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Feature: Celebrating Chinese Lunar New Year in Philippines

(Xinhua)    11:42, February 17, 2015

MANILA, Feb. 17 -- The Chinese New Year, or the Spring Festival which falls on Thursday this year, is celebrated not only by the Chinese community in the Philippines but also by other Filipinos who have been influenced by the Chinese culture and traditions through the years.

The celebrations gained added significance four years ago after Philippine President Benigno Aquino III declared the Chinese New Year as a nationwide holiday.

In November 2011, Aquino said the declaration of the Chinese New Year as a special non-working holiday would allow Chinese- Filipinos, locally known as Tsinoys, and Filipinos themselves to fully celebrate the Spring Festival.

The holiday "is a manifestation of our solidarity with our Chinese-Filipino brethren who have been part of our lives in many respects as a country and as a people," said the president.

Aquino himself has Chinese ancestry. His mother, the late president Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino, came from the large Co-juang- co clan that originally came from Fujian province in southern China.

Even before the arrival of the Spanish colonizers in the early 16th century, Chinese immigrants have already settled in various parts of the Philippines.

Chinese-Filipinos are one of the largest overseas Chinese communities in Southeast Asia.

Unofficial figures said while there are only about 1.5 million Filipinos of pure Chinese ancestry, or 1.6 percent of the population, Filipinos with Chinese descent comprise about 18 to 27 percent of the total Philippine population of over 100 million.

It is understandable, therefore, that Tsinoys have their presence felt not just in commerce and business but even in politics and other social, cultural and professional activities.

Because of their pioneering spirit and Confucian work ethics, many Chinese-Filipino families now control major business establishments in the country.


(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Yao Xinyu,Bianji)

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