Saturday, January 2, 2010

Forget Climate Change

Smoke gobbling Manila. View of Malate, Paco and Sampaloc from Burgundy Westbay Tower's Roofdeck.

Streets of Manila turn into war zones every New Year's Eve. And the annual theme: Forget poverty, forget climate change.

Considered as one of the happiest people on the planet, the Filipinos greeted 2010 with a bang. Literally. Despite catastrophic Typhoon Ondoy's visit in 2009 (PLUS a few Christmas fires and sunken vessels), they lit up fireworks and spent as much as they can on Media Noche as if the past year was their most prosperous. That's the unfaltering faith of every Juan.

This is what I missed about the Philippines when I spent my New Year's eve at a bus terminal in Dubai, 2008. Stroke of midnight, I was waiting for other people going to Al Ain to share a taxi with.

My Media Noche. A cup of coffee and a drag at the terminal. Pakistanis lurked around me wondering why a lone Pinay's waiting for a late ride.

U.A.E.'s sheikh cancelled all New Year's Eve parties that year to mourn with Gaza. So celebrations were kept simple. I came from a dinner with a few kabayans in their claustrophobic home ('home' meaning a small room for eight people) at Deira District. I met them through a common friend just that evening, but they felt like family to me. Even for just a few minutes.

So you can imagine my elation on that rooftop as I watched those fireworks on the 31st. With strangers but neighbors. With building guards and cleaners. With my backpacking buddy.

Cheers fellow junkies. A toast of strawberry-red-wine-in-my-stainless-steel-camping-cup to us!


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flipnomad said...
January 3, 2010 at 2:23 PM

the fireworks that night was just awesome... wishing you more blessings to come this 2010

☮Pinay Travel Junkie☮ said...
January 3, 2010 at 11:18 PM

yeah! nothing beats a bird's eye view. more adventures for us flip!

Anonymous said...
January 6, 2010 at 7:01 AM

Crazy....looks like a war zone!!!

the pseudo hippie said...
January 6, 2010 at 1:02 PM

hey shane, insane ei? i daresay better than sydney harbour's. haha!

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