THE RIGHT MOVE
If there is a universal event nearly every nation in the globe celebrates, it must be New Year’s Eve. In my travels, I had been amazed at how some countries were able to distinguish themselves as New Year’s Eve destinations, and consequently, over the years, have embedded their year-ender events into the traditions of their communities. There is New York’s iconic Times Square Ball Drop where Americans wait to see the stupendous Waterfront Crystal Ball drop at midnight either in the square or their TV screens. Rio de Janeiro with its Copacabana beach party. France with its romantic fireworks display by the Eiffel Tower, and Australia for its mesmerising fireworks display over the Sydney Harbor.
While I grew up with the Filipino tradition of setting off our own fireworks and firecrackers and partying hours before sitting down as a family for a feast called media noche at midnight, I have had a yearning for the Philippines to be known as a New Year’s Eve destination that would be at par with those iconic events abroad. Gladly, I wasn’t the only one who had this dream.
As our country can now boast of having the biggest indoor arena in the world with the Philippine Arena in Bulacan, broadcasting network NET25 partnered with the latter to create our own “year-ender” – an event which has been gaining prominence globally as a distinctly Filipino New Year’s Eve grand event.
What makes this year-end event at the Philippine Arena distinct from those held by other countries, however, is that it is a celebration with a purpose.
“Like all citizens around the globe, we celebrate the unfolding of the new year with hope, faith and love. But this is extra special because NET25 has partnered with the Philippine Arena. The synergy in mounting the annual countdown started after the pandemic in 2022 with the theme “Let’s 2022-gether!” As the year draws to a close, welcoming 2023 through the countdown event is even bigger, with more talents and celebrities who have joined the roster of the NET25 Star Center, plus the performances of guest stars, bands and surprise performing artists,” Ceasar Vallejos, NET25 president said.
He added that making this event bigger and bolder every year since it started in 2015, will serve as a reminder for everyone that “the coming year will be bright, prosperous, and full of energy and excitement” which I believe is important particularly at this post-pandemic era.
Vallejos added: “This is very meaningful because it is also a celebration that our lives are slowly getting back to normal. That we feel the opening of the economy with the easing of the restrictions. It is also relevant because this is the time to offer our thanksgiving and gratitude as we triumphed over the challenges brought about by Covid-19 and other geopolitical events happening around the world. It is a celebration of our resilience and strength as a nation.”
With this in mind, thousands, if not millions of Filipino families continue to struggle just to make ends meet, or are at least, still in the arduous journey to rise from the rubble brought by the pandemic. Hence, an event such as this that is open to the public is a welcome respite especially for those living in straitened circumstances to be afforded the chance to still celebrate New Year’s Eve festively.
“All you have to do is to troop to the Philippine Arena. While the New Year Countdown program will start at 10 p.m., the Philippine Arena grounds will be open as early as 9 a.m. with its rides, bazaars and food market and booth stalls that offer a variety of goods and delicacies. For those who opt to stay at home and watch the NET25 New Year countdown live at the Philippine Arena, they can participate in the “Selfie with the Agila Promo” where lucky raffle winners will win three brand new cars and cash prizes as high as ₱100,000,” Vallejos said.
Whether through grand events or a simple moment of retrospection of the year that was, we cannot help but look forward to a better and more promising future especially after yet another challenging year for most. Even if New Year’s Eve celebrations have already spanned centuries, I can ascertain that ringing in a new year with events and celebrations will endure, as this gives each person the chance to look back at their achievements and failures to learn from, and look forward to the promise of a fresh start.