GIANT DRAGON GREETS BINONDO’S NEW YEAR MERRYMAKERS

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A 200-foot long dragon prowls Quintin Parades Street in Manila’s Binondo district on Thursday. PHOTO BY RENE H. DILAN

A 200-foot long dragon prowls Quintin Parades Street in Manila’s Binondo district on Thursday. PHOTO BY RENE H. DILAN

A parade in Binondo, Manila’s Chinatown, featuring a 200-foot dragon on Thursday kicked off celebrations welcoming the Year of the Horse, which begins today.

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The parade closed down Binondo’s Quintin Paredes Street as scores of residents and merrymakers snarled traffic.

Sponsored by the Philippine American Life and General Insurance Company (Philam Life), the dragon dance set the tone of the festive celebrations.

Jessica Abaya, senior vice president and head of marketing of Philam Life, said the firm’s participation is a gesture of solidarity with and respect for the Filipino-Chinese community.

“This celebration is important to us as it affirms our deep roots in Asia,” she said.

Elsewhere in Metro Manila, various agencies, companies and schools held their own dragon dance festivals. Most of the participants were dressed in red, which symbolizes prosperity and fortune.

President Benigno Aquino 3rd extended his greetings to the Chinese-Filipino community also on Thursday.

In his message, Aquino said he hopes the new year will “reinforce your bond with your families and inspire you to expand the circles of goodwill within and beyond your community.”

“Let your proud heritage energize your already dynamic bloc, that you may deepen your partnerships with our fellowmen in forging an even more equitably progressive Philippines,” he added.

President Aquino said the Philippines continues its march towards progress, empowered by its citizenry’s solidarity in a collective mission of revitalization.

“Our nation finds strength in our diversity: finding common ground in our citizens’ shared aspirations and heading towards our goals through unity, mutual respect, and positive engagement,” he said

“May we uphold our solidarity, as we clear people’s path to resurgence and realize the next chapter of our revitalization,” Aquino added.

With Joel M. Sy Egco

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