For the local entertainment industry -- and the country, as a whole -- 2012 was the year the King of Philippine Comedy Dolphy made his final bows after a long battle with pulmonary disease.
But it was also a year some celebrities suffered heartaches or faced legal battles which stemmed from their controversial comments and actions.
It wasn't all sad news for the showbiz industry, however, as some stars bounced back from personal hurt to find new love.
It was also a year of surprising successes, especially for those who were involved in the hit series "Be Careful With My Heart" and the phenomenal soap "Walang Hanggan."
Here are abs-cbnNEWS.com's most popular entertainment stories of 2012.
His death had been reported prematurely for several months. But when veteran comedian Dolphy was finally called to meet his Maker, nobody was truly prepared for his passing.
The King of Philippine Comedy died on the evening of July 10 after a five-year battle with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and acute renal failure, sending the entire nation into mourning.
Well-loved in and outside of the entertainment industry, Dolphy united Filipinos such that for the first time in the country’s history, the top three networks set aside their differences to air a fund-raising tribute concert simultaneously on primetime.
Actor Raymart Santiago and his wife, actress Claudine Barretto, made headlines in 2012 after the celebrity couple got into a nasty confrontation with hard-hitting columnist Mon Tulfo at the airport last July.
The brawl, which was caught on video and uploaded on YouTube, fascinated Filipinos and unleashed a storm in both social and traditional media, with the Tulfo brothers even threatening the couple live on air.
The Santiagos filed charges of physical injuries and child abuse against Tulfo, which started when the macho journalist tried to take photos of Barretto berating an airline employee.
The year has been a roller-coaster ride for actress Angelica Panganiban. She first broke up with long-time boyfriend, actor Derek Ramsay, but soon found herself in love with her fellow ABS-CBN star John Lloyd Cruz.
Later, it was revealed that Panganiban and Ramsay called it quits much earlier, although this was made public only several months after the fact.
Similarly, Panganiban and Cruz officially became a couple in July but only admitted their relationship months later. But once the romance became public, Panganiban opened up about the actor, saying she never thought that she could be happy in love.
Rumors about a possible brewing romance between the two started after they shot scenes in Vietnam for "24/7 in Love," the 20th anniversary offering of Star Magic -- just as reports started to leak about the breakup between Cruz and former girlfriend Shaina Magdayao, as well as Panganiban and Ramsay.
The death of young actor Ramgen Revilla was among the biggest showbiz stories of 2011, and the public's hunger for more details about the shocking incident spilled over to 2012, especially after news about Revilla and girlfriend Janelle Manahan's sex video was leaked in social networking sites.
Manahan believes the deleted files were retrieved from Revilla's laptop, which was in the possession of his family, who vehemently denied that they uploaded the sex video.
Manahan has accused some of Revilla's siblings of conspiring to murder the actor, when they were attacked inside the Magsaysay home last October 28, 2011.
The case is still ongoing.
In a turn of events that proved to be even more exciting than a teleserye twist, sexy actress Ara Mina sued her younger sister Cristine Reyes of libel, saying she wants to “teach her a lesson.”
An emotional Mina faced TV cameras and went public with their rift, supposedly over the remaining balance for a house they bought for their mother. According to Mina’s lawyer, Reyes allegedly demanded that her older sister pay the remaining P1.8-million balance for a Quezon City townhouse they bought in 2011. Reyes allegedly threatened that she will continue her personal attacks against her sister if she failed to do so.
Mina then showed the supposed hurtful text messages Reyes sent her and demanded that Reyes issue a public apology.
Reyes eventually reached out to her sister and publicly apologized if she had offended Mina. But apparently this wasn’t enough and the sisters failed to reconcile even during the Christmas holidays.
Veteran actress and singer Sharon Cuneta joined the micro-blogging site Twitter believing that it would help her, given the many changes in her personal life to her career.
But almost immediately, Cuneta had to defend herself from so-called bashers and answer negative comments about her and daughter KC Concepcion.
Among these “hurtful” accusations, Cuneta said, was that her eldest daughter is an "abortionist."
For the first time, Cuneta also went public with her denial that Concepcion is the real mother of her youngest daughter Miel and adopted son Miguel.
No one was really surprised when celebrity doctor Vicki Belo and her long-time partner Hayden Kho, who gained notoriety for his sex videos, decided to call it quits.
What was unexpected was when Kho had a meltdown on microblogging site Twitter last February, as he denied that he cheated on Belo after reports surfaced that he was spotted kissing former star Nancy Castiglione.
Belo confirmed that she and Kho separated because of Castiglione, saying she believes the rumors are true.
Belo has since been linked to several younger men, while Kho decided to embark on a full-time showbiz career.
After facing legal charges filed against her by former actresses Nadia Montenegro and Amalia Fuentes, feisty talent manager Annabelle Rama became embroiled in another controversy after she tried to hit an entertainment reporter at the wake of comedian Dolphy last July.
Rama immediately apologized to Dolphy's family stressing that the incident erupted after she was "provoked" by entertainment reporter Chito Alcid.
Rama believes the incident was planned by her enemies-- Fuentes and another former actress Daisy Romualdez--to make her look bad in the eyes of the public.
Last August, Alcid filed multiple raps against Rama at the Fiscal's Office in Taguig.
Rama is eyeing a congressional seat in her home province of Cebu in next year’s elections, while Alcid became a victim of a burglary on Christmas Day.
Like mother, like daughter? Just like her mother, controversial Annabelle Rama, actress-host Ruffa Gutierrez also made headlines on her own in 2012, particularly when she quit her own entertainment talk show on TV5 "Paparazzi," accusing it of "trashy reporting."
Naturally she took to micro-blogging site Twitter to vent her ire against the weekend showbiz talk show, which she co-hosted. Gutierrez said she was maligned by the program on her birthday as her co-hosts -- Cristy Fermin, Zoren Legaspi, Mariel Rodriguez and Jeffrey "Mr. Fu" Espiritu -- took turns in whispering naughty questions to her.
When the series “Walang Hanggan” was first announced, there were concerns about the age-gap of its lead stars Coco Martin and Julia Montes, which raised doubts about their on-screen chemistry. But as soon as the series aired its pilot episode in February, all apprehensions were put to rest, thanks to its strong story line and, yes, the love team of Martin and Montes.
Dubbed the “phenomenal” series, “Walang Hanggan” also revitalized the careers of Dawn Zulueta and Richard Gomez, who marked his return to ABS-CBN with the series. It also gave actor Paulo Avelino the big mainstream break that he deserved.
For 10 months, Filipinos were hooked on the hit series, and the finale on October 26 gave the Kapamilya series its all-time highest nationwide ratings.
But “Walang Hanggan” wasn’t the only TV phenomenon of 2012. The feel-good series "Be Careful With My Heart" with the untested team up of Richard Yap and Jodi Sta. Maria rewrote the landscape of daytime TV programming. The unexpected chemistry of Yap and Sta. Maria gave "Be Careful With My Heart" the kind of ratings commonly expected from prime time series and unheard of for morning shows.
The day-time series tells the story of aspiring flight attendant Maya (Sta. Maria), who leaves the province for Manila to pursue her dreams. Her life plan takes a detour when she becomes the maid of the family of single dad and businessman Richard Lim (Yap), for whom she later develops romantic feelings.
The sheer number of well-read entertainment stories all but assured that some articles won’t make the Top 10. But for their sheer impact on the Filipinos, these two stories deserve to be mentioned.
Another Pinoy makes a run at ‘American Idol’
Filipino had been patiently waiting for another Pinoy with a fighting chance of winning “American Idol” ever since the Hawaiian teenager Jasmine Trias placed third in the show’s third season.
On the talent search’s 11th season, Filipino-Mexican-American Jessica Sanchez stirred the excitement of Pinoys around the world. Pinoys were glued to the show week after week as Sanchez went all the way to the finals. Although she lost to the guitar-playing Phillip Phillips, “Jessica mania” continued, resulting in several big-time endorsements for the San Diego teenager and a Valentine concert at the Araneta Coliseum next year.
Hollywood film made in the Philippines
It’s not the first Hollywood movie to be shot here, but “Bourne Legacy” is the first major U.S. production that is really set in the Philippines – and not as a stand-in for another Asian country like Vietnam or Indonesia. Filipinos tuned in to get updated about the film’s shooting schedule and locations and the whereabouts of the “Bourne” stars led by Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz and Edward Norton. Even Weisz’ husband, James Bond actor Daniel Craig, dropped by for a visit.
“Bourne Legacy” went on to gross more than P200 million locally when it finally opened in Philippine theaters in August.