Chinese New Year Feast along Ongpin Street

Ongpin Street is abuzz this morning because of the Chinese New Year. That’s why I made it to point to pass through Ongpin Street just to see the festivities.

Binondo Chinatown 2014 Chinese New Year - balloon arch to Ongpin Street

The inflatable arch near the Carriedo Fountain welcomes visitors. Ongpin Street is adorned with Chinese lanterns.

Binondo Chinatown 2014 Chinese New Year - Chinese lanterns along Ongpin Street

It seems like the inflatable arches are popular these days. Even Lido de Paris Hotel has one and the kids posing with the balloon version of the Chinese lion.

Binondo Chinatown 2014 Chinese New Year - Chinese lion at Lido de Paris Hotel, Ongpin Street

Chinese New Year is all about luck. People want to be lucky that’s why they have firecrackers to ward off bad luck. Tigers and lions dance to bring good luck to businesses. And of course, lucky charms are available for those who want to attract good luck.

Binondo Chinatown 2014 Chinese New Year - lucky charms for sale along Ongpin Street

The weird thing is that the Holy Family and the crucifix were also made to become lucky charms. I know that evil spirits fear the Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph and Jesus Christ but they are not lucky charms. I think that luck, particularly Feng Sui, is incompatible with Christianity.

Binondo Chinatown 2014 Chinese New Year - Gabi (root crop) with red ribbon for luck

I’ve been seeing fruits and vegetables with red ribbons since the Christmas Season. Street vendors guarantee that these are special fruits and veggies because they bring in good fortune. I can’t believe that red ribbon have that special power to make things bringer of good luck. Maybe it’s the reason why Red Ribbon cakes are popular.

It is the “Year of the Horse” so most popular lucky charms are those related to horses like these figurines:

Binondo Chinatown 2014 Chinese New Year - horse lucky charms for sale along Ongpin Street

And that’s not all, I saw karatela with their horses at Plaza Lorenzo Ruiz. There might be a “parade of horses” this afternoon.

Binondo Chinatown 2014 Chinese New Year - horse

What I like with Binondo Chinatown is the food. There are so many restaurants to choose from and some of them have tickled Pinoy’s taste buds like this Fried Siopao shop along Ongpin.

Binondo Chinatown 2014 Chinese New Year - fried siopao shop along Ongpin Street

The queue of siopao buyers is very long. I wonder how good their siopao is. I will definitely try this after Chinese New Year, when the crowd is gone.

Castañas is also hot this time of the year.

Binondo Chinatown 2014 Chinese New Year - Castañas for sale along Ongpin Street

It is a very busy day for this castañas cook.
Binondo Chinatown 2014 Chinese New Year - tikoy along Ongpin Street

My favorite tikoy is actually being sold right off the sidewalks. There’s so many many generic (or not popular brand) tikoy along Ongpin Street but people still queue for Eng Bee Tin’s tikoy. It seems like the crowd followed the media promotions done by news anchors and celebrities for Eng Bee Tin.

Binondo Chinatown 2014 Chinese New Year - Eng Bee Tin along Ong Pin Street

I’m glad to see that my favorite place along Ongpin Street has plenty of visitors.

Binondo Chinatown 2014 Chinese New Year - golden cross along Ongpin Street

Chinese New Year is the only day when Ongpin Street can rival the streets of Divisoria. The place is crowded even if only very small portion of Filipinos celebrate Chinese New Year.

Binondo Chinatown 2014 Chinese New Year - Chinatown arch

I noticed, however, that this year’s Chinese New Year is less gay as compared to the previous years’. I just saw few Chinese lion dancers. There is very long dragon and two Chinese lions near Binondo Church but that’s all that I saw this morning.

Binondo Chinatown 2014 Chinese New Year - dragon dancers

The only “live” performance that I saw was that mini-“ati-atihan” dance, which is not that lively compared to the real Ati-atihan.

The current mode of Chinese New Year celebration is OK but I think it can be improved, especially that the government treated it as a national holiday. Chinese New Year may be made as day to highlight the Chinese culture and its connection with the Philippine society. I believe that more people will come to Binondo Chinatown if Chinese New Year is made to be a cultural festival.

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  1. Huwaw ganda ng mga pics about the celebration of the chinese new year. Nag-feast ang eyes ko sa kulay pula hehe.

    Xin Nian Kuai Le, parekoy!

    and best wishes to you and your wifey :))

    1. Salamat Parekoy.

      Bunaha ng kulay pula sa Binondo Chinatown kasi mga kumunista daw yung mga Chinese. :-P

  2. Saaaaayyaaaaaa! I really envy you. You have soo much time! Hahaha. Alam ko yang Eng Bee Tin na yan. Lol. Daming tao lagi noh? :D Minsan uso rin magyaya, Kuya Ish! :p

    1. Di naman maraming free time. Napadaan lang ako sa Ongpin noong araw na iyon. :-p

      Oo nga eh. Sikat kasi kaya laging dinadagsa 'yung Eng Bee Tin.

      Hahaha...oo nga, magyaya ka naman minsan.

  3. Hi Ishmael! Happy Chinese New Year! LOL! How's married life? :D Hmm, looks like Ongpin Street is one busy street during the Chinese New Year holiday!

    1. Ongpin Street is really busy because it is the main street of Binondo Chinatown.

      Married life is fine. We're enjoying it.

  4. OK tlga sa Manila, it gives you taste of different cultures, Spanish, Old america, Philippines and Chinese history. Kaya fave place ko to eh.

    Balak kong mag food hopping jan i want to try chinese foods talaga! Good that you are able to experince this! :)

    1. Sa Manila kasi nagtagpo ang maraming kulturang banyaga. Isama mo pa yung mga kultura na galing sa ibang bahagi ng Pilipinas tulad ng Ilocos, Visaya at Mindanao at tiyak na halo-halo ang labas. Napakaraming sangkap.

      Mag-food hopping ka. Matutuwa ka kung gawin mo 'yan kasi marami kang matitikman na masarap sa Binondo Chinatown.


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