Noon of Jan. 1 to turn silent for village’s unusual party
DAGUPAN CITY—It will be a quiet and peaceful New Year’s Day in Pogo Grande village this Saturday, after community leaders canceled its “Big Bang” celebration, which had become unique because of its timing—noon of Jan. 1.
For the past 15 years, Pogo Grande residents have been stringing up as many as 30,000 oversized firecrackers on neighborhood streets, which they ignite at 1 p.m. of Jan. 1, creating a series of blasts comparable to that from cannons or mortars during combat.
At the end of the strings are much bigger firecrackers which produce explosions that shake the ground so hard they send animals scampering for safety.
“But we are not doing it anymore,” village councilor, Myrna Esteves, said of the tradition.
Residents and their visitors, including foreigners, enjoy the annual spectacle, clapping and cheering every time a big explosion occurs.
But many residents have complained about the practice, citing environmental and noise pollution. A resident also questioned why the village is allowed to use oversized firecrackers that are banned elsewhere.
“The city police ordered the barangay officials to stop the practice, and we can’t do anything but to comply,” Esteves said.
She recalled that the tradition started in 2001 when her brother-in-law collected unsold firecrackers and ignited them at the family compound.
Soon the barangay council adopted the practice and the string of firecrackers became longer and bigger. But the barangay council never bought the firecrackers, Esteves said, adding that the items were all donated.
Esteves also said the firecrackers they used did not contain more explosives. At least two neighboring villages have adopted the practice.
Pogo Grande is known for producing firecrackers. —WILLIE LOMIBAO
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.