BINONDO, MANILA – The sound of the drums echoes all over Chinatown, an indication that festivities have officially started. This is not my first time covering an event as big as the Chinese New Year, and yet it still amazes me every single time. As I got into Manila’s central stage for the welcoming of the Lunar Year, the overwhelming crowd did not stop me from capturing the event by foot.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN BINONDO ON CNY
LUCKY CHARMS ALONG THE STREETS. If you are in search for Lucky Charms, Chinese New Year is the best time to buy them. Sellers are all over the place. The streets of Binondo are vibrant with jewelries and things that can bring you luck for the New Year.
TIKOY EVERYWHERE. A symbol for close family-ties and togetherness, these colorful Chinese Rice Cakes are just about on every stall in Binondo. (Saying Hi to my Chinese friends, pahingi naman ng tikoy. LOL)
GASTRONOMIC ADVENTURE. Aside from the usual dumplings and Chinese feast, food bazaars are a welcoming treat. Lucky Chinatown Mall has a long stretch of food stalls offering authentic Asian and Filipino delicacies.
But then again… What is Binondo without the classics?
Check out New Eastern Garden Restaurant for their very special one of a kind Fresh Lumpia.
Also check-out 4-in-1 Restaurant. Why 4-in-1? Because it’s literally 4 kinds of dishes in one plate.
Never miss out on Fried Siopao…
DRAGON AND LION DANCES Chinese New Year is never complete without the vibrant dances of dragons and lions. As I walked pass the streets of Binondo, Chinese dragons were being held up high as they try to bring luck to every establishment throughout the area.
CROWDED STREETS. It’s nothing new to Manila dwellers. We all know how crowded Chinatown can be, but for those who haven’t gone there yet… Binondo is jam-packed with people from all walks of life. Aside from the sea of crowds, private and public vehicles are an added factor. There are a couple of road closures during the festivities, thus making the traverse a little bit “not-so-fun” if you’re driving your own car.
If you are planning to go to Manila Chinatown (Binondo) this Chinese New Year, make sure to plan your parking ahead. You can always park at Lucky Chinatown Mall for P50 ($1.10 AUD) for 3 hours and P20 ($.50 AUD) for every succeeding hour.
BEST ROUTE IF YOU ARE FROM THE SOUTH OR EAST
I took Shaw Boulevard, then right turn going to San Juan. I made my way to Pinaglabanan then right at SM Sta. Mesa, left to Pureza then straight to Legarda. You can go straight to Manila City Hall or turn right to Recto. I opted to take the latter, as traffic was a bit faster on that road. You will find signs going to Lucky Chinatown Mall where you can park your car. Or…
You can always take the train. Get off at Recto Station and ride a jeepney or a tricycle going to Binondo.
More photos from Binondo Celebration at my Facebook Page.
For more about Binondo Finds, check-out my blog post about what you can do in Binondo on normal days and the off beat food spots here.