Ethnic Groups of the Philippines

Tsinoy, Mandarin

The descendants of mainland and island Chinese who migrated to the Philippines are collectively called Tsinoys, Chinoys, or Chinese Filipinos. However, they can be divided into three groups by the geographic location and language of their origin: Fujianese, Cantonese, and Mandarin. There are Tsinoy communities in practically all parts of the archipelago.

Most Mandarin Tsinoys reside in the Metro Manila area. Their number is relatively small, so that very few Chinese speak Mandarin (Putonghuah or Guoyu). It is also difficult to identify the Mandarin Tsinoys, as many of them speak different Chinese dialects, depending on their social or economic station.

There has been a steady influx of Chinese emigrants to the Philippines since the late 1970s. Most are from Fujian, but some come from Guangxi, Shangdong, Liaoning, Heilongjiang, Jiangsu, and other places outside Fujian and Canton, and speak Mandarin.

The majority of Mandarin Tsinoys live in the Chinatown of Binondo, Manila. They do not share common cultural grounds with the other Chinese groups even if they have a similar economic lifestyle — supporting their families by operating restaurants, retail stores, and the like. Mandarin Tsinoys have not yet established their own associations because they are so different. Furthermore, they are not as prosperous as their Fujianese or Cantonese counterparts and do not hold the same social status. In some cases, they just opt to learn Fujianese (Hokkien) or Cantonese, and even marry into such families.