Not one for fireworks, I never really intended to watch the Philippine International Pyromusical Competition at the Mall of Asia. It was pure chance that a visit to the mall coincided with the first day of this year’s fireworks competition.
We bought a ticket at Seattle’s Best, Php400.00 per head, inclusive of a medium-sized coffee, a biscuit and potato chips. A bit expensive as the total for the said items would more or less fall at Php250.00, but we’ve got a good view of the sea for the upcoming razzle dazzle and I guess it’s worth it.
The air was filled with cheers and claps as the sample fireworks were set off every once in a while. Anticipation was building.
Soon enough, a countdown began and colors were unleashed above the waters of Manila Bay. South Korea and Spain lit the night in magic. Every head was tilted upwards, mouth agape, as they witness the extravagant blooms of colors dance in sync with music.
The night ended with the approving cheers of the crowd. I was hooked.
Like a true convert, I spread the word around as to how great the show was and was encouraging everybody to go watch it.
For the second week, it was Portugal, whom I heard has some very loaded container vans full of firemagics; aspiring to beat the reigning champion, UK, who was also performing that night.
This time, we tried out Café Breton, the coffee shop right beside Seattle’s Best, as we found our experience the previous week too claustrophobic, with tables too close to each other.
Café Breton had a better layout, enough breathing space between tables, and they have a better ticket deal at Php500.00. Although it was Php100.00 more expensive than Seattle’s Best, it was fully consumable.
We enjoyed our crepes, burgers, ice creams and coffee as the night was again lit by soaring colorful fire.
I was a bit disappointed with Portugal’s performance, it seemed to fire off without rhyme nor rhythm, but UK certainly lived up to its expectations, excellently blending the fireworks with its music. The last barrage from UK sent the crowd into a cheering frenzy. Superb show it was.
The third week of the competition arrived and I was once again at the Mall of Asia.
This time though, I was looking to try out a new vantage point, the mall’s roof deck parking area. Unfortunately, I was unable to secure a permit for it, as it was off-limits during the show. But luck has not totally abandoned me, the SM admin did give me an all access media pass instead.
The first to perform that week was China, and I was expecting something from this group, since as far as I am concerned, the Chinese know their fireworks well, being the originator of such devices. I set my tripod high this time, at the viewing bridge of MOA’s building B.
The night started with a bang and I was not wrong at all. China rocked the house, synching traditional Chinese music with fire magic, it was the best one I’ve seen yet. The UK team was definitely in trouble.
The second performance was from France. It unfortunately was dwarfed by China’s marvelous show.
Skipping the fourth week, Japan and Canada’s, we went back the MOA’s grounds for the finale of the Pyromusical Competion. The Aussies would be showcasing their firepower that night and right after our very own team, the Philippines.
Scouting the place two weeks before, I found a better restaurant to watch the show in; Iceberg’s, which was just right beside the breakwater. At Php300.00 per person and fully consumable, this was the best deal we’ve had yet.
The resto though seemed in disarray in managing their guests, and we were not allowed to sit at our table ‘til 6PM. So after ordering our food we had to get out first and wait for the evening to arrive. When we finally got seated, orders were mixed up and we got ours cold. It was totally messed up, good thing we’ve got a good view or it would’ve ruined the night for us.
There was a band performing right beside the resto and it continued playing as the event started, even competing with Canada’s national anthem. It was just plain rude. Any such activities should have been automatically stopped by the organizers once the show begun.
Anyways, back to fireworks, Australia was the first to fire. The sky lit up with glorious blooms of fire, but it was a bit off with their accompanying music. The crowd cheered anyways.
And at last, it was the Philippines’ turn. I was really not expecting much from our team, since we were really not part of the competition, us being the host country. So it was a pleasant surprise that they did quite well.
Belting out popular songs to synch with the fireworks and having fire burst from different parts of the plaza that mixed well with the main barrage at the sea. Great show from the Philippines really, I would even bet that they would at least get a second place if they had been part of the competition. The crowd just loved their performance, cheering and hooting the whole time.
The night ended with a huge traffic jam as people went home, it took us two hours before we got a ride. But I never did mind, it was all worth it.