By Gerald CJ “Yuri” Moribus
Iloilo City is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Chinese New Year (CNY) this long weekend.
The Iloilo City Government, Iloilo Festivals Foundation Inc. (IFFI), and the local Chinese community have led the kickoff of the festivities, which include the CNY Food Festival, Grand Parade, and Cultural Show in the downtown area on February 9.
The theme for the 20th Chinese New Year is “Harmony in Bloom: 20 Years of Cultivating Filipino-Chinese Unity.”
Yesterday’s festivities began with Filipino-Chinese food kiosks along Iznart Street, showcasing a variety of delicacies and specialties.
Over 30 Filipino and Chinese food stalls are participating in the food festival.
“It cannot be denied that over the years, the public-private partnership we have forged with the Ilonggo-Tsinoys has grown deeper and broader, creating a significant impact on all our endeavors, especially in achieving our goal to become one of the country’s most livable, sustainable, and resilient cities by 2028,” said Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas during the celebration’s opening at a mall on February 6.
He added that the Tsinoys’ significant role in improving the lives of Ilonggos through socio-economic programs and projects implemented by the City Government will be deeply etched in the hearts of the Ilonggos.
“It will go down in our rich history, just like how your profound influence on our way of life has been embedded,” he emphasized.
Wearing their traditional costumes, the Ilonggo-Chinese community participated in the Grand Parade from the Iloilo Provincial Capitol to the Filipino-Chinese Friendship Arc.
Students from Sun Yat Sen High School of Iloilo, Ateneo de Iloilo, Iloilo Scholastic Academy, and Hua Siong College of Iloilo performed dragon and lion dances.
After the parade, the spectators enjoyed cultural performances, which were followed by a fireworks display.
Meanwhile, the Quanzhou String Puppetry is one of this year’s highlights, taking place on February 10-11, 2024.
To conclude the week-long event, a Thanksgiving Mass is scheduled at Sta. Maria Chinese-Filipino Parish on February 11 at 8:00 AM and the Chinese New Year Closing Ceremony will be held at Park Square, Festive Walk Parade at 5:00 PM.
Gerald CJ “Yuri” Moribus is a BA Communications intern of Aklan State University.