By Estrella Z. Gallardo
Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc. (FFCCCII) president, Dr. Henry Lim Bon Liong led the advanced celebration of the ancient “Mid-Autumn Festival” Chinese tradition, also known as the “Moon Festival” at a thanksgiving luncheon for the media in Quezon City on Aug. 17.
Among the special guests who spoke during the occasion were Presidential Spokesman Secretary Salvador Panelo and China Embassy Counsellor Xie Yonghui who represented Ambassador Zhao Jianhua.
The Mid-Autumn Festival or Moon Festival is China’s ancient harvest festival held on the 15th day of the 8th month of the Chinese Lunar calendar. This falls usually on either late September or early October in the Gregorian calendar, when the full moon shines most beautifully.
This 2019, its exact date will be on September 13. The FFCCCII luncheon was an advanced celebration to thank the media for its support of the federation’s various social, civic and economic causes, as well as help promote this ancient festival of Chinese mooncakes and thanksgiving in the Philippines.
FFCCCII is a federation of 170 Filipino Chinese chambers of commerce and diverse industry and civic associations nationwide. Its numerous economic, socio-civic and cultural advocacies include the “Operation Barrio Schools” which donates public school buildings to poor rural communities, medical/dental missions, Filipino-Chinese volunteer fire brigades, disaster relief operations, and many others.
Explaining its origin, Dr. Lim sad the Mid-Autumn Festival started in China where the have learned to appreciate and pray to the bright moon for good harvest. Part of the tradition involves eating mooncake and playing the dice game.
The mooncake festival, he said, started at a time when the Han people rebelled against the Mongols. The tradition included writing “in the evening of the Mid-Autumn Festival” on papers and putting them into mooncakes which they give to the people to eat.
The Dice Game, for its part, was started centuries ago by scholars who took Imperial exami8nations. The dice game combinations and prizes were named after imperial titles earned.
Overseas Chinese communities continue to observe this festival and today “I’m happy that our media friends are here to celebrate this tradition with us,” Dr. Lim said, adding he is proud to have been to office by President Rodrigo Duterte on August 6, 2016 at Malacanang, together with this other FFCCCII officials..
He shared that FFCCCII presented to the President the 702 units of 2-classroom school buildings under their flagship program “Operation Barrio School,” for a total of 1,404 classrooms. Since 1962 the program had donated and turned over more than 5,700 public school buildings which now serve the needs of more than a million public school students nationwide.
Dr. Lim revealed the FFCCCII will also shortly donate barrio schools in the Municipality of San Jose in Occidental Mindoro. The hometown of the 22 fisherman who figured in the unfortunate fishingboat ramming incident recently at the Recto Bank off Palawan.
He said they also have donated P1.2 million for the immediate and total repair of their damaged fishing boat, and extended P250,000 as livelihood assistance for them and their families in his personal capacity and also gave 50 sacks of rice for them.
As part of the initiatives to help increase farmers’ yield, Dr. Lim recently launched “Masaganang Ani 300” and “Support Filipino Farmers” campaign in collaboration into Go Negosyo.
Farmers in Nueva Ecija have increased their harvest by using hybrid rice seeds and they want to replicate this in other parts of the country.
“Masagana Ani 300” helps farmers harvest more than 300 cavans of rice per hectare. They have also started to spread “Support Filipino Farmers” posters in public places to encourage people to support farmers by buying their products.
In closing, Dr. Lim said: “Our Federation looks forward to foster our partnership with our friends from the media. Let’s work together in spreading positive and good news to our people. Happy Mid-Autumn-Mooncake Festival!”