The Chinese New Year is always the most anticipated event after Christmas and New Year in the Philippines and across the globe. It comes with colorful, prayerful and symbolic food and dance rituals where the dragon dance is most often the symbolic central character.

It’s amazing how Filipinos, in collaboration with their Chinese advisers, have characterized the essence of the Chinese New Year.

“In My Diary” has a record of authentic Chinese dance rituals which we witnessed during our series of cultural shows in Xiamen and Beijing. The dance rituals in all its varieties are performed in many schools, hotels and resorts and have become a tourist attraction.

There’s also great feasting—through an authentic package of Chinese cuisines—card reading, and festive dancing, among other Chinese customs. These are accentuated by the drum music, costumes and fireworks. Palm readings to determine one’s future are revealing, too. I was born in the Year of the Rabbit and it seems it will be a safe year in health, profession and family.

The traditional Yee Sang is another symbolic feature. My close Chinese friends have enriched my notion of the mythic and cultural values of the Chinese New Year.

Together with my media colleagues—Nelia Neri, Honey Loop, Chinggay Utzurrum, Mayen Tan, Flor Ynclino, Jimmy Picornell (+) and Cookie Newman (+)—we have been invited many times by Marco Polo Plaza Cebu, Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino, Radisson Blu Cebu, Pagcor, Cebu City Marriott Hotel, Seda Hotels, and other establishments where we were requested to don “red” or any Chinese dress.

Indeed, every year was a learning experience with my close Chinese-Filipino friends in Cebu in several events hosted by the following groups: Zonta Club of Cebu 1; WeCare Foundation; Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI); American Chamber; Philippines Foundation; Kapwa Ko, Mahal Ko; the University of San Jose-Recoletos and Benedicto College; the hotel/resorts in the tourism industry, and the tri-media.

Philippine culture has assimilated some Chinese traditions, food (oh, we love Chinese cuisine), fashion and even some linguistic fusion. I take this up in my doctoral classes in Literature and Linguistics.

Through this feature, I would like to greet my close Chinese-Filipino friends in WeCare and CCCI Zonta Clubs of Cebu 1 and 2, a happy Chinese New Year: the Benedictos and Gaisanos, Aida Uy and family, Sally and Peter Dy, lawyer Gus Go and family, Nellie Chiu and family, the Gawchuas and others from the Speechcom; Nestor and Juliet Chua, Boni and Lydia Sia, Willy Dy and family, Rufina Tanchan and family, Wilson and Melanie Ng, David and Tess Chan, and many more!