At the end of every year, Google releases the top searches in every country, including the Philippines. This Year in Search started in 2001 and has since helped news organizations with their year-end recaps.
In this post, we will dissect how Filipinos search on Google and how this behavior has changed over the years. The data in this report only starts from the year 2008, when the report was made available in the Philippines, and will only cover the Overall Trending or Top Searches of each year. Also, note that 2013 data is unavailable.
If you want to view the most searched in Google Philippines every year, you can visit Google Trends.
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Most Searched in Google Philippines by Category
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- News and Events
News and Events
Earlier years were more focused on other categories, but recent years have helped News and Events searches to grow. This could indicate that people want to combat social media disinformation—a persistent and key issue in the country today.
Searches about news and events dominated the top 10 searches for the year 2020, largely due to the pandemic and its effects on the daily lives of Filipinos. The list included the first day of school, coronavirus, and www.reliefagad.ph. The year 2021 and 2022 continued the popularity of current events-related searches.
The Philippines is one of the fastest-growing mobile gaming markets in the world. It’s no surprise that mobile games are among the most searched in the country. Interest in specific games also lasts longer compared to other categories. This is evident by the top positions occupied and carried over the next year by Angry Birds, DragonNest, and MemoryHackers.
It’s worth noting that only the games that quickly rose in popularity became part of the top annual searches. In the past few years, Mobile Legends has held onto the crown of being the most popular mobile game in the Philippines, which resulted in zero occupancies in the top 10 overall searches for other Games.
Filipinos are undoubtedly musically inclined. The top searches on Google Philippines, even in the early days, were lyrics to the most popular songs. Based on the “lyrics” modifier, we can gather that more than researching the details or wanting to play pop songs, Pinoys are interested in learning how to sing or memorize the song.
Earlier years were mostly dominated by songs by foreign acts, like Bruno Mars’ Lazy Song and Versace on the Floor and Taylor Swift’s Love Story. Recent years show the resurgence of OPM, with searches for Hayaan mo Sila lyrics in 2018 and Pagsamo lyrics in 2021 breaking into the most searched on Google Philippines.
The most searched celebrities in Google Philippines are a combination of local and international names. Their most common denominators? Either they died that year or had a huge controversy.
2012 had the most searches for deceased personalities with the Philippine’s King of Comedy Dolphy and Whitney Houston’s passing. Controversial names also got the top search during the height of their issues, like the local comedian Vhong Navarro and doctor to celebrities Hayden Kho.
As social media became more accessible to Filipinos, news about the most popular TV shows and movies reached our shores faster compared to past decades. Streaming services also contributed to this. In fact, the American serial killer from the 90s, Jeffrey Dahmer, is one of the top searches for 2022 because of the Netflix TV show released in the same year.
The only local TV shows that breached the most searched list in their respective years are The Voice Teens and Idol Philippines. Both shows are notably singing competitions, which further reinforces the stereotypes that we love singing.
The Miss Universe pageant is also one of the biggest entertainment events for Filipinos. Since 2008, it twice appeared in the top 10 searches—in 2011 and 2021.
In the earlier years, the top 10 Google Searches in the Philippines were filled with social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Tumblr. These searches soon phased out since people either directly typed the domain as they and their browsers became more familiar with them or accessed these platforms through their mobile apps.
Omegle is the only platform that reached the most searched list in recent years due to its resurgence in popularity.
Despite our success in other sports like weightlifting and gymnastics, the Philippines remains a basketball- and boxing-obsessed country.
Manny Pacquiao’s fights reached the top 10 in three separate years: Pacquiao vs Hatton in 2008, Pacquiao vs Broner; and Pacquiao vs. Ugas in 2021. These searches may include schedule confirmation, channel or pay-per-view search, or video replays. No other local athlete—not even the Philippines’ first Olympic gold medalist, Hidilyn Diaz—has joined Pacquiao in the most overall searched on Google PH.
Both local and international basketball search terms are perennial favorite searches of Filipinos. Terms like NBA schedule, NBA standings, NBA games today, NBA Playoffs, and NBA score are some of the most popular searches from 2018 until 2021. The Philippines’ very own Gilas Pilipinas also gets a lot of support from searches for FIBA Asia, which is reflected in the top 10 of 2015 and 2017.
Google Search Behavior of Filipinos
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Heavily Influenced by American Culture
The US influence is still prevalent in Philippine culture, as evidenced by the top movie, TV show, celebrity, sports, and song searches in Google.
Filipinos are also starting to show more interest in US politics. US election 2020 was the top search in 2020. This likely won’t change anytime soon since the Philippines and US have strong political ties, which will play a huge role in the brewing South China Sea disputes.
Rising Interest in Korean Pop Culture
The Philippines wasn’t exempted when the Hallyu or Korean wave hit many countries. The trend started with K-Pop music and acts and continued with K-drama. K-pop acts are naturally looked up more on YouTube since users want to watch videos of their favorite groups and idols. This left Google with the K-drama searches.
Some of the most searched Korean dramas in the Philippines in the past years are Squid Game, True Beauty, and All of Us Are Dead. Train to Busan is the only Korean movie that cracked the top 10 in the past years.
Accessing Government Services During and Post-COVID
The COVID-19 pandemic has tested the capacity of private and public entities to deliver their services digitally since social distancing was a requirement. New services also arose in response to the new needs of the population.
Some top government-related searches from 2020 to 2022 were www.reliefagad.ph, precinct finder, and VaxCertPH. Parents and students were also searching for information regarding changes to school regulations with searches like the first day of school and DepEd Commons.
Mobile is a Priority for Filipinos
Almost 99% of Filipino internet users own smartphones, and recent studies also showed that mobile purchases are two times higher than desktop in the Philippines. The searches being dominated by mobile games is further evidence that Pinoys prefer mobile experiences and conducting their online journey through mobile devices.
More Politically Curious
Earlier years showed the top searches being dominated by leisure interests like games and music, but more recent ones showed that Filipinos are harnessing the power of Google to be more aware of political and social issues.
Halalan 2019 and Halalan 2022 are among the most searched in the past five years. Considering that the Philippines holds national elections every three years, it’s a positive indication that Filipinos are on the way to becoming more responsible voters.
Aside from the pandemic, people are using Google to prepare and get updates about calamities, like in the case of Taal Volcano in 2020 and Metro Manila area floods in 2021.
Leveraging Filipinos’ Search Behavior
While uncontrollable factors like the pandemic have changed the search behavior of Filipinos, the historical data still shows that our core identities remain intact. Our love for music, basketball, and pageants are some fun stereotypes marketers can constantly tap into.
The change has also been for the better as more Pinoys are using search engines to look for information about more socially relevant issues. Brands should be aware of these changes to adapt to the unique digital marketing landscape of the Philippines.
Most Searched in Google Philippines 2022
|5||All of Us Are Dead|
|6||Warriors vs Celtics|
Most Searched in Google Philippines 2021
|2||NBA games today|
|5||Miss Universe 2021|
|7||Pacquiao vs. Ugas|
|10||Metro Manila area floods|