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article imageThousands gather at Manila's largest mall to welcome 2011 Special 

By Adeline Yuboco     Jan 1, 2011 in World
Manila - Hundreds of thousands of people from all parts of Metro Manila converged at the SM Mall of Asia to take part in the festivities at the annual New Year countdown party last night.
As with last year's countdown, the street party was held along the Boardwalk area located behind the Entertainment building of the largest mall in the country. A brief fireworks display kicked off the countdown, which began at 11:00 pm and was hosted by some of the Philippines' top celebrities.
The concert and street party was broadcast live via GMA Channel 7. Screens were also set up around the Boardwalk area where the live feed of the concert was shown as it happened for the benefit of those who were unable to get near the stage.
Stalls lined both sides of the venue where the people--many of whom arrived very early in the evening--can purchase food and refreshments. Restaurants and coffee shops adjacent to the venue were also filled with families and foreigners who had made reservations in advance to get a better view of the fireworks display, which is the highlight of the said event.
In addition to the open area parking facilities surrounding the mall complex, which were all filled up by 10 pm, the covered parking area on the north side of the Entertainment building were opened to provide additional parking slots for those coming in with their private vehicles.
Excitement and anticipation reached its peak five minutes before the stroke of midnight. The air was filled with the sounds of horns blaring and the cheers of the people who began to count down the seconds in unison as they ticked away.
The fireworks display began at exactly midnight, lasting for 10 minutes. The crowd continued to cheer on as the night sky became a dark canvas painted with vibrant colors and designs. After the fireworks display, those who made reservations at the restaurants and coffee shops in the mall were served their Media Noche--the traditional midnight meal Filipinos have immediately after.
As of this posting time, the exact number of people in attendance is unknown. However, it is estimated that close to 1million people took part in the said festivities.
SM Mall of Asia is recognized as the third largest mall in Asia, and the fourth largest mall in the world. It has become a top destination of Filipinos to celebrate the New Year since it played host to the World Pyro Olympics in 2005 and again in 2007.
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