Chinese New Year is just around the corner and there is no better place here in Manila to celebrate and welcome the Year of the Pig other than Binondo. Interestingly, Binondo is regarded as the world’s oldest Chinatown so if you are looking for those Authentic Chinese restaurant and dishes, this is definitely the perfect place to hit. Now that the Chinese New Year is nearly approaching I decided to list down some of the ideal places in Binondo to visit this Chinese New year!
Where To Go in Binondo?
Although Binondo is best explored with Calesas or horse driven carriage, it is much more rewarding if you explore all the notable streets such as Ongpin and Yunchengco by walking.
If you like to include churches in your itinerary, Binondo Church is the place that you should not miss. The church is also known as the Minor Basilica of San Lorenzo Ruiz or Our Lady of The Most Holy Rosary. The church has a very interesting retablo which looks like another church facade. (Check : A Trip To Binondo : Binondo Church)
Nuestra Señora Dela Soledad De Manila Parish
If you are up for more walking, you might consider visiting the Soledad De Manila Parish too. It is a small church (chapel-like) located in Camba St of Binondo where the image of Our Lady of Solitude is being enshrined. It was established in 2009 exactly on the “Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel” (July 16). (Check : A Trip To Binondo : Nuestra Señora Dela Soledad De Manila Parish)
Sta Cruz Parish
Another Catholic church worth visiting in Binondo is the Sta Cruz Parish which is located just in front of the Carriedo Fountain. The church has a very interesting facade and is also under the patronage of Our Lady of The Pillar. (Check : A Trip to Binondo : Sta Cruz Parish Church)
Seng Guan Temple
Aside from churches, you can also spot Chinese temples in Binondo. Some of which are publicly accessible including the Seng Guan Temple. Seng Guan Temple is one of the well known Chinese temples in Manila and is considered as a major cultural center for the Chinese Filipino community.The temple was named after Venerable Seng Guan (1889-1962), a monk from Fu Kien (Fujian), China, who was active in teaching and organizing work in Southern China, Manila, and Rizal. The Seng Guan Temple is considered as one of the most beautiful Buddhist temples in the Philippines. (Check : A Trip to Binondo : Seng Guan Temple).
Kuang Kong Temple
In the narrow street of Kipuja lies another temple, the Kuang Kong. The temple is located on the third floor of a building which is known for their fortune telling not through a fortune teller but through the red wooden half moons. The temple by the way is dedicated to Kuang Kong, the Chinese god of war and is also one of the Chinese gods of wealth who provides wealth and prosperity. (Check : A Trip to Binondo : Kuang Kong Temple)
What To Do in Binondo In Chinese New Year?
There are overwhelming amount of activities you can do during Chinese New Year in Binondo. There are so much festivities in the place you can definitely enjoy.
“Watching Lion and Dragon Dances”
Watch Lion and Dragon dances on the streets. One of the most common activities you can sight on Binondo in Chinese New Year are lion and dragon dances. With cheerful music and graceful dances, it is absolutely something to complete your Chinese New Year experience. The lion and dragon dances are usually performed during the Chinese New Year and other Chinese traditional, cultural and religious festivals. It may also be performed at important occasions such as business opening events, special celebrations or wedding ceremonies, or may be used to honor special guests by the Chinese communities. It is performed to bring good luck! (Check Lion and Dragon Dances)
“Offering Incense to Sto Cristo De Longos Shrine”
If you happen to pass by the corner of Ongpin and Tomas Pinpin St, you will notice a small street-side temple shrine where people can be seen burning joss (insence) sticks and make offerings. This is the Sto Cristo De Longos De Binondo. The miraculous image has an interesting story. It was said that in the 16th Century, a deaf mute Chinese was getting a pail of water in the Barrio of Longos (this is where the shrine in San Nicholas District is located). Upon pulling the pail out, he saw a blackened corpus of the Crucified Christ. Immediately, he was healed of his muteness and began shouting about his discovery. (Check : A Trip to Binondo : Sto Cristo De Longos De Binondo)
“Buying Lucky Charms”
A trip to Binondo in Chinese New Year will not be completed without buying some lucky charms. Kindly expect so many charms, bracelets, wind chimes and figurines being sold almost every corner of Binondo. These charms are said to bring good luck and prosperity! (Check Lucky Charms and Cosplayers in Binondo CNY)
“CNY Rituals In Lucky China Town Mall”
The Lucky China Town mall used to offer a bunch of cool Chinese New Year activities. They got this so-called CNY Rituals where everyone are free to participate. Last year, they offer eight Booths where each features different activities. These activities include the wishing wall, the good luck gong, the money tree and the dragon incense. (Check : A Trip to Binondo : The CNY Rituals in Lucky China Town Mall)
“Where To Eat In Binondo”
A trip to Binondo whether its Chinese New Year or not will not be completed without the food trip. There are so many places in Binondo where you can taste the authentic Chinese Cuisine and you can get a chance to experience them even you are in a limited budget or not. I personally find it more ideal and practical to hit this place along with a huge group of friends so you won’t have to spend that much. Here are some budget-friendly places in Binondo restaurant and eateries in Binondo.
It is located on the second floor of an old building at the corner of Ongpin and Yunchengko st. The restaurant is also known as the Volunteer Fireman’s Coffee Shop not because they are being run by firemen but because all the revenues from this shop will be donated to Binondo Paco Fire Search and Rescue Brigade. Some of their specialties include “Kiampong”, “Xiao Long Bao” and their signature beverages too. (Check : A Trip to Binondo : Cafe Mezzanine)
“Dong Bei Dumplings”
Dong Bei Dumplings
If you are willing to try their authentic Chinese dumplings, then you must arm yourself with a decent amount of patience because the queue here will absolutely measure your temper and patience haha. Well, that’s how popular the Dong Bei Dumplings are. Despite of the fame, this small restaurant is surprisingly not pretentious compare to other resto in Binondo. They offer a very simple atmosphere. You must try their Kuchay Dumplings and their pancakes. (Check : A Trip to Binondo : Dong Bei Dumplings)
“Shanghai Fried Siopao”
Shanghai Fried Siopao
Another popular yet budget-friendly spot in Binondo is the Shanghai Fried Siopao. It is basically a small store that caters various Chinese products including uncooked siomai, kikiam and of course their very own signature fried siopao. You will be welcomed with a long queue of people and you must taste their siopao to fiund out why they are being patronized in such way! (Check : A Trip to Binondo : Shanghai Fried Siopao)
“Eng Bee Tin”
Eng Bee Tin
Another famous shop in Binondo is the Eng Bee Tin which is also known for their yummy Chinese Delicacies most especially their Ube-Flavored Hopia and Tikoy. In fact, they established a bigger shop known as MR Ube that caters their best selling hopia and tikoy. Because of its popularity, you are often being welcomed by a huge and long queue of people! It is often being featured in many tv shows too! (Check: A Trip To Binondo : Eng Bee Tin)
Ho-land Hopia and Bakery
Ho-land Hopia and Bakery is situated in 551 E.T. Yuchengco St. cor. Carvajal (a few blocks away from Sincerity Restaurant ).Ho-land probably stands for Hopia Land which has been around since 1960s! Ho-land, for many hopia lovers, remains the standard for these Chinese baked goodies. Upon doing a research, I also learned that HOPIA derives from two Chinese Words, HO means Good while PIA means Cake or Pastry. Aside From Hopia, Ho-Land also caters other products like Tikoy, Prosperity Cakes and these Koi-Fishes and Fortune cookies. (Check : A Trip to Binondo : Holand Bakery)
Sincerity Restaurant is situated on Yuchengko Street. It is a two-story building but not really spacious. The restaurant is known for their famous Sincerity Fried Chicken and I personally like their Kikiam too! (Check : A Trip to Binondo : Sincerity Restaurant)
Have a PhotoWalk!
If you are not up for a food walk, you might just want to go on a photowalk. Gear yourself with your camera or even just your smartphone and admire the beauty of Binondo. There are some notable point of interests that you can visit in Binondo including the Chinatown Arch, the newly reinvented Jones Bridge, the Carriedo Fountain, and more. (Check: Photowalk in Binondo)