News – PH – AP PHOTOS: Ban on kite dancing saddened Manila residents


MANILA, Philippines – In Manila’s Chinatown, harsh kite dance shows that cast aside a moon drawn by the crowd have been banned due to the pandemic, many believe that the New Years tradition will help drive away the calamity

The Philippine government’s ban on holding large public gatherings and street parties to fight the coronavirus dealt a severe blow to hundreds of kite dancers and production teams struggling to find other sources of income

“There would have been large crowds trying to drive away the misery and bad luck, but our street dance shows were banned this year,” said Therry Sicat, a Filipino slum dweller who runs one of several dragon dance troops in Chinatown with his siblings

“If we’ve had 100% fun in the past, this time I only feel 30% of it. It’s really depressing,” said the 31-year-old, whose wife is pregnant with their fourth child

The absence of the dragon dances is a tangible sign for many Manilans that the pandemic crisis, which brought much of the economy in Manila to a standstill and locked millions of Filipinos in their homes, will continue well into this year. But Sicat, his siblings and their families struggle to keep the Chinese tradition – and their livelihood – alive

After the dragon dances were banned by Manila’s mayor, Sicat and his family used styrofoam, paint, and other materials to make dragon costumes to create miniature Chinese-style decorative lion heads instead.The colorful items have become a hit online and fill their little home am Bach with hope and joy So far around 200 pieces have been sold at a price of 1 eachSold 500 pesos ($ 30), he said

Other members of his dragon dance troupe, which employs about 50 dancers, have set up online grocery stores or work as motorcycle grocery suppliers to make ends meet, Sicat


Sicat’s profits from the decorative lion heads are only a fraction of the income they have made in the past from their dragon dance shows during the busy Lunar New Year season over the past few years, a Chinatown company paid 35000 pesos (US $ 720) for a dragon and lion dance lesson accompanied by drummers and glee for good luck

Despite the difficult economic times in one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic in Southeast Asia, Sicat is still full of optimism, looking forward to the return of the hopeful dragon dances and to hearing the drums again

“There is no Chinese New Year, but we are all healthy We can survive this pandemic,” said Sicat

The Philippines has more than 540000 COVID-19 cases reported, the second highest number in Southeast Asia after Indonesia and 11th296 deaths Negotiating with seven Western and Asian pharmaceutical companies to obtain COVID-19 vaccines The first batches are expected to arrive next week

Approximately 70 million Filipinos are scheduled to be vaccinated in the hopes that this will help Manila’s ruined economy recover

Dragon Dance, Manila, Dragon, Chinese New Year, Philippines

News – PH – AP PHOTOS: The ban on dragon dances makes people of Manila sad