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Brief History of Pyrotechnics

The word pyrotechnics refers to the art, craft and science of fireworks. It is said that the birthplace of fireworks is China. Legend has it that Chinese cook accidentally mixed 3 common ingredients: potassium nitrate, sulfur and charcoal and which he lighted the mixture, a mass of colorful flames-burst forth. The cook also noticed that if the mixture was burned when enclosed in the hollow of a bamboo stalk, there was a tremendous explosion.

From China, fireworks moved on to the West through explorers. Stories have it that Marco Polo brought this new invention to the West from one of his many trips to China.

The first application of this technology was for entertainment. Slowly the theory took root. The loud sound was perfect for chasing away evil spirit and celebrating weddings, victories in battle or competition, eclipses and religious ceremonies. Movies that need explosion and bursting also use fireworks for the effect.

History of Pyrotechnics in the Philippines

In the Philippines, the pyrotechnics industry had its roots in Bulacan. It was Valentin Sta. Ana who first learned the craft of making fireworks from the parish priest of Santa Maria Town in 1867, Spanish Regime. It was said that the parish priest used kwitis or stick rockets to wake up parishioners for the start of Misa de Gallo Only specialists were allowed to manufacture, use and handle fireworks, but the priest taught Valentin the basics of fireworks making until he mastered the craft.

He passed on his skill to his children, Valerio and Fernando Sta. Ana. In 1938, the Sta. Ana brothers opened the Santa Ana Fireworks Factory in Balasing Santa Maria, Bulacan. By 1941, they moved further East to Pulong Buhangin. After the war, the company broke up, and Valerio's brother Fernando put up his own company, Victory Fireworks, which continue to manufacture fireworks to this day. Mr. Fernando Sta. Ana is the one considered as the country's Father of Modern Fireworks and Pyrotechnics (1938).

Early fireworks factory owned by the Sta. Anas includes Universal Fireworks. Their workers also learned the technology fireworks making that gave birth to the mushrooming of factories in Santa Maria, Bocaue, Baliuag, Norzagaray and Angat.

Fireworks factories in Cavite and Laguna were in fact, originated from Bulacan For some time in 1966, fireworks and its industry were legalized in response to a tragedy that happened in Meycauayan City, Bulacan that killed 26 people. It was in Pyrotechnic the hope that similar tragedies might be prevented through close supervision by the government that the industry was legalized.

In 1972 when Martial Law was enforced and fear of using the technology of fireworks in rebellious activities against Marcos government, the fireworks industry was again made illegal. The industry then thrived underground and manufacture of fireworks declined.

After seeing that Filipinos persisted in their use of fireworks for festivities and celebrations, the Republic Act 7183 - an act regulating the sale, distribution and use of firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices and also known as Firecrackers Law was passed in 1992.

Bulacan is noted as a leading manufacturer of pyrotechnics in the Philippines. It is estimated that about 500 manufacturers are producing pyrotechnic products, particularly concentrated in the areas of Bocaue, Santa Maria, Baliuag, and other neighboring municipalities of the province. Some of them have already joined the Macau International Fireworks Display Competition.

Manufacturers and dealers grew rapidly in Bulacan relatively because of high profits generated. It is important to note that the number of players in the industry vary with the season that usually dictates market conditions. Demand for pyrotechnics is closely related to the general economic health of the country. On the average, May and December are peak months because of fiestas, Christmas, and New Year's Eve celebrations. It was observed that high economic growths result to higher demands for pyrotechnics during these months.

Towns that Host Most of the Pyrotechnic Enterprises

Bulacan Map
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It is Santa Maria that host most of the pyro-manufacturing factory but Bocaue became the center of trade due to its strategic location.
Baliuag, San Rafael, San lldefonso, Norzagaray and Angat also host Pyrotechnic enterprises.

Product Lines
  1. Aerial Fireworks - 3 to 12 inches in diameter shells good for occasions like New Year Celebrations, Fiestas, Weddings, Anniversaries, Jamborees, Coronations, Festivals
  2. Bangers or firecrackers
  3. Fountains, lucis or pailaw
  4. Sky Rockets and parachutes
  5. Waterfalls
Measures have been Taken by the Pyrotechnic Board to Address the Needs of the Industry
  1. Conduct of the first Pyrotechnics Technology Improvement Seminar (6 days) for Manufacturers, Dealers and Regulators. The Provincial Government of Bulacan (PGB) commissioned experts from Canada and America in June 1999 who introduced the safe technology of making fireworks. The PGB spent P869,700.00 for the speakers alone.
  2. Conduct of Trainings and Seminars on Proper Handling and Storage of Chemicals for manufacturers thru the Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI-DOST) and Occupational Safety and Health Center (OSCH-DOLE) Continuous trainings for manufacturers and dealers are being conducted thru the PPMDAI and PNP.
  3. Research and study made by the ITDI on 3 types of bangers namely judas belt, El Diablo and Small Triangulo became the basis of the PNP to amend the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 7183 regarding chemical composition. This was also adopted in the product standardization of 3 bangers.
  4. Passage of provincial ordinances on Policy and Standards in producing "lucis and bangers, product labeling, implementation of "no training, no license policy" and enforcement of regulation regarding the disposition of chemicals and explosive ingredients.
  5. Implementation of Oplan: Ingat-Paputok thru production, posting and tv plugging

    • Campaign billboards
    • Posters on "Do's and Don'ts in Manufacturing Fireworks" in the workplace
    • Posters on Safe and Responsible Use of Fireworks
    • Posters on Illegal Firecrackers
    • Flyers "Ingat-Paputok, Iwas Disgrasya
    • Komiks on "Mga Dapat Malaman sa Paggawa ng Paputok
    • TV plug on Ingat-Paputok, Iwas Disgrasya

  6. Creation of a Center (former BAPD) who receives and acts on complaints and requests from the industry.
  7. Training Curriculum was already developed by the TESDA
  8. Inspection and regulation of workplace and retail stalls
  9. Establishment of Pyrotechnic Mini-Library
  10. Advocacy to change the Iwas-Paputok of DOH into Ingat-Paputok
  11. Staging of Annual "Pasiklaban" to promote the industry and tourism
  12. Organization of cooperative of small-scale pyrotechnic manufacturers
  13. Conduct of For a and Dialogue
  14. Conduct of Shooters Course for Aerial Fireworks Displayers to impart knowledge and skills, safety and security in the display of fireworks.
What Brought about the Creation of the Pyrotechnics Regulatory Board?
  1. There were so many lives had been taken already and the Provincial Government of Bulacan don't want to risk more by not attending and giving solutions.
  2. There is a need to regulate and further improve the industry because fireworks has a great demand in the world market but we are behind China, the number one producer of quality fireworks, in terms of technology.
  3. Because of recurring problems and issues that normally surfaced during months of September to December influx of smuggled imported finished fireworks, illegal manufacturers and illegal firecrackers, extortion and accidental explosion.
  4. There is a need to promote the industry. It was already legalized but some government agencies are campaigning to ban the use of pyrotechnics which is detrimental to the industry.
  5. Many Bulakenyos are earning their living in the industry and if not attended, allied industries like chemical, paper and printing industry will also be affected.
For Inquiries:

Philippine Pyrotechnics Manufacturers and Dealers Association, Inc.
Address: Cagayan Valley Rd., Sta. Rita, Guiguinto, Bulacan 3015 Philippines
Lea Alapide (President)
Tel. Nos.: +63(44) 690-2239 / (+63977) 102-7799
Website: http://www.ppmdai.org

Bulacan Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Hiyas ng Bulacan Convention Center
Provincial Capitol Compound
City of Malolos, Bulacan, Philippines 3000
Cristina C. Tuzon (President)
Tel Nos.: +63(44) 662-1180, 791-2574
Mobile Nos.: (+63932) 849-8120, (+63932) 849-8122
Email: bcci@bulacanchamber.ph
Website: http://bulacanchamber.ph
© 2007 Provincial Government of Bulacan, Philippines. Developed by the Provincial Information Technology Office.
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