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Manila Welcomes Chinese New Year With A Bang

Manila Chinese New Year
Seated from left are Ambassador of the Peoples Republic of China to the Philippines Huang Xilian; Mayor Honey Lacuna; Vice Mayor Yul Servo and City Administrator Bernie Ang, as they await the start of the fireworks display in Chinatown. (JERRY S. TAN)

Mayor Honey Lacuna led the celebration of the Chinese New Year in Manila beginning with the New Year countdown held at the Jones Bridge leading to Chinatown at 12 midnight Saturday.

The event was highlighted by a colorful Pyro-Musical Fireworks Display held at the Filipino-Chinese Friendship Bridge in Intramuros. Throngs of spectators gathered at the bridge which served as the viewing deck and also in various areas of Chinatown to witness the fireworks display that lasted for eight minutes.

In her speech, the mayor acknowledged the presence of Ambassador of the Peoples Republic of China to the Philippines Huang Xilian; Ambassador of the Philippines to Beijing, Peoples Republic of China Jaime Florocruz,; representatives from the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (FFCCCII) among them external relations head Nelson Guevarra; third District Congressman Joel Chua; Vice Mayor John Marvin Yul Servo Nieto; city administrator Bernie Ang; Manila Chinatown Development Council headed by Willord Chua; Manila Chinatown Barangay Organization headed by Jefferson Lau; Manila-China Affairs chairman Ati Co, Manila City Councilors and department heads led by tourism chief Charlie Dungo, Sta. Ana Hospital Director Dr. Grace Padilla, Justice Abad Santos General Hospital chief Dr. Merle Sacdalan and City Engineer Armand Andres.

“The entire Filipino Chinese community observes this very important event to let go of all the negatives from the outgoing year and embrace all positives and fresh and attract prosperity and peace among families for the incoming year. This is also an opportunity for all our kababayans to enjoy the festivities for the Lunar New Year celebration, being one of the many Chinese influences that we Filipinos have adopted through the years,” Lacuna said.

Manila Chinese New Year
Photo shows (seated, second from right) Mayor Honey Lacuna and Vice Mayor Yul Servo at the 1919 Grand Cafe as they await with (from middle) city administrator Bernie Ang, Manila Chinatown Development Council head Willord Chua, Ambassador of the Peoples Republic of China to the Philippines Huang Xilian and Ambassador of the Philippines to Beijing, Peoples Republic of China Jaime Florocruz, the start of the New Year countdown in Manila. Behind them are (right) 1919 Grand Cafe owner Rudy Gan; (3rd from right) Jasmine Co and (standing behind Chua) Atty. Rolando Delfin, among others. ( JERRY S. TAN)

Lacuna cited the huge role that Chinoys in Manila play in helping her administration succeed and expressed hope that the city government’s relationship with them will grow to be even more harmonious in the years to come.

Too, she thanked the members of the Chinese-Filipino community whom she said have been very supportive of her programs thus ensuring their fruition, and for putting their trust in her administration by setting up their businesses or residence in the city.

“To Ambassador Xilian and Ambassador Florocruz, kindly extend our warm greetings to the people of Beijing and the entire Peoples Republic of China. As we welcome the Year of the Water Rabbit, we hope that all of us can pursue opportunity and success. We wish you and your loved ones happiness, prosperity, and good health and fortune,” Lacuna said.

The following day, January 22, which marks the Chinese New Year’s Day itself, the lady mayor spearheaded the 2 p.m. Grand Parade or ‘Solidarity Parade’ in Chinatown with the Post Office as the starting point.

Before that, a Dragon Boat Competition kicked off at the Birch Tree Plaza at 8 a.m., while the Chinatown Food Festival which started January 19 continued to be held at the Plaza Lorenzo Ruiz from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. of January 22 too.

Lacuna said the activities prepared for the occasion entailed the coordination and cooperation between the Chinese-Filipino community and the city government of Manila.

Manila Police District (MPD) Director PBGen. Andre Dizon said that the Muelle de la Industria Bridge was closed on January 22 to give way to the dragon boat competition.

The daylong activities on Sunday were capped with the Huaxing Arts Group Chinese Cultural Show at the Plaza Lorenzo Ruiz at 6 p.m.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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