Former Senator Leticia Ramos-Shahani Shares Her Thoughts On Philippines-China Relations
- former Senator Leticia Ramos-Shahani
Philippine-Chinese relations, between these two neighbors who have peacefully interacted with each other in the past, are both profound and complex because they have been based on people-to-people relations. The Philippines, representing the smaller and younger culture, has been on the receiving end of Chinese culture and migration for centuries. With its ancient empires continuing into the People's Republic of China (PROC), and its organized systems of writing and learning, China has had a great impact on Philippine culture in a way not comparable to the impact of Philippine culture on Chinese culture (of which little is known). Think of how Chinese food has become the staple of ordinary Filipino cooking- lugaw, pancit, siopao. Or consider the countless intermarriages between the two peoples so that those who make the list of the richest Filipinos are majority Filipino-Chinese. Moreover, most Filipinos have a sprinkling of Chinese blood in them. Common Filipino words pertaining to family relationships, business, etc. are of Chinese origin- kuya, ate, tawad. Such Chinese influence is not unique to the Philippines; it is widespread throughout the ASEAN region.