Yahoo Philippines' top 5 most-shocking stories in 2021

·3 min read

Yahoo Philippines looks back at five of its most outrageous stories of the year.

Filipino woman enslaved by couple in Australia

Joshua and Shiela McAleer. (Source: Shiela McAleer/Instagram)
Joshua and Shiela McAleer. (Source: Shiela McAleer/Instagram)

A woman from the Philippines who was recruited by a Sydney couple to work in Australia ended up enduring slave-like treatment in the family’s home and businesses for three years.

Shiela and Joshua McAleer admitted guilt to several charges including conducting business involving forced labor, harboring an unlawful non-citizen and making a false statement for health benefits.

The victim was lured by the couple in 2013. Hoping for a better life, she flew into Australia with a tourist visa, which didn’t allow her to get a job. But as soon as she arrived, the Filipina worked as a cleaner and carer for the couple’s children for long hours.

Woman quits teaching job for OnlyFans career to help family escape poverty

(Source: Maeurn Smiles/Instagram)
(Source: Maeurn Smiles/Instagram)

Cebu native Maeurn Smiles opened up about how quitting her teaching job to become an OnlyFans celebrity has helped her family escape poverty.

Smiles grew up in a poor Cebu neighborhood but lady luck finally smiled back at her after switching careers.

The Filipina model made a name for herself with over 150,000 Instagram followers two years after starting her OnlyFans account, which allows her to rake in hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.

'Walis tambo' spotted during US Capitol riot

Supporters of US President Donald Trump protest in the US Capitol Rotunda on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC. - Demonstrators breeched security and entered the Capitol as Congress debated the a 2020 presidential election Electoral Vote Certification. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: Supporters of US President Donald Trump protest in the US Capitol Rotunda on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC. (Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

Filipino netizens were swept away by the spectacle of something so Filipino in the midst of the riot in the United States capital.

While the world watched a violent mob of Trump supporters storm the US Capitol building in January, eagle-eyed netizens were quick to spot what appears to be a “walis tambo,” or a broom that is common in Filipino households, being paraded by one of the protesters.

The surreal scene was captured by AFP photographer Saul Loeb, and quickly went viral.

But equally eagle-eyed Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) agents would later swoop in to arrest the man photographed in the Filipino Captain America suit on May 28.

Filipino-American Kene Brian Lazo was apprehend at his home in Norfolk, Virginia. He is also accused of sexually assaulting a child after his arrest.

Besides appearing in Trese, obscene word shows up in DepEd module

FILE PHOTO: Screengrab from a livestream of the Committee on Public Accounts Hearing last June 14 via the House of Representatives' official Facebook page. (Source: House of Representatives/Facebook)
FILE PHOTO: Screengrab from a livestream of the Committee on Public Accounts Hearing last June 14 via the House of Representatives' official Facebook page. (Source: House of Representatives/Facebook)

An educator, who has grown prominent for his scrutiny of public school textbooks, put the spotlight on the Department of Education (DepEd) again after a grave error in their module for distance learning was exposed during a congressional hearing.

Antonio Calipjo Go presented a copy of a module on Filipino mythological creatures in the hearing on June 14. The module was used by Grade 10 students in Pampanga for their Filipino subject in February this year.

The module described the mythological creature aswang, that also appeared in the Netflix hit "Trese", as, "Siya rin ay isang diyos pero ang aswang ay pinaniniwalaan na ito'y tao na kumakain ng kapwa tao. Kung minsan ang mga ito ay pinapaniwalaan na may mga pakpak at sila raw ay gising kung gabi para maghanap ng makak*nt*t o maaswang." (The aswang is a god but it is also believed that it's a human that eats other human beings. It is often believed to have wings and are awake at night, looking for people to have sex with.)

Filipino 'snake expert' who claimed he was immune to venom dies after cobra bit him on the tongue

"Snake Man" Bernardo Alvarez. (Source: Kto umarł?Twitter)
"Snake Man" Bernardo Alvarez. (Source: Kto umarł?Twitter)

Bernardo Alvarez, who claimed to be immune to snake venom, caught the Northern Philippine cobra moments before his death after it slithered into his neighborhood in Mangaldan, Pangasinan on July 9.

The Filipino snake expert claimed to have "tamed" the deadly creature, showing the cobra in front of a cheering crowd.

Alvarez held the snake close to his lips pretending to kiss it before the serpent lunged at his mouth and bit him on the tongue. The bite caused the shocked man to collapse, screaming in pain. He died shortly afterwards.

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