Our ties with China predates even the arrival of the Spaniards in the 16th century. There are artifacts that show the brisk and dynamic trade relations between traders from Chine and islands in our country.
Some of them came to live here, marrying natives and became acculturated. Many of us are descendants of Chinese traders or migrants who sought a better life far from their homeland. In the book Reconstructing History from Text and Memory by Davao historian Macariu Tiu, Chinese traders were already in Davao as early as the 1860’s although it was not recorded how many of them were around. Six Chinese names appeared in a 1904 list of 45 planters in Davao prepared by District Governor Edward C. Bolton. Today, the Chinese community has become a major player in the economic and socio-cultural development of the city.
The Filipino-Chinese have enriched our culture and history apart from being in the forefront of trade, investments, and the thriving retail industry across the country. Their culture is recognized as part of our own as it is not uncommon for us to partake of tikoy and feast on Chinese cuisine, consult Feng Shui experts for good luck, read Chinese horoscope and buy charms that promise good health, great wealth and everlasting love. Their traditions have, in other words, melded seamlessly with our own.
Pres. Rodrigo Duterte proclaimed today’s celebration as a special non-working holiday in recognition of the intertwined history of both countries. In a previous message on the occasion of the Chinese New Year he said that Chinese-Filipinos will ‘continue to play an important role in shaping our national identity and in upholding the beauty of diversity in our respective cultures.’
No matter the animosity brewing between the two countries, today we celebrate with the Filipino-Chinese community the Chinese Lunar New Year or Spring Festival with merriment and good cheer to welcome great things to come.
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