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A Decade of Pyromusicals


By Deedee M. Siytangco


The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.’ —Sydney Harris ‘

‘One of the greatest problem of our times, is that many are schooled, but few are educated.’ —St. Tomas More


Photo courtesy of SM Mall Asia / Instagram

Photo courtesy of SM Mall Asia / Instagram

The Brightest Show on Earth” is coming to town on Feb. 16 at the Seaside Blvd. of the SM Mall of Asia. This 10- year-old pyromusical competition has drawn entries from around the world.

Starting at 7:30 p.m., every Saturday until March 29, the Pyromusical will light up the sky over Manila Bay with spectacular fireworks set to music. I’ve been watching the competition over several years and I must say that to sit out on the desk outside XO Heritage Bistro on the second floor of the S’Maison, have a sumptuous dinner of Filipino dishes, and be entertained by the “brightest show” is so much fun.

You can pick from the “star” performers of this season and make your reservations as tables on the deck go fast. On opening night, the country host, the Philippines, will open the competition with Finland. On Feb. 24, it will be the turn of A DECADE OF PYROMUSICALS Italy and Belgium, Portugal and Germany on March 2, France on March 9, and Poland and the United Kingdom on March 16. On March 23, closing week, the Philippines Platinum Fireworks comes back for a repeat performance with Canada. The winners will be announced then.

As host country, the Philippines do not compete, simply showcasing its best fireworks. I have my favorites, but I will let you readers judge and not spoil your fun!


As the old saying goes, give credit where credit is due. Ironically, this is not the case for Sen. Bam Aquino, who, instead of earning accolades for his hard work and determination to pass the free college law, is being called “credit grabber” by online critics and trolls.

Let us calmly look at facts. As chairman of the Committee on Education in the 17th Congress, he poured all of his efforts to pass the free college law, which had been gathering dust in the legislative mill for several congresses. No movement, no push.

But the young senator paid no heed. He worked quietly, doggedly, and Bam’s efforts went unnoticed as he conducted several hearings to get the views of all stakeholders on the matter.

When it was time to defend the measure in the plenary, he ably answered all the hard questions from his colleagues.

When it was finally signed into law, the online trolls and bashers, mostly administration allies, hurriedly turned to their keyboards and dubbed Sen. Bam as a “credit grabber.” Hello, where have you all been during the hard and serious sessions of debating the bill?

The preposterous claim is that Sen. Bam has nothing to do with the passage of the free college law. Because it’s a historic law that will benefit so many students into the next generation, now the sleepers in the senate want the credit! Happily, Sen. Bam has found an ally in Sen. Panfilo Lacson, who believes that credit should be given to the young lawmaker for his hard work on the landmark law.

Lacson was the first to acknowledge Sen. Bam’s work when the law was signed by President Duterte. “Before anybody else from the Senate grabs credit, Sen. Bam principally authored/sponsored the free tuition bill, now landmark legislation,” Lacson tweeted on his official Twitter account.

One of my favorite hard-working senator (who would have made a good president, seriously) Sen. Lacson further expressed his gratitude to Sen. Bam’s work on the free tuition law via a video message.

The veteran lawmaker said that Sen. Bam, as principal sponsor and co-author of the free college law, has poured in a lot of work to make this landmark piece of legislation as reality.

While the author only writes the law, Sen. Lacson explained that the principal sponsor did all the hard work by conducting committee hearings where he gathered all the stakeholders and got their positions on the measure.

After submitting the committee report to the plenary, Sen. Lacson said Sen. Bam had to defend the measure from the intense questioning of his colleagues, who would scrutinize it up to the smallest detail.

Thank you, Sen. Lacson for clearing up the matter and putting an end to the baseless attempts to discredit Sen. Bam’s reputation as a hard working senator, who has authored 35 laws. When he returns to the Senate, he will push for “Trabaho” Schools to match the expected graduates from the free tuition bill.

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