New Year’s Day
Happy New Year, everybody!
The first day of 2011 found me on the streets of a very rainy day. With an umbrella in one hand, camera around my neck, a rain jacket on my shoulders, walking shorts and a pair of all terrain shoes, I’m all set to get my feet wet. The sky was overcast the whole day as it was raining without halt since early morning, and I was pretty sure that I won’t be getting enough light by mid afternoon.
The streets are nearly empty today, with only a few passenger jeeps* on the road. While some shops and grocery stores are open, there just aren’t that many people walking around, let alone buying. Fastfood chains are also open today, as well as a few coffee shops sans patrons who probably prefer to stay at home and enjoy the company of their family.
New Year revelry here in Tacloban starts at around 11:00 pm on December 31. People go out into the streets and light fireworks and firecrackers short of dynamites that can shake the walls of the neighboring houses; surely all the demons of the past year would be scared out of their spirits. The noise from the fireworks reaches its peak at midnight, and dies down by 1:00 a.m., except for a few isolated blasts from those who want to keep the neighborhood awake until 3. Driving anything short of a tank during the peak hour of midnight is highly discouraged with the exception of the local firetruck which makes its rounds in the city streets just in case somebody accidentally lights up the neighbor’s roof, or blow off a finger or two. Thankfully the number of accidents from firecrackers have gone down in recent years.
I have covered the main streets of the downtown area in less than an hour and sure enough by 3:00pm I was shooting at 1/13 sec with one hand holding the camera and the other holding the umbrella. Time to go home and call it a day.
*public transport vehicles are called jeeps by locals, named after the American military jeeps used in WWII