MANILA, Philippines – The rally that initially agitated Beijing, with 1,000 Filipino protesters expected to attend, ended in a gathering of hundreds singing and dancing to the tune of “Kung Fu Fighting.”
The anti-China rally, which is also scheduled at noon in other parts of the world, took place outside the Chinese embassy in Makati City for less than an hour. Police estimated the crowd at around 400.
“That's very good,” said one of the protesters, economist Winnie Monsod, referring to the song-and-dance rally. “That is uniquely Filipino.”
Organized by the United States-based US Pinoys for Good Governance, the rally aimed to show the world China's supposed arrogance over the Scarborough Shoal dispute. In a conversation moderated by Rappler, however, some netizens argued the move could do the Philippines more harm than good.
Meanwhile, some participants shrugged off the low turnout of protesters.
The group Kalikasan's Albert Muyot, who participated in the event, described the turnout as fine given that organizers held the rally during office hours. “We did not want to create traffic. So it doesn't mean that those who didn't come, do not care. Everybody, I believe, is aware,” Muyot said in a mix of English and Filipino.
“Okay lang, basta naipaglaban natin, kasi tayong lahat na Pilipino ang concerned dito,” another protester said. (It's okay, as long as we fought for it, because all of us Filipinos are concerned.)
Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.