Bulan, Sorsogon, January 1, 2010: It was the most peaceful, yet joyous Christmas day and New Year’s day for the Bulan community, even in the midst of an economic crises, as not a single incident of crime or victim of firecrackers were recorded in the blotters of the police or in the records of the local clinics and hospital.
As early as December 16, people flocked to the Parish churches of the Immaculate Conception, Saint Bonaventure in Butag, Saint Anthony of Padua in San Francisco, and the barangay chapels for the traditional 9-day Misa de Gallo Novena Masses or Simbang Gabi. And the early morning air was cold as the Siberian winds began drifting to this side of the globe.
On the 16th, schools were already celebrating their own merrymaking activities and community Christmas programs. By the 18th, various groups were also holding their Christmas parties – the Senior Citizens on the 16th , the BHWs on the 17th , the LGU on the 18th , and so on until Christmas day. From the 16th on to Christmas eve, children carolers were an ubiquitous sight in all areas of the town.
To add to the festive atmosphere, the local government unit once more decorated the poblacion, from the Bulan Terminal to downtown. The center of the attraction, especially to children, were the traditional giant Christmas tree and the Belen at the town center, which later on was featured by the GMA 7 and the ABS-CBN 2 channels. And the tarpaulined greetings from the May 2010 elections candidates were now omnipresent as well.
Sabang Park was teeming with people every night, especially with the Christmas school break. And the fair-skinned Bakasyonistas were once more around.
The Poblacion main Church was, as always, jampacked with people on Christmas day and New Year’s day.
There was a section outside the Old Municipio, were firecrackers and fireworks were on sale. This was constantly monitored by the police and the LGU authorities to check on the safety of the area. Many of the items would soon be sold out.
Bulan folks have now caught up with the rest of the country in meeting the new year with a bang, with firecrackers and with a fireworks display. This fireworks has been started by Mayor Guiming De Castro in 1998, and has now been anticipated yearly by the local folks. This year the fireworks started early at 9:00 in the evening before the New Year’s Eve mass. People, families with even their very young children crowded the shorelines, Pier Uno and the Bulan Coastway to watch a fifteen-minute display sponsored by the Local Government Unit. In the last few years the fireworks were usually done after the New Year’s eve mass. But since many of the children were by then asleep, Mayor de Castro decided to do it earlier, so that children can watch it. It was as usual successful and accident-free.
This year’s New Year’s eve mass was concelebrated by the parish Fathers led by Parish Priest Fr. Ernie Mendina. After the Mass and before the final blessing, as has been a tradition now, the Mayor delivers a New Year’s message, sort of a civil Orbi et Orbe, to the people of Bulan.