Feilubin,” “Zongtongfu” and “Xinwenbu” were the first three words learned by an initial 15 students of a Mandarin class held at the Palace and taught by a teacher from the University of the Philippines (UP) Confucius Institute.

The three Chinese words meant the Philippines, the Presidential Palace and the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), respectively.

The students erupted into laughter when they were told about the meaning of the Mandarin words on flash cards that they repeatedly read aloud.

Read more at Daily Tribune

Many Filipinos express interest in learning basic Chinese, in hopes of deepening understanding, learning about new culture.

Staff members at the Presidential Communications Operations Office, or PCOO, started learning Mandarin at the Presidential Palace in Manila on April 12, a first for government employees in the Philippine capital.

The 15 students' first lesson, taught by Meng Guangjie, a teacher at the Confucius Institute at the University of the Philippines, began with the basics - how to say the name of the PCOO in Chinese.

Read more at China Daily

Dr. Lourdes Tanhueco-Nepomuceno of the UPD Confucius Institute is here at the LibRadio booth to discuss and promote the various activities, programs, and scholarships that the UPD CI is offering to the members of the UP community. One of these is the Mandarin classes which the institute offers for free. For more info on the UPD CI's programs and scholarships, kindly refer to this link:https://ci.upd.edu.ph/programs-scholarships.

Source: China Daily (Hong Kong) -15 Feb 2019-By PRIME SARMIENTO  in Hong Kong and KARL WILSON in Sydney (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Fashion marketing executive John Rex de Guzman usually observes Lunar New Year celebrations by staying home and eating niangao- the sweet and sticky rice cakes he receives from his Chinese Filipino friends.

But after pursuing a master's in Asian Studies and learning about Chinese culture, he decided to go to Binondo, Manila's Chinatown, to take part in this year's festivities in the capital of the Philippines. 

"I love the festive decor. I enjoy seeing those Chinese lanterns," he said, pointing to many adorning the neighborhood streets.

He also enjoyed eating noodles and dumplings in Chinese-Filipino restaurants and watching lion dance performances in the eateries. Lawyer Dennis Gorecho has joined the festivities in Binondo for years. A photography enthusiast and food lover, he relishes taking pictures of the area and feasting on noodles. Gorecho is keen on Chinese astrology. He said he was born in the Year of the Dog and, quoting his research on the subject, described himself as strong, ambitious and self-reliant. 

De Guzman and Gorecho's experiences reflect those of many people in the Asia-Pacific region who take part in Spring Festival celebrations each year. 

In Bali, Indonesia, thousands dine in Chinese restaurants and visit the many Chinese and Buddhist temples dotting island. Worshippers also gather in Buddhist and Taoist temples across Thailand, Brunie, Vietnam, South Korea and Singapore, lighting joss sticks and wishing for new year blessings.

Lion and dragon dances were performed in restaurants in Yokohama, Japan, and in malls in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. In Australia, red lights lit up the Sydney Opera House to welcome the Year of the Pig.

Most of the festivities in Sydney centered on Chinatown. Retired veterinarian Tony Devlin said he learned about them from his clients, allowing him to know just how big until I went to see the parade in George Street some years ago.

"It started in Chinatown and moved slowly up George Street, complete with drums and a dragon," he said. 

Devlin said that holding such celebrations every year is "terrific" for a country such as Australia, which prides itself on being "a multicultural melting pot."

Baizurah Basri, senior laboratory assistant at a university in Sabah, Malaysia, celebrates Spring Festival by visiting her maternal grandparents and other relatives from her mother's side of the family.

Like most people from Sabah, Basri is proud of her mixed heritage. Her father is from the indigenous Bajau community, while her mother is from Sabah's Sino-Kadazan community-the product of intermarriage between Chinese immigrants and the indigenous Kadazan tribe. Basri learned about Chinese culture from her maternal grandparents. This is why in addition to celebrating Lunar New Year with them, she has learned about other aspects of Chinese culture, such as astrology and feng shui.

"I was born in 1981; therefore I am a Metal Rooster. I wear accessories as protection and this is based on my Chinese astrology. I also arrange my furniture based on feng shui," she said.

Analysts said such celebrations are not only important for the ethnic Chinese community, but also promote Chinese culture and contribute to a country's diversity.

James Laurenceson, deputy director of the Australia-China Relations Institute at the University of Technology Laurencenson, deputy director Spring Festival is not only an important part of Chinese culture but is becoming a key area of Australian culture. 

"Chinese culture is helping to shape Australian culture. You only have to look at the number of people that turn during Spring Festival to see that," he said.

Hans Hendrischke, professor of Chinese business and management at the University of Sydney Business School, said one central factor of the Lunar New Year's celebrations "is  the bringing together of people -family and friends".

"Here in Sydney, the tradition of Chinese New Year celebrations has grown to embrace other lunar festivals such as Tet (in Vietnam) and the Korean (new year), " he said.

Lourdes Nepomuceno, director of Confucius Institute at the University of the Philippines, said celebrating Spring Festival and other holidays is a "tangible cultural heritage and cultural promotion".

"During Lunar New Year, the spectacular extravaganzas, the colorful displays and the modernized approach to staging such an ancient festival are more than just entertainment. It is a community event and a public spectacle that attracts many locals," she said. 

"During Lunar New Year, the spectacular extravaganzas, the colorful displays and the modernized approach to staging such an ancient festival are more than just entertainment. It is a community event and a public spectacle that attracts many locals." Lourdes Nepomuceno, director of the Confucius Institute at the University of the Philippines. 

Nitong Miyerkules, Pebrero 6, ikalawang araw ng Chinese New Year, pinasinayaan sa University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman ang tatlong araw na selebrasyon ng pinakamahalagang kapistahan sa kulturang Tsino.

Sa pasinaya, binati ni Michael Lim Tan, Chancellor ng UP Diliman ang mga panauhin at estudyante ng maligayang Chinese New Year sa wikang Filipino, Tsino, Hokkien at Ingles. Ani Tan, bunga ng daan-daang pagpapalitan ng mga Pilipino at Tsino, ang mga elementong Tsino ay nakakaimpluwensya sa kaugalian at pagkaing Pilipino. Hinimok din niya ang mga mag-aaral ng UP na magbukas ng isip para makilala ang iba't ibang kultura.

The City College of Angeles (CCA) in partnership with the Confucius Institute of University at the Philippines - Diliman (CI-UPD) held its annual Chinese New Year Festival 2019 with the theme “One Belt, One Road, One Heritage” last January 28 at the CCA Administration Hall.

Now on its third year, the festival serves as a testament to the active partnership between the CCA and CI-UPD to support students' education about the world, and to help them gain in-depth understanding of other countries and their cultures.

October 26, 2018. The Freeport in Pampanga and Subic Bay Freeport in Zambales are taking more steps to handle the influx of Chinese tourists and investors, beginning with the training of their personnel in the Chinese language and culture. Mandarin lessons were part of the commitment made on Friday when Noel Manankil, Clark Development Corp. (CDC) president, and Wilma Eisma, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) chair and administrator, signed a memorandum of understanding with Michael Tan, University of the Philippines Diliman Chancellor.