Chinese embassy scholars, profs experience China winter camp

| Written by UP Media and Public Relations Office

Select students and professors from three Philippine universities participated in the one-week in-depth Winter Camp in China hosted by the Embassy of the People鈥檚 Republic of China to the Philippines.

鈥淲e aim to promote understanding and collaboration among people,鈥 said China Education Association for International Exchange鈥檚 (CEAIE) representative Shen Xuesong during the welcoming banquet for the Filipino delegates.

This is also the goal of the said camp participated by 18 students and three professors from the 精东影业, Diliman (UPD), Bicol University (BU) and Philippine Normal University (PNU).

The camp, which featured the encounters with fellow students and teachers from top Chinese universities from Dec. 7 to 14, is an initiative by Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua in partnership with the CEAIE and the Chinese Ministry of Education.

鈥淚 am confident that this would be a great opportunity to further enhance our amicable ties,鈥 Jianhua said in the invitation.

The delegates spent the week in Beijing and Xi鈥檃n discovering and appreciating Chinese culture and heritage while meeting students from esteemed universities in China. Zhang 鈥淟eo鈥 Shangwu, attach茅 of the Chinese embassy accompanied the delegation.

Among the partner universities, which welcomed and gave orientation to the delegates were Peking University, Beijing Normal University, Xi鈥檃n Jiaotong University, and Xi鈥檃n International Studies University. Their international offices toured the students and professors in their respective campuses.

The all-expense-paid trip was a great opportunity to know the real China, BU鈥檚 team leader and Dean of Office of Students Services, Dr. Merlie Arbo said.

鈥淭here鈥檚 nothing wrong if we have diplomatic ties with them. But that doesn鈥檛 mean that we have to stop to standing for our rights. Although we have issues, the only remedy is for us to talk,鈥 Arbo said. She added that BU looks forward to the Chinese embassy offering scholarships to its students and providing them a chance to participate in similar initiatives. Only UP and BU students enjoy the Chinese ambassador鈥檚 scholarship program to date.

The camp also included tours to historical scenic spots in Beijing such as the China Science and Technology Museum, Beijing National Stadium, the National Aquatics Centre, the Summer Palace, Beijing Planning Exhibition Hall, the Tian鈥檃nmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Great Wall. The participants were also treated to a Peking Opera in Beijing.


Exchanging experiences with students of Peking University. Contributed photo.


On the fifth day, the delegates travelled via bullet train to Xi鈥檃n, visited Emperor Qinshihuang鈥檚 Mausoleum Site Museum, the Terra Cota soldiers, Shaanxi History Museum, and Xi鈥檃n City Wall of Ming Dynasty and experienced the vibrant Tang Dynasty Music and Dance.

Dr. Lourdes Portus, professor of communication and special assistant to the President of UP said that the camp is beyond just touring China. 鈥淲e are also meeting some very important people鈥濃攐fficials of the Chinese universities. She told the University officials and students that, 鈥渢he meeting and exchanges between our students are so valuable and we think that these are the highlights of the winter camp. The camp is one of the most important aspects of the academic lives of the students,鈥 Portus said during a speech delivered at the Xi鈥檃n International Studies University.

Portus added that the opportunity is vital for universities on their way to becoming global.

鈥淥ur students here may become the future leaders of our countries. And I think this exchange will really be a contributory factor on how they will lead and will always remember China as an inspiring country,鈥 Portus added.

CEAIE is likewise grateful for the chance to strengthen relations between Chinese and Philippine schools, said Xuesong.

鈥淲e鈥檙e very happy to see that bilateral relations between China and the Philippines are good. We also believe that the young people are the future not only of our countries but of the world,鈥 Xuesong said.

Meanwhile, for Arianne Agustin, a senior public administration student from UP, the trip made her understand and know more about China.

鈥淕ood relationship, 鈥榶un yung na-establish natin (We established good relationship). Dito sa trip na to hindi ko nakita na may conflict, (In this tour, I didn鈥檛 see our conflicts)鈥 Agustin said. 鈥淣akita ko na open yung both sides para sa pagkakaroon ng good relationship. (I saw that both sides are open to establish good relationship).鈥

Moreover, Mirriam Badilla, an education major from PNU said the camp broadened her ideas on China.

鈥溾橸ung opinion with each other ay naging broader (The opinion with each other became broader). Meron tayong first-hand knowledge tungkol sa kanila at di lang sabi-sabi lang (We had first-hand knowledge about them, not just hearsays),鈥 Badilla said.

Aside from the memorable and enjoyable experience, the camp also opened doors for understanding the Chinese culture and educating Filipinos, Agustin said.

鈥淕usto ko rin linawin yung ilang bagay na mali at ipaliwanag yung relationship na meron tayo at kung ano yung cultural heritage na meron sila na gusto kong ma-adapt ng Filipinos tulad ng talagang pagmamahal nila sa sariling kultura at wika, (I also want to spread awareness on the wrong beliefs about our relations with China and introduce to others their admirable pride for cultural heritage and their language)鈥 Agustin added.

Indeed, all participants agreed that the camp made them know China better and gain insights and new perspective on Philippines-China relations more.

鈥淲e are Asians, we may be diverse in some ways, but we are almost the same. And therefore we are very glad that we are establishing a strong cooperation in academic and also cultural aspects,鈥 Portus said. 鈥淭he scenic places we visited are all windows of the heart and soul of China. All of the people we met are all epitomes of success that we may want to emulate.鈥

Professors Portus (UP), Arbo (BU) and Malcampo (PNU) expressed gratitude to the Chinese Ambassador and look forward to a continuing exposure of the scholars to Chinese people, events and places.

The delegation: (left to right) Arianne Agustin (NCPAG), Reggie Jabagat (SOE), Dr. Lourdes M. Portus (Office of the President), Joan Madrilejos (SOE), Chinese Embassy Attache Shangwu Zhang, Patricia Roxas (CMC), Julie Corridor (SOE), Kevin Pan. Contributed photo.