After Thailand, I head on to the Philippines for an unplanned trip. I was kinda coaxed by my friend Zach to travel together with him. He bought his ticket a few months ago for a very good deal with Cebu Pacific. Me on the other hand paid a pretty high price for my ticket as it is last minute booking and most likely is the high season. Nevertheless, I decided to go with him as the idea of meeting up with my Filipino friends during New Year is always a fun thing to do.
New Year in the Philippines is celebrated in a very unique way. It has the combination of Chinese culture influence and the local tradition. Firecrackers or “paputok” is an essential part of New Year celebration here. The sound of loud firecrackers could be heard when the month of December begins and it gets heavier during Christmas eve and of course New Year’s Eve. I was told that loud firecrackers will keep the bad spirits away. This will bring good luck to the household. The louder the sound of the fireworks, the better luck you will get in the coming year.
While is not only the paputok that can chase the bad spirit away, singing out loud with your Karaoke machine with your family members can also get the job done. Being Filipino, singing comes as a second nature and for sure you will hear the latest hits being belted out. Occasionally oldies like “My Way” will be part of the repertoire especially when you have sporting Lolo and Lola ( grandfather and grandmother ) amongst the group.
Wearing polka dot shirts is believed to increase your wealth as well during the eve. Putting lots of coins in your pants pocket is also highly encourage. Round fruits like orange, grapes and water melon are also decorated in the house. I used to joke to my friend that maybe putting lots of coins in the pants pocket and having those round fruits might not be such a good idea. I suggested that they replace the coins with Peso notes, the bigger the better or if real money is not available, go scan it and print more out. As for the round fruits, replaced them with bar of chocolates, especially those chocolate with gold wrapper!
I am never really into special occasion celebrations as I would like to believe that everyday is special. If anyone want to make a change with their life, for example like losing weight, you don’t need to wait for the New Year to do it. You can always do it like right away and the date could be July 18th or something. However, I do enjoy the part where most friends are free during the eve and free flow of San Miguel accompanied with a wide array of food are being served.