And while there were plenty of serious moments that called for sober journalism, there were also many stories that stood out because they captured the madness, the chaos, and the humor of Pinoy life.
If you need to understand what life is like in these islands, here are ten of the most memorable Coconuts Manila stories through the years:
1. Nas Daily set up a Whang-Od Tattoo Academy, but Whang Od may not have signed off on it (August 2021)
Remember that time when super-influencer Nassir “Nas Daily” Yussein basically got canceled by an entire nation overnight? You should, because that it was practically just yesterday when it happened.
Filipinos woke up to a Facebook post by Grace Palicas, the great-niece and apprentice of revered traditional tattoo artist Whang Od, calling Nas Daily’s Whang Od Academy masterclass “a scam” and alleging that Whang Od herself didn’t know anything about it.
That was such a cluster…class of immense proportion and involved so many other people that readers began to draw up an entire matrix to keep track (and we did this recap). Nas eventually pulled the plug on all Nas Daily and Nas Academy operations in the Philippines, but not before we all started questioning why there was such a collective thirst for validation by foreign vloggers. Sigh.
As if to confirm that we were indeed living in the end times, Quezon City decided to play out a scene from Jumanji. Photos and videos of an ostrich (!) running rampant in a quiet residential village made the rounds in the middle of 2020, just as Filipinos were getting used to (the first year of) pandemic lockdowns.
If you thought that was surreal, wait till you hear what happened after: not only did the ostrich die from stress and exhaustion, but it apparently left behind a very tasty carcass. (Oh, and there wasn’t just one—there were two ostriches running around.)
A slight menu change isn’t going to cause a furor on a national scale. Not unless you’re beloved fast food giant Jollibee—in which case thousands of panicked fans will start wailing and memorializing what the Champ burger and the Big Burger Steak meant to them.
Whether because of public pressure or by design, Jollibee brought back the Champ just a few months later.
4. Itsy-Bitsy, Teenie-Weenie: Taiwanese tourist fined for wearing micro bikini in Boracay (October 2019)
What happens in Boracay, stays in Boracay, right? Yes of course, especially if, say, you’re a Taiwanese tourist who’s been detained by the police for showing too much of your, um, paradise island. The unnamed tourist was presumably let go after paying a fine of less than US$50.
The lesson here is that you can go viral for what you wear, without it having to result in a visit to the police station (take note, Boracay tourists!). We don’t know if it was the girl’s amazing costume design or her full-on commitment to the dead-eyed headlessness that really won Halloween, but whatever it was, we’re here for it.
The 2016 elections were traumatic for many other reasons, but before then we had other things to worry about—like actress Alma Moreno running for a Senate seat. Thank god for Karen Davila, whose solid grilling of the candidate made for some of the cringiest TV moments in the history of cringe itself. Coconuts Manila‘s report on it exploded, as did Moreno’s chances of getting elected. Dasal lang talaga. Dasal lang.
If there’s anything Filipinos will love and protect as much as their Jollibee menu items, it’s our Jollibee delivery guys. So when a d-bag who called himself (suspiciously) “Jay Bee” on social media boasted about deliberately tricking a delivery guy into being late to get a voucher, everyone was outraged, and rightly so.
There is no socio-economic class disparity in the Philippines, right? (Pause, wait for laughter.)
The alleged refusal of a members-only private island to serve a regular club member’s meal to a yaya made it to the internet, exposing this dirty little secret of country clubs and exclusive resorts to intensive discussion and scrutiny.
From the KC Tapsilogan at Lugawan in the City of Manila all the way to the bagnet meals in Bagneto in Quezon City, our popular Carinderia Crawl series was a 20-episode movable feast through some of the best—and best-kept secret—holes-in-the-wall throughout the entire Metro Manila. Our cholesterol levels have yet to recover.
If there’s one thing anyone can do to truly understand the reality of living in Metro Manila, it’s to navigate the labyrinthine hellscape that is the public transport system. In 2015, when complaints about the impossibly crowded MRT were nearing a fever pitch, we slapped on a GoPro on a writer and had her film the experience. Thankfully, she survived to tell the tale—which is a good metaphor for Coconuts Manila.