The tragic beauty of New Year’s Eve fireworks


Now that the countdown to 2015 is over, it’s time to start looking forward to all the good things that will be happening this year. 2014 may have come and gone, but it did so in the grandest fashion. This video, taken from the tallest residential building in the country, shows the spectacular fireworks that lit up the Manila skyline last Wednesday.

Here’s a bird’s eye view of Manila on New Year’s Eve.



For comparison, you can also view this video from the 2013/14 New Year’s celebration. It’s taken from almost the same spot, by the same person who did this year’s version. Are there less fireworks this year, compared to last? It’s hard to tell visually, and any comparison without actual sales figures will be inaccurate, but it does show that Filipinos still love their pyrotechnics and gunpowder.

As the videos show, Manila does not have a single, central place from where fireworks are shown, unlike other cities that bring together its citizens toward a single production. What you can see instead is hundreds of clusters of smaller fireworks, from malls and hotels producing shows, to local governments and individual residents showing off their own pyrotechnic display.

Is our approach better? It depends. If you’re a fan of the equivalent of a pyrotechnic war zone, then Manila is certainly the place to be. If you care about your health, other people’s safety, and the environment in general, then no.

That same pyrotechnic madness, which led to that viral video even being covered by Newsweek and Mashable, also leads to stories like this each year: “New Year fire in QC kills 1; 4k families affected.” Mic, the US-based news website, even ran the headline,”This Is What New Year’s Eve Looks Like When Everyone Has Fireworks.”

Another thing that happens when everyone has fireworks:

2014: “Fires hit Pasay, Manila during New Year’s revelry.”

2013: “12 fires hit MM on New Year.”

Apart from the literal fire works that happen each year, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has regularly recored the highest air pollution levels in Metro Manila during New Year’s Eve. In 2013/14, it was as much as 10 times higher that what is considered healthy.


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