RT Cunningham


New Year’s Eve in My Neighborhood in Olongapo City

New Years Eve New Year’s Eve has always been a cause for celebration. Out with old and in with the new and all that jazz, you know? While the people of the city still celebrate, only those willing to break the law will use any type of firecracker or pyrotechnic device and other banned noisemakers.

I don’t think the things Olongapo City banned have any real effects on the amount of fun to be had on New Year’s Eve, but that’s just my opinion. It’s the people around me who complain. They like the noise.

New Year’s Eve and the “Boga”

Olongapo City banned the boga in December of 2006 but not before the neighborhood children annoyed me with many versions of it for almost the entire month. Bogas were easy to make and sounded like cannons going off. I know because I spent a lot of time around real cannons when I was in the military.

The bogas wouldn’t have bothered me if the people using them were considerate but they weren’t. They were “firing” them at all hours of the day and night and they started closer to the beginning of December instead of the end. My oldest nephew (in the Philippines) was one of the culprits and when I caught him, I broke his boga in half. I made sure he couldn’t repair it.

That was in 2006. This year, before December even began, one or two neighborhood boys were firing off bogas and annoying people. A few days later, that type of noise stopped completely. Apparently, I’m not the only one with enough sense to put a stop to it.

I caught one of my younger nephews (before he turned 9) trying to make a boga. I told him, in no uncertain terms, that I would destroy it if he used it even once.

New Year’s Eve and Firecrackers

In 2007, firecrackers and other small explosive devices replaced the noises previously caused by bogas. The people were so careless and inconsiderate that the city banned them, along with other pyrotechnic devices, near the beginning of December in 2008.

As far as I know, by reading the ordinances, the city banned all fireworks within the city limits of Olongapo. That, of course, doesn’t stop people from disobeying. I’ve seen sparklers on the streets since then and I’m sure the term “pyrotechnic” includes sparklers.

I live in what would be considered the suburbs in the United States. A lot of people live outside of the urban area, in the mountainous regions on the outskirts of the city. It’s difficult for law enforcement officials to police this area on any given day and I seriously doubt it’s any different on New Year’s Eve.

The Noise isn’t Necessary

In American cities, certain groups will take care of the fireworks displays on both Independence Day and New Year’s Eve. The Philippine Independence Day isn’t treated the same way as its American counterpart.

Since Olongapo City banned most exploding and pyrotechnic devices, there isn’t any type of fireworks display on New Year’s Eve. Nowadays, people treat New Year’s Eve a lot like Christmas Eve. On both occasions, a lot of people will stay up until midnight and beyond. Those days and nights are usually marked by a lot of drinking and gambling in my neck of the woods.

Originally published in December of 2016. Updated for readability.

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By RT Cunningham
December 26, 2017
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