Fetalvero: Giant Chinatown

Noemi Fetalvero
·2 min read

COULD the aging population of China be one of the reasons the emerging world superpower is encroaching on and invading territories in neighboring countries?

Robert Stowe England who authored “Aging China” revealed that the elderly could constitute as much as 50 percent of the population in the urban areas.

“Aging will be an obstacle to China’s progress toward key national goals because of the demographic expectation that China will face a 30-year period of rapid aging beginning in 2010. China will age before it becomes even a moderately developed country and before it produces a significant middle class. After 2020, the potential burdens of sustaining the elderly population will be substantial and will absorb resources that might otherwise be available to the working population.”

Sen. Francis Pangilinan expressed concern over what he referred to as “soft invasion” of Chinese nationals in our country. In a SunStar report, as of 2018, “about 1.3 million Chinese arrived in the Philippines. Of this, 633,000 arrived in Cebu City. In 2019, around 700,000 Chinese tourists arrived in Cebu City.”

Southwall Magazine’s Art and Culture editor Gavin Sanson Bagares discussed the early history of how the Chinese migration started in Cebu City.

“It was the increased opportunities in the island’s trade and commerce that brought Chinese settlers to its shores, especially at the onset of the Galleon Trade in which Cebu was involved in 1594 to 1604.”

“By 1596, the citizens of Parian, formerly a stronghold of Chinese migrants, were baptized as Catholics and by virtue of their new faith, they were allowed to marry natives since there were no Chinese women then in the Philippines due to China’s restriction to their travel,” Bagares wrote.

Historian Michael Cullinane reported that at the end of the Spanish rule, they were a hispanized group, repressed of their Chinese legacy. They were accorded unique rights and privileges within the context of colonial bureaucracy. They became the most dominant force socially and economically and their activities spread throughout the province and the region. These were the elite whose names still resound today: Osmeña, Velez, Cui and Veloso, among others. Former Cebu governor Emilio “Lito” Osmeña had said the whole of Cebu is a Chinatown that there is no family in Cebu who does not have Chinese blood.

The Philippine economy is run by the families Go, Gotiaoco, Gokongwei, Gaisano and Sy.