Chinese children learn facts about the Philippines in a “Ni Hao, Philippines” activity at the Philippine Embassy in Beijing on Aug. 9, 2018. (Photo by Greggy Eugenio)

BEIJING, China – Some 64 students from various schools in China learned facts about the Philippines in a “Ni Hao (Hello), Philippines” activity at the Philippine Embassy in Beijing on August 9.

“Ni Hao, Philippines” is an annual activity initiated by the cultural section of the embassy in partnership with the Department of Tourism (DOT), which aims to educate Chinese students about the Philippines.

This year, members of the Little Chinese Digital Culture Ambassadors organization gathered students, with ages 7 to 15, from Beijing, Shanghai, Zhejiang and Hubei.

“Ni Hao, Philippines would usually involve presentation about the Philippines and the activity is based on the request of the organization. It could be as what we have today, learning some basic Filipino sentences. In the past we had mask making, similar to the Bacolod Mascara Festival. Before we also had some physical activities, they have tried some of our Filipino local games, which we called “palarong pambata,” 2nd Secretary and Consul Irish Kaye Kalaw-Ado said.

For his part, DOT Attache Tomasito Umali said involving the children in the activity would not just help market Philippine tourism, but also serve as an opportunity for Chinese students to know more about the country.

“(The) Ni Hao activity with the children is the best time for them to know and imbibe new good things about the Philippines. Also, this is one of the best things to market not only about tourism but everything the Philippines and the Filipino, at the same time about China and the Chinese people.” Umali said.

In line with the history month, the 2-hour activity, which was led by Cultural Attache Joan Pichay, focused on the history, cultures and introduction of some Filipino heroes like Jose Rizal, Apolinario Mabini and Andres Bonifacio.

Pichay also taught some basic geographical facts, Filipino words and phrases to the students. They also listened to the Philippine National Anthem “Lupang Hinirang,” and participated in the Philippine flag-making and coloring activity.

Kevin Deng, 15, student from Beijing, said learning Filipino history and culture is both fun and useful for him.

“Today, I have learned some Philippines history and cultures that I believe (are) useful for me. Learning Filipino language was very fun, for example we learned how to say ‘good morning,’ ‘good afternoon’ and ‘good evening’ in the Philippines,“ Deng said.

Lin Hui Wenzhou, 15, student from Zhejiang, said the activity would help enhance the ties between the two countries.

“I think China and Philippines can be good friends by doing some activities like this, you learn (and) at the same time gain some friends,” Lin said.

Deng and Lin said they would like to visit the Philippines, if given a chance. For her part, Lin said she heard a lot of good things about the country.

“My parents and my teachers have been to the Philippines and they take many beautiful photos,” Lin said.

Meanwhile, some students showcased their talent in singing, dancing and playing instruments during the activity. They also extended their gratitude to the Philippine Embassy by giving gifts, which were made from their respective provinces.

One of the students, in fact, painted a Chinese calligraphy with the message “No matter what happens, we can overcome it together as a people.”

According to Umali, the calligraphy is the best way to describe the Philippines’ and China’s convivial relationship. (PNA)