Saturday, January 8, 2011

Firecrackers and Other Ways to Spend the New Years In the Philippines

For as far as I can recall in my childhood, using firecrackers to greet the New Year has been a very big part of the NY celebration here in the Philippines.  As children I can remember, we only had lusis (that firecracker that kids just hold and spew bright light --- not to be mistaken for the sparklers).  My father had an special fondness for meeting the NY with firecrackers so I grew up having even just the lusis, sparklers and watusi.  Eventually when we got older, the lusis, sparklers and watusi was replaced by super lolos, sinturon ni judas and other more powerful firecrackers.  Although by this time, I did not participate in the "festivities", I certainly did not go against "tradition".

Over time, as I got older, I developed asthma, and the fanfare of the NY tradition just got totally lost on me as the "smog" the day after only constantly reminded me why I just hate firecrackers.

Oh there were some moments of inspiration, when my cousins and I were in my teens, and a cousin who lived in the U.S. visited for the holidays, that we decided to set-up a sound system in the garage and blare music all night long.  It was fun and we invited our neighbor/friends for a disco party.

Eventually there were yet other alternatives when we moved out of the suburban life.  When we moved to a neighborhood that was predominantly composed of policemen or ex-policemen, shooting their guns in mid-air appeared to be their alternative.  Now at that point I thought to myself I just jumped from the frying pan into the flame! I feared a bullet would tear across the roof or the glass window and hit me or my relations! Aside from the fact that living in a neighborhood with row houses next to one another makes it easy to hear a myriad of noises (turned-up T.V. or radio) blasting at midnight!  Somehow it does beat the morning "smog" though.

This year, our first year to live together for almost a year as husband and wife, we decided to make it special and different.  We decided to hole up in a nice posh hotel in Makati, with a cocktail buffet (all you can drink liquor and all you can eat pastry, bread and other knick knacks like pesto pasta, kabobs, etc.) and a breakfast buffet.  We also had a room upgrade for the additional price of the breakfast buffet and our room was at the 24th floor right next to the Executive Lounge where you can just come in for overflowing coffee/tea and cookies at ANY TIME!


The place still had a homey feel to it as most of the guest were families spending their NY apparently like we were, hiding from the smoke.  There were old couples even wearing face masks around midnight. :p  There were children playing in the lobby and some enjoying a dance with the sexy singer performing for the guests at the bar.  Since most of my relatives are already in the U.S., I guess it is as close to being with relatives as I could have.

Overall, it was a great kick-off for the year, our first "almost" whole year together (February 12, 2011 will be the official whole year).  I turn 40 this year... and our fifth year as a married couple! I am sure the year will pose problems just like the previous year but I look forward to this year as the year I break out of my comfort zones.  May it be a GREAT year for us all!