Yup it’s a gorgeous picture, flaming in red tassels and gold ornaments.
This wasn’t captured in Hong Kong – but can be found in a busy streets of Binondo, particularly in Ongpin Street.
It was the 28th of January when I visited the Ongpin Street for the first time of my life, to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year. I’ve heard many stories about this street, especially how busy the people are, the community and cultures, and what does we can expect when we visit this place.
However, it was an adventurous solo trip for me that day. It was a spontaneous one and my sole agenda is to witness how they celebrate the Chinese New Year and of course to capture souvenir photographs.
So started my journey at around 11:20AM where I took a bus from Market Market Mall to Ayala BGC bus station and paid Php12.00 flat rate fare. Then at 11:46AM I took a MRT train from Ayala Station to Taft Station and paid Php13.00 and another LRT train from EDSA Station to Carriedo Station and paid Php20.00 fare.
I honestly felt a bit confused because it’s been awhile since I did this kind of commuting, usually I hire a GRABCAR to ease the stress during my trips. But that day was different so I took a shot.
It wasn’t that bad actually, just like what most locals are saying about MRT and LRT trains. Or maybe because its Saturday and holiday so there are quite few passengers using the train.
Anyway, lucky me then!
So from Carriedo Station, I’ve used my Google map on my phone to track the way to Ongpin Street, and luckily I made it to the infamous Binondo fountain. Yes it was crowded that day, I realized there are many non-Chinese does celebrates CNY in Binondo.
After taking some few shots (I guess it me more than 30x just to get this arch photo, lol) I braced myself and headed inside the busy street of Ongpin.
My Mom used to tell me that Ongpin street is where you can buy those gold jewelries and Chinese medicines, and yes all of these are lined-up on both sides of the streets.
My agenda was to indulge for a food trip in Ongpin, but I guess that trip needs to reschedule in other days. I underestimate the crowd and I decided to cancel my food trip (as there is no restaurant available, or some are fully booked which is not an option for me either).
So I enjoyed doing a photo walk instead. Well, at least my camera is well fed, lol
Binondo is the oldest Chinatown here in Manila. It has a very unique charm and without these crowd – I guess it would be a different place, definitely not the known Chinatown. Though the best part to get to know this place through food hopping (which is sadly I didn’t make it – such a total bummer).
So that means there is a second part awaiting juts dedicated for the food hopping journey at Binondo coming soon!
During Chinese New Year, it is a familiar sight to see there numerous stalls of vendors selling various kind of lucky charms. From au naturals to something high-end (think about a gold charm bracelets from one of the Ongpin Jewelry shop), each of these charms represents good luck, and prevents you from bad chi leading you to unluckiness for the whole year.
And also watching the dragon dances is one of the exciting activities during Chinese New Year. Each business stores are arranged to be visited by a group of performers of dragon and lion dance, which brings good luck to the business for the whole year.
There wasn’t any restaurant opened that day (I saw a few - some are fully booked, and others are closed for CNY) so I enjoyed picking with some street foods (and hope that I won’t go home with tummy ache, lol). So far its still a good one and also cheap – just like this stick of delight for just Php15.00 (Php3.00 each). But I didn’t gamble to try those street drinks, because that I find a bit scary.
If New Year is something kids enjoys the most like Christmas, here in Binondo I saw kids enjoying the New Year but in a more profitable way. Just like this kid patiently manning his grilled corn business, while his Mom is manning the fruit business next to him.
Because of too much crowd, I didn’t have a chance to explore the adjacent streets along Ongpin. But definitely I will explore it next time during ordinary weekend. And I guess it will be exciting.
This local vendor happily pose for me for a picture with his goods. He sells rooster figures as lucky charms.
He sells these Rooster figurines from Php20.00 up to Php150.00 depending to its designs and sizes.
These could be an awesome paper weight for your office or just a little charm for your desks.
This is the one occasion where you could see grains and root crops with red ribbons, signifying good luck charm. Those grains you could place hanging on your door, and also those root crops (I wonder if you could cook it immediately after the CNY).
More round fruits that signifies good luck charm! And I noticed that fruits and vegetables here are quite cheaper, so it’s hard to ignore it. I bought some to bring home and also some broccolis which are truly cheap! I’ve got 3 huge stalks for only Php120.00.
And when you are in Binondo, you could visit this altar where you can pray, thank the greatest chi for your blessings (and asking for more blessings) and you can light red candles and charms. Am not sure if they have assigned temples in Binondo (if you know somewhere please let me know!).
As when I thought I’ve already get over with my uptight feeling for those poor dyed chicks, I saw these much poor fishes enclosed tight inside these plastic bags, and I feel that cringed of annoyance. I’ll let you my lovely readers’ judge about it.
More charms for your home, or charms that you could wear on your wrist or an accessories to your bags.
If this picture could talk, this sight adds to my annoyance. Who has in its correct mind to throw garbage in this fountain??!!! I admit that our local people needs more education and discipline and sense of responsibility for this kind of matter. It is really shameful to admit that most of our local people doesn’t appreciate cleanliness, but keeps on whining that their place is filthy. Tsk tsk tsk.
Overall, it was a lovely experience for me visiting Binondo, and definitely I will come back for my scheduled food trip. Maybe I’ll tag my girlfriends with me so we could visit more foodie places to share with you guys!