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2023 Wrapped: The most talked about pop culture moments in the Philippines and all over the world

By AYIE LICSI Published Dec 30, 2023 7:14 pm

It's been a wild ride, 2023!

Each year has its unforgettable moments that define it. For 2020 and 2021, pop culture was shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic. For 2022, one of the biggest moments was the Oscars slap heard around the world. 2023 had its own share of era-defining pop culture moments that had netizens buzzing—whether it's on Twitter (or should we say, X) or on Threads.

Before closing the book on what has been an eventful year, let's look back at some of the biggest pop culture moments that took the internet by storm. We've already covered the biggest breakups and losses of the year so you can check them out on a different list.


July was a cultural reset as people all over the world lined up in cinemas to watch Barbie and Oppenheimer.

Despite the two films being extreme opposites—one is a colorful fantasy comedy about a doll while the other is a biographical thriller about the maker of the atomic bomb—folks online couldn't help but talk about both movies together and thus, "Barbenheimer" was born.

The cultural phenomena spawned memes, merch, costumes, and more as moviegoers went to theaters clad in pink or black outfits.

Barbie itself made huge waves as the Greta Gerwig film broke box office records for the year, earning more than $1.38 billion worldwide.

Eras Tour

If there's anything bigger than Barbie in 2023, it's Taylor Swift. Comprised of music spanning her whole career, her Eras Tour not only broke records and raked in more than $1 billion, it also boosted economies in different countries with some leaders even asking for the Midnights singer to bring her show to their area.

During her world tour, which started in March, Swift would also release re-recordings (Taylor's Version) of her old albums Speak Now and 1989.

Michelle Yeoh winning an Oscar

For the first time in the Academy Awards history, Michelle Yeoh became the first Asian to win an Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role earlier in 2023.

“Ladies, don't let anybody ever tell you that you are past your prime,” Michelle said in her acceptance speech.

Everything Everywhere All At Once bagged the most wins at the 95th Academy Awards taking home Best Picture, Best Directing, Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Film Editing.

TVJ exit 'Eat Bulaga!,' 'It's Showtime' airs on GMA

2023 saw a shakeup of the Philippines' noontime shows. Eat Bulaga! main hosts Tito Sotto, Vic Sotto, and Joey De Leon exited the program as they parted ways with its producer TAPE Inc., with other hosts and staff members following suit. They later launched their own show, E.A.T., on TV5 with Eat Bulaga! now featuring a new roster of hosts.

Meanwhile, It's Showtime found a new home on GMA's GTV. This move also signaled the end of the network wars between GMA and ABS-CBN as the two continued to have their stars collaborate on different projects. The show has since had its fair share of controversy involving Vice Ganda and Ion Perez eating cake icing

Rihanna's Super Bowl surprise

After spending some time away from the music industry, Rihanna made sure her return went out with a bang. In February, the Diamonds singer performed her hit songs at the Super Bowl halftime show, but the icing on top of that cake was that Badgirl Riri showed off her baby bump at the end of her performance, confirming that she was expecting Baby No. 2.

SAG-AFTRA strike puts Hollywood on pause

A historic 118-day strike saw movies and series productions in Hollywood screech to a halt as writers and actors began protesting their dwindling pay and the threat of artificial intelligence. This was the first time in 63 years that both the Screen Actors Guild and the Writers Guild would strike at the same time.

Titles such as Deadpool 3, Venom 3, Snow White, Dune: Part Two, Wicked, and more were delayed because of the strike.

The battle of the tech billionaires

In 2023, Elon Musk made a lot of changes to Twitter. Not only did he change the name of the platform to X, he also added premium features that users can only enjoy with a paid subscription. As an answer to this, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg launched Twitter competitor Threads—something Musk wasn't too happy about.

The new Twitter CEO later challenged Zuckerberg to a cage match. While the two have exchanged threats and teases over social media, it looks like the match isn't going to happen anytime soon.

The big implosion of the Titanic submersible

One of the most searched news stories of the year was of the disastrous Titan submersible implosion where all five people onboard died. The OceanGate sub aimed to take its passengers on an exploration to see the Titanic for $250,000 a seat but it began going missing near the wreckage in the North Atlantic in June. 

The five people in the sub, including OceanGate chief executive and founder Stockton Rush, died as the submersible imploded while the Titan was descending.

AAA in the Philippines

For the first time ever, the Philippines was picked to host the 2023 Asia Artist Awards, one of the most prestigious accolades in the Asian Entertainment industry. Big names in the Hallyu world and the entertainment realm graced the Philippine Arena including NewJeans, Le Sserafim, ZEROBASEONE, ITZY, BSS, Kim Seon-ho, Ahn Hyo-seop, SB19, Kang Daniel, Kathryn Bernardo, and Daniel Padilla.

During the event, Melai Cantiveros delighted netizens with her reactions and speech during the show.

Welcoming the use of AI

With apps like ChatGPT growing more and more popular, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in different scenarios spread all over social media.

Users took part in the AI yearbook trend where they can generate vintage yearbook pictures that look like they were taken back in the 90s. Additionally, AI was used to help produce a new song from The Beatles, titled Now and Then

GMA also became the topic of discussion as they introduced their AI-powered sportscasters