The Chinese New Year this year falls on February 8 (Monday). The Philippine government has declared the day a special holiday to give time for the Filipino-Chinese (Chinoys) communities to celebrate.
However, and for many years now, the Chinese New Year celebration has become more than just a cultural tradition of the Chinoy communities only but also for many Filipinos specially those who lived in Metro Manila.
And during this annual event, Chinatown Manila (Ongpin, Sta.Cruz-Binondo area) is transformed into a ‘hotspot’ destination for many local and international tourists.
According to Chinese astrology, 2016 is the Year of the Fire Monkey while next year (2017) it will be the Fire Rooster’s time to shine!
Aside from shopping for Tikoy and parading in red, here are five things you can do in Chinatown Manila during the Spring Festival or the Chinese Lunar New Year Celebration:
Be on a look-out for parades and floats going around the streets of Binondo. This has become already a yearly tradition for most businesses in Chinatown and you’ll be amazed at how these huge floats are able to maneuver itself in the small and crowded streets of Ongpin and other connecting passages. Bring a hat and try to catch all the goodies that the people on the floats throw to the crowds like candies, chocolate coins, etc.
There are Lion Dancers everywhere, but there are only a couple of Dragon Dancers roaming the streets of Chinatown so be on the look out for that as well. The Dragons are usually accompanied with firecrackers – so when you hear them, that might be a sign that a Dragon is near.
Visit the nearest lucky charms and crystals store and check out the themed items that they have for the year. It’s the year of the Fire Monkey, so you will see a lot of Monkey-themed charms and crystals all over Chinatown and specially on the side streets of Ongpin.
Craving for some snacks, why not try the authentic Chinese restaurants in Ongpin or the ones that are located at the less crowded street of Benavidez. We’ve tried Masuki’s famous Wonton Beef Mami, Siomai and Bola Bola Siopao. Benavidez is adjacent to Ongpin and accessible via Salazar Street.
A new player in the Chinatown Manila Chinese New Year tradition, the Megaworld Lifestyle owned Lucky Chinatown Mall along Reina Regente in Binondo is also providing visitors a taste of authentic Chinese Spring Festival activities.
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