“Celebration of Stories of Friendship”
On June 11, 2016, Filipinos from the academe, media, government, private and nonprofit sector including alumni of prestigious Chinese universities who in the course of their education, training, career, business and work have nurtured lifelong interest and connections with China gathered to celebrate fellowship. This took place in conjunction with the celebrations of the 41st anniversary of the establishment of formal diplomatic relations between the Republic of the Philippines and the People’s Republic of China.
Filipinos who were in the Mainland as early as the 1970s shared their first hand accounts of pre-reform and opening-up of China, providing a glimpse of China then, as well as a recollection of the events and developments that led to the establishment of bilateral relations between the two countries. Some participants also shared their rich and vivid personal experiences, including their love stories as several of the participants found their life partners while they had studied or sojourned in China. Participants encouraged greater opportunities for people-to-people engagements to build bridges of understanding amidst current political dynamics. Younger participants treasured the privilege of knowing and networking with their predecessors, who, over time, had become distinguished names in their respective fields.
The diversity of participants in the event reflects the comprehensive and longstanding ties between the two countries that go beyond politics and economics to include academic, scientific, cultural, tourism and people-to-people exchanges. In fact, relations between the Filipino and Chinese people dates back much further in time centuries ago and participants who are experts in history and anthropology encouraged the audience to revisit and re-appreciate these linkages.
Bilingual entertainment was provided by the Crystal Duet, a Filipino couple (including their daughter) who had worked in a Five-Star Hotel in Guangdong. Raffles sponsored by fellow alumni added to the fanfare.
The fellowship night was organized by the Philippines-China Friendship Club (PCFC) and the Integrated Development Studies Institute (IDSI). PCFC was established by a group of Filipino students and young professionals in China which strives to provide platforms of interactions for Filipino to establish and cultivate life-long friendships. It organizes people-to-people activities with the Chinese and other ASEAN friends and participates in events that showcase Filipino culture and tourism in China. It has also organized talks featuring Filipinos to share their inspiring stories, and activities to support and enhance the Filipino community in China. Since its inception, it has connected Filipinos in Beijing, Tianjin, Shaanxi, Zhejiang, Wuhan, Shanghai, Fujian, Guangdong, Qinghai, and even Tibet! IDSI is an institute to help study and promote integrated, practical views of, and activities in, development that are multidisciplinary, explorative and efficiently in cooperation with other institutions and persons, weighed towards the implementable.