Valencia Street, one of the public roads that border the China Town area in the city, transformed Friday night into a festive spot adorned with traditional hanging red lanterns and other ornaments to mark the celebration of the Chinese New Year.
The lanterns which symbolize hopes for a bright 2019 was lighted by the city government for the two-week celebration.
City Tourism Office (CTO) chief Aileen Cynthia Amurao said the Chinese New Year celebration is a manifestation of the city government’s solidarity with the Filipino-Chinese community which has been part of Puerto Princesa’s development and growth.
She said it is also aimed at fulfilling the wish of Chinese tourists who chose to stay for a month to celebrate their New Year in the city.
“Ito ay para mabigyang katuparan ‘yong mga pangarap ng turistang Chinese natin. Maraming Chinese tourists na pinili na dito mag-celebrate. Sa Chinese kasi isang buwan ang bakasyon nila [for the celebration],” said Amurao.
(This is to make into reality the request of our Chinese visitors to spend their New Year here. There are Chinese tourists who chose to stay here for a month to celebrate. In the Chinese culture, they get one month vacation to celebrate.)
Many of them, she said, arrived on January 28 through international flights.
Amurao said they prepared early for the celebration that would reiterate how Filipinos have embraced the Chinese culture and its contributions to the good trading partnerships between the Philippines and China.
Amurao said the celebration will be until February 10.
In an earlier interview, Michie Meneses, senior tourism operations officer of the CTO, she said there will be every evening programs and performances to entertain the guests.
Chinese cuisines and other products are also available for sale in the bazaar.
Meneses said the highlight of the celebration is the “lion dance parade” on February 5.
Another is the search for Miss Chinatown.
Tourists visiting the city have started flocking Valencia Street last night to experience the celebration.
Tourist couple Lisanne Post and Alejandro Ramirez from Holland and Mexico said they enjoyed watching the lighting of the lanterns.
Post said they do not have this kind of celebration in Holland and to have witnessed it made them learn about other people’s culture.
“I think it is a very interesting event. From the place we come from, we don’t celebrate this tradition. This is something new for people [like us] that they can invite, and see something like this,” said Ramirez.