From Tipsy Beans Coffee Shop, we drove to SM Mall of Asia (MOA) in Pasay City to watch The 5th Philippine International Pyromusical Competition: France and Japan. In this post, let me tell you about the spectacular experience we had on the night of March 1, 2014. 🙂

G and Nic

Since we arrived at MOA pretty early for the show, we went window-shopping around the mall until we get tired and decided to grab refreshing citrus drinks from Happy Lemon. There we met G’s brother who gave us our VIP tickets for the “Spectacular Pyrotechnics” Pyromusical Competition 2014. A few minutes before showtime at 7PM, we moved to the area by the bay and prepared to be mesmerized by the majestic display of skills and artistry through fireworks technology.

Buffet Dinner for Patrons

Since the program had a 30-minute delay, it was like the heavens giving us the chance to have dinner first and ease hunger out. Actually, as much as I was excited to see the fireworks, I was looking forward for the food! 😛

On the buffet table were steamed white rice, carbonara, beef, sauteed monggo sprouts, pork chops and fish fillet curry. We had water and iced tea for drinks. A small serving of sans rival cake was offered for desserts. The food caterer differs every week. I’m not sure what it was last week, but the dishes overall tasted good.

The Bulb Mode is the Bomb!

To signal the start of the program, the Philippine national anthem was sung. We stood up from our dining chairs and walked towards our cameras which were already set up on tripods to capture great photos of fireworks as they’re exhibited. It was another good chance for me to experiment with the shutter speed, aperture and ISO settings of my DSLR.

Thanks to a WhenInManila rep who was beside us, we learned how the “Bulb” feature of the camera works. The Bulb shutter speed setting allows for long exposure times under the direct control of the photographer. This is mostly useful in situations and scenarios when you feel like 30 seconds is not enough. Because we could not estimate the number of seconds it would take to shoot all the fireworks as we wanted, the bulb mode came in perfect handy. It also helped us get a detailed exposure with the shutter speed.

Accessing the bulb mode is easy. Steps are as follows:

1. Decrease the shutter speed to its lowest possible setting.
2. Once you have gone past the 30-second point, see to it that the camera’s LCD says “bulb” as its shutter speed.
3. Press the shutter button to open the shutter.
4. Press the shutter button again, and this time to close. (Note: The duration of the exposure is completely up to you. It can be more than 30 seconds, and yes, even hours.)

Pyromusical Competition 2014: Brezac Artifices of France and Tamaya Kitahara of Japan

Below are the shots I took (no flash, no zooming in, no editing except for resizing the photos for this blog). Enjoy! Also, feel free to share more tips on taking fireworks pictures in the comments. 🙂

France – Fireworks Highlights

16.1s F/22 ISO 100
15.2s F/22 ISO 100
16.4s F/22 ISO 100
13s F/22 ISO 100

Japan – Fireworks Highlights

2.7s F/22 ISO 100
10.2s F/22 ISO 100
6.3s F/22 ISO 100
12.6s F/22 ISO 100

Wrap Up

Life is too short for basic, bleak and boring activities. For the nth time, I realized that we really need to take a cue from our routine and attend events like these! More than just a demonstration of finesse and beauty, the Pyromusical Competition is the Olympics of fireworks. France and Japan gave their best shot, but if I were to judge, I’d pick France as the winner. Anyway, there are more participants who’ll showcase their artistry in the coming Saturdays.

5th International Pyromusical Competition

Here’s the complete Pyromusical Competition 2014 schedule:

  • February 15, 2014: Platinum Fireworks Inc of the Philippines (Opening Exhibition) and Howard and Sons fireworks of Austrailia
  • February 22, 2014: Spain – Brunchu Pyro Experience and Jubilee Fireworks of United Kingdom
  • March 1, 2014: Brezac Artifices of France and Tamaya Kitahara of Japan
  • March 8, 2014: Liuyang New Year Fireworks of China and Vulcan Europe of Germany
  • March 15, 2014: Oy Pyroman Finland Ltd of Finland and Royal Pyrotechnie of Canada
  • March 22, 2014: Atlas Pyrovision of USA and Platinum Fireworks Inc. of the Philippines (Closing Exhibition)

If you’re keen to watch, check the Pyro Philippines’ official website and like their Facebook page here. To purchase tickets, go to SM Tickets (call 470-2222), TicketNet (call 911-5555) or Ticket World (call 891-9999) or take advantage of online deals via MetroDeal, Ensogo and similar sites.

Regular ticket prices (without discount from online deals sites) are: Patron (with dinner), PHp 1,500; VIP, PHp 500; Gold, PHp 300; and Silver, PHp 100. For more info, please visit Wikipedia – World Pyro Olympics. For more inquiries, contact SM Mall of Asia Grounds, Pasay City, Manila via phone number (02) 359-1486.


Health and technology freak. Food and lifestyle blogger with a large appetite for food and travel.

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41 Responses

  1. Rene

    Those firework pictures are STUNNING. What great shots. Will show it to my son whom adores fireworks. Looked like a a great night out and the food! Yum. Must visit the Philippines. xo

    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Thanks, Rene. 🙂 As always though, looking at pictures is not enough. Come visit the Philippines maybe next year and plan ahead for this event. It would be a good show.

  2. Justin

    definitely love your photos!! and first time to hear about this bulb thing.. better try it next time! I was actually planning to go there but I have work so I wasn’t able to. hopefully next year! 🙂

  3. Genzel

    Wow Roch! You capture great photos of the fireworks! *clapclap* I haven’t attended anything like this before and I would love to witness even just one event. I’ll ask le bf if we can go ^_^ Thanks for sharing this!

    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Thanks and you’re welcome! It’s my second time to attend. My first time was like three years ago when I brought a really crappy camera. Haha. I’m sure it would be a great date with your bf. 🙂

    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Those are heavy and high-end cameras owned by fun photographers who kept on shouting “WOW,” “NICE,” and “YAN” all the way from beginning to the end. Hahaha.

  4. RD Llarena

    I was also there in Gumbo! Unfortunately I wasn’t able to bring my camera with me. Thanks for the beautiful shots and info about the bulb setting. Would definitely try that one.

    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Oh yeah you can see the fireworks from Gumbo. The restaurants in the veranda of MOA prepare seats outside for diners especially to watch the show by the bay. 😀

  5. Kath Rivera

    Yay! Thanks for sharing 🙂 Truly, life is too short not to watch this kind of event. Japan’s fireworks are very colorful. Great shots you got there 🙂

  6. Shirgie Scf

    Wow, perfect moment indeed to practice photography and yes, it’s the shutter speed that must be prioritized as of this moment. Now I know what bulb feature is. Amazing shots too. Although I would have been happy if you also shared the exposure for each image you posted here.

  7. Gelleesh

    I have always wanted to watch a pyromusical competition but it’s my own busy schedule that has been keeping me from doing so. At least you’ve got awesome pictures which are, as of now, enough for me. 🙂


  8. Mindy

    Wow, whatta beautiful fireworks! Thing is, my son’s deadly afraid of fireworks, he hates loud noises and would cower and cover his ears (even closing his eyes tightly, like it would help making the sounds disappear LOL)!

    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Ohh haha I used to also be like that when I was younger. Firecrackers are the ones that are loud and not firework, usually. Anyway, my suggestion is to just let him watch the videos of these pyromusical events online and don’t forget to mute the sounds of your device. 😛

      • Mindy

        firecrackers would drive him bonkers because even fireworks scare him so much already (but i actually am not a fan of firecrackers either)! He’s also terrified of thunders, even the softest rumbles! I hope he’ll outgrow the fear though and maybe one day can enjoy the beautiful fireworks!

  9. Chasing Jayce

    Wow, great photos! And great tips! I will try them out next time… Although I don’t know if I’d be able to watch any pyromusical show this year.

  10. Angie Vianzon

    Wow! Those fireworks photos are really stunning. Very well captured, Roch! Also, thank you for sharing the schedule and prices because I’ve been wanting to go and see the fireworks for myself.


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