New Years was as mellow as could be expected. The one thing that did impress me was the fireworks. About a week before Christmas, stands along the roads started popping up. It seemed every time u drove down one road there would be another stand.
Funny thing was that every stand, some as close as arm length away from the next all sold exactly the same thing. I was told Christmas Eve would be a big show of fireworks which it was, but you can't imagine New Years.
About 11:50 the sound of popping and explosions started. Like gun shots, but hopefully not. More and more explosions erupted in the air. At one time the smell of gun powder was so strong, you waved your hand in front of your face to clear the air. We were on my second floor terrace watching out over the whole island. At a couple minutes before 12 the colors started showing all over the island. Just at midnight a couple of the hotels along the beach erupted in such an amazing show of fireworks, I was very impressed. Usually it's the same oooohhh and ahhhh, but this really was brilliant. It lasted for good five minutes.
But what was also very cool was when you looked away for a second, there were other firework shows going on everywhere. The sky was literally lit up with colors for a very long time. When the main shows ended, small fireworks danced across the sky for most of the night.
The Christmas, News Years season was a little different than any of the other I had had in forty years, but that was to be expected. Every special event or holiday that comes along seems to make you think of not only how it is celebrated back home, but how it affects the people that you have surrounded yourself at the present time.
Holidays year after year are like driving down the same road over and over. Eventually you know every bump and stone along the road. The first time I drove to Maine, boy was it beautiful. Many years later, unless I make a concerted effort to notice, I forget the beauty of Maine.
I am a self proclaimed non-religious person. I respect others for there beliefs. I don't know enough about any religion to proclaim it better than another and I never will. I will say that spending this holiday season here in the Philippines has taught me another lesson. But also I ask myself a question, and that is why it took me to as far away place as I can get, to notice the world around me....
Because we all share this planet earth, we have to learn to live in harmony and peace with each other and with nature. This is not just a dream, but a necessity.
-His Holiness the Dalai Lama