Monday, December 31, 2007

Boom boom boom boom

Manigong Bagong Taon! Happy New Year!

Back in the states, as the new year rolls around, people celebrate by pouring lots of champagne, following it with a synchronized countdown, and then bursting into a riot of cheering, drinking, and kissing.

Here in the Philippines, people celebrate by blowing shit up.

It's like a war zone out here, only people don't die (they just lose some fingers or set nearby things on fire). Explosions are heard round the clock, getting especially feverish when the new year rolls around. My cousins, earlier in the day, bought a bunch of fireworks and had them out at around 11 pm. They took me out to the street, set some kind of gigantic box in the middle, gave me an ember on a long metal stick, and told me it's time I experience the Filipino style celebration. Go, and light it.

Once I see the fuse catch, turn around and run.

Uh, thanks guys.

I'm struggling to find the fuse since it's dark and it's hard to hold a long stick steady. I'm afraid I'll light the inner fuse and get to feel what it's like to vaporize. Soon enough, the fuse catches. I turn around, and before I take two steps


It launches a searingly white ember into the sky which explodes into a dazzling sphere of colors. Like the kind at Disneyland, or any other fireworks extravaganza. Back in Cerritos, the kind that gets you sent to jail for thinking about lighting one. Here though, every neighbor has their own set of aerial light bombs, the richer ones launching barrages that would rival California theme parks.

It's a beautiful place to be when the new year rolls around, to celebrate it with a bang.

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