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Filipino-Chinese community marks 20th annual Manila Lantern Festival

by Bryan Gadingan

THE PHILIPPINE-CHINA Traditional Cultural Festival (PCTCF) celebrated its 20th annual Manila Lantern Festival on Sunday at the Manila Chinese Garden in Rizal Park, with a broad audience in attendance.

Photo Courtesy: republicasia

The annual PCTCF was founded in 1999, the same year the Manila Lantern Festival started, by over 30 different Chinese organizations. 

It is comprised of the Filipino Chinese Youth Educational Center (FCYEC) in partnership with the Cultural Office of the Embassy of People’s Republic of China, and the Manila Tourism and Cultural Affairs Bureau of the City of Manila.

The celebration was opportune as it was held on a weekend when the Luneta Park was crowded with people including the Filipino-Chinese community, which was there to celebrate with the organization.

The attendees were welcomed with a lion and dragon dance and serenaded by the Manila City Band as they awaited the ribbon cutting and the ceremonial start of the event.

Photo Courtesy: republicasia

Also in attendance were Huang Xi Lian, the ambassador of People’s Republic of China Embassy, Hon. Bernardito Ang, the city administrator of Manila, and Willord Chua, the executive director of Manila Chinatown Development Council.

They led the ribbon-cutting ceremony at 5:30 p.m., followed by the lighting of the lanterns and the much-anticipated cultural show/concert. 

Participants received complimentary siopao and siomai from Pao Express, sorbetes and taho to showcase the go-to snacks or merienda from both countries.

Dr. Cecilio Pedro, president of the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc., emphasized the importance of the event.

“It is important to preserve the rich cultural heritage, and this special event highlights the creativity of our people, and promotes better cultural appreciation,” he said.

According to Ang, this was an advance celebration of the official Lantern Festival, which will take place on the fourth Sunday of February of every year. He shared that Manila was the only city that implemented this regulation.

“It’s only the City of Manila, worked by the city government, adopted an ordinance in 2001 that declares every third week of February as the Philippine-Chinese Cultural Week. In the whole Philippines, it’s only in the City of Manila, that has that ordinance,” he said.

Photo Courtesy: republicasia

Looking deeper, the Lantern Festival seeks to encourage reconciliation, peace and forgiveness. This holiday marks the first full moon of the new lunar year and the end of the Chinese New Year.

The events aims to help the Filipino-Chinese community to move forward and embrace the wealth waiting for them in this Year of the Dragon.

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