ILOILO City – A week after the Dinagyang festivities, Mayor Jose Espinosa III together with the local Filipino-Chinese community and SM City Iloilo will welcome the Chinese New Year with a fireworks display.
The event, to begin at 9 p.m. on Feb. 4, will be staged at the Iloilo City Dinagyang Grandstand on Muelle Loney Street.
A “spectacular” fireworks show will welcome the Year of the Earth Pig and is expected to brighten up the Iloilo night sky as well as the picturesque Iloilo River.
“For the first time, we are celebrating the Chinese New Year with fireworks for the public to enjoy and as a bonding moment for families and friends. There will also be a program showcasing various performances from Chinese schools in the city,” Espinosa said.
President Rodrigo Duterte declared Feb. 5 a special non-working day to celebrate the Chinese New Year in the whole country.
In the city, the Chinese New Year celebration will begin this Sunday with a mass at the Parish of Our Lady of China or Santa Maria Parish at 8 a.m.
It will be followed by an opening ceremony with a cultural presentation by Sun Yat Sen High School at SM City Iloilo at 3 p.m.
There will be a one-day food festival along Muelle Loney Street near the grandstand that will be hosted by the Iloilo Hotels, Resorts, and Restaurants’ Association.
The food fest will start 12 p.m. and will end at 2 a.m.
Students from Ateneo de Iloilo, Hua Siong College of Iloilo, Iloilo Scholastic Academy, and Sun Yat Sen High School will also entertain the public with a lion and dragon dance and a wushu exhibition.
The food fest will resume Feb. 8 – from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. – along Iznart Street, City Proper.
As a sign of gratitude and assurance of the continued support of the city government to the local Filipino-Chinese community, Espinosa will also host a Chinese New Year Luncheon at the historic Ker & Co. Building at the back of city hall on the same day.
“This celebration is a recognition of the significant contributions of our Filipino- Chinese community benefiting the Ilonggos,” the mayor said.
The Chinese New Year celebration will continue with a grand parade on Feb. 8 starting at 4 p.m. from the provincial capitol passing through Iznart, J.M. Basa and Aldeguer streets. It will end at the Filipino-Chinese Friendship Arch with a cultural presentation at 6 p.m./PN