Fire Cracker Season has Gone Again but has left Painfull Memories for Many!

Every year, in order to Celebrate the Christmas and New Year Holidays Philippino’s like to make as much noise as they can especially to welcome in the New Year. Some make noise by Rattling things, Some, Blow Whistles, Some Rev their Vehicle Engines but the majority like to set off Fire Crackers, the louder the better for them!

"Luck 13" Fireworks, who are they kidding!

This Tradition of making lots of noise for the New Year is a Chinese Idea I believe and with the Filipinos liking noise its easy to see why they took up the tradition!

Happy Fireworks Seller.

In most Countries, the manufacture and sale of Fireworks is very well controlled and in some countries the sale to the normal population is not allowed, only organized events take place. In the Philippines, unfortunately such Laws are in place but never followed up.

Maybe 2 kg Gunpowder in this one!

Every year, the Fireworks Manufacturers try to make the most powerful and noisiest items as best they can and this means using more and more Gun Powder to get the best results for them.

Firework Maker sitting on finished product!

Now, let me say that the Manufacture of Fireworks in not regulated here, it is just a cottage industry where anyone who can will make fireworks and no licence is required.

Fireworks Factory???

Most of the Fireworks Factories are just normal houses in the middle of a sub division and it is not unusual every year for one or two of these factories to explode, sometimes killing people and burning down other houses! Nobody seems to care when such things happen!

Burned Hand and Fingers!

Every year, mostly because of pure stupidity many people get injured with burns or other injuries which require the Amputation of affected digits and limbs and some even die from their injuries. Sad as this sounds, this happens year after year and things do not change.

Basic Repaif on hand, thats all they get!

Another form of celebrating the New Year is by firing guns into the air, unfortunately the fired bullets have to come down and again, every year people are killed or injured by stupid and irresponsible gun fire! Luckily now, the Police are trying to put a stop to this kind of danger and they started by sealing the ends of the Police Weapons with masking tape and having the tape signed by a senior officer! It shows that the powers that be do not trust the Police to be sensible on these holidays!

As they get older they get more brave!

In preparation for the injuries which are inevitable, the Local Hospitals prepare but only to give the most basic of treatment, Severed parts of the body are simply trimmed back as best they can do, stitched up, dressed and the victim sent home, they only do the basics as most people have no money for good treatment. I think that you can guess that most of the people who get injured are poor and badly educated! I will add a few pictures of minor injuries here but the more graphic ones I will not add!

The prices of these can be two weeks wages but people still buy them before food!

You can never get the true figures of the amount of people killed and injured but it is probably well over one thousand and maybey even more but we will never know.

Judas Belts, these are like mechine guns when lit, very dangerous!

There was one case this year where a father and Son were delivering Fireworks in a Tricycle, the ones like the Hardware Stores use, unfortunately the heat from the exhaust set of the Fireworks and the Father was terribly burned and the Son Killed.

Market Firework Stall!

On New Years Eve 15 Fireworks Stands caught fire and gave a great free show, luckily there were no injuries except for the financial losses which still have to be paid back to the suppliers!

Official Warning Poster, Gory!

Many of the more dangerous types of Fire Crackers contain sometimes 5kg of Gun Powder, say what you want, these are BOMBS and should not be available to any general public in any country!

Not a good way to start the New Year!

I know that whatever I say or do, it will not change anything and next year the same things will happen and the Emergency Rooms will be very busy as usual. Maybe some day things will change but it is still a long time away, only a total ban on Fireworks will succeed but that will never happen!

Happy New Year to all, Have a good one!


Post Author: GenSan Chris (152 Posts)

Chris Dearne, aka "GenSan Chris" is a long term resident of the Philippines. Chris has been living in General Santos City since 1992! Chris owns a hotel in General Santos called Cambridge Farm Hotel, and also the Cambridge Dive Center, formerly Tuna City Scuba Center. Chris' interests include Scuba Diving, Instructing, and Formula 1 Racing.

How to Move to the Philippines Manual


  1. says

    Hi Chris – Fireworks are my pet hate. They cost a fortune cause destruction to the individual person and cause animals, children and older people sever discomfort and anxiety.
    I noticed this year in the UK on the 5th November there was very few private firework displays as the majority were organised by the local authorities. At New Year again there was no private displays only those organised by local authorities. It could be here in the UK that austerity is biting or on the other hand maybe the health and safety aspect of handling fireworks is being listened to. In the Philippines I would much rather see the money that is being wasted in my opinion on a quick bang or flash being spent on food.

    • marjorie says

      Hi Jim

      There were a few private displays here in the Aire Valley. Living on the hill we have a Grandstand view. Due to the weather, they were not reaching the full height though.

      Hope you managed to keep warm in the cold, damp weather we have enjoyed lately.

      All the Best

      • says

        Hi Majorie- Only one week left before we return to the warmth, thank god.
        We have enjoyed meeting old friends etc but as usual have eaten far too much so walking the dog is now the order of the day when we return.
        Kind regards.

      • GenSan Chris says

        Hi Marjorie,
        I am in the middle of everything and get a good view if the fireworks without spending a centavo on them!

    • GenSan Chris says

      Hi Jim,
      The firecrackers here are made of Gun Powder and injure and kill people! How can it be stopped? They did in Davao, Zero Casualties!

  2. peterjoy says

    hi Chris
    u can hate them or love them mate but in there right place thaya re a lot off fun we had them when we was kids and had a lot off fun with tham like the time i did put a big Fireworks in ladys loo do i need to say more in what may happend mate but no one was hurt and letter boxs was all so a good place to put them too lol ………peter martin tassie ps some mothers do have them lol

    • GenSan Chris says

      Hi Peterjoy,
      I agree, in UK when I was a kid there was a song, Light up the sky with Standard Fireworks, It was fun then but its dangerous here!

  3. PalawanBob says

    You are a goddamn lucky man. Do you realize what you are saying?
    Let me answer: You have no clue what you are talking about!
    Without a finger or two or worst an eye or two, where do you think you would be today?
    Just try to answer to that!

  4. brian says

    Ive never witnessed such stupidity with fireworks till I was here (Cebu) …I’m suprised more are not injured and that the burungys did not burn down !!

  5. Gary Wigle says

    Seeing little kids with their hands gone because of fireworks just doesn’t make sense to me. I really don’t understand fireworks at Christmas. That is the way it is so I just don’t listen to them anymore. Maybe they will be outlawed this year but I am not holding my breath.

  6. Neal in RI says

    Sad that all these innocent children are hurt by Fireworks BUT.
    Fireworks like Guns are just objects, sitting on the shelf they won’t hurt or kill anybody! When they are used by young children they both can be deadly. So lets put the blame where it should be, the PARENTS that let young children are to blame, VENDORS that sell them to young children are to blame and last but not least, DUMB people that don’t know how to use Fireworks should not use them.
    I am sure lots of readers here can remember their childhood days when DAD would buy a big paper bag of Fireworks for the 4th of July and SUPERVISE their kids when they would light them off, then DAD would light the bigger more dangerous Fireworks off and have the kids stand back and watch. It was great fun and most people didn’t loose and digits of suffer any injuries.

    • Tony says

      But Neal, what you have to remember about fireworks in the Philippines is oversight and quality control are very different than in the states. I’ve seen lots of fireworks over here that are very poorly made with short fast fuses, an accident waiting to happen. But I do agree with you on the DAD being in charge thing.

      • Neal in RI says

        I Agree, but seeing that Fireworks will probably never be manufactured,regulated, and or Policed properly there in the Philippines the final responsibility should be on someone stepping up and supervising the youngsters.

    • GenSan Chris says

      Hi Neal,
      Over here, a 3 year old cam buy booze or smokes if they say they are for Daddy, who will stop them buying fire crackers!

  7. Charlie Hannert (Charlie Tuna) says

    Hi Chris,
    I’m with you, the fireworks here in the Philippines are way out of control. Some claim they scare away the evil spirits. Yeah, right. Here they lit them off for 14 days straight, day and night. They would start at about 5:00 a.m. and go all day & well into the night. On New Years Eve at one point just past twelve there were so many going off that you could not distinguish one from the other, it was like one long giant boom. Our neighbor next door, the kids I assume, would light one off every minute of every hour all day long for days. For the life of me I cannot figure out where they get the money from as they surely are not well off. And I also have to wonder about the parents. One of them is home most of the day.
    I have to say we lit off our share as kids, but you really couldn’t buy any large ones but some could definitely blow a hand off. Someone had to bring them in from another State as they were illegal even back then in Michigan. That was in the 40’s & 50’s mainly. We were just plain lucky that we didn’t get injured. Some we know did.
    I am sad to say there is little control at all here by the parents or anyone as you well know. Like most other things it will unfortunately take a huge disaster with fireworks before they think about doing anything about it.
    And as some have said they cannot afford food, clothes , or a roof but they’ll sure buy the fireworks. It amazes me. In our area we haven’t had water for 22 days now but that didn’t slow things down one bit. Priorities ????
    Have a great New Year, we can always hope for a more sensible one in this new year. Noise is my pet peeve also. I like peace and quiet. I don’t know if I will ever find that here though. But things could be a whole lot more under control. Hopefully the general population will wake up and change their ways, but of course I am not going to hold my breath on that one.

  8. says

    @Peterjoy, I live just north side of you (Sydney). I hear you. When I was younger, I had loads of fun with these fireworks. As I grew older and became more aware of danger (and more sensibility as well), I realised, that what I was doing when I was young was pretty dangerous! I was fortunate enough, that my parents were strict enough, not to let me buy more powerful firecrackers. I had friends who had minor injuries from crackers blowing on their hands.

    But I always loved watching the sky around these times back then. The skies were litterally lit up with bullets. Again, I was lucky enough, not of those leads dropped on me.

    I agree with you though, in the right hands and place, it is fun. But many Filipinos are not trained enough with safety issues. Kids even though can sense danger, is simply not enough that accidents will happen.

    @Neal in RI. Yup, I agree with you. Parents, should be educating our kids or at the least first folks who will (fill in the blank here with various subject matters). Knowing Philippines though, with a lot of less fortunate folks growing up..(fill in the blank here with various subject matters). This won’t be changing anytime soon.

    Then you have vendors who just wants to make money. It should be policed more…but you know…complicated…

    I wonder what the injury reports are like this year? Is it any better than last year?

  9. PalawanBob says

    This year 12 flights were affected (rerouted) by the smog from firecrackers in Manila. I suppose some people must have lost money due to that.
    As they say: The only way to change things is to hit them on the pocket and they will act. Yes, we may see some changes next year but as some have said above; Don’t count on it.

    There is one thing I know for sure, next X-MAS and New Year’s eve, I will be on the farm. Nobody will noise-pollute me there as it is 5km away from everything!

  10. PapaDuck says


    The only fireworks young children should handle are sparklers. They are fairly safe and don’t blow up. Thats all i could have as a young child. Good awareness article. Have a nice day.

  11. Don says

    My first New Years in Manila. From 11:30 onwards, it looked like Baghdad during one of the CNN videos during desert storm. And I would think it was mostly locals shooting off fireworks and not the big city displays.

    The smog the next day was so bad, couldn’t go for a ride til it cleared off.

  12. John Miele says

    I’m in agreement with Neil and Peterjoy… When used safely, fireworks can be a lot of fun. In my opinion, many of the accidents either come from people drinking too much before setting them off or from not watching their kids.

    That said, the stupidity of people shooting guns in the air bothers me more than the fireworks… That is just common sense.

    BTW: This was the first New Year we spent in Manila (Was up in Abulug last several years)… I can honestly say that I have never seen / heard anything like what happened here that night. Truly amazing.

    • GenSan Chris says

      Hi John,
      If the displays were handled well there would be no problem but Booze tends to screw up such simple ideas!

    • Cheryl says

      John, I have to agree about the amazing part. The injuries were not a good thing, but to truly understand what took place in Manila this year (and most likely all the other years before) people would truly have to be here.

      I can honestly say I want to spend EVERY New Years in Manila. I do hope they get the bullet issue and the real dangerous stuff under control. But to see the happiness of the people and the INCREDIBLE amount of fireworks that night were something I will never forget.

      I was in Makati that night and the amount of fun being had by filipinos and foreigners was so fun to see…and hear!

  13. Bob New York says

    I’ll have to agree with Neal in RI on his comment on Dad and the 4th of July. I hadn’t thought about it for years until I read his comment.

    Fireworks have been illegal in New York State for as long as I remember but on the 4th of July, my experience has been that unless they get a specific complaint, law enforcement ” kind of ” turn their backs on it.

    The last time I actually bought any fireworks was sometime in the late 60’s or 70’s when a friend and I drove to Florida from New York. This was before Interstate 95 was completed and every time we drove by one of those huge Fireworks Stands on the road I wanted to stop and buy some. We ended up with a whole trunk load of various fire crackers, smoke bombs, roman candles and who knows what all else. I thought I may never have the chance to buy them like that again. ( Fireworks were legal in some of th southern states we drove through then ).

    When I got home I stashed them all in a steel file cabinet and used a few each year. A Decade later I still had most of them and someone told me I was crazy for having them in the house as they could become very unstable as they aged. I ended up giving them all away to a very responsible adult who disposed of them properly and that was the end of any kind of fireworks for me.

    When I was a kid and was taught the responsible but fun ways of using fire crackers on the 4th of July, one of the golden rules of safety was that if you lit the fuse and threw the fire cracker, if it looked like a Dud ( did not go off ) , never go near it or try to re light it.

    I have enjoyed seeing Philippine Fireworks on New Years by viewing some of the videos put on the internet and I think that is about as close as I would want to get to them. At least I have a volume control watching them this way. One of my Filipino friends asked me what kind of fireworks do we have here for New Year and I replied, none, it is too cold here for that.

  14. Cheryl says

    My fiance and I had the GREATEST New Years Eve of all time in Manila. At least for us. The amount of fireworks was astonishing to say the least. I have never seen that amount of fireworks EVER.

    We were on the 10th floor of our hotel room and spent three hours just watching the city EXPLODE! We had a blast as did EVERY foreigner I talked to in a three block area of where we were staying.

    The injuries are unfortunate, obviously, and I think there is a HUGE need to get some of these sticks of dynamite off the street!! Some of these so called firecrackers are more like bombs, very dangerous.

    I have celebrated New Years Eve in numerous American cities over the years and I can honestly say New Years Eve in the Philippines was by FAR the most fun. It is true….”It’s more fun in the Philippines.”

    The bullet issue needs to be dealt with seriously. That is simply wayyyyyyyyy over the top. In Manila they had plenty of warnings in the papers and on TV for people, including cops and the military, to not shoot their guns. But people still did. Not wise.

    For some people that noise and what went with it were troubling, but for me, my filipina fiance, our friends, and all the people I talked to…we had a BLAST. Pardon the pun.

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