Metro Manila · New Year's Eve in the Megacity (December 31 / January 1)
Beach parties, fireworks, karaoke - there are a lot of different ways of celebrating the last day of the old year and for welcoming the new year in the Philippines.
New Year's Day is a regular holiday in the Philippines, and the last day of the year is usually declared a special non-working holiday. As the year 2016 ends on a weekend, the following Monday, 2 January 2017 was declared a special non-working holiday instead.
For those Megacitizens spending the holiday season in the country, it is a good time to escape Metro Manila and visit one of the 7107 beautiful islands and enjoy nice food, sunny weather and fireworks at one of the breath-taking beaches. However, if you would like to spend New Year's Eve a bit more traditional, you can either join the family of a local friend, party in the city's nightclubs and hotels or create your own party by renting a function room with friends and colleagues.
Traditional Philippine New Year's Eve celebrations start already in the afternoon with the coming together of families or friends. People chat, sing karaoke and attend mass until it is time for dinner. The dinner, or feast, is referred to as medianoche ('midnight') and it features 12 round fruits - melons, grapes, apples and so on - which are supposed to bring you good luck during the coming year - a . There is certainly a strong Chinese influence (beside the Spanish and American influence) in the Philippines. Another custom derived from this influence is the wearing of red dresses and clothes (brings good luck) decorated with circles (brings wealth) – to start the New Year right.
When the year ends and the new year starts, people blow horns and light fireworks to expel bad spirits. There is a large number of people who do not light fireworks, do not go out at all, or stay near their rented function room. The reason for this is the high number of injuries and sometimes even casualties – caused by unsafe fireworks, wrong use of them, or the use of handguns to 'celebrate' the new year. If you stay in the city, don't go anywhere near residential areas where fireworks are used. Either get your private function room near the Mall of Asia and watch the fireworks go off over the Manila Bay or even better: spend the last day of the old year at a tropical beach.