Binondo Amazing Race: Our Roots, Our Treasures

Written by Clarisse Wong.      Edited by Matthew Yuching and Denise Joaquin.

Photo Header by Jerry Feng.

In a world moving rapidly towards scientific discoveries and technological advancements, we often look too far ahead into the future and miss what is right in front of us. If we forget even the present time we are living in, what more of our past?

The Binondo Amazing Race or BAR, an annual event hosted by Ateneo Celadon, is a whole-day event set in Binondo, Manila’s Chinatown. Binondo is the very heart of the Filipino-Chinese community; therefore, this event will not only allow the participants to reconnect with their roots but will also allow them to experience and enjoy the delights of Chinese food, the beautiful sights of Binondo, and the modern Chinese-Filipino culture with a twist by integrating it to a fun-filled amazing race. The first ever Binondo Amazing Race (BAR) was held 6 years ago back in 2014. Despite not having a theme, it was a massive success and soon became an annual event, with each having a unique theme each year. The second BAR had a theme that revolved around the concept of ancient Chinese Dynasties. For the third BAR, the concept was more of an abstract theme, referring to itself as “Chinese Characters.” The “Warring States” of China’s feudal period was the theme for the fourth BAR and “Treasures in Time” for the fifth. And now, being its sixth year, the Binondo Amazing Race presents “Roots” or「根源 gēn yuán」 as this year’s theme. BAR aims for the participants to revisit the past, reconnect with their roots, and explore the practices that encompass the traditions that we continue to live on today. After all, according to T.S. Eliot, “the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

Photo by Timothy Tia; Poster by Misha Valencia & Cristen Oliveros

The Chinese word 「根源 gēn yuán」or “root” in the English language is defined as the source of a plant’s food and water. It also illustrates the main cause for a certain situation to happen. Roots are important not only to plants but to us human beings as well. A plant relies on its roots for connection, stability, and life. As human beings, our roots act in a very similar way. Our roots help build and shape us into who we are today.

They say looking back into our past is purposeless because the past is over and there is no reason for us to dwell on it. However, looking back allows us to remember who we are and why we do what we do. We forget the reason for why we are still going, still trying. We lose the motivation and get discouraged in life. This is why stopping for a moment and looking back to where we once came from matters so much. It’s to remember why we stand where we are now. It’s also about our customs and traditions. Each of our own traditions represents not only a critical piece of our culture but also helps form the structure and foundation of our families and ultimately, our society. Allowing a moment for us to pause and look back to our very roots, we’ll realize that it contributes a sense of comfort and belonging. Additionally, it also reinforces the values and beliefs that we were brought up with. If we have forgotten our very roots —our customs and traditions— then we are in complete disconnect with our souls.

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Chinese New Year’s just around the corner, so before starting with the “[Chinese] new year, new me,” why don’t we go back to the past that made us into who we are and connect meaningfully with our roots. Nevertheless, BAR is open to all students who want to experience the fun and excitement of racing around the streets of Chinatown. Reconnecting with one’s roots is just the bonus. Join now and have a fun-filled, amazing day to remember!

Find out more by reading the primer:  tinyurl.com/BAR2019AppPrimer

Sign-ups are open to all college students. Sign up now at: tinyurl.com/BAR2019SignUps

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