July 12, 2010


Diorama at Bahay Tsinoy, Manila, 2009

For many hundreds of years, people of Chinese origin have played an important role in the Philippines. The national hero, Jose Rizal, had both Filipino and Chinese blood running in his veins. Several of today's Filipino mega-moguls found on Fortune's 500 list, as well as many more political and financial leaders, are wholly or partly of Chinese ancestry.

Nonetheless, the history of Chinese Filipinos - known as Tsinoys or Chinoys - is fraught with drama and difficulties. Up to this day, the relationship between Pinoys and Tsinoys, although peaceful, is complex and delicate.

If you live in the Manila area, or come here for a visit, I highly recommend taking a few hours to see the museum Bahay Tsinoy (The House of Tsinoy) to get a better glimpse of the cultural and historical legacy of the ethnic Chinese in Philippine life. The dioramas are fun and the displays interesting.


EG Wow said...

The history of "foreign" groups being accepted into the community is often very complicated. I wonder if we humans will ever grow up and overcome this! I would LOVE to visit that museum.

tapirgal said...

It looks like a really nice museum. It's great to preserve and honor the cultural uniqueness.

bahay tsinoy museum said...

Many many thanks for visiting, and putting us on your blog.

@EG Wow: yes, gaining acceptance is quite a difficult process. the history of the relations of china and the philippines, and of the chinese/ tsinoys with the philippines span generations. but as late as the 1980s, racial discrimination was rampant.

acceptance goes both ways, though. the mainstream culture has to accept, but the minority culture has to work at it to be accepted. the minority culture cannot live separately - and thus, the tsinoys nowadays are more easily accepted because they strive to be active citizens.

the museum helps dispel myths, break down barriers of intolerance -- and mainly shows us that we are, after all, not so different. we're all pinoys - just with different cultural backgrounds.

-meah ang see
bahay tsinoy

Francisca said...

Thanks for coming in and leaving your note, Meah.

And you're so right, acceptance is indeed a two way street. Besides being married to a China-born Canadian, I'm a good friend of Miriam's and many other Tsinoys. For me, it's high time to set all the differences aside and recognize that we are all one, all human.