Xavier School Hosts ‘Beauty in Diversity’ China-Philippines Cultural Exchange Event

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Xavier School News: On the afternoon of November 23, the esteemed China-Philippine Cultural Exchange event, themed “Beauty in Diversity,” was convened at theMulti-Purpose Hall of Xavier School’s San Juan Campus in the Philippines. This significant gathering garnered joint attention and enthusiastic support from both the Chinese and Philippine contingents. The Chinese delegation, comprising twelve distinguished members, included the Vice Chairman of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and representatives from the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation, led by President Li Bin and Secretary-General Zhang Jiming. Prominent attendees also featured Minister Song Jian of the Fund Department, Deputy Minister Zhao Bo of the Department of International Cooperation and Exchange, Director Zhao Jun, and educators Ren Lingxia and Zhu Wenjian from the Soong Ching Ling Science and Culture Center for Young People. Additionally, notable officials from the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines graced the occasion, including Minister Wang Yulei, Counsellors Ji Lingpeng and Yang Wenbin, Director Wu Chenqi of the New Consulate Section, Consul Shi Weijian, Secretary Zhou Kaixiang, and Secretary Zhang Yihua.

On the Philippine side, distinguished attendees included Founding President Mr. Larry Villareal, Vice President Shi Weilian, Finance Director Shi Ziyun, Director Wang Lianqiao, Secretary-General Wang Yong, and Secretary Cai Zhongyi from the Philippine Soong Ching Ling Foundation. Also present were Mr. Miguel Tan from the Xavier School Board of Trustees, Xavier High School Principal Mrs. Theresa “Thess” Ladrido, “Cultural Ambassadors” representing Filipino youth, Philippine delegates who participated in activities organized by the Soong Ching Ling Foundation, and over a hundred students and educators from Xavier School, all actively engaging in the grand event.

The faculty and students of Xavier School welcomed the delegation from the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation. The proceedings of the event were meticulously organized into three segments: Traditional Cultural Experience, Traditional Cultural Display, and Youth Art Performance. The Traditional Cultural Experience featured activities such as calligraphy, arrow pitching, woodblock printing, and the crafting of scented sachets. Notably, during the calligraphy session, students emulated the writing style of the instructor, affording them the opportunity to inscribe their names on their respective creations for personal commemoration. President Li Bin, alongside a student  representative from Xavier School, actively participated in the calligraphy session, jointly composing a couplet that eloquently conveyed the sentiment, “Cultural messengers, bridges of friendship.”

The Traditional Cultural Display encompassed exhibits delineating the Evolution of Chinese Fonts, the Four Treasures of Chinese Calligraphy, and the Silk Road. These exhibits featured the presentation of exquisite silk cocoons, silk fabric, and silk clothing. Additionally, the Beauty of Porcelain exhibit showcased the profound spirit of Chinese craftsmanship, while the Aroma of Tea exhibit illuminated the cultural richness inherent in tea and related paraphernalia. The event further spotlighted traditional Filipino weaving, ancient Filipino scripts, and traditional Filipino attire. The resplendent presentation of China-Philippine traditional cultural exhibits served as a compelling testament to the diversity and unique allure intrinsic to both cultures, leaving an indelible impression on all in attendance, including educators, students, and distinguished guests.

The subsequent Youth Art Performance, hosted by Laoshi Jerry Feng of Xavier School, proved to be truly captivating. The opening segment featured a rendition of Filipino folk songs, “Ikaw Ang Mahal Ko” and “Ili-ili Tulog Anay,” skillfully performed by Xavier’s Grade School choir. The melodic and enchanting voices of the choir splendidly showcased the distinctive cultural characteristics of the Philippines. Following this, student cultural ambassadors from the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation at the Qiao Zhong Campus presented a solo Zhong Ruan performance of “Jasmine” and a poetry recital of “Water Melody,” exemplifying the refined musical and poetic arts of China, which elicited warm applause from the audience. The Embassy’s young ambassador further captivated the audience with a solo rendition of “Golden Childhood.” The grand finale of the evening was the dynamic “Chinese Inspired Hip-hop” dance by Xavier School’s DanceX, seamlessly blending the unique charm of Chinese culture with vibrant Hip-hop music, drawing enthusiastic cheers from the spectators.

As the event concluded, both sides exchanged commemorative gifts and invited guests and performers to come on stage for a group photo. After the artistic performances, the delegation interviewed Lorenzo Vito Miguel, an 11th-grade student from Xavier School, who expressed, “I am honored to participate in this event. I am delighted to appreciate the exhibits and fortunate to have the opportunity to showcase Filipino culture. This exchange activity fully reflects the cooperation between China and the Philippines and the enduring friendship of the two sides.”

At the culmination of the program, President Li and her delegation undertook a tour of the school. As they walked to the statue of Xu Guangqi, President Li made a special mention of the profound historical connection between Xu Guangqi and the Soong family. Historical scholars have substantiated that Xu Guangqi had a descendant who gave birth to three daughters, colloquially known as the “Soong Sisters” of the Republic of China, exerting a notable influence on the modern development of China. The maternal grandmother of the Soong Sisters is identified as the ninth-generation granddaughter of Xu Guangqi Spanning over a millennium, the Philippines and China share a history of enduring exchanges, each boasting rich histories and vibrant cultures. Through this event, we aspire to embrace each other’s remarkable cultures, foster mutual learning and development, and fortify the enduring bond between our nations. Xavier School is honored to have collaborated with the China Soong Ching Ling Youth Science and Culture Exchange Center in organizing this cultural exchange event. We eagerly anticipate further opportunities for collaboration and exchanges in the future.

Xavier School has consistently regarded the promotion of traditional Chinese culture as a central tenet of its mission. With steadfast support from the School’s Board of Trustees and School President, Fr. Aristotle Dy, SJ, Xavier School actively participates in traditional cultural exchange and experiential activities. Presently, more than 200 students from Xavier School are immersed in a China study tour program (XCE) in Fujian and Yunnan, spanning over a month, with their return to the Philippines scheduled for early December. Through this program, students are afforded the unique opportunity to personally engage with China’s renowned historical sites, gain insight into its rich cultural history, and develop a profound appreciation for the diversity inherent in Chinese culture. Beyond being a cultural exchange initiative, this endeavor serves as a bridge of friendship, fostering a deeper mutual understanding and friendship between China and the Philippines. It establishes a robust foundation for future cooperation and exchanges between the two nations.

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