Saturday, January 21, 2012

Celebrating Chinese New Year in Binondo

I often get mistaken to be Chinese. Perhaps some of my ancestors were, given that I have cousins on my father’s side who have the same eyes as mine. Sometime last year, a famous Fil-Chi singer even sent me an email to say thank you about a write up I did about him and he wrote “Shie shie” :)

Last week, I finally got to experience celebrating Chinese New Year with all the fanfare. Before, I’d just go to any Chinese friend’s house (who sent Kung Hei Fat Choi invites) where we’d eat and swap stories just like in a regular party. This time, I went with friends to join Philam Life’s event in Binondo where we really got to be in the thick of things.

Thank you Ferds of Tatak Digitista for this photo :)
It was my first time to watch a dragon dance parade and Buganda performance up close, witness a dragon eye-dotting ceremony, and release one of many red balloons tied with hundreds of wishes. The 350-feet long with 3-foot diameter dragon led guests to a parade from the Filipino-Chinese Friendship Arch at the foot of Jones Bridge to the main roads of Binondo including Quintin Paredes, Ongpin, Alonzo, Soler, Padilla and Dasmarinas before going back to the arch.

Wishing for prosperity and abundance is a common desire among Filipinos and many believe that the Chinese New Year is a good opportunity to express those wishes. Thus, Philam Life welcomed the Year of the Water Dragon by tying 500 written wishes on 500 red balloons which were released to the sky. This activity was done to symbolize how Philam Life employees, agents, and partners are committed to being an instrument in empowering the Filipino to achieve their “sanas,” dreams, and aspirations. The “sana” stories were submitted through the company’s microsite

It is Philam Life’s vision to have Filipinos take advantage of the Water Dragon’s promise of abundance and prosperity this 2012 by empowering them to take steps to realize their aspirations. Rex A. Mendoza, Philam’s President and CEO expresses their belief that in order for dreams to come true, there should be a plan. “Our financial advisors are available nationwide to help Filipinos concretize their plans and achieve financial security and prosperity; this is our wish for all Filipinos.”

Thank you John of Kumagcow for this photo of me and Rod :)
Philam Life traditionally celebrates Chinese New Year as a gesture of solidarity and respect to one of the Filipino-Chinese community’s most important traditions. The event is also an acknowledgment of Philam Life’s Chinese heritage as AIA, its mother company, traces its roots back to China, more than 90 years ago, when its first office opened in Shanghai in 1919.

The dragon parade ended with a special program held along Quintin Paredes Street facing the Philam Life office. It was also the perfect opportunity to feature Philam’s new corporate colors and office signage which was transformed from blue and green to a dynamic and vibrant red shade.

“We see prosperity in the year of the Dragon [which] has always been perceived as the most preferred sign in the Chinese Zodiac. It is associated with power, excellence, and nobility; attributes that Philam Life also represents with its six decades of market leadership, financial stability, and solid track record of delivering its promises and long heritage of nation-building and pushing forward the country’s development,” concludes Mendoza.

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