Fabulous Philippines > Yesterdays in the Philippines > Chapter 7(d)

Celebration of the Expulsion of the Chinese. Bicycle Races and Fireworks.

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Yesterday was the celebration of the expulsion of the Chinese invaders from the Philippines, about a hundred years ago, and the whole city was aglow with flags and decorations. In the afternoon everybody went to the Luneta to see the bicycle races and to hear the music. A huge crowd surged around the central plaza, and the best places in the band-stand were reserved for the Spanish ladies and the Government dignitaries. The races were slow, but the crowd cheered and seemed perfectly satisfied as one after another of the contestants tipped over going around the sharp corners. After the races, a beautiful Spanish maiden, whose eyes were so crossed that she must have easily mixed up the winning bicycle with the tail-ender, distributed the prizes, and the police had hard work to keep the crowd from overwhelming the centre of attraction. Then everybody listened to the music, walked or drove around in carriages, and waited for the firework, which were set off not long after sunset. The costly display was accompanied by murmurings of "Oh!" from hundreds of throats. There was an Eiffel Tower of flame, several mixed up crosses that twisted in and out of each other, numerous scroll-wheels, fountains, and a burst of bomb and rockets. some of the parachute stars gracefully floated out over the Bay and descended into the water, causing startled exclamations from the natives, who are not accustomed to look on fireworks with equanimity, But as of old, everything finally ended in smoke, and the multitude melted away, thoroughly satisfied with the celebration of the anniversary of the victory over the Chinese.

As it seems about time to take a longer rest than usual from the labor attendant on waiting for a boom in the hemp market, I hope next week to start off on one of the well-equipped provincial steamers, that make a run of two thousand miles south, among the sugar-island and the hemp-ports, and in the next chapter there ought to be a rather long account of what is said to be a very interesting voyage.

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