Moving house, and New Year’s Eve 2014 in Manila

It’s three days into the new year, and here I am posting about new year’s eve.  Talk about procrastination. Huh. (-_-)

To go directly to the post about New Year’s Eve, please skip this and scroll down.

New year’s eve this year was spent at the new place we moved into just about a month ago.  Yeah.  After living for decades in the same house, in the past 3 years we’ve already moved twice.  The place is still littered with boxes of things, so I was going to take advantage of the holidays to, you know…unbox things and make the place look like a home or some semblance of it. I’m still in the middle of that. -_-

What’s really nice about our new place is that, being an old building, the place is quite spacious, especially after the last one. (Newer condo units are really modular and small.)  What’s even better is that it’s on the 12th floor, and the view outside my bedroom window is really quite outstanding (which may be over soon because there has been a number of high rises sprouting up in the area in recent years, and it looks like another one in front of our building is now in the works).


Clear sky on a sunny day. (Taken with Pentax K-3, Tamron 28-75mm f2.8)

I’ve chanced upon some spectacular sunrise…


Sunrise over the metro. (Taken with Pentax K-3, DA 50mm f1.8)

And some, even more spectacular, taken with only my mobile phone, an Asus Zenfone 6. (Oh, the convenience of smart phones!)

It’s a great vantage point.  I was understandably very excited with the prospect of taking photos of the fireworks on new year’s eve.  About a week before NYE though, I learned that the building administration decided not to open the rooftop of the building any more, because some jerk tenant threw fireworks down from the rooftop last year, short-circuiting cables and endangering people below. Yeeeesh.

If you’ve stayed in the Philippines during the holidays, you’re probably used to the sound of fireworks even during the day. It wasn’t any different this year:  On the last day of 2014 there were sporadic fireworks going off as early as 9 in the morning like a familiar tempo, becoming even more fast-paced as the night fell.  Contenting myself with taking photos from my bedroom window and my dad’s (two different angles), I crash-coursed on online tutorials on fireworks photography. (I seem to do this every year, then forget about it again. Every. Single. Time. XD )  Every single one of them mentions that one of the most important things required is a tripod.  Which I don’t have.  Okaaaay…  I wasn’t going to let a small thing like the lack of a tripod stop me, was I!  Pbbbth!  So I dragged a side table to the window and stacked baskets on top of it for an improvised tripod, placing my camera on top. (There are iron bars outside my window, the lens had to get reeeaally close to them so they wouldn’t show up in the photos.) And then, I wait.

I’ve decided to use my Tamron 70-200mm f2.8 for more versatility, I could go wide or zoom in.  I took out my Tamron 28-75mm f2.8, just in case.  The hour before midnight came, and the roar from the fireworks became even more relentless. I could take closer, tighter shots with the 70-200mm from my bedroom window where the view is narrower, or use the 28-75mm to take a wide-angled view from my dad’s window. Hmmmm. I couldn’t decide.

2015 came, at last. And you just knew the exact moment it arrived in the Philippines from the spontaneous eruption of fireworks all around.

It was beautiful.

I wasn’t expecting a collective, yet totally uncoordinated, display of fireworks.  The horizon exploded with lights and colours, fireworks mushrooming and blossoming in the sky, trailing ribbons of sparkles as they came down.  The thing about it is, this wasn’t a pyrotechnic show sponsored by the city government or by TV stations doing their countdown. (That’s on the other side of the metro, and unfortunately not visible from my vantage point.)  This was just the common people celebrating and ringing in the new year.  The feeling, as I looked around me, is incredible.  We may not have the grandest, most extravagant fireworks displays, but we sure know how to do a great, warm welcome!

I ended up running back and forth between the rooms, changing lenses in a panicky way, completely forgetting that I have another camera body on which I could use the second lens. (Doh! *face palm*)  But anyway, after seeing the results (photos below), I’ve decided on my goal for year 2015: BUY A TRIPOD!!!  Like, seriously, I need to buy one. -_-

To give you an idea on how it looked and sounded like, here a video on Youtube by amadeusiom , taken from the top of The Gramercy in Makati, the tallest residential building in the country.

From Manila, Philippines: Happy new year, everyone!  ^_^


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