The recent year-end list released by search behemoth Google seems to validate a trend that has been proven over time--that people look for heroes or ways to entertain themselves in times of despair. Thus, it's no longer surprising to see that "economic downturn" and "Manny Pacquiao", the Filipino boxing superstar, were the top searches in Google.com.ph.
In its annual Zeitgeist poll, the boxer they call Pacman bagged "the title of fastest rising local newsmaker, occupying the top four out of 10 slots on the fastest rising Google News local searches list".
Trailing Pacquaio are international singing stars Charice Pempengco and Arnel Pineda, both discovered through YouTube, who reigned as first and second respectively in the fastest rising celebrity searches list. Soap opera beauty Marian Rivera debuted at number 10, making her the only local female celebrity on the list.
Pacquiao's star has been shining brightly recently, specially after he demolished his opponent, Oscar "the Golden Boy" de la Hoya, via a ninth round TKO more than a week ago in Las Vegas, USA.
The exploits of Pacquiao, arguably the greatest Filipino pugilist ever, have provided the local populace something to cheer about amidst the hardships and gloomy specter of an economic downturn, which, by the way, was the "top of mind" for users in the Philippines.
According to Google, terms like "recession" and "financial crisis" grew by a whopping 2,600 percent and 333 percent, respectively, when the global markets were falling in September and October.
Google also noted the large increases in the number of searches for "sale" (36 percent increase), "tipid (save)" (36 percent increase), and "free" (10 percent increase), reflecting Filipinos searching more often online to find the best deals and save money.
The financial crisis, it seems, is for real and has now reached Philippine shores. However, it's gratifying to know that a boxer with a courageous heart is there to save the day.
As a side note, times are indeed tough with some people now resorting to illegal activities. Last night, I lost my phone to a pickpocket in a crowded train station. If I would have my way, I don't want to carry a mobile again since I've notoriously lost a number of them in the past. But, I don't have that choice because we're living in a connected world where the mobile phone is no longer a luxury but a necessity. I've promised this to myself many times before, but I still hope I'd be more careful or not to be too forgetful the next time around.
I'm not sure if the financial meltdown has anything to do with this, but a few IT executives are again playing musical chairs. Among them are Antonio Pio de Roda, who has left her long-time post as country manager of Nortel Philippines, and Jino Alvarez, a former top executive of local PC assembler Neo Computers. There's no information yet as to where these two people are heading.
Teresa Pacis, the external communications manager of Intel's plant in the Philippines, has also resigned from her position. This now raises the question: Is her departure related to the rumored closure of Intel assembly factory this December? Just asking.