Every celebration of Philippine Independence Day means taking a stroll down memory lane and reliving the rich history of our country and how our people bravely fought against colonial rule and emerged victorious and independent.
We will surely hear the main characters that played a significant role in how we gained our prized freedom such as Jose Rizal, Emilio Aguinaldo, Andres Bonifacio, and the Katipuneros but this time, we’ll be taking a closer look at the chinky-eyed Chinoys who bravely stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Filipino patriots. This is a testament that love for country knows no race or nationality as Chinoys courageously stood their ground and fought for a nation they consider their home.
Both the Philippines and China shared a history of struggle against a ruling force– colonial rule for the Philippines and imperial rule for China. This cemented a tie between the two nations which both had a common cause of freeing themselves from the shackles of imperialism and colonialism. With this, a relationship was forged between the two under the leadership of Emilio Aguinaldo and Dr. Sun Yat-sen, both exemplary figures of each country’s revolution.
This fellowship bore mutual aid and support for both nations in their quest for independence.
Prominent Chinoy figures
There are hundreds of Chinoys who willingly devoted their lives together with fellow Filipinos in a bid to gain independence. Some of the prominent Chinese-Filipino figures are:
1. Roman T. Ongpin
Who says that a wealthy businessman only cares about his business? Roman Ongpin is a rich Chinoy who is not just an entrepreneur but is also the financier of the Philippine revolution. He supported Filipino fighters in any way he could, supplying them with arms, money and whatever goods they needed and even letting them use his store as a hideout.
Today, Ongpin’s legacy and contribution is honored as one of busiest streets in Binondo is named after him.
2. Jose Ignacio Paua
Despite being surrounded with Filipino compatriots, Jose Ignacio Paua did not let his being a full-blooded Chinese stop him from participating in the revolution. Paua was born in Fujian, China and traveled to the Philippines and settled in Tondo, Manila in 1890. Paua was an expert blacksmith and he used this expertise to set up a foundry that provided arms and weapons to the revolution.
3. Wha Chi Battalion
An entire squadron of Filipino-Chinese fighters also assembled in support of the Filipinos. They organized themselves into a Chinese guerilla known as the Wha Chi Battalion which means “Overseas Chinese Anti-Japanese Guerilla Force”. The squadron consisted mostly of single, young, male Chinoys who fought alongside Filipino guerillas and successfully drove away Japanese enemies.
Today, their legacy and bravery is honored through a monument standing in Sta. Rosa, Laguna which commemorates one of the most challenging battles they faced against the Japanese colonizers.