New trains, Pope Francis and Christian Grey: everything to look forward to in 2015


There’s only five days left before we bid 2014 farewell, and we’re already excited for what’s in store for 2015. The year was filled with incredible storylines, and like most years, a mixed bag of good and bad events.

What does 2015 have for the Philippines? If all goes according to plan, there are quite a few events that Filipinos can look forward to. After all, Filipinos are a hopeful bunch (9 out of 10 said they are hopeful for what 2015 will bring).

What follows is a list of things that will make you excited for the coming year.


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New MRT trains

With the arrival of 48 new coaches in September, riding the MRT will be significantly easier. However, the MRT and LRT fare hikes will be effective on January 4, with 11 pesos as the minimum base fare and an additional one peso for every succeeding kilometer. “While 2015 will see increased fares, it will also see marked improvements in our LRT and MRT services,” according to DOTC Secretary Jun Abaya. Well, let’s take his word for it.



The APEC Summit will be held in the Philippines


The members of the Asia-Pacifc Economic Cooperation (APEC) account for nearly 40% of the world’s population, and more than half of its GDP. The annual summit, which is rotated through 21 different member states, promotes free trade and better economic cooperation. The summit was last held in the Philippines in 1996, with then-President Ramos hosting it in Subic Bay. While much has changed in nearly 20 years, there are also similarities between then and now. For one, the Philippines, prior to the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997, was also being touted as a country to watch out for, with Ramos’ push for industrialization branded as “Philippines 2000.” Today, the Philippines is again on the world stage, with a fast-growing economy and glowing reviews from economic analysts. The summit will be held in November 2015, and will be hosted in nine sites across the country, including Manila, Iloilo, Tagaytay, and Cebu.


Pope Francis will visit the Philippines

(Republic of Korea/ Flickr/

One of the most anticipated events in 2015 is the Papal Visit from January 15-19. Pope Francis will visit communities affected by Typhoon Yolanda, and he has made it clear that he has no interest in rubbing elbows with VIPs. Aside from going to Tacloban, the pope will also visit the University of Santo Tomas in Manila. Everything you need to know about the papal visit is on this website.


More long weekends!

Due to the papal visit, the Malacañang declared January 15, 16, and 19 as special non-working days. Add that to all the other long weekends of 2015. Next year, there’s plenty of time to hit the beach and go surfing!


2015 is “Visit the Philippines” year

After Palawan was named as the most beautiful island in the world and Vigan was chosen as a New7Wonders City, it makes perfect sense that 2015 is Visit the Philippines Year. The Department of Tourism campaign suggests that from arts and culture to lifestyle and business, it’s still more fun in the Philippines in 2015. This awesome Visit the Philippines video will inspire you to plan your next-year adventures right now.


A bunch of restaurants will open

Foodies, rejoice! More restaurants will be opening in the Philippines next year, as this list blithely enumerates. Pies, hotdogs, shawarma, cocktails, and xiao long bao—we can’t wait!


Movies, movies, movies

2015 is a year of sequels and book adaptations. Fans of the books are surely looking forward to the last installment of the “Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2″ and the controversial “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

Old-time classics will also make their return this year with the latest from “Star Wars,” “Mission: Impossible,” “James Bond,” and “Jurassic Park,” while kids and kids-at-heart get ready for the “Minions” movie, “Cinderella,” “Little Prince,” and “Inside Out.” Alongside the countless musical acts set for 2015, the Barden Bellas will also make their return with “Pitch Perfect 2.” Although the MTRCB X-rated Tikoy Aguiluz’s screamer “Tragic Theater” twice, the brouhaha has surely made a clamor for it to be shown.


Concerts you wouldn’t want to miss


Next year, don’t miss your favorite international music acts perform live on stage. Rock it out with The 1975 and Bastille in January, chill down with Boyce Avenue and The Vamps in February, and go fangirl-crazy over One Direction and Ed Sheeran in March. A bunch of mid-year and year-end concerts have yet to be announced, but there’s plenty of time to save up for the annual music festivals: Malasimbo’s fifth anniversary from March 6-9 and Wanderland Music and Arts Festival in April.


A newly improved NAIA Terminal 1

The NAIA Terminals have consistently made it to the top of worst airport lists. We may not win(?) the top spot each year, but we’re never too far down the list, either. If things go according to plan, that may soon be a thing of the past. Terminal 1, which is undergoing renovation, now sports a new look, and is set to be completed on the first quarter of 2015.


The new NAIA Expressway

With the completion of NAIA Expressway Phase II, 2015 could be the year we bid airport traffic jams goodbye. The 7.15-kilometer four-lane elevated expressway, which links Entertainment City to NAIA Terminals 1 and 2, is expected to be finished around October 2015. The project will also connect the Skyway with SLEX at the Sales Interchange.


The Bicol Express shall return

The Philippine National Railways (PNR) extended its route to Calamba, Laguna on December 2, 2014. It marks the seventh station the PNR opened in 2014, and is a precursor for its plan to eventually return its famous “Bicol Express” route to Naga City. The route was suspended indefinitely after a derailment incident in 2012. The route was scheduled to be opened in September of 2014, but has been delayed while undergoing safety assessments.




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