MANILA, Philippines - The territorial dispute notwithstanding, Filipinos and the Chinese have found something they can agree on: their love for music.
Staff members of the Chinese Embassy in Manila shared the stage with the chorale group of the Bulacan State University (BSU) when they performed the traditional Chinese folk song “Jasmine Flower” (“Mo Li Hua”) in a reception held at the Chinese ambassador’s residence in Makati.
An embassy employee played the gu zheng, an ancient stringed instrument, and another played the piano, while the BSU chorale sang the number in Chinese.
In her speech, Chinese Ambassador Ma Keqing said China continues to foster friendly relations with the Philippines through education, the arts and culture.
“China always seeks to develop friendly relations and strengthen cooperation with neighboring countries in order to share development opportunities with our neighbors,” Ma said.
“China and the Philippines have cooperation on culture, education, and communication, mining, agriculture sectors, and so on and so forth,” she added.
Ma called on Filipino students to learn more about China and become “China hands.”
“This will increase your competitiveness in the labor market and give you opportunities to become envoys in the bilateral exchanges,” she said.
The BSU chorale also rendered popular Chinese songs such as “Yue Liang Dai Biao Wo De Xin” (“The Moon Represents My Heart”) and “Peng You” (“Friends”).
The Chinese Embassy also awarded the winners of the essay writing competition held for BSU students who wrote about the theme “Discover China.”
Ma has learned some Filipino words and tried saying some, greeting the audience “happy new year” in Filipino. “Manigong bagong taon. Mabuhay,” Ma said.
The event was also organized to mark the coming Lunar New Year on February 10.