Chinese New Year 2017 is just around the bend and here in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, we celebrate the incoming year with a bang. We call that celebration “Bacolaodiat“–a very witty combination of Bacolod and “Lao diat”, a Fookien term for “Celebration.” And indeed we celebrate this occasion borrowed from our Chinese neighbors. It is even declared a holiday in this city. This time, we welcome the Year of the Rooster.
Aside from the Chopsticks Alley along Lacson Street that’s closed during the night for several consecutive nights, Bacolodnons would appreciate the celebrations at the Yuan Thong Buddhist Temple (Yuan Thong 圓通寺 Buddhist Temple). Yesterday, they lit up the entire complex and it glistened in the night like a magical Chinese palace. On the left side, colorful umbrellas were suspended above the inclined path walk while on the right side were colorful fans. Meanwhile, the courtyard was adored with Chinese lanterns in yellow and red. What a sight to behold!
But apart from the decors, people who are not Buddhists would be surprised that the temple has many activities in store for everyone, even those who do not share their faith. Starting on January 27, 2017, Friday, they will hold Chinese calligraphy classes, food fairs, game booths, DIY booths, a New Year blessing service, Chinese cultural experience booths, dragon and lion dance, and many more. This will be capped by a Vegetarian Food Fair on January 29, 10am to 12nn. Tickets are at P200 each and 10 courses will be served. We were able to sample some of them and here they are.
Master Zhiyi Shih said that aside from just the celebrations, they are opening their doors to the public so as the “bridge the gap” between Chinese and Filipinos. They would like the Filipinos to understand more about the Chinese culture.
Yuan Thong Buddhist Temple is located along Burgos Street (just before Lopue’s East when going eastward), Bacolod City. It is open daily from 8:30am to 5:30pm. Visitors can go there to meditate, tour the place, take lessons, order food, or have their photos taken. Tai chi sessions happen at 4:30pm daily and are for free. Educational tours are also available with prior arrangements.