Celebrations · Tips

If You Must End The Year With A Bang…

If you are planning to end the year with the accustomed bangs (read: loud explosions, fireworks, firecrackers and the like), keep in mind to prioritize safety at all costs. This goes without saying that you should not only think about your own safety but the safety of the other people around you as well.

It is a fact that every year even before the strike of midnight as the old year folds, victims of firecracker accidents troop to hospitals for treatments. Medical staff in hospitals and clinics could not be blamed for anticipating that they will be treating firecracker-inflicted wounds to a varying degree, some may even lead to amputation.

If caught violating under RA 7183, one shall face penalties ranging from a fine of not less than P20,000, or imprisonment of not less than six months, or both such fine and imprisonment. And of course, if anyone persists to use any of the items in the list below, then they risk losing their limbs and even their lives or worse another person’s life to some extent.

A display of firecrackers...

Below is a list of the firecrackers prohibited for sale and manufacture in the country by the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI):

1. Watusi (dancing firecracker) – It was initially allowed for sale and manufacture under RA 7183, but was eventually banned because it causes poisoning when ingested, especially among children. I was a fan of this when I was a kid. This is the pink or red thing that you scratch against a rough surface for friction to ignite it and it will burst and jump from one point to another.

2. Piccolo – This firecracker has been the leading cause of firecracker-related injuries since 2007. The Department of Health banned it in 2007 because it can explode on the hands, and may cause death when ingested. I have never tried this but I have seen some kids use it and enjoyed doing it. Last year, there were many stocks seized from illegal sellers especially in Divisoria.

3. Super Lolo and Atomic Big Triangulo – These are two firecrackers specifically mentioned in RA 7183. This is a common item sold in markets as well. I have seen the Super Lolo but I have never seen the latter.

4. Mother Rockets – firecracker with a stick designed as a propellant upon lighting the wick. I have seen this and I may even bought something like this when I was in college. Back then, I think this was still allowed.

5. Lolo Thunder – a powerful firecracker twice the size of a Five Star. I have seen this and I have seen people use it. The exploding sound is kind of deafening.

6. Pillbox – a firecracker that causes a series of sparks when lit. This is one of the most common causes of injuries.

7. Boga – traditional canon made from PVC pipe using denatured alcohol as explosive ingredient. This is very common in provinces. I know this is just made from scraps and stuff so really there is no quality control when produced thus the unreliability and danger arises.

8. Big Judah’s Belt – a string of firecrackers consisting of smaller firecrackers that number up to a hundred, and culminating in a larger and more powerful firecracker. This right here is a very common fixture of the firecracker business. This is sometimes called “Sawa” because it looks like a snake.

The Sawa

9. Big Bawang – a firecracker packed in cardboard tied around with abaca strings, giving it the shape of a large garlic. I have never seen this personally.

10. Kwiton – aerial firecracker which explodes several times when lit. I have not seen this as well.

11. Goodbye Philippines – giant triangle-shaped firecracker which packs a powerful explosion. Such a unique name then again may be your reason to say “goodbye to your limbs” for good if it explodes in your hands.

12. Kabasi – a triangle-sized explosive twice the size of a Pla-pla.

13. Other banned firecrackers include the “Atomic Bomb,” Five Star, Pla-pla, Og, Giant Whistle Bomb, and unlabelled firecrackers.

Meanwhile, RA 7183 allows the following firecrackers and fireworks to be sold in the country:

1. Baby Rocket — Assembled with a stick that helps propels the contraption to fly a few meters before exploding. The firecracker is about 1-½ inches long by 3/8 inch in diameter with the stick about a foot in length.

2. Bawang — Larger than a Triangulo and with 1/3 teaspoon of powder packed in cardboard, it is tied with abaca string and wrapped in the shape of garlic.

3. Small Triangulo — Triangle shaped with powder less than the Bawang and usually wrapped in brown paper measuring ¾ inch at its longest side.

4. Pulling of strings — An inch-long less than ¼ of an inch in diameter with strings on each end that when pulled cause the firecracker to explode. Paper caps — Minute amounts of black powder spread in thin strips of paper on a small sheet and used in children’s toy guns.

5. El Diablo or Labintador — Tubular shaped, about 1-¼ inches long and less than ¼ inch in diameter with a wick. Judah’s Belt — A string of either Diablos or small Triangulos numbering up to a hundred or so and culminating in a large firecracker — usually a Bawang.

6. Sky Rocket or Kwitis — A large Baby Rocket designed to fly up to 40 to 50 feet in the air before it explodes.

7. Sparklers — Black powder coated on a piece of wire or wrapped in a paper tube designed to light up and glow after igniting.

8. Lusis — Any of several kinds of Sparklers.

9. Fountain — Cone-shaped sparkler, which is lighted on the ground and designed to create, sparks of various colors and intermittent lights when ignited. Jumbo regular and special — Similar to a “Fountain” but bigger in size. This is what my mom usually buys so we can light it at home.

10. Mabuhay — A bundle usually of a dozen Sparklers. Roman Candle — A kind of Sparkler also similar to a “Fountain” but shaped like a big candle.

11. Trompillo — A pyrotechnic device usually fastened at the center and designed to spin first clockwise and then counter-clockwise and gives off various light colors when ignited. This is common in our house too during New Year’s Eve.

12. Airwolf — A kind of Sky Rocket shaped like an airplane with a propeller to rise about 40 or 50 feet and emits various lights while in the air.

13. Whistle Bomb — Any firecracker or pyrotechnic designed to emit a whistle-like sound before exploding. Others are designed simply to whistle without exploding.

14. Butterfly — A light emitting butterfly-shaped pyrotechnic that floats above the ground.

There you go. I hope I helped you in deciding which to buy. If I were you however, I will not buy anymore instead donate the firecracker budget to the Sendong Calamity victims so your pesos will be used for a much worthwhile purpose. You can then opt to just the fireworks sponsored by big companies (which I hope would not cost millions to say the least).

And of course, as always, SAFETY FIRST!!! Better safe than sorry… If you are in an elevated area with lots of space, I suggest you try the lantern lighting a la Tangled. This would be way safer and prettier. Don ‘t you think?

Lanterns as in the movie "Tangled"


Happy New Year everyone!!!

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo 1, Photo 2, Photo 3


One thought on “If You Must End The Year With A Bang…

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