The results both confirm and point toward emerging trends and longstanding cultural forces that dominate the Filipino zeitgeist.
Last night, Google Philippines released the country’s Year in Search 2023, revealing the top trending keywords and terms that Filipinos searched for this year.
The results are a mix of expected keywords (given the buzz they generated online) and a few surprising entries. Suffice to say, YIS 2023 pointed toward emerging trends among Filipinos and confirmed long standing interests that we’ve had as a culture.
For instance, that the top 10 keywords for sports were all basketball-related confirms the stronghold that the sport has historically had in the country. The National Basketball Association (NBA) International Basketball Federation (FIBA) managed to drown out other momentous occasions like the country’s first-ever goal in the FIFA Womens’ World Cup, courtesy of Sarina Bolden.
Interestingly, the Filipina striker wasn’t in the top 10 most searched female personalities. The top spot went to Katy Louise Saunders, which confirms just how much K-Drama fans we have here in the Philippines. Saunders made headlines when her marriage to popular K-Drama actor Song Joong-ki was confirmed on January 30, 2023.
Korean media also figured into the top-searched movies, though Oppenheimer, John Wick4, and Barbie made it to the top three. Actor Ahn Bo-hyun skyrocketed to the top male personality list in light of his dating history with BLACKPINK’s Jisoo. K-Dramas also dominated the top 10 most searched shows or series with eight entries; American post-apocalyptic drama show The Last of Us (#8) and our own Maria Clara at Ibarra (#2) were the only exceptions.
There were a couple of noteworthy contemporary Pinoy culture and happenings on the lists as well. With its anger-filled curse word lyric, JK Labajo’s ERE got so much airtime (especially on TikTok); its popularity is reminiscent of Eraserheads’ Pare ‘Ko, which infamously had profanities as well.
Filipinos also spent time reliving the legacy of iconic broadcaster Mike Enriquez, who left us on August 29, 2023 after a long battle with illness. “SIM registration” also dominated the news-related queries, in light of the scams that plagued our smartphones, the rumors surrounding data privacy, and the steps that users had to take to register their numbers.
Major international events were also within the Filipinos’ radar, as the “Israel-Hamas war” ranked fifth in the top News trends alongside “Nipah virus” at #4 and “Turkey earthquake” at #9.
As Google Philippines Head for Communications Mervin Wenke was presenting YIS 2023, I wondered if there were search terms that, though falling short of the top 10, were interesting enough for certain reasons, be it a spike in its searches during a particular period or the nature of the term itself. I asked him after the event, and true enough, there was one notable example: KathNiel.
“When KathNiel trended back in end-November, we looked into the data and discovered more insights about them. For instance, in the past 10 years, KathNiel was the most searched loveteam in the Philippines, beating LizQuen, JaDine, and DonBelle,” Wenke shared. “On November 30 also, Daniel Padilla became more popular than Andres Bonifacio, or the holiday.”
With hundreds of search terms trending in real-time, Wenke noted that through Google Trends, internet users can deepen their understanding of current events and phenomena. “We always encourage users to not just search, but also use Google Trends when something is happening. There, you can compare trends to other related terms, see connected insights, and learn more about what’s happening around you.”