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The Chinese Spring Fest Celebration in Davao

Chairman of the Board of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce Johnny Tan

THE Chinese New Year 2023 is the Year of the Water Rabbit starting from January 22, 2023, and ending in February 9, 2024. The recently celebrated Spring Festival of the Chinese Consulate General in Davao led by Consul General Li Lin and the Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Davao City headed by Chairman Johnny Tan and President Eric Tan held at the Waterfront Insular Hotel last January 14 refers to the same festival commonly known as the Chinese Lunar New Year.  The Spring Festival is held annually in China and in Chinese communities all over the globe.  It dates back to the beginning of the Shang Dynasty about 4000 years ago.  The Spring Festival is a tradition of respect to ancestors and gods during the close and beginning of years.  This festivity also involves the activities of cleaning homes and bathing of bodies that continues in China to this day.  In agricultural producing regions of China, the Spring Festival is celebrated for the incoming warm weather and planting of crops.  This year, 2023, the Lunar New Year is celebrated on January 22.

Wushu athletes of Ateneo de Davao

     The Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Davao and the Philippine Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry-Davao Chapter’s invitation for the 2023 Chinese Spring Festival Party was a huge celebration participated in not only by the Chinese community in Davao City; but it was also graced with the presence of former President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, Senator Bong Go, Mayor Sebastian Zimmerman Duterte and Vice Mayor Jay Melchor Quitain, Jr., among other VIPs.  On hand to warmly welcome the guests were the friendly Chinese Consul General Li Lin and Madam Chiu Aiping.

     The respected former President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivered a loudly applauded speech wherein he wished for stronger bonds among Filipinos and Chinese despite the “little wars” going on.  He even wished for the China-Taiwan reunification “for the benefit of all Chinese found all over the world.”  “I am glad to celebrate a fresh new start as we welcome the Chinese Spring Festival of the Lunar New Year with great enthusiasm and optimism.That we are here together shows the continuing deep bonds between the people of the Philippines and China. We welcome a New Year with hopes that the future holds more opportunities to work, cooperate and thrive even more together.

Tribal dance performance of students of Cor Jesu College

The New Year comes at a time as we navigate the new realities and possibilities of our shared future in a post-pandemic world.  Indeed, this auspicious day reminds us that our two nations are connected, more than ever, no matter what the circumstances. 

I am particularly happy to see the many activities our Filipino-Chinese communities have done in order to uplift the lives of our countrymen and enrich our cultural heritage as a nation….May the New Year bring more abundance and blessings for us all as we continue to move forward and face the challenges ahead of us.  As we welcome the Year of the Rabbit, let us all personify the values that it symbolizes: positivity, longevity and cleverness.  Let these values guide us in our endeavors as we carry on with the rewarding task of nation-building and bring our countries to greater heights.”

(l-r): Archt. Michael E. Dakudao, Madam Chiu Aiping, Consul Hong Ming

     Johnny Tan, the Chairman of the Board of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry-Davao Chapter, also delivered his message saying, “We are happily gathered to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year of the Rabbit.  It is a symbol of longevity, peace and prosperity.  Our organization was established in 2009 with the goal to promote Philippine-China Trade and Investment, to support the City Government projects, and to respond to natural calamity and disaster relief operations.

Our organization serves as a bridge between our two cultures like the Chinese Spring Festival and Mid-Autumn Festival to be celebrated in Davao City….In the past decades, thanks to the excellent leadership of former President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and Vice President Sarah Duterte-Carpio, Davao City has become the most competitive, highly urbanized city, and one of the top contributors to the economic development of the Philippines.  Also, we would like to express our gratitude to City Mayor Sebastian Duterte, his government team, and police task force for their combined efforts in maintaining the city’s stability, prosperity and development.  The Davaoenos and the Filipino-Chinese communities are truly enjoying all these benefits.”

Traditional Dragon Dance

     “The special relationship between China and Davao has long existed even before the Western Conquerors landed on our shores.  Ours has been a mutually beneficial and peaceful trading of products and eventually, a sharing of cultures.  The Philippine-China relations have only bettered through the years.  Proof of this is that we have the biggest Chinatown territory in the whole of the country. 

The Davaoeno Filipino-Chinese community’s considerable contribution to the development of the City is both tangible and visible…May we be able to maintain this healthy relationship as we try to understand further and continue to share our different cultures and traditions as well as celebrate our respective uniqueness,” Mayor Sebastian Z. Duterte said in his speech.

     The Spring Fest Party was truly one big celebration of delicious Chinese cuisine and drinks, awards, raffle draws, angpao gift-giving, cultural performances from students of the Ateneo de Davao University, Cor Jesu College and USEP, plus a Q&A portion on the subjects of China-Philippine Friendship and Chinese Spring Festival.  

     Here’s greeting the Chinese and Chinese-Filipino residents of Davao City, “Xinnian Kuaile/Gong Xi Fa Cai!”

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