As the pandemic continued on in 2022, people became more and more open to forging connections with others by sharing their heartwarming stories and musings on the Internet.
Since the onset of COVID-19, it’s been all about connection—and the past year was no different. Some social media stories triggered waves of nostalgia, while others displayed a common ground among netizens in more ways than one. There were also some that sparked inspiration as well as a glimmer of hope.
Below are some social media stories that touched our hearts in 2022.
How can we forget about Melanie Dubos, the street vagrant who innocently joined a broadcaster in the middle of her report and gave her a warm hug accompanied by a loving smile?
Dubos became a hot topic on social media sometime in April over this, but the series of events that followed continued to warm the hearts of netizens. When she went viral on social media, netizens came together to help determine her identity so she can go back to the arms of her loved ones who were already looking for her for a long time. The stars aligned: She got reunited with her relatives and got confined at a psychiatric hospital for her mental health.
In the same year, however, Dubos passed away. Her mom was supposed to fly from Sultan Kudarat to see her again, but unfortunately, it was too late.
Remember when Tropical Hut was filled with long queues of people lining up to get a taste of their offerings? Even the fast-food chain was filled with bookings on food delivery apps.
The frenzy started with a single tweet in June, when netizen JP Tanyag posted a snap of the entrance of its Escolta store along with a photo of his burger, fries, and soda. “Tropical Hut in Escolta. Ako lang ang customer nila.”
When he reminisced about the times he ate in one of its branches in Lower Bicutan, netizens began to quote-tweet him as they took a trip down memory lane and shared their treasured moments at the restaurant that opened in 1965.
It became a huge hit on social media, so much so that the influx of diners made them sell out in various branches and hire more crew members so they can welcome more Filipinos to their stores. “Maraming salamat, Tropical Hut lovers for the heartwarming words of appreciation! We value your patronage,” the management wrote on Twitter.
‘Grocery List’ tattoo
If you come across someone with a tattoo of a grocery list, what would your initial reaction be?
A TikTok user warmed the hearts of netizens when he shared the touching meaning behind his ink of a grocery list, which shows various pasalubong items obviously written by a kid. It turned out to be the handwriting of her late little brother, who had the habit of giving him a list of things to buy for him every payday.
When his younger sibling passed away in June, he made sure that he would remember the latter each day by having his last pasalubong list tatted on his skin. “Sabi ko noon, my next tattoo will be my most memorable tattoo na hindi ko pagsisisihan,” he began.
“My youngest brother never failed to message me every payday. Bago pa makapagpadala, may sarili na siyang listahan of goods for his own, not until he died this June. This was the last grocery list he wrote, few days before he passed away,” he added.
“I know a lot of people make fun of this, but may Yakult, Doritos diyan. As expected, people laugh at things they don’t understand. But I don’t care that much. For me, this is the most beautiful masterpiece I’ve ever had. I miss you, my brother. You will forever be my always,” he continued.
Cemetery tombs are usually decked out in neutral colors, but a Filipino family in Albay province touched Internet users in November when they shared how they are paying tribute to their late father, who died at age 70 due to heart attack, in the most creative way: by hiring an artist to paint on the latter’s tomb with his favorite things—from food and liquor to clothes and fragrance—such as Adidas, Ferrari, Starbucks, Johnnie Walker Black Label, Bulgari, Lacoste, M&M’s Chocolate, Doublemint, and Alpine.
According to netizen Angelle Roa Relleve, one of his five children, they’ve been doing this for their dad every year since 2013. It has become some sort of “attraction” among passersby at the cemetery. “Natutuwa at kinagigiliwan siya ng mga tao. Kasipara na din siyang naging attraction sa cemetery tuwing Undas. Hindi naman namin akalain na magte-trend siya sa socmed,” she told PhilSTAR L!fe.
“Grave branding” is far from the usual, but Relleve noted that it’s perfect for their dad who did not care much about traditional views. "Ang father ko, hindi siya traditional na tao at hindi siya naniniwala sa mga kasabihan. Kaya kapag Undas, pinapa-paint namin 'yung tomb niya ng mga favorite niyang brand noong nabubuhay pa siya and at the same time, may mga story naman behind kung bakit 'yun ang brand na napili naming ipapinta," she said.
"Masayahing tao ang father ko, at yung love niya sa'min ay walang katumbas kaya ganun na lang siya namin ma-miss," she added.
A waiter at a samgyupsal restaurant sparked inspiration among netizens as he was spotted enthusiastically doing his job despite even though he can only communicate through writing.
It was netizen Erika Mae Maquidato Patalinghug who shared his touching encounter with the PWD server in a Facebook post in November. “Even with his condition, he quickly responded to our needs and happily assisted us,” she wrote.
According to her, he asked Kuya Prince for some cutlery and got surprised at how he responded. “He was doing a sign language na he’s deaf and mute while he pointed to his ID. That’s when I realized na deaf and mute po pala si kuya,” she said.
She also noted how the PWD server’s pure enthusiasm shone throughout their samgyupsal session. “I was very amazed by how he treated and served us. The dining experience was better than the previous ones kasi nga he quickly responded to our needs, especially sa constant refills,” she said.
Expressing her hope for more firms to welcome more PWD servers like Kuya Prince, Patalinghug encouraged those who are in the same situation to keep going. “Don’t let your disabilities or anything stop you from reaching your goals and dreams. If they can do it, you can too—as long as you have the determination to do it.”