High noon new year blast tradition in Pogo Grande, Dagupan draws bigger crowd

DAGUPAN CITY, Jan. 2 (PIA) — The 12–year tradition of fusing together firecrackers and lighting them up on January 1 at the strike of 12 noon in Barangay Pogo Grande drew a notably bigger crowd this year — and they were not dismayed.

At least 90,000 pieces of firecrackers carefully strung together were lined up along the stretch from the barangay hall up to the intersection of Pogo and Lasip, ready for the sequential explosion.

At the strike of 12 noon, the fuse was lit and the rest went popping producing non-stop noise for more than three minutes. Smoke then filled the entire street.

Crowd was estimated at more than 2,000 that included residents, people from other towns, foreigners, and media people who covered the event.

Barangay chairman George Galvan, who led the lighting, was overwhelmed by the attention that people give to the yearly spectacle.

He added that overseas residents even send donations for the purchase of more firecrackers for the occasion. Next year, the barangay plans to hold a short program before the blast.

Barangay Councilor Myrna Esteves reminisced the time when the firecracker lighting started in their compound 14 years ago. The simple activity was seen by their neighbors and they joined in the activity of lighting together unsold and unused firecrackers. She never imagined that it will be such a big hit with live spectators and with the advent of technology, the event has also become most viewed in the internet.

“I got to talk to some spectators and balikbayans who said they have watched the high noon blast in Youtube. They made it a point to see the revelry first hand that’s why they came here,” Esteves said in the dialect.

To ensure that no property or person gets burned in the process, barangay officials had sought help from various agencies to provide fire trucks (Panda Firefighting Brigade), ambulance, and staff from Red Cross and the police force.

When asked if there were incidence of injury or fire during the course of the revelry, Esteves said, “Wala, kasi ingat na ingat ang mga barangay officials at mga taga-rito (None, because barangay officials and residents here were very careful).”

Pogo Grande is likened to Bocaue in Bulacan as many families here are involved in the production of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic materials. (ANL/VHS-PIA 1, Pangasinan)

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