It is always a fascinating treat to visit Chinatown Manila during the celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year.
Not much has change with regards to what the street of Ongpin and the whole of Binondo looked like when I visited it last year during the same occasion. But the experience is always different, always fresh.
I went to Chinatown twice – the day before the Spring Festival (Feb 7) and on the day itself which falls on a Monday (Feb 8).
Let me tell you the stories of my visit through the photos that I have taken during the event using only the camera on my Cherry Cosmos S2 and ASUS Zenfone 5 mobile phones:
DAY 1 (February 7, 2016)
The main difference between Feb. 7 and Feb. 8 is the volume of people in and out of Ongpin. The place was already full of people when I visited it on Sunday but that number has doubled the following day.
The first thing I saw after passing through the Chinatown Arch of Ongpin in Sta. Cruz, Manila were a Pride of Lion Dancers and a yellow ball-chasing dragon.
Here’s a video that I took of the Lions:
Lions and Dogs are usually shorter composed of only two dancers. Dragons are longer and their performance is usually accompanied by fireworks.
Charms and Fruits are usually used for luck and to ward off bad luck. While some of these items are available throughout the year in Chinatown, they are of course more prominent during the Chinese New Year celebration.
Last year, cosplayers like the ones above are not part of the celebration. It was only this year that I was able to see a couple of them walking the streets of Ongpin, allowing passersby to take photos with them as a souvenir. It’s actually free, but they also accept donations or tips (whichever way you call it).
That’s a preview of some of the things that people can expect on the streets of Ongpin during the Spring Festival. The day after was even more exciting, and that’s up next!
Here’s my Year of the Monkey souvenir:
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