CEBU City residents, particularly members of the Chinese-Filipino community, were treated to cultural presentations and heritage tours during the first-ever Red Lantern Festival organized by the City Government on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023.

City Councilor Jocelyn Pesquera, who chairs the tourism commission, said in her opening speech that this festival is not merely a simple celebration.

“Also to strengthen our relations with our communities, especially the Chinese community, towards peace and prosperity, and may this New Year bring us a more bright future,” Pesquera said.

The spectators and guests witnessed dances, songs and traditional and cultural presentations by student groups from different schools in the city.

In an interview with SunStar Cebu, Vice Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia said that for the Filipino-Chinese community, he hopes for a prosperous 2023 ahead of them.

“They were part and are very vital to Cebu’s economy, its growth, its development. They have put in so much of their time and effort in the past including their forefathers to make Cebu what it is today, the success of them would also result down to the success of the Cebuanos and, of course, the economy,” Garcia said.

Myles Ng, who was representing his mother, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) regional governor Melanie Ng, said that events like these get “conversations going,” especially in the Filipino-Chinese communities.

“As a Filipino-Chinese myself, and as a musician as well, I’m also a songwriter, so being involved using arts as a means of striking conversation about further integration, I think we can do this more often,” Ng said.

Jia Li, acting consul general of the People’s Republic of China in Cebu, also extended his greetings to the Cebuanos and expressed his gratitude to the people of Cebu for the effort in celebrating the Chinese New Year.

The Red Lantern Festival was a first for Cebu City. It is expected to be a tourism staple in the city in the years to come. (Eiver Ky Villegas, USJ-R Intern)