For the past several years, I've been saying the same thing every first day of the year: I love spending New Year's Eve in Davao. It's just about the quietest New Year that you can find anywhere in the Philippines.
Everywhere else, firecrackers and fireworks are the norm. It's an old Chinese custom, using the sparks and the noise to drive away the evil spirits. Unfortunately, it's been taken to ridiculous extremes in the Philippines. Where else can you find, year after year, televised footage of bloodied fingerless hands of hapless merrymakers?
Not so in Davao City. By executive fiat, cowboy mayor Rodrigo Duterte has decreed that fireworks, firecrackers, and all sorts of pyrotechnics are banned in the city. Violators are promptly arrested and prosecuted. I may not like some of his policies, but this is certainly one that I can agree with.
The result: a clean, quiet New Year. Not a trace of cordite in the air. Nary a spot of shredded paper in the streets. Not a hand with one finger less.
A clean, quiet, and safe January 1st. Just the way I like it.