Davao’s Chinatown getting dressed up
I was nosebleeding with Mandarin this afternoon at the unveiling of the proposed “Arch of Unity” in the city’s Chinatown district. I covered the event and once again encountered a familiar crowd.
The program was said in English but was translated to Chinese every now and then.
When I was still in Iloilo in the late 90s, this was the crowd I crossed –what with Chinese employers. But I didn’t learn or try to learn their language (s).
So when the translations came for Chinese, I started to nosebleed.
The Chinatown in Sta. Ana, one of two only in the Philippines, is getting dressed up.The other one being in Manila, the Davao Chinatown is the only one in Mindanao.
Today, the Dabaw Kaisa Foundation, a group of the Fil-Chinese community in the city unveiled the perspective of the proposed “Arch of Unity” in Alvarez-Magsaysay Street.
The city’s offialdom went to the formal al fresco event. From the local government, the business community, tourism, the civil society, the media, and the man on the street.
Mayor Rodrigo Duterte was represented by daughter vice mayor Sara, who was as pretty, elegant, and regal as she always is.
Sebastian Angliongto, who has been a well recognized leader of the local Chinese community, as chair said they have two years to finish the four archs to the China town.
Sir Angie also said they will put up Chinese lanterns along the streets and intend to open a night market, common to other Asian cities.
They have already raised a fifth of the P10 million funds for the project as the foundation serves as the city government’s partner in the Davao City Chinatown Development Council.
He also said it will revive the memory of the early Chinese settlers who helped in the development of Davao City.
Before anyone could raise eyebrowses on the significance of this development and if the Chinese have been allayed to invade the city, just some more information:
Angliongto noted two classifications of Chinese presence in Davao City. First, the Fil-Chinese who have lived here since the early settlers and Second, the Chinese migrants here who compose only 5 percent of the 30,000 local Chinese population.
He said they have helped fuel the local economy along with local businessmen.
Tourism committee chair Councilor Susan Isabel Reta said the move seeks to recognize the Chinese community, to flaunt a potential tourist attraction and to strengthen trading. It was her who sponsored the ordinance creating the Chinatown.
I really hope the improvements in the relations with the local Chinese community will impact even more on the lives of the man on the street, too.