Let’s all get belligerently drunk tonight, a friend screamed while holding two bottles of absolute vodka we purchased earlier at Duty-free Shopping center and the next thing we know, we were walking on Pentai Cenang beach barefooted. We agreed to wear anything white and nothing really relevant we just wanted to be in uniform. We were greeted by a bunch of people lighting their wishing Lanterns. We stopped by for a while and gaze to the lanterns that float up in the night sky. We walked along the shore carrying picnic blanket, candles, alcoholic drinks, sodas, pulutan and the fruits we bought in the market earlier. We all know eating round fruits for New Year is a common tradition in the Philippines which will bring good luck, prosperity and good fortune. It may sound superstitious but for expats like us, we still want to feel the spirit of celebrating a Filipino New Year away from our home country.
We walked further on the sandy beach of Cenang looking for a good drinking session spot. There were people selling led lights stuff and the only thing that caught my attention were the mini mouse and happy New Year headdress and ignored the rest. I had no interest in purchasing any of them though but a friend bought me the glow in the dark yellow mini mouse headband. He said it will look good on me and I wore it the whole night. Gullible like? *Chuckles*
We finally found our amazing spot near Babylon Reggae Bar. We lighted the candles, concaved heart shaped sand and positioned each candle on it and surrounded them around us. Well, we all wanted to be creative but turns out it weren’t heart shaped at all! We also set up our blanket with alcohol, fruits, and chips on it then we all sat on the sand. The guy beside us was selling wishing Lanterns for 10 ringgit each. I bought one heart shaped lantern and the rest bought the regular square like lanterns. We were supposed to check out Babylon Bar but they charge 20 ringgit entrance per person. We were there just last night with no entrance fee oh well what do we expect it was New Year’s, Eve.
The tagay never stopped until 00:01. People started drifting their lanterns in the sky but not as many as I wished like the ones I imagined in the movie tangled. We walked close to the seashore with the collapsible paper sky lanterns in our hands. We were first timers and we have no idea how to light the wishing lanterns but we eventually learned by following instructions posted on the sticker of how the stuff works. The first person in our group who lighted his sky lantern was a success, the second lantern failed and my heart shaped lantern burned before I could let it go. It was crappy! I called them wishing Lanterns gone wrong drama. I noticed the material for the sky lanterns being sold on the beach weren’t good at all. Most of the hearts shaped like sky lanterns I saw from other people get burned before they could release it and the square like lanterns will fly for a second then it will fall into the sea. There were a group of people contemplated on lighting the lantern and before they release it, they all sang “I believe I can fly” with thoughts that their lantern will eventually drift off the night. Oh well, it did and the crowd gave them a round of applause.
We drank like there’s no tomorrow. Everyone has their own style of celebrating New Year. I only saw few Malays. Most were foreigners. Some people made bonfires while others stuck watching the fire dance. Beside us were Africans, we were amused of how they welcomed 2013. Two or three persons created a drum beat sounds by tapping the ice cube container then the rest formed themselves a circle and dance. I can only see pure bliss on their faces. They dance as if they invite everyone to join them. Without hesitations, we joined them and we copied their dance steps. It was the coolest thing I ever did on the first day of the year! We may not understand what their dance steps were but it was enormously fun that no words can describe how we felt. It was like each of them produces African rhythm while dancing. The African chants I barely unspoken. Later on, they changed their song to Shakira’s “Waka waka this time for Africa” probably for us to fathom. We hardly know them but what they showed us was amazing.
There were only a few firecrackers which I miss hearing in the Philippines but the fireworks were incredible, though. The guy selling sky lanterns gave us 4 wishing lanterns for free. We thanked him and told him the lantern I bought from him was an epic fail. He offered assistance for lighting my lantern. Free assistance for a free heart shaped lantern Wow! I made a wish and let the sky lantern soar up in the sky. I was happy I released it successfully.
My new year will not be completed without taking to my loved-ones. I made a long distance call to my family in the Philippines and greeted them Happy New Year after various attempts to get through the busy network. Celebrating New Year on the beach isn’t new to me but this was my first to celebrate New Year on the beach outside of the country and so far the most fantastic New Year on the beach ever!
I realized I was so blessed in 2012 and Thank God for making my 2012 really fabulous and now it’s time to move on. Hopefully, more blessings will continue this year despite the astrological predictions of my year that the year of the Snake will eat the rat out! Lol. This may be a little credulous but Hell yeah bring on 2013!