Huaqiao: Overseas Chinese Workers: Their Story Of Struggles And Triumphs In Philippine Society (1898-1929)
The term Overseas Filipino Workers have become popular in the 1990’s due to the influx of Filipino workers to different parts of the world specifically Hongkong, Singapore, the Middle East, the United States of America and some countries in Europe. These Filipinos, composed of domestic helpers, nurses, teachers or other skill-related jobs have tried their luck overseas to provide better future for their families. But before this phenomenon happened, Philippines, have become a refuge for other nationalities (Chinese) for economic opportunities. The Chinese are not new to the Philippines. Even before the coming of the colonizers in the Philippines, they were already present in the Philippine economy doing some trading with the locals along with the Arabs and the Japanese. During the Spanish period these Chinese suffered different forms of discrimination and were ostracized in the society. Some laws were made as a form of restriction for them to obtain citizenship or petition a family member in China to migrate in the Philippines to live with them. The objectives of my paper is to present the push factors that forced these Chinese to leave China. Second, to analyze the pull factors of the specific areas (cities) in the Philippines which attracted them to settle in the island. Third, how much of their “Chineseness” have they retained to themselves while trying to fit in to the Philippine society. Lastly, the paper will try to discover the unique “Filipino-Chinese” culture and how they developed certain cities in the Philippines as what we call now as “China Town” communities.
Index terms - Chinese, Overseas, Workers, Society