Gong Xi Fa Cai!: Iloilo City Chinese New Year Festival 2011


This event is very close to my heart. It may not surpass the greatness of Dinagyang or the unity in Paraw Regatta, but my heart belongs to it.

I was educated in a Chinese high school and took up my secondary education at Iloilo Sun Yat Sen High School. I was pretty attached to the Chinese culture. But more than this, the Iloilo City Chinese New Year Festival is very dear in my heart because of two things: I was a performer in its festivities for four years, and I met my special person through this event.

Enough of myself and back to what I’m supposed to present! Here is a are previews of a performances in the festival by the Lion and Dragon Dancers of my alma mater:

Just so you know, if you find their performance the best in Iloilo, it’s the fact that they are the only school that has sent people to China just to train in these Chinese arts, and I’m pretty proud of them.

This lunar year is said to be the Year of the Metal Rabbit. I’m not really into Chinese or any kind of zodiac, but hey, these symbols are embedded in our lives. The Chinese schools of our city and several associations, organizations, and foundations joined together with the Iloilo City Government to welcome the Year of the Rabbit.

This is the first “Chinese New Year Festival” in the Philippines, the first Chinese new year cultural presentation in the Visayas, and the inspiration of several Chinese new year celebrations in the country, including Bacolod City’s Bacolaodiat. It is dubbed as the best celebration of the Chinese new year outside Ongpin (Manila’s Chinatown).

This festival was originally a cultural presentation of Chinese culture and the arts of the city’s Chinese community. Still, it was hailed and was given a festival status by the then-City Mayor, Cong. Jerry P. Treñas. This led to the sequence of festivals in Iloilo City as follows: Arevalo Fireworks Festival=>Kasadyahan Festival=>Dinagyang Festival=>Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria Fiesta=>Chinese New Year Festival=>Paraw Regatta Festival. With the Candelaria Fiesta and Chinese New Year as interchangeable events, this sequence is held from January to February.

Participants are as follows: Iloilo Sun Yat Sen High School (怡朗中山中学), Iloilo Central Commercial High School (怡朗华商中学), Ateneo de Iloilo – Santa Maria Catholic School (雅典耀学校), Iloilo Scholastic Academy (怡朗新华学院), and Colegio del Sagrado Corazon de Jesus (圣心学校).

Held every immediate Friday of the first Lunar year’s week, the Iloilo Chinese New Year Festival is a concrete manifestation of the close relationship of the Ilonggo and Chinese cultures properly presented by the city’s Filipino-Chinese communities and of the Ilonggo race. Kung Hei Fat Choi and Waswas Iloilo!



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