Stories ranging from a heated Senate race and government services to travel, as well as stories of tragedies and triumphs captivated ABS-CBN News readers in 2019.
Here are the top 10 most-read stories on ABS-CBN News this year, excluding articles on crime and the suspension of classes.
10. 'May pila sa ladies' room': Sotto blasts 'deception' in trans woman's viral video
Transgender woman Gretchen Diez spawned discussion on LGBT rights after she was briefly detained after attempting to use a female restroom at a Quezon City mall in August.
Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III, however, claimed Diez's video of the incident was rife with "deception."
He also said he was against several provisions of a proposed law that aims to protect the LGBT community from all forms of discrimination, which Diez championed. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
9. 'Resign,' Tito Sotto tells employees 'boycotting' nephew Vico
Erstwhile Pasig councilor Vico Sotto in May upended the reelection bid of then Mayor Bobby Eusebio, whose family had been in power since 1992.
However, some city hall employees allegedly wore black shirts when Sotto was proclaimed mayor and stopped the distribution of financial assistance to the poor.
His uncle Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III urged those behind the alleged boycott to resign. The younger Sotto, meanwhile, said city hall workers "don't need to be loyal to me" and would only be removed from their posts if they were "involved in something illegal, especially corruption." George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
8. How powerful is the Philippine passport in 2019?
The Philippines improved its ranking in the world's most powerful passports with Filipinos allowed to enter 66 countries visa-free, according to the 2019 Henley Passport Index released in January.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., however, alleged in the same month that a former private contractor allegedly ran off with its database for passports issued before 2010, sparking calls for a Senate inquiry which did not prosper. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News
7. Maternity benefits ng SSS papalo sa P70,000 pagsapit ng Enero 2020
Starting January 2020, new mothers can get P70,000 in maximum maternity financial assistance from the Social Security System (SSS), up from the previous P32,000 aid before the signing of the Expanded Maternity Leave Act.
Signed in February, the law also gave all working mothers in the government and private sector 105 days of paid maternity leave credits, with 7 days transferrable to fathers.
Employed women were previously entitled to only 60 days of paid leave for normal delivery and 78 days for Caesarean delivery. Bullit Marquez, AP
6. Exam results: Bar exams and new doctors
Top PH medical schools based on 2019 physician licensure exams
More than 4,000 examinees passed the physician licensure examination in September, which was topped by Federico Adriano Peralta IV of the University of Santo Tomas.
About 91 percent of doctors in the Philippines work in hospitals, while health centers that serve as the first point of contact for government-provided services employ only an average of one doctor, according to a 2018 report by the European Union’s Asia Pacific Observatory on Health Systems and Policies.
BARKADA GOALS: 4 na magkakaibigan, topnotcher sa bar exam
Only 1,800 or 22.07 percent of 8,155 examinees passed the 2018 bar exams. Its top scorer was Sean James Borja of the Ateneo de Manila University, among 3 from the same school in the top 10.
Also among the top raters were 4 from the University of San Carlos, 2 from the University of the Philippines, and one from the De La Salle University. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
5. Aviation regulators issue new list of prohibited items in carry-on, check-in baggage
New standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization prompted local regulators in July to issue new guidelines on items that are prohibited in the hand-carry and check-in baggage of travelers.
The Philippines is one of the world's fastest-growing markets for aviation, according to plane-maker Airbus. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News
4. US citizenship, immigration services to close Manila office
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services closed its field office in Manila in July, a move seen to be in line with the Trump administration's plan to reduce its presence abroad and limit both legal and illegal immigration.
Washington is a long-standing ally of Manila. President Rodrigo Duterte has tried to distance the Philippines from the US as he courted investments from America's geopolitical rival China. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
3. 'Eye opener': Taiwanese woman fined for wearing 'micro' G-string in Boracay
A Taiwanese tourist paid fines after she was seen almost naked while walking along the shores of Boracay in October.
The holiday island was closed for a 6-month cleanup from April to October 2018 after being described as a "cesspool" by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Chinese establishments employing hundreds of workers from the mainland reportedly sprouted in Boracay after its reopening. Chinese tourists, meanwhile, were the top violators of ordinances, according to local officials.
A portion of the island’s beach was closed for several days in August for a cleanup after a foreign woman allegedly let her child defecate. Courtesy of Bhoi Cambaya
2. How to find your precinct number for the May 13 elections
Hundreds of thousands accessed this page in the run-up to the May 13, 2019 poll that shut the Senate to opposition candidates.
Fernando G. Sepe, Jr, ABS-CBN News
Election day in some precincts was marred by confusion in precinct assignment, thousands of faulty vote-counting machines, and delay of the delivery of real-time election results to the media.
1. Pamilya Dormitorio nanlumo sa mga nadiskubre sa diary ng pumanaw na kadete
Darwin Dormitorio, a freshman cadet of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), was found unconscious in a classroom floor and died shortly after due to injuries consistent with hazing.
Facebook page of Darwin Dormitorio
Later discovered by his family, the 20-year-old cadet’s diary detailed his fear of his upperclassmen, low morale, and injuries that landed him in the hospital several times.
PMA Administrator Lt. Gen. Ronnie Evangelista resigned over Dormitorio’s death, which came around a year after President Rodrigo Duterte signed a stronger anti-hazing law.