Filipino Chinese culture in Teleseryes

Those who have studied Philippine History and know it by heart certainly know that the Philippines and China have shared long, enduring historical ties. Even before the Spaniards arrived on our shores, we have already established a relationship with the Chinese people, especially through business, and that remains up to the present. And this withstanding connection has allowed us to acquire some of their customs and traditions that we have entrenched in our culture and continue to use, consume, and practice in our daily lives.

However, aside from cultural exchange and business dealings through the years, many Filipinos and Chinese have become related by blood as well, after members from the two nations are able to build families together. And since they’re among the communities that form a relatively huge percentage of our population, various stories of Filipino-Chinese families have already showcased in films and series.

As we join the Filipino-Chinese community in celebrating Chinese New Year this February 10, let’s get a glimpse of the life some of them probably live through the three Kapamilya teleseryes that featured their rich culture and tradition, as well as their inspiring and relatable stories in this special feature!


My Binondo Girl (2011)

Let’s start off with the 2011 primetime series My Binondo Girl, which was topbilled by Kim Chiu as the titular character Jade Dimaguiba. This romantic-comedy drama provided us with a clear picture of the struggles that some children born to Chinese and/or non-Chinese parents go through. Aside from China’s well-known “One Child Policy,” there are also instances when female children are ‘disregarded’ and the males are more favored because the latter are more expected to run the family business once they reach the right age. And that was what happened to Jade.

Growing up with no father figure in her life, our adorable bida has been yearning to meet her biological Chinese father Chen Sy (Richard Yap). That wish was finally granted many years later after their paths crossed when he arrived in the Philippines to find his Filipina partner Zeny (Ai Ai Delas Alas) and their son Yuan. Unbeknown to him, they actually had two children, but Zeny suffered from a miscarriage and lost him when she went back to the country with their firstborn Jade.

The apathetic treatment that her Papa had been giving her inspired Jade to do well in school so that she could prove to him that she’s worthy of his attention and affection, as well as to gain his acceptance. However, a certain turn of events forced her to disguise herself as her late brother Yuan, which gave her the opportunity to be closer to her father. In the end, it was a happily ever after for the Sy Family as Chen finally acknowledged Jade and his relationship with Zeny also got rekindled.


Love Thy Woman (2020)

Nine years later, Kim once again starred in another Chinese-themed series, but this time portraying a relatively more mature role. In 2020, she astounded us with her portrayal of Jia Wong, the illegitimate child of a Chinese-Filipino self-made billionaire named Adam Wong (Christopher de Leon) to his mistress Kai Estrella (Sunshine Cruz).

While he acknowledges his relationship with Kai and Jia by regarding them as part of his immediate family, his legal wife Lucy (Eula Valdez), who comes from a wealthy Singaporean family, and their unica hija Dana (Yam Concepcion) are actually not happy with this set up, yet they’re left with no choice but to accept their constant presence in their lives. The relationship between the two families becomes chaotic when Jia has an illicit affair with Dana’s husband, David (Xian Lim), as they share the grief of possibly losing Dana when she falls into comatose for over a year after figuring out a fatal accident.

Their betrayal spawns a son, which Kai and Jia initially assumed was already dead due to breast cancer complications. It was later revealed that Kai’s brother Harry (Alexander) abducted the baby and gave it to Lucy in exchange for money for Jia’s cancer treatment in Singapore. The baby was left outside the gate of the Wong residence and was adopted by David and Dana.

And after engaging in a slew if catfights and altercations, not to mention the death of David after trying to save both of them in an encounter, Jia and Dana eventually made peace in the end and even became business partners. The same went for their moms Kai and Lucy, who became friends as they apologized to one another.

Aside from the enthralling narrative and impressive performances of the cast members, Love Thy Woman also showed us Chinese customs and traditions that some of them adhere to until modern times. However, others have chosen to let go of those as they adapt to the changing times.


Can’t Buy Me Love (2023)

And since last year, we’ve been finding ourselves hooked with the blossoming love story and exciting adventures of Bingo and Caroline in “Can’t Buy Me Love,” impressively played by one of this generation’s hottest loveteams Donny Pangilinan and Belle Mariano (a.k.a. DonBelle).

Those who have been watching it ever since the beginning surely know that they came from different walks of life – Bingo being taken care of by his simple adopted family ever since he got technically orphaned after his mother abandoned him and his father died, while Caroline having to live with the legal family of his affluent Filipino-Chinese businessman named Wilson Tiu (Rowell Santiago) after her mom died.

A series of misadventures continue to bind them, with Caroline being entangled in a slew of troubles because of her family and Bingo being her knight-in-shining-armor and constant companion in everything that she goes through.

The Filipino-Chinese characters in these stories have taught us the value of hardwork, diligence, and gumption in order for us to achieve our goals and succeed in life.

Kung Hei Fat Choi, Kapamilya!