Bridging the Social Divide: Pandemic Response from the Tsinoy Community

Carmelea Ang See

De La Salle University

Vol. 16 (2022): 123–152 | Download PDF


The economic crisis brought about by the pandemic these last two years has worsened racial perceptions in the Philippines. The Chinese-Filipino community often becomes a target of scapegoatism and racist attacks by reason of their ethnicity.

Unlike other Southeast Asian countries with bigger ethnic Chinese populations, racial tensions in the Philippines since the post-war era have not erupted into mass violence. One of the key reasons, this paper posits, is the social acceptance of the Tsinoys due to their visible and swift presence during times of challenge and difficulty in national society. The economic difficulties brought by lockdowns during the pandemic and the successive calamities like typhoons, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions found the Tsinoys in active involvement in the interventions and assistance for the victims. Mainstream society remembers and acknowledges the visible presence of Tsinoys in times of crisis and calamities.

The paper documents the myriad pandemic relief projects and interventions by the Tsinoy community and examines how these hasten and strengthen the social acceptance of the Tsinoys.


Chinese Filipino, COVID-19 response, relief operations, Tsinoy community