Davao Chinatown unveils arches
by RG Alama
Davao City (21 August) -- City officials led by City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte will unveil the first of the two Chinese arches erected at the City's Chinatown district.
The ceremony which will be held at 6 pm this Thursday (Aug. 21) will be attended also by the local Chinese-Filipino community particularly the Dabaw Kaisa Foundation and the members of the multi-sectoral Davao City Chinatown Development Coordinating Council.
Civic leader Leoncio Villa-Abrille, who is also a scion of a prominent Filipino-Chinese clan said that the arch to be unveiled will be the Friendship arch located at the corner of Magsaysay (Uyanguren) Avenue and Claveria.
Speaking during the weekly Club 888 Media Forum at Marco Polo Davao last Wednesday (Aug. 20) Villa-Abrille said the unveiling was planned at evening as the Mayor wanted to see what the Arch look like during nighttime.
The Unity Arch which located at the other end of Magsaysay near the corner of Alvarez street is scheduled to be unveiled this December. Two more arches will be built, one will be located near the corners of JP Laurel and Sta. Ana Avenue (beside the Chinese Central School) while the other arch will be constructed at the corner of Leon Garcia and Sta Ana avenues.
These arches will mark the areas of the Davao Chinatown which encompasses an area of about 43.3 hectares.
Villa-Abrille said that at first funds were lacking for the construction of the arches. "My family volunteered the building of the first arch and it started the ball rolling, Kaisa started the second with the help of Speaker Nograles and Mayor Duterte," Villa-Abrille said.
"The budget for the arch was originally pegged at P1.5 million but due to rising costs of materials the budget has ballooned," Villa-Abrille said. An arch is now estimated to cost around P5-million to build.
"We will transform Chinatown area into a place that will present Chinese culture," Villa-Abrille said. Aside from the arches, they are encouraging the building and establishment owners in Chinatown to display their store names in Chinese characters and also hang Chinese lanterns as to imbibe a more Chinese look in the area.
He said he will be talking to the owner of a lot near Villa Abrille which they plan to developed iinto a Chinese Garden. While a Chinese museum is also being planned. (PIA) [top]