The morning after the blast of firecrackers that revived my dependence on earplugs, I looked out the window and saw a flock of white birds buildings away from my nearly deserted apartment (save for a few souls packing their bags and psyching themself up for the inevitable family reunion). Against the smoggy backdrop, these birds flew together, following a graceful pattern they invisibly drew on the grayish sky. White against gray. I stood mesmerized at the eccentric combination. Wait...My mind started to doubt what I saw...A flock of birds merrymaking along the skies of polluted Manila? Surreal but nice. Happy new year!