Filipinos tell China: Bad feng shui to take what isn’t yours

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

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Hundreds of protesters troop to the Chinese consulate to denounce China's 'bullying' over the West Philippine Sea

'GLOBAL PROTEST.' Hundreds of protesters troop to the Chinese consulate to denounce Beijing's 'bullying' over the West Philippine Sea. Photo by Vincent Go

MANILA, Philippines – Marimi de la Fuente quietly held up a homemade poster Wednesday, July 24, as groups swelled in front of the Chinese consulate in Makati City to protest China’s incursions in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

“Bad feng shui to take what isn’t yours,” her poster said.

De la Fuente wasn’t among the groups that organized the rally, but she came anyway to protest “Chinese aggression and their imperialism.” (Watch Rappler’s video report below.)

She joined hundreds who trooped to the World Center, which houses the Chinese consulate, at noon on Wednesday.

The newly formed West Philippine Sea Coalition led the protest, which stretched until past 1 pm.

De la Fuente said: “I have nothing against the Chinese people. I have everything against the Chinese government. They’re bullying our government. That’s why I’m here. I want them to know that they cannot bully the Filipino people.”

BAD LUCK. Marimi de la Fuente says China's territorial incursion is 'bad feng shui.' Photo by Rappler/Paterno Esmaquel II

The rally came as the Philippines and China engaged in a word war over their territorial dispute.

The Philippine government on Wednesday disowned the protest. “No, we do not have a hand on this,” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said.

In an apparent reaction to the rally, the Chinese consulate on Wednesday closed its visa section “for security reasons.”

Like Jericho’s walls

Singing the Philippine national anthem twice, protesters considered the rally a show of patriotism.

FOR BEIJING. Protesters blow their horns to reenact the fall of Jericho. Photo by Vincent Go

Several times during the two-hour event, a Christian group also blew horns to reenact the biblical story of the fall of Jericho.

In the Bible, the Israelites conquered Jericho after priests marched for 6 days and, on the 7th day, blew their horns. Jericho’s walls collapsed – which protesters also want to happen to China in its territorial row with the Philippines.

Wearing a collarless shirt, former Sen Rene Saguisag said he attended the rally as an “ordinary citizen” to support the movement against China’s claims.

He said it’s time the Philippines put its foot down, after China’s incursions in the Ayungin and Scarborough Shoals.

'IT'S OURS.' One of the protest leaders, former National Security Adviser Roilo Golez, shows maps to disprove China's territorial claims. Photo by Vincent Go

We have to take a stand, dahil ‘yung Ayungin, Scarborough, pinipitik na lang tayo eh. It’s our own self interest. Hindi sa Kano, hindi sa Intsik, hindi sa Hapon, kundi kung anong ikabubuti ng Pilipino, dahil ayoko na paglaki ng mga apo ko, problema pa rin ito,” Saguisag said.

(We have to take a stand, because in Ayungin and Scarborough, China is picking on us. It’s our own self-interest. Not for the Americans, not for the Chinese, not for the Japanese, but for Filipinos, because I don’t want my grandchildren to grow up with this problem unresolved.)

War? So what?

Saguisag deflected concerns that the protest could worsen the rift between Manila and Beijing.

POLICE BARRICADE. Policemen block protesters from going near the building that houses the Chinese consulate. Photo by Rappler/LeANNE Jazul

Kaysa naman pipi tayo na hindi natin pinapaano ang ano natin. Eh ano kung lumala? Giyera sa Tsina? Ang ikinakatakot ko pag nagkagiyera sa Tsina, baka manalo tayo eh,” the former senator said.

(That’s better than keeping quiet about this. So what if it worsens? War with China? My fear is that if we’re caught in a war with China, we could even win.)

He said the rally will make China “pay a little attention. This will be noticed, I’m sure.”

Organizers said similar rallies were scheduled in other countries, such as Australia, Canada, and the United States.

RALLY ORGANIZERS. The West Philippine Sea Coalition urges Filipinos to protest against China's claims through other means. Photo by Rappler/LeANNE Jazul

One of the protest leaders, former Interior Secretary Rafael Alunan III, said Filipinos should use social media and other means to protest against China.

 “We’re asking Filipinos to take leadership wherever they are,” Alunan said. –

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Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email