I can pick any day in December to write about New Year’s Eve in the Philippines because some Filipinos start celebrating the new year at the beginning of December! Okay, I have nothing against New Year’s Eve celebrations on December 31st because that’s normal. Anything earlier is NOT normal. This year, I’m actually vacationing in the US, so I don’t have a clue what’s happening there this month. This is, however, the first year since 2006 that I’ve been away from the Philippines for a vacation (mid-November to the end of January).
I don’t know what’s worse, dealing with the boga noise or dealing with the firecracker noise. Bogas were outlawed on December 27, 2006, but were in widespread use in the days that preceded the ban. The ban didn’t seem to make a difference until 2007.
Firecrackers replaced most of the boga usage, but people are still using bogas infrequently. Bogas sound like cannons going off to the untrained ear. I’ve actually heard cannons go off (artillery weapons in the military) and the blasts (just air) from the bogas sound a lot like them.
The noise from firecrackers or any other noisemakers is annoying to say the least. Until New Year’s Eve, I consider it nothing other than noise pollution. On New Year’s Eve, I expect the noise and I’ll make my fair share of it if I can.
Since it’s mostly children setting off the noisemakers (which include all kinds of party favors bought much earlier than needed), I can only assume the parents of the children have no respect for their neighbors and allow their children to do pretty much anything they want to do. Actually, judging by the number of children playing on the street each evening without any adult supervision, that’s a pretty solid assumption.
The worst part about it is that the noise making continues past the time of day when people should be sleeping. I have spent months trying to adjust my sleep cycle so that I’m sleeping at night and not during the day. The noise making behavior throws it all out of whack and it’s irritating. Despite all of my efforts to shew away the people making the noise, it just doesn’t work.
New Year’s Eve
In the US, the use of fireworks seems to be concentrated more on Independence Day than on New Year’s Day. The only time I’ve seen fireworks here is on New Year’s Day (at midnight, naturally). I buy fireworks every year myself and they’re not expensive.
We always have a party in my compound on New Year’s Eve and uninvited relatives and neighbors usually show up to consume our food and alcoholic beverages. There are more than 20 people living in this compound and some of them always want to invite their friends. I just can’t finance that kind of crowd, so I’m hoping the rest of the in-laws will help keep the non-family members away.
I don’t know what it’s like in other parts of the country or even in other parts of Olongapo City on New Year’s Eve and I have no desire to find out. I’ll be too busy enjoying myself right where I am, wherever I happen to be.
[Originally published in December, 2009 and updated for December 2012]