Confucius Institute at Ateneo de Manila University Holds 2019 Spring Festival Celebration and Premiere of Documentary Film “Sulu and China: Past and Present Relations”

[Source]    Confucius Institute at the Ateneo de Manila University, the Philippines [Time]    2019-02-15 14:29:15 

On February 5th, the Confucius Institute at the Ateneo de Manila University (AMU) in the Philippines and the Consulate General of China in Davao held the 2019 Spring Festival celebration and the premiere of the academic documentary film “Sulu and China: Past and Present Relations” at SM Lanang Premier in Davao City.

William Lima, Special Envoy to China of the Office of the President of the Philippines; Abul Alonto, Chairman of the Mindanao Development Authority; Sara Duterte, Mayor of Davao City; Napoleon E. Concepcion, Governor of Board of Investments of the Philippines; Fuad Abdullah Kiram I, Sultan of Sulu; Darwin J. Absari, Professor at the Institute of Islamic Studies of University of the Philippines; Huang Shuxiu, Philippine Director of the AMU Confucius Institute; Li Lin, Chinese Consul General in Davao; Liang Guanghan, Chinese Director of the Confucius Institute, and more than 200 representatives from all walks of life including Ateneo de Davao University, Davao Chinese Chamber Of Commerce and Davao Federation of Filipino-Chinese Association of the Philippines attended the premiere. In total, about 2,000 people participated in the Spring Festival celebration.

Group photo of guests

The academic documentary film “Sulu and China: Past and Present Relations” was produced by the AMU Confucius Institute in association with Caixin Media and Real Image Media Co., Ltd. of China. It was based on the history that the King of the Sultanate of Sulu led a fleet and braved hardships and dangers to visit China 600 years ago, and therefore forged a profound friendship with Yongle Emperor. Since 2016, for the purpose of shooting, the film crew has been to many provinces and cities such as ancient Sulu and other regions in the Philippines and Beiying Village, the settlement of the descendants of the King of the Sultanate of Sulu in Dezhou City, China. They also documented the daily life and social situation of these descendants and conducted interviews on a regular basis, making the documentary film as vivid as possible. These materials of such a legendary history are of reference value for relevant academic research. On top of that, the crew tried their utmost to restore the history, aiming to encourage young generation to trace their origins, pay attention to and cherish the precious friendship of exchanges between China and the Philippines through the ages.

At the premiere, Huang Shuxiu delivered a speech, expressing her gratitude to those who supported and provided assistance for the Confucius Institute. She noted that this documentary tells a story about the profound friendship between China and Sulu and it was really not easy that the documentary film could be released here and now since the film crew has come across many difficulties in shooting.

Huang Shuxiu giving a speech

William Lima expressed that Chinese Filipinos have made significant contributions to the development of the Philippine society. In addition, traditional Chinese arts, food and celebrations of traditional Chinese festivals have enriched the lives of Filipinos. The Chinese New Year celebrations have become an important part of the Philippine culture, which reflected the richness of Chinese culture and increased the cultural diversity of the Philippines.

William Lima giving a speech

Li Lin said in his speech that China and the Philippines are both open and inclusive to ethnic, cultural and religious diversity. History is the best teacher. Today, with the opportunity provided by the Confucius Institute, learning from the historical anecdotes of friendly exchanges between China and the Philippines more than 600 years ago is conducive to strengthening relations between the two governments, enhancing understanding between the two peoples and promoting cooperation between the two countries in more fields.

Li Lin giving a speech

Sara Duterte welcomed the guests present. She said that she was more than joyful to celebrate the Chinese New Year together in Davao. The friendly exchanges between the two countries are beneficial to the people of both countries.

Sara Duterte giving a speech

Liang Guanghan made an introduction to the timeline behind the documentary film, reviewed the over three-year shooting journey, and expressed her gratitude to friends who have been supportive and helpful all the way. She said that only when we know history can we know ourselves; and only when we understand history can we enhance friendship. She hoped that more people could understand the profound friendship between the Chinese and the Filipinos.

Liang Guanghan giving a speech

Later, the guests and the audience watched the documentary film “Sulu and China: Past and Present Relations” together, reliving the history and experiencing the profound friendship between China and the Philippines. Fuad Abdullah Kiram I, Abul Alonto, Darwin and Liang Guanghan shared with the audience behind-the-scenes stories from the documentary shooting, answered relevant questions and discussed with the audience.

Darwin said that although the shooting was hard and difficult, it also made us longing to tell this beautiful story. The documentary not only records the friendly exchanges between Sulu and China, but also is representative of the friendly relations between the Philippines and China. He hoped that the young generation could gain sound understanding and learning of this history, and then bear this friendship in their mind. He also expressed his wish that this history could inspire more people to tell their stories with China.

Folk musical instrument performance

After the premiere, the AMU Confucius Institute organized a two-day event of traditional Chinese art performance and cultural activities in the atrium of SM Lanang Premier. Teachers of the Confucius Institute and local students presented all the wonderful and amazing performances including traditional Chinese dancing, playing traditional Chinese musical instruments and displaying traditional Chinese costumes. There were also workshops on paper cutting, Chinese knots and looking for Chinese characters for participants to learn and experience.

Experiencing paper cutting

This is the first time that the AMU Confucius Institute has held a large-scale Spring Festival celebration in Davao City, the Philippines. On the occasion of the Spring Festival of ringing out the old year and ringing in the new, the AMU Confucius Institute hopes to look back at history and celebrate the Spring Festival together with the Filipinos, exploring the magic charm of the integration between Chinese and Philippine cultures and embracing the new journey together.