In a couple of hours I'm about to leave the office, which is surprisingly packed with people, rushing to finish their respective year-end deadlines. The next time I'll see my workstation, it will be in the year 2010. I hope nothing gets derailed along the way and I'll be called on the 31st to fix it.
Now it's time to focus on my New Year Celebration plans.
Some families opt to travel and spend their New Years elsewhere, Hongkong, Boracay, Cebu or some far off place where they could relax and enjoy. Some families go back to their relatives' provinces and rdeenact the whole Christmas reunions again. Some tend to spend New Years by going to mass and having their late supper for 2009, which will be followed by drinks and manageable fireworks at the streets. Some families opt a public countdown and have a late night picnic attending concerts and Celebration activities in Fort, Libis an in Makati.
When we were still in our old house, my family would just welcome New Year with the usual mass, late night dinner and some firecrackers my father bought. Back then when fireworks weren't that regulated yet, it was always a household battle of which fireworks banged the loudest and the best. New Year has always been a pain to the ears and nose. As a kid, I'd usually stay inside the house and watch televised countdowns eating ice cream with sliced bananas made into circles. My father would oversee the explosives with his new polo, printed with either red dots or polka dots. It never fails. While my mother, who is not that superstitious compared to some feng shui addicts I know, would just prepare fruits and watch fireworks nearby. For her, round fruits at the table, coins in her pockets and by merely welcoming the year awake are already enough. My sister and I would play loud music and we'll watch the fire-cracking celebrations from afar. After a couple of hours, we'll clean the place up and drown ourselves in watching TV, savoring the first hours of the new year. We would wake up late with TIKOY and leftovers for breakfast.
But as early as 2000, from the start of the big millennium, my father tweaked our New Year celebration. On that year he booked us a room in Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Makati Avenue for New Year's. It is just walking distance from Ayala Avenue where countdown party in Makati is always located. We'd pig out in the malls during the day, enjoy hotel amenities to the fullest, gather in Ayala avenue for a public countdown and go to street parties afterwards. My father was right. We had a blast.
Our first New Year's celebration in Makati, was in the year 2000. The fireworks were phenomenal and it was extra special since we're closing and entering another millennium. I remember I urged my friend Ronald Laylo, who was working in a call center at that time, to escape work and meet me in Ayala for the countdown. We were sipping wine and it was comfortable to see my whole family and other families gathered in the streets to watch the fireworks. Ever since then, we'd spend our New Year's in Mandarin.
But when we moved to our new house, our New Year Celebration was altered. In welcoming 2009, we spent our first New Year in our new house. We didn't even bother to book ourselves in Mandarin because of obvious reasons. My father wanted to exhale for being able to finish his dream project and nothing beats it by welcoming the new year in his new house. It was a solemn feeling. It made me miss spending New Years at home. It was childhood celebration all over again.
For welcoming 2010, my father booked us another room in Mandarin much to our astonishment. My father wanted to give us the usual New Years celebration that Karla and I enjoy, street parties in Ayala and enjoying the hotel amenities, but both Karla and I know that our father doesn't have the energy to be roaming places anymore. We can tell that he still wants to welcome the new year in our house. We asked him what he wants, but he is absolutely okay in letting us spend New Year in Mandarin. He said he would join, but what will happen is a divided New Year for our family. Only Karla and I get to enjoy in Mandarin while the rest just want to stay put. It's a no-brainer. So I personally re-booked our stay from December 31st to January 1 and made it January 1-2 instead. At least we could get to spend New Year with our family, enjoying traditional house celebrations, at the same time live the first days of 2010 in hotel luxury.
Frankly, the excitement really comes from ending 2009 and welcoming 2010, the celebrations just come in second. For 31st I know what I'll do. I'll eat luscious food and drown on cable tv just like before. When the clock strikes, my sister and I will turn on the lights, watch the fireworks display and play loud and upbeat music. After that, if we still have the energy, we'll drive to Makati for the usual after-night parties of my generation. There I could get to spend my first hours of 2010 with family, with Mitch and with friends. My first hours of 2010 would be complete. After rest, we'll troop towards Mandarin and have an urban steady relaxation done in hotel-style.
Good bye 2009. Hello 2010.