For the first time, the New Year countdown celebrations have become a truly nationwide affair in the country, with street parties, live performances and fireworks displays laid out for New Year’s Eve revelers from Baguio City in the north to Tagum in typhoon-ravaged Mindanao.
The celebrations will literally start in the heart of the capital city at Luneta, or Rizal Park, where Kilometer Zero marks the starting point for measuring distances to any point in the Philippines.
An open-air concert featuring OPM bands, a street party and fireworks display are being lined up for Manila’s New Year countdown extravaganza, billed “Paskong Pinoy 2012: A Joyous Rock in the Park.”
The Bloomfields, Barbie Almalbis, Mocha Girls, Johnoy Danao and Rocksteddy are some of the featured artists.
The Manila New Year’s Eve celebrations this year are being sponsored by Asia Brewery, which is marking its 30th anniversary, with the City of Manila, the Department of Tourism and the National Parks Development Committee.
GMA 7 live telecast
Further up the road from the Luneta, the GMA 7 television network holds its New Year Countdown Party at Seaside Boulevard of SM Mall of Asia, with a live telecast at 10:30 p.m.
With the theme “Win na Win sa 2013,” the network’s New Year countdown will feature the latest in laser light displays and “Kapuso” stars gracing the event, and Kuya Germs and actor Mark Anthony Fernandez as hosts. The whole thing is to be capped by a 15-minute pyrotechnic display at the stroke of midnight.
The performers include, among others, Ryzza Mae Dizon, Chynna Ortaleza, Diva Montelaba, Down To Mars, Julian Trono, Kristoffer Martin, Vaness del Moral, Sexbomb Dancers, Mayton Eugenio, Andrea Torres, Rocco Nacino, Glaiza de Castro and “Sosy Problems” star Bianca King with singers Frencheska Farr, Kris Lawrence, Gian Magdangal, Julie Anne San Jose, Protégé grand winner Krizza Neri, Mark Bautista, La Diva, Janno Gibbs and Jaya.
Rock band Kamikazee will be performing and the audience will be able to dance the night away in a special flash mob, “Gangnam style.”
All-night Makati party
A big, all-night street party at the intersection of Ayala and Makati Avenues will mark Makati’s countdown to 2013 on the theme of “One World, One Makati,” and featuring live band performances, a P1-million game and a 15- minute fireworks display at the stroke of midnight.
Makati Mayor Junjun Binay said the city government and its private sector partners, notably Ayala Land and Makati Commercial Estate Association, had made elaborate preparations to make this year’s countdown celebrations “different and more exciting.”
The featured bands include The Dawn, Silk Band, Sabor Latino, Hotdog, Go Girls Asian Dance Revue, Makati Countdown Big Band and others.
Revelers will be treated to futuristic laser dance and a one-minute game for a chance to win P1 million.
Fee-paying revelers may join Rockwell’s disco-inspired party “31 to 1 Rockwell New Year party” at Rockwell Tent. Some of Metro Manila’s top DJs, like DJ Cao, DJ Bad Boy Jeff, DJ Funk Avy, DJ David Ardiente and DJ Bing Reyes, will be performing live. Tickets are sold at P600 (preselling) and P800 (door charge) each, inclusive of drinks.
To wean residents away from traditional firecracker-laced celebrations, the Quezon City government is hosting for the first time a New Year’s Eve countdown at Quezon Memorial Circle that promises to “wow” them with a 25-minute fireworks spectacle.
“I would suggest that residents prepare for [stiff necks],” Mayor Herbert Bautista’s chief of staff Aldrin Cuña said jokingly. “We are going to have nice fireworks with a good vantage point at the circle.”
Cuña said Quezon City fully supported the health department’s “Iwas Paputok” campaign and it is hoped the countdown spectacle will discourage revelers from using firecrackers.
The fireworks display, to be staged by the group responsible for putting up the regular pyrotechnic musical shows at SM Mall of Asia, will cap a countdown concert featuring seven of the country’s top musical artists, which will start at 5 p.m.
Also in Quezon City, Eastwood City aims to replicate the traditional New York City Times Square ball drop to usher in the new year with its own star drop, to be capped by a grand 10-minute fireworks display.
The Eastwood City new year countdown will feature foreign reggae hiphop artist Iyaz as well as local acts—Ely Buendia, Up Dharma Down, Urbanation, General Luna, and Mark Mabasa.
The event, to be hosted by Sam YG and Slick Rick of Boys Night Out and VJ Joyce Pring, will start at 6 p.m. at the mall’s open park. Concierge Eva Mendoza said Eastwood’s the pyrotechnic spectacle will feature new designs and will be considerably longer than other fireworks displays.
San Juan treat for fire victims
The victims of the Christmas Day fire in San Juan are in for a party treat from the city government on New Year’s Eve.
Mayor Guia Gomez said this year’s New Year’s Eve festivities will be different because they will be brought closer to the fire victims.
“Unlike the previous year’s celebration centered at the Tanghalan ng Masa, we will extend the colorful celebrations to the evacuation centers to somehow ease their pain,” Gomez said.
Grace Cortes-Pardines, city information officer, said the New Year’s Eve festivities will be held at the Pinaglabanan Shrine, which is just a stone’s throw away from the site of the blaze on Marne Street.
The fire victims will be treated to a dinner at around 6 p.m., to be followed by a Mass an hour later. The city government will also sponsor a “media noche” for the victims at around midnight and a “colorful” fireworks display.
A total of 1,585 families, or 7,492 individuals, lost their houses in the fire which started at dawn of Christmas day and razed over 500 homes in the area.
Some of the Metro Manila hotels are also offering their premises as the best way to watch the pyrotechnics display from a safe distance. Variations of dinner-and-a-show are on offer at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza, Acacia Alabang, InterContinental Manila, Resort World Manila, Ortigas Discovery Suites, the Peninsula Manila and the Dusit Thani hotels.
First Lucena countdown
Lucena City residents will witness for the first time a community countdown to welcome the coming of the New Year, the city public information officer said.
Danny Maaño said the new Lucena City Mayor Rhoderick Alcala is initiating the staging of a New Year’s Eve countdown with live band, singing/dance contest and 30 minutes of computerized fireworks display in the vicinity of the City Hall.
“It will be the first kind of New Year’s event in the city,” Maaño said.
To avoid a repeat of the deadly firecracker-induced fire that occurred on New Year’s Eve in 2004, the city government has herded all vendors of firecrackers and pyrotechnics into an unused public cemetery located outside the city.
The police and village security manned the entrance to the common selling area and strictly enforced the “no smoking” order inside the premises.
Pangasinan, Baguio, Subic
In Pangasinan, the provincial government will usher in the New Year with a Mass at the capitol plaza in Lingayen at 10 p.m. Monday. This will be followed by a short concert by the provincial band at the Lingayen beach at the back of the capitol. The concert will be capped by a New Year countdown led by Gov. Amado Espino Jr. and a grand fireworks display at midnight.
In Baguio City, the city government has co-sponsored a New Year countdown concert at the Melvin Jones Grandstand at Burnham Park, featuring local bands.
The summer capital is beset by New Year frenzy. On Sunday, Burnham Park was filled with vendors selling fruits, trinkets and noisemakers.
Vendors also occupied portions of downtown Baguio’s major streets, along with display stands put up by stores which are out to clear most of their 2012 merchandise before 2013 begins.
Since the Christmas holidays began, traders selling used clothes have been allowed to sell on sidewalks at night, many of them taking over a section of Harrison Road fronting Burnham Park.
At the Subic Bay Freeport, the countdown to 2013 will also be celebrated with a concert and fireworks display at the Moonbay Marina complex.
Every year, revelers from Olongapo City, free port residents and tourists assemble at the free port’s boardwalk to watch the fireworks display.
Bacolod, Iloilo, too
In Bacolod City, Mayor Evelio Leonardia and Vice Mayor Jude Thaddeus Sayson will lead city officials again in welcoming the New Year with a fireworks display at the government center grounds.
The event, “31 to 1 Bacolod’s New Year Party,” is spearheaded by the city government, in cooperation with ABS-CBN, Panasiatic Call Center and the Association of Barangay Captains.
Eli Tajanlangit, event coordinator, said the organizers are converting the government center grounds into a giant picnic area for the 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. event. It will have fun games, live bands and MassKara dancers. A first-time New Year fantasy costume competition has attracted 20 entries.
In Iloilo City, traffic will be closed to vehicles on the evening of Dec. 31, from the foot of Quirino Lopez Bridge to Muelle Loney for the yearly New Year’s countdown celebration, which will feature a fireworks display.
In Cebu City, as 1,000 followers of suspended Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia yesterday staged a Mass and rally for her, which rival acting Gov. Agnes Magpale dismissed as “mob rule,” the rest of Cebuanos are focused on welcoming the New Year tonight through countdowns and fireworks displays in various hotels, including Radisson Blu Hotel Cebu, Marco Polo Plaza Cebu, Crown Regency Hotels and Towers and Cebu Parklane International Hotel.
The New Year’s countdown packages include dinner and entertainment with prizes to be raffled off in one hotel.
In Tagum City, Davao del Norte, a New Year’s countdown will be held on a vacant lot fronting the Gaisano Mall, said Mayor Rey Uy.
The city government has allocated P300,000 for a 30-minute fireworks display to welcome 2013.
Uy said the event had been planned two months before Typhoon “Pablo” struck the neighboring province of Compostela Valley on Dec. 4.
The mayor said they decided to continue with the fireworks display to “drive away evil vibes” brought by Pablo. Reports from Erika Sauler, Jeannette I. Andrade, Noli A. Ermitanio, Noli A. Alcantara and Nathaniel R. Melican, in Metro Manila; Gabriel Cardinoza and Vincent Cabreza, Inquirer Northern Luzon; Robert Gonzaga, Inquirer Central Luzon; Delfin T. Mallari Jr., Inquirer Southern Luzon; Carmel Loise Matus, Carla Gomez and Karen Bermejo, Inquirer Visayas; and Frinston Lim, Inquirer Mindanao