January 01, 2012

The War in Manila on New Years Eve…Or at Least it Sounded Like One

Last year Lady Hiva and I were daring and joined some good friends, Jenn and Chris, and made the trip to New York City Times Square for New Years Eve to welcome in 2011. It is too bad we did not blog back then, because it was quite the trip. 8 hours of standing like cattle in fenced off areas with a million other people, no food, no bathroom, no chair, security everywhere, stay at a hotel with a high end party in the lobby that people were jealous we had tickets to, but we don’t drink or party so our extent of the party was to cross the lobby and get to our room…but we did it, we can say we went the TIMES SQUARE for New Years Eve! It was fun to watch NEW YEARS EVE, the movie, this past week and see that they used clips from last year’s celebration in the video and to know that the four of us were there! (Lady Hiva and I agreed it was a once in a lifetime experience. If we ever feel the need to be there again we will get one of the hotels that overlook the Square.)

This year we are in Manila, quite a bit different. In the morning I went on  a run and it was eery to see that the normally chaotic and bustling streets were empty. Where was everyone hiding? Then about 6 pm we found out. They had been preparing for WAR! With a few introductory bangs that rattled the windows and echoed off the concrete buildings the war began. For hours on end the banging got louder and louder. If you looked out the upstairs windows it looked like the city really was having a war. Loud explosions sounded and in their wake came bright flashes of light and screams (hopefully in excitement). Not a place for someone with PTSD.

We decided to take it easy for the night, we watched a movie then walked over to Mall of Asia for the fireworks. We arrived there 20 minutes before Midnight and there were cars and people ALL OVER. They looked like they had been there all day too. I was SO glad that we were not reliving the sitting and the waiting of last year. We got there, took some photos. Tried to have some guy take our photo but he thought that when the flash popped up, it was taking the photo. Brmp…fail. Then another drunk guy decided to come and stand between us and the camera man and could not understand over the loud music and flashing lights why his friends were telling him to move…brmp…fail 2. Ok maybe we will just take our own photo!

The fireworks started and much different from NYC, they were directly above our heads. The boom from the big fireworks literally shook us. Then the burning ash started to rain onto us. Let me tell you, those pretty glowing colors don’t look so pretty when they are coming right at your face! One large chunk landed between me and the guy next to me, we both looked up and surprise. I started to wonder if we needed to worry how much hairspray Lady had used today…for the rest of the evening people were constantly reaching up and pulling debris and ash out of their hair. Talk about being part of the show! Actually, the show was pretty spectacular despite raining fireballs.

The shelling of the city continued throughout the night. It was funny to see that as we walked home all the mess from homemade fireworks (can it get any more scary than that?) including one high end hotel that put their show on in front of the building even with the hundreds of VERY expensive cars literally three feet away. The cars looked like they had trash dumped all over them. 

This morning there was still such a bad smoky haze over the city they could not let airplanes land or take off! Now that is some SERIOUS celebrations! Oh, and after church today we watched the live streaming of the ball dropping in Times Square right before we took our nap…hahaha

So, welcome 2012! We cannot wait to see what you have in store!

Here is a YouTube Link that show what was happening in Manila New Years Eve:


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