AS the world bounces back to pre-pandemic normal, the traditional Banawe Chinese New Year celebration in Quezon City marks its return this Sunday, January 22, to welcome the Year of the Water Rabbit.
The Quezon City government will be leading the celebrations through its Tourism Department.
The organizing committee for the Chinese New Year celebration has been reconstituted, hence the return of various face-to-face events and interactive activities this year. The events were halted in the past two years due to the pandemic.
What to expect?
The event will take place along Banawe corner P. Florentino Streets, an area that is home to a significant number of Filipino-Chinese residents. The proposed Chinatown float parade is expected to start at 2 pm.
According to the event’s route map, the motorcade’s starting point will be at Mang Inasal going to E.Rodriguez Ave, then to D. Tuazon going to Sgt. Rivera St. and back to Banawe ending at P.Florentino St.
Food stalls and souvenir shops will be set up in the area for the duration of the celebration.
Onlookers and participants can expect a traditional float parade, dragon and lion dance performances, bazaars and fireworks as highlights of the event.
The main program will kick off by 4 p.m. to be led by China Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission & Minister Counselor Zhou Zhiyong. Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte will follow with her welcome remarks.
Other speakers include Vice-Mayor Gian Sotto, Quezon City District 1 Rep. and actor Juan Carlos “Arjo” Atayde, District 4 Rep. Marvin Rillo, QC Association of Filipino Chinese Businessmen, Inc. President Joaquin Co, and QC Chinatown Development Foundation, Inc. Chairman Charles Chen.
Atayde has extended his full support for the Chinese New Year celebration in Banawe, which is in his district. He provided Enchong Dee as event host, and singers Katrina Velarde and Gian Magdangal as performers.
The other performers will include the Philippine Kong Han Athletic Club Lion Dancers, Philippine Cultural Chinese 20-piece Orchestra, Chinese Cultural Dance Group and Philippine Institute of QC Children’s Glee Club. Singers Shiloh and Shawn Tan will render solo performances, while the Philippine Wushu Colleges and Clubs Association will conduct a Wushu martial arts exhibition. Feng Shui Master Rev. Fr. Wong Seng Tian will also give his Chinese New Year of the Rabbit predictions.
Chinatown in Banawe has officially been designated as one of Quezon City’s major tourism districts.
Because of the expected deluge of participants, traffic is expected to be affected. But the city government promised that the events would cause as little disruption as possible.
Tourism Department Head Tetta Tirona said no major thoroughfares would be closed.
“This is just a very quick passing through all those streets that you saw on the vicinity map. Hindi po yan magtatagal, passing through lang ang mangyayari po sa kanila,” Tirona said.
Then Quezon City police further said they will designate traffic personnel to make sure there will be no choke points in the area.
Another worry for the upcoming Chinese New Year celebration is the event security. The city government said it would be deploying enough police personnel in the area and would set up a command post. There will also be security cameras.
Manila, home to world’s oldest chinatown which is Binondo, is also preparing to welcome the lunar new year.
The Manila Public Information Office said Jones Bridge would be closed starting January 21 for the Chinese New Year Countdown Pyromusical to be viewed from the bridge.
“Southbound side of Jones Bridge (going to Intramuros) will be closed to the public starting 7PM, while the Northbound side going to Binondo will be closed starting 10PM,” it said.
The district of Binondo has been intended as a permanent settlement of Chinese immigrants since the 1500s.
Photo by Izel Abanilla