Erap inaugurates biggest Chinatown Friendship Arch worldwide
Written by Pat C. Santos
Wednesday, 24 June 2015
Former President now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada led the unveiling of the new Chinatown Friendship Arch at the foot of Jones Bridge in Manila at 4 p.m. Yesterday.
The arch, which is 63.8 feet in height and 74 feet in width, is the tallest and largest such arch in the world, outside of China.
Before its construction, the Chinese Friendship Arch in Washington D.C. with a height of 60 feet and width of 74 feet was the biggest in the world.
These dimensions were provided by District 3 Councilor Bernardito Ang, vice chairman of the Manila Chinatown Development Council.
Ang added that the Arch was constructed at a cost of $650,000 or P28 million, without a single peso coming from the City of Manila.
It has been funded by donations from businessmen in the People’s Republic of China, and solicited by the Philippine-Chinese Amity Club and Councilor Ang.
Mayor Estrada said the new Friendship Gate is part of the restoration effort of the city to make the Manila Chinatown regain its leadership in the field of business and local tourism.
He cited that although most countries have their own Chinatown, the one in Manila is the biggest in terms of territory and population outside of China itself.
Councilor Ang cited that trade between China and the Philippines started some 400 years ago. Formal diplomatic relations, however, started in 1975 during the time of President Ferdinand Marcos.
When Estrada became mayor in 2013, he promised to pursue the restoration of Binondo and Escolta areas, as part of the overall efforts to make Manila regain its premiere status as capital of the Philippines, especially in the areas of trade, business, and tourism.