A Peek at Ongpin on Chinese New Year

It’s that time of the year again, the time when we join our Chinese and Chinoy Friends as they welcome the new lunar year. .. And this Chinese New Year (CNY) 2016, we are commemorating the Year of the Fire Monkey.  

Having a deeply rooted Chinese heritage here in the Philippines, we join them in the celebration and merriment. The CNY, after all, is one of the ancient customs that survived through the years and have blended with Pinoy culture.
I had a day to take a peek at the festivities in this little street in Binondo called Ongpin, the economic and cultural hub for Chinese communities in Manila, on Chinese New Year. And here’s what I’ve witnessed…     

 Some of their beliefs and traditions include: Colorful fireworks and loud firecrackers, loud noisy drums and dancing dragons, incense are key elements of their festival, from their old traditions, they use them to drive away bad spirits.       Lucky charms and chimes are being sold everywhere in the street of Ongpin. Mostly they are comprised of lucky animals of the Chinese Zodiac and images of Buddha.  Vendors seem to have all sorts of decorations, figurines, lucky charms, fruit crops and delicacies made available for those who practice the CNY rituals.    Round fruits, pineapple, kiat-kiat, small oranges, gold coins are believed to attract wealth, they hang them up on doors and windows of their houses.  Ang Pao (a small red envelope with money inside) is handed to children to symbolize a prosperous new year. Traditionally, the money inside the envelope should come in even numbers since odd number values are given in funerals.  Last but not the least, Tikoy, another CNY treat is the glutinous cake believed to bring closeness and togetherness to those who eat them together.          Ongpin has been part of my career life as a (former) medical representative. It has been my (work) area for almost 9 years, and this means I have developed some sort of familiarity and attachment to this little town I call a haven for all types of business people.

There’s just something so enticing about Binondo that when I go there, it always meant bringing home something I love about Chinatown, and that’s a lot of things… mostly, for good luck and good vibes.   Overall, I had a great time, walking by the streets of Chinatown on Chinese New Year. Seeing how colorful, lively, loud (in a good sense), and festive it is I won’t mind going here again next year.  For now, Let me wish all my friends and readers, Kung Hei Fat Choi! #jnv

32 Responses

  1. Kung hei fat Choi, too. I’ve been to Binondo twice and I would love to visit the place again. There’s something about the place that makes me want to go back there again and again.

        1. Hahaha! Usually my trip to Binondo sinisimulan ko from Quiapo, hanggang sa kasuloksuluksan ng Divisoria, what’s nice is may mga high-tech na sila na parking system within the vicinity of Tutuban/Divisoria, kaya less hassle ang parking.

          1. Grabe, dapat pala ikaw ang kasama ko kapag nag Binondo. Yes, been to Tutuban last year before Christmas and ok ang parking system nila. my son (yes, nagsama ako ng bata) wa sso amused with the parking. Tumataas daw at baba parang puzzle. hahaha.

          2. Hahaha! Parang Puzzle nga! You’ll seldom see that kind of parking in our main business districts.. tutuban was one of the pioneers… yes msbolin just message me I’d love to take someone around my happy place! Hehe

  2. I’ve never witnessed a live dragon dance and other Chinese festivals eversince, but we have Chinese relatives from my mom’s side… This looks fun! I only go to Ongpin to buy vases for the home and chandeliers and interior lights at Soler St.which is a walking distance from there.. its cheaper compared to malls and they had a wide variety to choose from 🙂 Kung Hei Fat Choi!

  3. We usually have dragon dance here in the office pero this year wala. Natutuwa ako kapag nakakakita ako ng dragon dance. Ang festive kasi sa pakiramdam.

  4. Super colorful sis, and mukhang ang saya-saya. Mabuti kapa nakapag explore explore. hahaha! How I wish maka experience din ako makakita ng ganitong event during the Chinese New year.

    1. My most important realization pa is hindi naman pala nakakatakot at all mag walk around Binondo, at Ongpin particularly, contrary to what I initially thought, it’s safe naman pala, you’ll actually see a lot of Chinoys and full-blooded Chinese business people walking around like wala lang…

    1. Hmm.. at first that was my fear too, plus you know, since some people might think mostly Chinese ang nag cecelebrate, might be a target ng mga ‘bad elements’ (snatchers, etc), it helps if you know your route and your way around, although waze may help, i suggest if you find a nice spot for parking, walking is better when you’re in the area na. On the other hand, safety first pa rin, so follow your instinct.

  5. I really love the way you captured the festivities in ongpin! Your documentary style in photos feels like it took me into the actual chinese new year festival there. Kung Hei Fat Choi 🙂

    1. Gee… thanks! I guess it just showed how much I enjoyed the day. There were a lot more to see, but, I was a bit preoccupied then with a lot of eating, i mean, things hahaha! That’s another story.

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