Google Zeitgeist Releases the Philippines’ Top Trending Searches of 2013

Google Zeitgeist Releases the Philippines’ Top Trending Searches of 2013




When in Manila, it’s easy to find out what trended amongst Filipinos for the entire year. Google Philippines officially launched Google Zeitgeist, its annual year-end collection of the top search queries by Filipinos on Google. In the year of political shakeups, trending celebrities, and natural disasters, Paul Walker led this year’s top searches with his untimely death in a car crash last November.



Zeitgeist is a German word that means “spirit of the times.” For over 12 years, Google has celebrated its reputation as the world’s leading search engine and the most visited site in the world (according to Alexa) by revisiting each year’s top searches around the world and tailored to interests such as pop culture, sports, politics, news and more.

Today, it is present in 72 countries and 52 languages with over 1,000 top-ten lists, and 1.3 trillion searches. In the Philippines, Google Zeitgeist began in 2008 and has covered everything from athletes, showbiz personalities, typhoons, political scandals, beauty queens, food, and gadgets. 

The 2013 list is also filled with gadgets, controversial celebrities, and a major major beauty pageant that saw another Filipina almost conquering the universe.


Google Philippines Country Communications Manager Gail Tan discusses the year’s trending



Gail Tan, Internet action star Ramon Bautista, and multi-hyphenate Jun Sabayton lead the night’s festivities


This year’s Google Zeitgeist was launched at Top of the Citi, a restaurant in Makati with a spectacular view of the cityscape. The year’s trending was introduced by Gail Tan, Country Communications Manager of Google, and she was joined by Internet action star Ramon Bautista and social satirist and multi-hyphenate Jun Sabayton.


Gail Tan discussing the world’s most searched for terms in 2013


“Zeitgeist is a tool in discovering the pulse of the people through searches made on Google,” said Tan. “This year’s lists speak a lot about our concern for national achievement and progress.”

One of the highlights of the night, apart from the filling dinner and the unveiling of the most searched terms, was a little game Google hosted. Each table was grouped and had to participate in a quiz of this year’s trending. I was seated with two writers from Spot.ph, one from Pep, Jerni Camposano of The Philippine Star, and Nicole Hyala and Chris Tsuper of Love Radio.


Me and Chris Tsuper about to battle it out for the honor of pop culture knowledge and a 2nd gen Google Nexus 7



Ultimately, Chris Tsuper won through sheer luck and amazing control of his vocal chords


Through sheer luck and with our noses tuned in to this year’s newsmakers (meaning being tsismoso and tsismosa), our team won and we had to compete individually and guess what the most searched term was. Both Chris Tsuper and I got the correct answer (Paul Walker), so we had to undergo a series of grueling tasks to test our… shamelessness. We had to seductively spell Paul Walker using our butts, participate in a question-and-answer portion, and do a longest-word contest saying ‘Google.’ I ultimately lost and Chris won a 2nd gen Google Nexus 7. I promised him I’d beat him next time. 


Me sacrificing what was left of my dignity for a phone


Seductively gyrating in front of the Google team and the rest of the media present was embarrassing, but after writing about my experience getting a Boyzilian, there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for a YOLO moment.

Google Zeitgeist gives insights into the curiosities that capture the world’s attention, and the passing of some loved members of society was one of the prominent searches this year. Aside from Walker, the deaths of Glee actor Cory Monteith and former South African president Nelson Mandela also struck the hearts of the world.

As the Philippines is gaining recognition in sports and other forms of competition; Miss Universe, FIBA Asia, the UAAP Season 76, and Wimbledon figured prominently in the list. Of course, the colorful political landscape of the Philippines caused many searches, with the mid-term elections, the State of the Nation Address (SONA), and the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel scam issue landing top spots. Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) also reached the top spot.

Google also released its annual video of the year’s trending, a touching recap of what made the news this year.