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Away from Rizal, Same Feeling: Azkals Viewing Party at Dillingers 1903

Unlike my brother and my male cousins who are very much addicted to football, I consider myself as a mere spectator of such sport. Sometimes though, I watch the European games on TV, just so I could relate to the usual sporty conversations we have as a family… aside from longboarding, of course. πŸ™‚

Until the PHL Azkals started playing mad… Now I’m in love with football as well.


The Search for the Golden Tickets

I really wanted to try something new, so instead of watching the game at home, I had this spur of the moment decision to look for tickets to the Azkals match against Sri Lanka. I had to bug my mom, sister and cousins to go to TicketWorld outlets just to check if they have started selling the extra printings for those who would want to watch the game at Rizal Memorial Stadium. We were going for the 200-300Php prices, but alas, the tickets were already sold out during the first 30 minutes of release. Talk about madness! πŸ™‚

Cheers and Beers at Dillingers 1903

So we gave up with the ticket hunting, and decided to watch the July 3 game at home. Good thing, my cousin had a friend who was able to give us free invites at a viewing party sponsored by cable provider Sky Cable and ABS-CBN Sports. I knew what the invite meant – I’ve got an awesome weekend waiting for me! πŸ™‚

Dillingers 1903 was a great place for a viewing party! πŸ™‚

Dillingers 1903 is one of the most popular restaurants found in Greenbelt 3. The bar’s theme is inspired by what you usually see in gangster films: dark and cozy, despite the fact that it was named after an infamous bank robber named John Dillinger who was born in 1903. With a wide range of alcoholic drinks you could choose from, we knew that the viewing party for the Azkals game would definitely be fun.


Good thing we arrived early. The place was jampacked!

We arrived there with an hour to spare. We however decided to choose our seats for we knew lots of people would be arriving soon. And yes, they did arrive in packs!

The event was co-presented by ConZace, Samsung SMART TV and Emperador Light; they were also responsible for providing a very interesting afternoon for the audience. Free samples of the vitamins and brandy were everywhere, and Samsung was very generous with their raffle prizes. Spa gift certificates were also awarded to lucky ticket holders. See? These freebies and more make viewing parties extraordinary.

The foreigner deserved the ESPN bag. He was cheering for the Azkals way too loud. ^_^

My brother JC was a lucky winner of the Samsung USB.

Philippine Azkals v Sri Lanka Brave Reds

The game was the main reason why people gathered in the pub that day, and we all looked forward to a good game. Of course, Filipinos all around the world stepped up and hoped that our homeboys would do well.

The PHL Azkals did not fail us – even gave the crowd a breathtaking score of 4-0 against the opponent! When Chieffy Caligdong scored the first goal, the crowd just went wild! The little man compared to the heights of his teammates continue to stand proud, thanks to his skills.

Angel Guirado’s goal made us cling at the edge of our seats. We somehow expected that he would trip and wouldn’t be able to score that goal. He passed the goalkeeper in struggle, and was able to give the PHL another score. All smiles he was after the shot! Natural charmer he is, this guy’s first visit in the Philippines made him buy a Filipino flag to bring back to Spain. Cute story, isn’t it? πŸ™‚

Worth-mentioning of course, is Phil Younghusband’s two epic goals. He was so on top of his game. Thanks to Angel Locsin, perhaps? Hmm. I would like to think that his drive was mainly because of the Filipinos’ support and love for him.

I prayed for the Azkals last Sunday. Did you?

Minutes before the game ended, we already smelled victory. The Azkals are definitely going to Kuwait! πŸ™‚

The Azkals Effect

So what difference did the Sunday’s Azkals match make in the history of the Philippines? Well, aside from the fact that we were all united that day regardless our locations, our country made it to the 2nd round of the Asian Qualifiers. This goes to show that we have definitely what it takes to dream for that World Cup. Dream big, think epic… right?

And yes, I was glad to make new friends that day. This football madness surely brings a lot of people together!

Everyone at Dillingers rejoiced after the match, and I’m pretty sure that we felt the same hype those people who watched in Rizal had. Though it would have been fun to be drenched in the rain while cheering “Go Team” and singing “Ole! Ole! Ole! Ole!”, viewing parties could give you the excitement as long as your heart is really into what you are watching. πŸ™‚

So for those who would not be able to get a ticket for the next home game on July 28, you may catch Aly, Chieffy, Neil, Phil, James, Stephan, Ian and the rest of the PHL Azkals battle against Kuwait (in full HD) at the nearest viewing party near you. You may also contact your local cable provider for inquiries and invites.

In the end, it really doesn’t matter where we watched it. What is important is that our confidence and support for the Azkals would be there and would never die down, as they travel along the road to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

This is the Azkals’ journey, and it’s every Filipino’s journey.

πŸ™‚

**********

Follow Dillingers1903 on Twitter for more viewing party updates! Looks like the place is going to be another venue for football fanatics. πŸ™‚

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The “Happy” in “Happy Father’s Day”

“Small circle, small circle, big circle. This is mama. This is papa, waving goodbye.”
Β 
Β 

I can’t remember the last time we celebrated Father’s Day with Daddy. I also am not sure if he could recall any memory of him being with us during that special day. You see, my dad has been working in the US for 22 effin’ years.

For that reason, I really am not a big fan of Father’s Day. It kinda makes me sad that my dad is not around for the nth time in observing what’s supposed to be his day.

I am thankful though, that he gets to be home once every two years. If he’s lucky enough to be under a “heaven sent” employer, a yearly visit to the Philippines is quite possible.What is clear to me however, are the moments when he bids goodbye to us in the airport. I used to cry a lot when I was younger, and it takes days before I snap out of the sadness and be back to live the normal life again.

When Dad visits, he usually stays here for three weeks. Since I work in Batangas, I see it to that I’d be the one to fetch him in the airport. The three-week stay seemed to be very fast for us. I sometimes get mad at Dad whenever he stays here on school days, when I’ve been requesting that he plans his vacation during summer, so I could spend more time with him. I am not complaining about my work – just saying that I wish I could get to be a full-time daughter to him when he’s here.

“As fathers commonly go, it is seldom a misfortune to be fatherless; and considering the general run of sons, as seldom a misfortune to be childless.”
Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β  –Lord Chesterfield
Β 
Β 

I can’t say I’m fatherless, because I get to speak with my Dad almost everyday; we spend time together at least. Didn’t I say that I used to cry buckets of tears when he is about to leave? Now that I’ve grown in age, I feel like that little girl again – I find it hard to compose myself not to cry. Maybe because I wonder, how long does he have to seek for greener pastures in a place so far from his family?

Well before I shed a tear or two, let me just say that this post is my way of greeting all the Pops out there a “Happy Father’s Day!” πŸ˜€ You are indeed God’s gifts to mankind.

I salute all the fathers in the world, especially the OFW daddies. I know that it’s hard for them to leave their families, as I have seen the agony in Dad’s face whenever he does… but because of love, still they choose to live up to the role that fathers are the best providers.

My shout-outs also to the single mommies, for playing dual roles at the same time. Mom has been like that for 23 years also, and from what I have seen, she gives a double effort to fill in the shortcomings of Dad.

"Because I couldn't find a picture of you, I just posted a picture of us instead."

Happy Father’s Day to you Dad! πŸ™‚ Eventhough you don’t get to read what I have written (because that’s how you hate being in front of the computer), I know this would get to you somehow. Thank you for being the best, even if at times you feel that you aren’t even close to being one. You will always be an epitome for me, of what “sacrifice” and “love” mean. I am praying for you always. I love you so much! πŸ™‚

If all else fails, there’s always the Pinatubo Diet. c”,)

WARNING: This is a looooooong read, just like the hike. πŸ˜‰

Paperdolls and tea parties. Barbie-Ken duo and Play-Doh.

These are to name a few of the toys I grew up with. Rather than spending too much time outside playing rough games with other kids, I preferred to stay at home and host tea parties with my lifeless friends. It was too easy a task, but at least I’m assured of not having heavy ink or mud stains when playing with clay, nor getting smelly after the rounds of fake tea. (My sister and I used water and milk most of the time.)

With the kind of activities I had back then, sports and adventure tripping caught my attention in the least manner. No one could make me play basketball nor volleyball, not unless required. Even in college, I always dragged myself to the court just to receive a decent mark. I was boxed in the belief that such rough ventures fit only the male. I’m sure a lot of you out there share with me the kind of childhood I had.

Sports, hiking, running, trekking. These are the words which never made meanings in my life.

That is why I cannot help but stifle a chuckle whenever I recall that fine Monday morning when I said “yes” to a good friend’s invitation to go trekking that coming weekend. πŸ˜‰

Just Say Yes!”

After the Musical Pyrolympics last March 12, Santino told me of his plans to join some friends in going to Mt. Pinatubo the following weekend.He then asked me to tag along so we could come up with our very first “cover-it-together” composition. I was really up for it, but since the day hike would fall on a Sunday, I did not jump in right away.

Since my resident photographer < it’s official mga brah. haha. thanks Santi! πŸ˜‰ >possess great convincing power, I said yes. More than just writing a feature of the place, I knew that this would be a big challenge for me. The Pinatubo hike would test my agility and endurance from the physical factors which could dampen my drive to finish the trek. With myself as the greatest competition, I had the urge to prove that even if I’m no sporty girl, still I’d be able to outlast all the pressures.

I informed Santino to count me in. Passed the debate whether to join or not, I was now ready to face my next worry: getting along with people whom I’ve never heard of.

Pulling a Gracie Lou Freebush and the Blogger-Photographer Connection

I met up with Santino and his photographer friends around 12mn of March 20 at Starbucks Imperial. We were leaving for Capas, Tarlac at a much later time,4 am. I guess excitement kicked in too early. Sans the sleep for most of us, we still managed to put on a smile from time to time.

Being the newbie in everything (blogging, trekking, meeting friends of friends for an adventure of the lifetime), I had to give all my best efforts to get to know the company I was with. Talk about being Gracie Lou Freebush for a day. Ms. Congeniality goes face to face with total strangers. πŸ™‚

Part of the adventure for me was meeting the different people coming from different walks of life.

But what brings them together?

Just like me, they also have the drive to tell the colorful stories of life through pictures and words.

What the words cannot express, the pictures can. What pictures can’t communicate are covered by words. The whole lot was a mixture of young photographers and bloggers who wish to rediscover the art of providing good reads and sights to the audience.

Sorry, excited lang po. πŸ™‚ (Photo by Santino del Castillo)

Aboard the Victory Liner bus going to Capas, Tarlac were 12 of us, ready to bask under the sun.

Anton, Teresa, Mel, Lheann, Von, Derick, Santi, Cai, Karlo, Alvin, Bernard and me.

12 souls in search of the perfect adventure.

Destination: Mt. Pinatubo! πŸ˜€

Pinatubo Spa Town

Most of us were asleep in the bus ride going to Capas, Tarlac. (Well there was this one guy who kept singing Victims of Love. πŸ˜€ ) Since not all were able to sleep well the night before, we just needed to recharge to be fit enough for the day’s hurdles. Who said getting to the volcano’s crater would be easy?

So after grabbing a quick bite at McDonald’s, the group rode the 4x4s waiting outside. Riding the 4×4 made me feel like I was in an action film of some sort, as each rider’s face was wrapped in improvised dustbuster cloths. Little did I know that the trip to Spa Town was just a teaser of the kind of ride we would be experiencing soon.

Pinatubo Spa Town (Photo by Santino del Castillo)

After Anton gave the itinerary for the day, the groupings in the 4×4 ride, and some pointers to remember, I explored the place just like any other curious tourist. The photographers brought out their DSLRs and poised themselves in different spots to take good pictures. As for the bloggers… well, we settled for the “point and shoot” manner of capturing images.

Sulfur Sand Shower (Photo by Santino del Castillo)

Branded by most visitors as the best place to get a shiatsu massage after the long Pinatubo trek, Spa Town also offers various services to its guests such as the Sulfur Sand Shower and the Sulfur Mud Pack. Though the fee is quite pricey (starts at Php600), satisfaction is said to be very much guaranteed.

I did not try any of their services, since I did not have the luxury of time as well. (Hehe, lusot!)

We were told that lunch would be served in the Spa Town after the trek. This gave us the drive to start the walk in high hopes that the food to be served that afternoon would definitely be scrumptious.

Pinatubo Spa Town (Photo by Santino del Castillo)

We Be Rough Riders!

On with the plan of climbing Mt. Pinatubo, we were then ushered to the 4x4s which would bring us to the starting point of the trek. I rode in the backseat of the vehicle along with Derick and Von. Lheann called shotgun, since I had my share of the seat on the way to the Spa Town. Our tour guide, Kuya Leck, joined us in the almost 2-hour trip to the foot of the mountain.

May problema ka, Derick? πŸ™‚ (Photo by Santino del Castillo)

As what I have mentioned earlier, riding the 4×4 made me feel like I’m in a star-studded bandit movie. Yeah, that’s me wrapped in a purple dustbuster cloth. You could not just imagine the amount of dust our eyes, noses and mouths endured. Picture this: life-sized espasols in colorful wrappings. Or, hair set in a high do without much effort, thanks to all the dust and wind your crowning glory has collected.

"Biyaheng Langit" (Photo by Santino del Castillo)

Despite the inconvenience which the rough ride and dust gave us, we cannot help but be amazed with the vast land that surrounded us. Yes, the lahar-covered soil sure brings back the horror on that fateful day of June 15, 1991; but the view of what remains today can be likened to a slice of heaven on earth.

White. Surreal. Peaceful. Calm.

It felt as though I was transported in a different country. Familiar with the film Jumper? Yep, just like that.

We stopped for a moment in a place where everyone had the chance to take pictures. One thing I really enjoyed about this trip was the company of these young photographers who really knew how to make people comfortable in front of the camera. Cam-whores should definitely befriend photo-enthusiasts. πŸ™‚

"It's a long way to the top if you wanna rock and roll." (Photo by Santino del Castillo)

The Blind, the Deaf and the Tour Guide

We sure did enjoy the jaw-dropping views on our left, right and peripheral views, but we were not able to prevent boredom from consuming us. Derick interviewed me about the nature of my job as a Special Education teacher. I even taught him, Von and Kuya Leck some basic sign languages of common words/phrases (Thank you/You’re welcome, What is your name?).

I usually get common questions whenever people ask me on what it’s like to be a SpEd teacher, but that day, Derick asked me a very interesting question. He asked if what the blind could possibly see when he is dreaming. For four years of studying the ins and outs of Special Education, I have never come across with that thought! πŸ™‚ Quite a shocker, we were able to generate ideas based on our imaginations to at least suffice our curiosity. With Derick’s crazy antics and Von’s follow-ups, Kuya Leck and I were able to laugh the boredom away. Still, the question whether what the blind sees when he is dreaming still remains hanging and unclear. (Any takers to give answers? Leave a comment, then. Haha.)

After several bumps on the head, lashes of heat on the skin, still we were on the road. What Kuya Leck did was to entertain us with the most gruesome tragedies he has witnessed as a Pinatubo tour guide. Stories of 4×4 doing topsy-turvy acts, ankles twisting, butts slipping on rocks covered in heavy green moss – made us smile in the most absurd way. Kuya Leck let us imagine how the trip could turn into a nightmare.

Perfect stories for starters, eh? πŸ˜‰

“Where We Go We Don’t Need Roads…”

At last! We arrived at the starting point of the trek. Almost 10am on my watch, we took the strides to reach the summit of Mount Pinatubo.

MMMAAAAAAAAAHHHHHAAAAAAAAABBBBBBAAAAAANGGG TREK. (Photo by Santino del Castillo)

A college friend told me days before this trip that the trek would only take us about 20-30 minutes to reach the crater of the volcano. This got me excited that I even told Santino we really should not worry about getting sunburn and all. That is why I really did not apply sunscreen right away. My bad, because only 15 minutes after starting the walk, my skin was turning red already. However, I barely had time to focus on that much because the sight was too beautiful to miss.

"Lost" (Photo and caption by Santino del Castillo)

The next time I go hiking, I would no longer forget to wear long-sleeved clothes. Let this be a reminder to everyone: if you do not want to end up like your favorite breakfast, only toasted, then wear clothing which could protect you from the harmful rays of the sun.

Never ever forget to bring bottles of water as well. Oh, and also, if ever the tour guide offers to carry your bag, give in. Just make sure he stays close to you or else you might end up begging for water from your co-hikers.

The looooooong walk going to the crater made me think that by the end of the day, I would lose weight. I was pretty hyped up to step on the weighing scale and see if my activity could actually beat the Machete Diet. Haha. πŸ˜€

“There’s A World Out There That We Should See!”

At the start of the trek, I was already praying that hopefully, my spirits won’t drop. I am much used to running and brisk walking, since I do these activities back here in Batangas; then again the hike in Mt. Pinatubo is just extremely challenging.

After 48 years: Summit! (Photo by Santino del Castillo)

But after seeing the crater of the volcano that made headlines in the world’s history, do I still have the right to complain?

You're worth all the pagod. *blush* πŸ˜‰ (Photo by Santino del Castillo)

Days before the Mt. Pinatubo adventure, I googled some pictures of the crater on the internet. I thought the images were too post-processed because the shots were just so beautiful. I was finally convinced when I saw the crater myself – the sight just left me breathless. I double checked by checking Santino’s shot of the crater right after he took this one. Oh boy, the pic looked like it was photoshopped for quite a time, when in fact it’s not! πŸ™‚

All the efforts exerted during the hike toward the summit were worth it. Every sweat which came out of the body, each kiss pressed by the sun on my nose and cheeks were nothing compared to the dreamy feeling I had upon laying eyes on this wonderful scenery.

"Life Saver" (Photo by Santino del Castillo)

As I sat under the shade facing the landscape before me, flashbacks of sad stories about the Pinatubo eruption flooded my mind. My dad is a native of Iba, Zambales, and I knew the struggles his family and relatives had to face during that unforgettable moment.

When life gives you the downs, there’s no option left but to look up to the sky and ask for help from the Great Savior who makes all things possible.

The person who took this photo (left) even had an original caption to communicate what this image says:

“Ito ang rason kung bakit hindi pumutok ang pinatubo. =)”

We rode the boat (which was kinda pricey by the way, at Php350 each – pero okay lang! Hehe.) to cross the crater lake. Karlo, Alvin and Cai plunged for less than an hour, just to experience how it felt to be in the waters of the once-deadly volcano. I was enjoying the view of the things around me at first, but inside I knew that if I stayed under the sun for another hour or two, I’d collapse. Good thing we did not stay that long.

Heliophobia. Nyahahaha. (Photo by Santino del Castillo)

Pinatubo Crater Lake (Photo by Santino del Castillo)

While the others took a nap under the shade by the lake, I chatted with Santino and Karlo. Santi said that there is actually a Pinatubo Run for those who wish to ultimately conquer the trails of this volcano. Of course, Karlo and I did not buy his story, so I made a bet with Santi for Php500. I just knew it would be impossible for such run to be true.

(Result of the bet? Later. πŸ˜‰ )

Since it was time to head back to Spa Town, we readied ourselves for the afternoon hike. Descending the high lands of Pinatubo required more energy from us – you would not feel that going down is much easier. The road to the start of the trek did not feel that different – it was like doing it all over again!

“But You’ll Never See the End of the Road While You’re Traveling With Me.”

I am very much thankful to Kuya Leck. He was responsible for the ease I had during the hike. He volunteered to carry my backpack all throughout the trip, as well as Santino’s tripod. He was even game to pose a shot with me. (But my hair wasn’t that prepared. πŸ˜€ )

Code Eight tour guide (Photo by Santino del Castillo)

I was starting to feel low because the walk was just dragging. We were not that noisy anymore, compared to what we were that morning. Thanks to Santi, Derick and Von who kept on throwing jokes at each other, we somehow managed to keep our sanity intact.

Afternoon’s trek was like hell. Literally, ang init! I could already hear myself cursing under my breath, thinking how come I even gave in to this invitation… but like a lightbulb that popped on the side of my head, I remembered why I was there in the first place. I wanted to prove something, for myself.

And also, we were joking around that the Pinatubo trek would most likely be an effective way of losing weight. I wanted to test if this was true. πŸ˜‰

Pinatubo Run, anyone? (Photo by Santino del Castillo)

When I finally reached the last push of the trek, I was already dead-tired. I was basically panting and running short of breath. I somehow looked forward to the 4×4 ride, because this meant that I would just be sitting down and enjoy the breeze, though still dusty.

At least I was able to finish the day hike without feeling the need to see a doctor right away. πŸ˜‰

Code Eight 101

Though the 4×4 rides made us feel super macho, our tired bodies can’t help but complain about the bumpy and dusty roads. Once more, the trio (Santi, Derick and Von) pulled out their latest acts by jamming with Kuya Leck. They taught him the “Code Eight”, which according to Derick, is the latest evolution of the morse code used by military officials.

In layman’s term: Gay Lingo. Swardspeak. πŸ™‚

Kuya Leck learned how to use Portugal, Gorafire, Truelaloo, Antokelly Clarkson and much more, in meaningful sentences. He was even able to coin his own term, the Gorabao. πŸ™‚ The supposed-to-be-boring 2-hour ride turned out to be the most enjoyable moment for me in this trip. Laughtrip lang.

“I’m Lucky I know, but I wanna go home…”

Back in Spa Town for lunch (it was actually early dinner if you would ask me. The trek again is just sooooooo loooong. Haha.), traces of exhaustion were clearly evident in the faces of my groupmates. Well, exhaustion with a hint of happiness. Who wouldn’t be happy after conquering the challenges of Mt. Pinatubo?

Hello, goodbye. (Photo by Santino del Castillo)

Words are not enough to describe all the things that I saw in this majestic volcano. It would be best if you go visit together with your friends or family. The sights and sounds of Pinatubo would give you a friendlier way of thinking how a monster before could be a gentle giant today.

I survived Mt. Pinatubo and all its thrills and chills. I managed to make my way in a group of people whom I have never seen before. The experiences we carried back home created a bond that would allow us to look forward to more adventures together soon.

I now dare and dream to climb greater heights, thanks to this Pinatubo experience. I have learned to value and trust my capabilities that if other people can do it, so can I. You don’t have to be that person (who’s all sporty and athletic) just so you can try new things and test yourself to the limit.

Two-thumbs up for me and for the rest of the group. Yey to us.

“You’ll never know unless you try.” True enough. πŸ˜‰

P.S., some reminders, and more…

1. I lost the bet. There’s a Pinatubo Run after all. Hoho. Check this out:

http://baldrunner.com/2010/10/12/official-result-1st-mt-pinatubo-50k-trail-challenge/

2. If you want to lose weight, try the Pinatubo Diet. Worked for me. Nuff said. πŸ˜‰

3. Florida’s All-Natural Cranberry Juice is a must-bring for every hiker. (Right Karlo and Ate Cai?)

4. Make friends with photographers. Seriously. Best feeling evah! πŸ˜€

5. When hiking, always be ready to flash your best smile. Even when Direk focuses his spotlight too much on you.

6. A Sausage McMuffin comes handy, too.

7. Always carry your “friendly” button with you. You would be pushing it most of the time. πŸ˜‰

TYVMs:

‘I count myself in nothing else so happy As in a soul remembering my good friends.’

-Richard II

You guys were just so wonderful!

>Anton Carranza Jr and his wife Teresa (’til next time po!)

>Mel and Lheann (nice to meet the two of you!)

>Von (I’d love to see your spidey collection sometime!)

>Derick (told ya bida ka dito hehe. thanks for the helping hand. or hands. haha!)

> Karlo (Pinatubo Run na! πŸ˜€ )

>Ate Cai (sayang if we had much time, I’d love to exchange stories with you!)

> Alvin Bautista (laughtrip ka.)

> Bernard (thanks for lending me the long sleeves. Effective!)

Final P.S. and TYVM:

“You are what you sing.”

The epic line by Santino del Castillo. And he kept singing Joe Lamont’s Victims of Love sa bus. πŸ˜€

Seriously, ikaw pa ang victim?? πŸ˜‰

Anyway, thanks ng bonggang-bongga.

Until the next pressure, Beiber.

Tara na mag-Never Say Never. πŸ˜‰

****

All photos by Santino del Castillo.

πŸ˜€

Dancing in the Moonlight

 

“It’s such a fine and natural sight.”(Photo by Santino del Castillo)

The frenzy created by the media every New Year‘s celebration is one thing that most people look forward to. The figures of how many have been injured by the blast of fireworks keep us glued to the TV screen just to find out what year tops the statistics.

Like any child, I had this chapter in my childhood where I used to cry when my uncle lights the quitis on New Year’s Eve. I hated the sound of explosion, as the deafening roars like thunder make my heart beat so fast. I wonder if kids these days, ages 4+, already appreciate the crackles of firecrackers? Do they run and cling to their mommies for comfort? Do they cry too, or wail rather, so loud that they almost lose their breaths? Do they wish for New Year’s Eve to skip and just live the day of January 1st right away?

I used to.

I used to run and hide behind my mom just to shy away myself from all the noise I hear. I used to scream and shout feelings of discomfort until silence embrace our neighborhood. I used to pray for December 31 not to come anymore, and just skip to January 1 instead, but it never happened. December 31 is my grandmother’s birthday.

I used to be that kid… but not anymore.

 

Because I now say that fireworks are one of the best things man has ever invented.

 

The 2nd Philippine International Pyromusical Competition

What supposed to be an ordinary visit to MOA for my Special Education meeting turned out to be very extraordinary, as a matter of fact.

With my sister, cousins and some friends, we were able to witness the culminating activity of the 2nd Philippine International Pyromusical Competition. This annual event held in the seaside of Manila Bay facing SM Mall of Asia features out-of-this-world fireworks display by the participating countries. In this competition, explosions were attuned to the beautiful harmonies of various contemporary musical pieces. This is the 2nd year of the Philippines as the host country of this battle of lights and colors. That night, Australia (being the defending champion) showcased what they had for the audience; Philippines as host gave an orgasmic (C’mon. It really was.) fireworks exhibition.

So my meeting ended around 4pm, and this meant that I had a lot of time to look for the ticket-selling area. Since the show would start at 7pm, I was really complacent that we would be getting pretty good spots to enjoy the show. I bought seven tickets worth P200 each, checked the site map for easy access to the venue, then suited myself beside one of National Bookstore‘s bookshelf.

Then came 5:00 pm, and I was with my cousins already. Katrina and AG arrived shortly, and we were practically good to go! πŸ™‚

But to make theΒ  long story (which is really not a good one) short, it was only me, Kat and AG who went to the venue and watched the show together. We lost contact with my cousins because of the poooooooooooooooooor (and I mean it) signal reception of mobile networks that night.

 

Ignite the Light and Let it Shine

"It's a supernatural delight." (Photo by Santino del Castillo)

No, what you see in the picture is not the view from where we were situated.

We were holders of the GOLD ticket, and our site was not that photographer-friendly. (No offense meant to those who held out their DSLRs in the Silver and Gold areas) but there were just too many of us who had our cellphones, digicams and videocams waving high up in the air to settle for whatever images our devices could capture. Most pictures taken at our place show a foreground of a sea of people whose necks and legs were extremely sore and painful. Another thing, the zipline was also blocking our view. When light strikes our way, we could see how the ziplines obstruct the scenery. Ahem. Being law-abiding citizens we were, we did not quarrel or made arrangements with anyone with regard to upgrading our tickets.

What I had with me were my cellphone and a borrowed digicam from Ate Nikki. Too bad Jiggy was not able to join us that night – he would have definitely loved the dancing lights.

Australia’s fireworks display amused the audience, but this was already expected. Being the champion for two years, people already knew from the start that Australia will be putting on a show that is worthy enough for another championship title. Then again, it is only my first time to watch such show, so I really would not be able to compare their performance with the previous year.

This country is best known also for the spectacular fireworks it displays when welcoming the New Year. Sydney‘s Harbour Bridge is a household image in televisions as news feature how other countries celebrate the coming of a new year. Sydney has indeed become a great part of the evolution of fireworks, as this is one of the first cities in the world to throw feasts every December 31.

The crowd went wild as different colors started to appear in the sky. Australia’s fireworks were able to shine and bring life to the pitch black heavens in MOA that night.

Just own the night.

It felt like there was another People Power that evening, judging by how many people in the venue were. One of the main reasons why people flocked to the mall was because of the fireworks exhibition which followed Australia’s bet. As the host country, Philippines did not have any entry in the competition.

To be frank, I really underestimated the country’s fireworks exhibition at first. My sister and I were actually discussing some “what ifs?”: What if something goes wrong during the exhibition? What if the music and the firework explosion are not in sync? What if people would not appreciate it? What if the fireworks exhibition would be regarded a failure, as a whole?

So many what ifs. I am pretty sure there are others out there who thought of the same thing.

The countdown to the exhibition began, and what I saw next made my jaw drop. Extreme amazement, you may call it.

 

"Everybody's feeling warm and bright." (Photo by Santino del Castillo)

I felt goosebumps all over while watching Philippines own the night. Shouts of joy and pride started to echo from one person to another – proof that all of us could not believe the sight of beauty before our eyes.

 

“Boom, boom, boom…

...even brighter than the moon, moon, moon."

Colors of different hues. Sizes of all sorts. The exhibition of fireworks presented by the Philippines was fortified with happiness and sheer bliss!
From our venue, we saw fireworks coming from all over the place. We twisted our necks from one side to another, because lights and explosions kept on shooting across the sky. Luckily, I have a friend who was there too to capture the magical moments of these flickering lights. (And yeah, whom I also think is more than willing to share his photos. Haha! ) Wise people they were – he and his co-members of the Quezon City Photography Club opted not to shoot from the venue per se. Instead, they found their perfect little spot in a place which I don’t think I’m allowed to reveal. Finders keepers, losers weepers. πŸ˜‰
The fireworks lit by PI were just so massive! The crowd went wild from time to time, but especially when Katy Perry’s “Firework” was played. It’s as if the exhibition screamed of the saying “Go ahead. Eat your hearts out!”

After watching the fireworks exhibition by the Philippines, I somehow felt guilty. Seriously. Ashamed as well, for underestimating what our people can do.
The program ended shortly after the exhibition, but the spirit it left in the hearts of the audience did not die down easily. Some may even be “high” until now, thanks to awe and wonder brought about by the firecrackers’ sparkles.

Despite all the hustles, bustles and hassle we greatly felt after watching the show (the “patok” bus, loss of signal, hide and seek ), I think I could still allow myself a chance to watch this event next year.

 

 

 

After all, it’s not everyday when you see yourself wearing a big, wide grin courtesy of the dancers in the moonlight. πŸ™‚

 

 

xoxo

Watching this event made me realize two things:
1. That I badly need a decent camera. I cannot forever settle with my “top-of-the-line” (>_<) camera features of my mobile phone.

2. And that sometimes, it’s really hard when you don’t have the height to tower over people. Good thing Bimby was kind enough to record the entire fireworks exhibition. πŸ™‚ Q Bimby! *Piolo dance* haha!


P.S.

“Photo is the root word of many other words.”


pyro shots: epic.


super tyvm to: santino del castillo πŸ˜‰

 

 

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