Savoring the Last Few Moments of 2014 in the Philippines
By Correspondent Joshua Kevin Bondoc in Manila, Philippines.
As 2014 creeps to a close, I can’t help but to look back at the year that has just passed—from a micro level perspective as an individual, as a Filipino citizen and as a thriving species of this remarkable blue planet.
In terms of any year-ending tradition, most Filipino families celebrate it by having each and every member contribute in terms of preparing the food that they eat when the clock ticks twelve and the start of a new year begins. We start the preparations for the food in the hazy morning of New Year’s Eve up until the late afternoon. Evenings are reserved for relaxation and rumination of the year that’s just passed. Partly thankful, partly humbled, I always remember the story of my mother who has always noticed when she was a child that some of their neighbors often served hotdogs during the celebration of New Year and as she got older, she realized that something like that could embody a celebratory treat for some families. This story of hers would be something that I’d always keep in mind every time we celebrate New Year or Christmas as it always reminds me that as delicious as our food may be, there are others out there who celebrate it in their own way and by their own means.
Around the Philippines as the year comes close to its last few hours, the usual sounds of the streets and traffic are slowly replaced by various fireworks that illuminate the sky in different shapes and sizes, firecrackers so loud and powerful they can crack the pavement open and loud speakers blasting the latest pop jingles welcoming the start of a New Year. As the clock hits twelve everywhere, the sounds from the streets seem to reach a deafening crescendo, screaming at all the bad things that have occurred the past year and at the same time welcoming a fresh beginning with a roaring start.
As the sounds die down and gunpowder smoke lingers everywhere, households everywhere, including ours, feast on the food that they’ve prepared earlier to celebrate the start of new beginnings and look back at the past year, thankful and much more ready for the things that are to come. We, as a people of this wonderful world, have already weathered numerous super typhoons, man-made disasters and new strains of viruses, and yet we thrive and make the most out of every given circumstance. As the year 2014 comes to a close, I try to see the lessons ingrained in everything that’s passed, take stock and be thankful of the things that we have in the present, and be ecstatic of the things to come as 2015 knocks at our doorstep.
Joshua Kevin Bondoc
Lurker of the streets of Manila, Philippines on weekdays, traveler of the unbeaten path on weekends.