Fireworks filled the sky in all directions. The enveloping sound of multiple fireworks going off all around me had me questioning if I was in the Philippines or Baghdad. Unlike America where fireworks are typically a choreographed performance, these fireworks were shot from backyards, tin roof tops, and road blockades. It could easily have been confused with a war zone.
This was a great introduction to how some Filipinos celebrate the New Years, but it was only an intro. There were more exciting events to soon follow.
Tag as I always knew it included kids running around a yard chasing after the slowest person they could find. The worst injury that could be expected was falling down on the driveway or gravel on the street. Yes you would get a few cuts, but it wasn’t anything to be especially worried about.
Never in my life have I experienced the adrenaline rush and terror associated with seeing kids playing “tag” with fireworks in the highway. One kid would light a firecracker and point it at a friend. The "target" would start running as quick as possible away from the explosive. Sometimes they were elusive enough to get away. Other times they weren't so lucky. We swerved numerous times to keep from hitting kids running in the streets to avoid getting hit with the firecracker. It was an experience.
Unlike America where there are restrictions for shooting off fireworks, I witnessed them being shot from the middle of the highway, at the toll booth, and off a motorcycle which later caught on fire. I tried to get photos and videos of what was happening, but the drastic changes in lighting made that impossible to get clear photos.
My purpose with this post, as well as all others on this site is to show just one of the many cultural differences that exist. Please do not interpret my remarks as degrading towards anyone, but rather as a way to easily show tangible differences between cultures.
This is just the beginning of my nearly two-week journey in this great country. Expect more posts to soon follow.