The Philippine National Fireworks Festival
The night was filled with booming and fascinating lights as different provinces showcased their best fireworks in the Philippine National Fireworks Festival last April 22 in Riverbanks Center Amphitheather, Marikina City. It was a loud and crazy experience as the crowd goes wild with every aweing performance. “Sumasayaw ‘yung ilaw oh!”, a child exclaimed in amazement. And, yes, each and every display gave a vibrant feeling to each and every one of us. How did people come up with these splendid and exciting fireworks?
The event was a month long competition between different provinces like Laguna, Batangas, Bulacan, General Santos City, Dumaguete City, and Iloilo City. Each candidate left the audience speechless in awe. It was a free-to-watch event and almost all people living near the river need not to go and mingle in the amphitheatre. People from the far side of Marikina also went to watch this spectacular event. Of course, some representatives from each participating city were there. Government officials and judges were also present.
As the two of us arrived together with a friend of ours, we can already see people reserving their own places so they can clearly watch the night sky show. They were taking pictures of one another. “Pang-DP (Display Image) ko sa FB yan!”, a teenager said to his camera guy. This is common among people in an event or a place they’ve newly seen. Kids were running after one another as the sun goes down. Most men were carrying food they have bought from the nearby food stalls.
By the time the event started. The crowd was in an uproar. Most were taking pictures and videos, not of themselves, but of the dancing-like lights in the sky with their cameras and cellular phones. Families were watching closely together while enjoying light snacks and soft drinks. Cute babies were carried by their parents—some tots enjoyed what was going on in the sky while others were afraid of the booms and bams created by the fireworks. Couples were everywhere too, holding each other’s hands while appreciating the light show in the sky. Most of the crowd came in groups of at least three people so they can relish this amazing moment together with their friends and families.
We were only three when we went there and we saw some familiar faces so we decided to join them. We were happy to see each other’s faces again and we enjoyed this incident as much as we relished our good moments. We were throwing jokes connected to the fireworks: “Alam mo para kang fireworks!” To which someone will reply unconsciously, thinking that this is one cheesy pick-up line: “Bakit?”, with a blush on the face. “Eh kasi may putok ka eh!” And everyone will burst out with laughter.
The fireworks display was not merely of the light and sounds show in the sky. Each firework is accompanied by a lively music, making the performances more vibrant and colourful. Laguna was the first to exhibit their pyros. It was an enthralling primer from the San Pablo folks. They had a great presentation and concept. Their performance lasted for about four to five minutes. Even though they were the first, they already gave the audience the feel to not leave the event until every participant was finished. Batangas came in next and we can’t believe what we saw from their performance. It was a top-caliber one, a state-of-the-art demonstration, and a once in a blue moon show package. On top of these is the great use of pyro techniques that everyone will ask: “How did they make these types of attractive explosives?”. Yes, we know that they came from powder, but how can they color them, make them dance and do crazy things. From then on Batangas was our bet. The show went on and we didn’t see too much highlights from the remaining contestants. Iloilo really had colourful ones but the degree of demonstration they exhibited was not like the others. Bulacan had a good performance as Laguna so they might end up in a tie if the winners were announced.
You can already hear people placing their bets. “Mas maganda yung isa!”, a woman exclaimed. Some were mocking some not so vivid performances by some participants: “Parang yung pinapaputok lang naming tuwing New Year yan eh!”, a teenager told his peers. There were five minute breaks between each participant’s shows. We overheard some people talking about almost anything. Commonly, laughter was always in the air from every group. Flashes of camera lights also gave color in that same night. Some were going to the nearby mall to go to the wash room. Some were thanking God that there was no rain during the event. Our group continued to throw jokes at one another. One of our friend’s cell phone dropped while he was jumping in amazement of the fireworks and as good friends as we are, we didn’t stop laughing at him.
At last the whole event came to an end. The scores were already casted and the audience stood up to know who won the contest. Some already left without hearing the results. Clearly, they just went for them to be entertained, to bond, and not to witness some kind of competition. Batangas emerged as the Champion of the Philippine National Fireworks Display. Many people agreed that the title was really for them. Many people anticipated this, including our group. They were also bagged the People’s Choice Award. At first place is the home of fireworks and firecrackers, Bulacan. Laguna, who started the event, came in at Second Place. They also grabbed the Best in Music Award. Iloilo bagged the Best in Color Award. Overall, all the participants did a great job with their performances.
We went home happily after the winners were announced. We overheard some people still talking about the event as they walk home. Some were texting. And, of course, some were taking pictures for their display images. To whatever they were doing, we knew that they had fun. All of us did. Our nights were lighted and vibrant feelings came in our bodies. As the song goes: “Baby, you’re a firework. Come and show them what you’re worth!”
Arvin Macapagal, Section J
Johnedel Landicho, Section A