Longest ‘Lights of Bago’ draws thousands amid rains

THE annual Lights of Bago at Manuel Y. Torres Sports Center in Bago City, Negros Occidental gathered thousands of spectators, including local and foreign tourists, amid rains on Monday night.

Now on its 10th year, the 20-minute synchronized fireworks display witnessed by at least 5,000 people was the longest so far since the activity started in 2008.

In the previous years, the fireworks display lasted for only about 16 minutes.

Mayor Nicholas Yulo, at the sidelines of the event, said the activity has become a tradition for Bagoeños after it was institutionalized during the time of former mayor Ramon Torres, who now sits as the vice mayor.

Yulo said that aside from being a tourist attraction, the fireworks display is also staged to lessen firecracker-related injuries in the city.

“The law now strictly prohibits the use of pyrotechnics and firecrackers in non-designated areas thus, we enjoined Bagoeños and those from other cities and towns in the province to instead join us in welcoming the New Year in a safe and colorful way,” he said.

Like the colorful lights in the sky, the city continues to have brighter aspirations this 2018, the mayor added.

It can be recalled that the staging of the annual event every January 1 was started by European Raymond Stoffel, a retired international corporate lawyer from Luxembourg, whose wife has roots at Barangay Poblacion in Bago City.

Stoffel had to go back to Europe which paved way for the City Government to assume the hosting of the musical fireworks display since its second year.

From a Michael Jackson inspired display in 2017, this year’s Lights of Bago is centered on the theme “Love, Peace and Unity.”

David Villanueva, the fireworks provider, said the city government wanted to highlight the message of love, peace and unity as this is what the world needs today.

“It gives hope to the people as the world gets more complicated and broken,” Villanueva said, adding that this year’s longer and grander sequence of fireworks were synchronized with more mellow songs bearing the said message.

Councilor Andrew Martin Torres, chairman of 10th Lights of Bago, said the annual activity has become a must-see event in the province every year.

“We are really trying our best to improve the Lights of Bago every year,” he said, adding that this year’s budget is bigger compared to those of the previous years.
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