime. My drink of choice is ginger beer, which you can order online. I like to pair it with grief, crackers, and a bunch of entertaining vlogs. Which brings me to my next coping mechanism, YouTube and TikTok.
Because of 2020, my world grew bigger without leaving my personal bubble, thanks to watching a ton of videos online. I got YouTube premium and it has become my number one search engine and online hangout. My online crew includes a gamer from Bataan, a doctor in Cambridge, a basketball player in Cebu, a DJ in Costa Rica, a fitness enthusiast in Canada, and a writer in Japan. I’m also a proud student of the University of YouTube. It feels great knowing that I am learning new things without flexing a stack of Coursera certificates (omg remember her? lel). This even inspired me to start thinking about taking my masters in my late 30s.
I wish I could say goodbye to 2020, the grief it caused many people, the government officials that were supposed to put people first, and the great uncertainty about the post-vaccine world. But as an Aquarian, I feel it’s going to get worse in the next two years. At least one thing is for sure, I’ll have no problem writing 2021 down.
*Jerome is the editor of ANCX.
You know, 2020, we’re kind of tired of hearing you say, “I’m that bitch.” We get it—you’re unapologetic! Chadwick Boseman, Alex Trebek—a rare black superhero or the only host we could ever envision in Jeopardy! You didn’t care, you just took ‘em!
Not to mention that you keep rubbing truth in our face, and oh so shamelessly at that. For one, that people are still horrendous and you just won’t shut up about it. Yes, some idiots eat exotic wildlife and spread disease! And okay, racists, they’re definitely still among us! And my breath, for the nth time, yes I know it’s actually quite offensive as my face mask keeps telling me! You’ve made your point—you’re just being honest. Clear vision, hmm, 2020? You’re not one for subtlety, I’ll give you that. Well let me unsubtly tell you I’m so fucking glad to see you go. But also thank you for all the truth. And for not taking Jane Fonda. Wait, she’s still with us, right?
I hope this e-mail finds you...well.
I would like to extend my sincerest gratitude to you for gatecrashing my mañanita. While your presence was displeasing, I will not discount the fact that you have brought wonderful gifts that I’ve never once received in my existence.
For the baskets of warm ube cheese pandesal; cups of Dalgona coffee; pots of plants; photocards of Jungkook and Hyun Bin; genuine relationships; renewed faith; and deeper understanding of what it means to truly live—thank you.
Please hesitate to reach out to me.
Professor and historian
In the bad year 2019, I was so tired with the many things that were happening in my life personally and professionally. Life seemed so fast I cannot keep up with the pace. I told God, "Lord, is there a way my life could stop and I can rest a bit?"
Be careful what you wish for. You, 2020 came to us. Our lives went to a halt. As others suffered, most of us were forced to take a leave. We learned lessons from you, oh tumultuous year, but we should also count our blessings from you—being with family, enjoying our homes, doing other things we like to do as our mental health coped with the shocking events you brought with you.
The obituaries of who and what we have lost from you is numerous, but we should also count the 439,016 who recovered from COVID-19, all because of the sacrifices of the frontliners who opted to serve while our bourgeois selves were safely tucked at home. As a teacher, I also thank you for the explosion of education and learning from the Internet, and the many opportunities we had to serve and share knowledge not just to our own students but to a wider world.
Thank you still 2020, for making us rethink how we should live our lives and what we had become as a nation even after you and your cunning virus have left us. But goodbye, never come back, we are ready to move on to a better 2021.
“My New Year's wish for 2020 is that everyone gets exactly what they deserve.” That’s what I posted on FB, Dec. 27, 2019. Who knew Covid-19 would deal everyone a wild card?
It’s been rough for everyone, everywhere. And the poorest of the poor are suffering the most. The pandemic has swept away all the other meager options left to them. And yet, by their actions, the poor have shown the generosity of spirit and integrity that the rich and powerful do not have. A jobless man reduced to begging returns a pouch containing thousands of pesos. A mother with children to feed shares her food with strangers on the street. Now we know who the beggars really are. They can be perfumed and powerful but beggars just the same.
The pandemic has given us other realizations that we’d never have had if we hadn’t been totally shaken up. Like:
1. The bra is the most underutilized piece of clothing.
2. Working from home has no overtime pay.
3. What happens to one of us happens to all of us.
May 2021 be kinder and gentler than the year that must not be named.
ISKO SALVADOR (A.K.A. BROD PETE)
Year 2020, we will be saying goodbye to you forever (there’s forever btw). It’s been the hardest year for everybody, and the whole world. But if we’ll just look closely, we’ll realize that 2020 isn’t bad after all. It was a time for us to STOP, to make adjustments, to find peace.
Sa akin, personally, it’s hard in the sense that I don’t get to do live shows. But other than that, it’s ok with me. I get to have lots and lots of time with my family. Everybody stayed at home and I love that idea.
No one goes out to rush to the train station or make angkas, bargain with the tricycle drivers—the daily struggle of going to or from work or school. There are positive sides to this pandemic. It’s just a matter of how you see it and react to it.
Maybe 2020 happened the way it did happen because humans have to be reminded that we are all connected. It’s time for us to reflect, look in the mirror, while singing Disney’s “Reflections.” There’s power in isolation and connectivity. Btw, aliens exist! ALIEN!??? ALIEN!!!!
Founder, RockEd Philippines
Little did we know.
This year, no expectations, (but how can we help it?)
No set plans (but how can we help it?)
No resolutions (how to even begin to not think of that when a fresh page awaits?)
No drastic moves (this I can manage)
No, 2020, we aren't doing this again. You were less than 12% cool. Hindi yan passing grade. Break na tayo.