Kickstarting 2021: A Peek at What’s Ahead

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By GRACE C. DIEZ

We’re only just a few days in to this brand new year and while things appear to be off to another semi-rocky start, it’s still the right time to be optimistic and steer our mindset to a hopeful, more jubilant direction.

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There is no gentle way to put this: 2020 straight up sucks! It was certainly a year where you’re more grateful and appreciative than ever of the things you DO have but it was just undeniably a complete mess and a dumpster fire of a year that we’re only glad to finally leave behind. It’s all there in the media yearend report.

Thankfully, surviving 2020 is a license to celebrate, to be thankful and to look forward to happier and better things. After all, having gone through what appears to be rock-bottom, there is certainly no way to go but up. At least we hope so.

That said, and on a more sobering note, there are exciting and positive things to look forward to this 2021 which signal a fresh start and the beginning of brighter things to come.

Rolling out of COVID-19 vaccines. It has started. The global race to purchase COVID-19 vaccines is on. The Philippines, despite the early drama of a government official “dropping the ball,” is working on securing at least 148 million doses of the vaccine for the country. According to National Task Force deputy chief implementer Vince Dizon, the government aims to vaccinate about 50 to 70 million Filipinos within the year.

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Tokyo Olympics. It will still be called Tokyo 2020, perhaps so that the quadrennial schedule is not disrupted moving forward. After being postponed because of the pandemic, the Olympic Games is finally pushing through and it will be held from July 23 until August 8, 2021. There are four Filipinos competing (so far) who we can root for and cheer on: gymnast Carlos Yulo, pole vaulter EJ Obiena and boxers Irish Magno and Eumir Marcial.

c/o @Tokyo2020 official Twitter account

Joe Biden US Presidency. Donald Trump is out, Joe Biden is in. Despite the pro-Trump supporters who swarmed the U.S. Capitol, it is official: President-elect Biden will be inaugurated on January 20, 2021. Here’s to a more “united” United States of America!

c/o @Forbes official Twitter account

“Build Build Build” projects. The government’s flagship infrastructure program is unveiling completed projects and some will be operational already this 2021: Skyway Stage 3 fully opens this month, expected to cut down travel time from NLEX to SLEX from two hours to 20 just minutes; Clark International Airport welcomed the new year with a New Passenger Terminal that can annually accommodate up to 12.2 million passengers; Pantaleon-Estrella Bridge will be finished in a few months and is seen to connect Mandaluyong to Makati with a travel time of only 12 minutes. More are expected to be completed.

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In a few months, DPWH will be able to complete the Pantaleon-Estrella Bridge. Soon, travel time from Mandaluyong to Makati will only be 12 minutes. #BuildBuildBuild (c/o DPWH Sec. Mark Villar’s official Facebook page)

 

National ID registration. Finally! The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) is eyeing to open the registration for the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) to the general public this year. With the national ID, social services will be made more accessible and convenient to Filipinos and can be used in most government and banking transactions. Some experts are also weighing in on using PhilSys for a more efficient vaccine distribution.

c/o Philippine News Agency official Twitter account

COVID-19 saliva test. Although the saliva test for COVID-19 and its accuracy is still being validated, the Department of Health (DOH) stated that the probability of its approval is high. The Philippine Red Cross is also pushing for the use of this test since it is “99.9 percent reliable” and is far more affordable (and more comfortable?) than the swab test for RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction).

c/o Philippine Red Cross official Twitter account

31st SEA Games. It will be quite a busy year for the athletes as some will still aim for Tokyo Olympics participation and train for the 31st SouthEast Asian Games, which will transpire late November until early December in Hanoi, Vietnam. Will the Philippines defend its overall championship gained during the SEA Games 2019? It depends on the quality and quantity of athletes we will be sending, but as we always say: Laban, Pilipinas.

c/o @Ksepaktakraw Twitter aggregator

Marvel Studios releases. MCU fans, rejoice!Expect Marvel Studios to roll out its high-profile projects this 2021 after being low-key in 2020. The slate of Marvel Studios projects will kick off with the release of Wanda Vision on Disney Plus this January 15. Can you believe it? We’re getting The Falcon and The Winter Soldier (March 19), Black Widow (May), Loki (Summer), Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (July), Eternals (November 5), Ms. Marvel (Q4), Hawkeye (Winter) and Spider-Man 3 (December 17) – all of them – in 2021! Major *chef’s kiss* to Kevin Feige!

c/o Marvel Studios official Twitter account

Reopening of PH tourist destinations. It is the year of recovery and the economy needshelp. In the latter part of 2020, Boracay, Baguio and Bohol have started opening up to visitors and this year, more tourist destinations are expected to reopen. Time to make some domestic travel plans, research options and to make that flight and hotel reservation. Support the Philippine tourism industry.

c/o Philippine Department of Tourism official Twitter account

Japan and Thailand reopening their borders. Depending on the COVID-19 resurgence status and the vaccine situation, international travel to Japan and Thailand just might be a strong possibility. Both countries have already declared their intention to reopen for tourists and investors this 2021. The Japanese government is reportedly planning to reopen this Spring (April 2021) in preparation for the Tokyo Olympics while Thailand has previously considered allowing tourists from countries that don’t require a visa to enter the country. Expect strict rules as countries would be cautious in receiving overseas visitors in this era we’re in.

c/o Japan National Tourism Organization official YouTube channel

See? There is no shortage of positive things to look forward to despite the strange new world we’re living in. May this list inspire you to open your 2021 planner and find joy in writing down your hopes and dreams for this year and turn it into reality as we all strive to get back to a life beyond COVID-19.


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About the Writer
Grace C. Diez

Grace Diez started as an AM/FM radio traffic reporter and broadcast supervisor of Trapik.com before pursuing a 5-year career in advertising and a 9-year (and counting!) career in public relations. With 17 years of experience as a writer, her works have been published on People Asia, Metro.Style, ABS-CBN Lifestyle, Star Studio, Metro Magazine, Manila Bulletin, The Philippine Star, Working Mom, Chalk.PH, League Magazine, Sense & Style, Woman Today and Manila Standard with editors entrusting her with cover stories and CEO/celebrity profiling assignments. She loves IU, Taylor Swift, coffee, milk tea, Dr. Pepper and cookies.