CEBU CITY, Philippines — Zhang Zhen, Consul General of People’s Republic of China in Cebu, said the Chinese New Year festivities in Cebu serve as an example that shows Cebu’s “diversity of culture” and the “friendship” between the Philippines and China.
Speaking during the Red Lantern Festival hosted by the Cebu City Government, through the Cebu City Tourism Commission (CCTC), Zhang joined the Cebuano-Chinese community here on Saturday, Feb. 10 at the Plaza Sugbo grounds to celebrate the Year of the Wood Dragon.
Zhang graced the occasion along with the officials from the city government.
“I am very proud that the Filipino-Chinese community has been contributing so much to the lovable city where they truly belonged,” Zhang said.
Zhang emphasized that peace, love, harmony, and strong morals are fundamental to Chinese culture, which is now mirrored in the city and its people.
She also expressed hope for increased exchanges and cooperation between Chinese and Cebuanos to deepen the friendship between the two nations.
Deep roots of Chinese culture in Cebu
CCTC chair Councilor Jocelyn Pesquera emphasized in her speech that the celebration honors the “deep roots” of Chinese culture and tradition in Cebu City.
“From pre-hispanic times, the presence of the Chinese people in Cebu has been an integral part of our history,” Pesquera said.
Pesquera noted the Chinese influence on Cebuano culture, including customs, traditions, and cuisine, while highlighting the chance offered by the Red Lantern Festival to appreciate Chinese culture.
For his part, Mayor Michael Rama emphasized that city embodies a strong Chinese presence in its history, stating that it doesn’t need a specific Chinatown because it’s essentially a ‘China City’ itself.
“[The] Chinese relationship with us is forever, eternal, and everything,” Rama said.
Representatives from prominent Chinese families in Cebu, including those from the Go Association and Lims Brotherhood Foundation Inc., attended the event.
The Philippine Chinese Chamber of Commerce, along with project chairs Joey Gaisano and Alfred Reyes, were also present.
Among the city officials in attendance were Councilors Dondon Hontiveros, Noel Wenceslao, and Jaypee Labella. Spectators enjoyed lively Chinese performances from various schools including Cebu Cherish School Inc., Cebu Eastern College, Philippine Gospel School, University of Cebu, Sacred Heart School – Ateneo de Cebu, and Bethany Christian School.
The festival concluded at 7:30 p.m. with a dazzling fireworks display. /clorenciana