Kung Hei Fat Choi! Together with other bloggers and members of the media, we were invited by Ramada Manila Central to join their Chinese New Year celebration in Binondo, Manila. Ramada Manila Central is the first and only International Standard Hotel located at the heart of historic Binondo. I've been here many times, but this is the first time I'll be experiencing Lunar Chinese New Year right in the heart of the World's Oldest Chinatown! I 'luv et!
Ramada Manila Central treated us with an very insightful "Discover Binondo" tour on New Year's Eve. We walked through the busy streets to experience the celebrations. Chinatown was in festive mood with all the happenings around.
Our first stop was the Dong-Bei Dumplings, located along Yuchengco Street. It is known to serve the best dumplings in town. They only have limited seats and since it was Chinese New Year, the store was full and we weren't able to have a taste of their tasty dumplings. Good thing we were able to see how they were made. I'll definitely come back here some other time.
Then we went to the Sto. Cristo de Longos Shrine at the corner of Pinpin and Ongpin streets. It's an open shrine that combines Chinese and Catholic faiths. Here, you can burn joss sticks, recite your prayer and make offerings to the Sto. Cristo de Longos.
As we continued our walking tour, we saw a lot of merchants selling their goods. Believed to usher in good luck and positive energy, kiat-kiats, gingers, gabi, pineapples, lucky charms, tikoy and ampao dominated the busy streets with red and gold. People are rushing to shop for their New Year's Eve celebrations.
We also saw some Chinese burning paper money. Also known as ghost money, it is a traditional Chinese practice to ensure that the spirit of the deceased loved ones has lots of good things in the afterlife.
The whole Chinatown was filled with joy and festivities that day. You could hear and feel the loud beats of the drums, the sound of the cymbals as the Dragon and Lion dancers perform. This tradition is a common sight in any festive Chinese celebrations, especially on Chinese New Year. It is believed to drive away bad spirits and bring-in good fortune and luck.
As we continued the tour, we pass by the monument of Roman Ongpin, a Chinese Patriot, Civic Leader, Businessman and Philanthropist in the late 19th century who secretly supported the Philippine Revolution.
We also went to Binondo Church, also known as the Minor Basilica of San Lorenzo Ruiz. Rich in history, it is one of the oldest churches in the Philippines.
Then we went back to the hotel for the Asian Food Fair. We were treated with dumplings, salad and other Asian cuisines. I enjoyed the food experience as they are all good. I actually ate too much, I wasn't able to have dinner that night. Hahaha!
Later that night, we went to Lucky Chinatown Mall to see the celebrations around. There were concerts, food fair and other activities for the Chinese New Year. I was able to try the bike offered for free, I don't know what is it called. Hahaha!
Before 12 midnight, we went back to the hotel. We had some cocktails at the hotel's deck and welcomed Chinese New Year watching the fireworks of Chinatown. It was an awesome experience! It was my first time to watch fireworks from the 15th floor of a hotel.
Many thanks to Ramada Manila Central for inviting us to experience the fun, festivities and the food of Chinese New Year in Binondo!
Want to Dicover Binondo? Check out www.ramadamanilacentral.com! Follow them on twitter RamadaManila and like them on Facebook (www.facebook.com/RamadaManilaCentral) for more details.
Ramada Manila Central
Ongpin cor. Quintin Paredes Sts., 1006 Manila, Philippines
632.5886688 / 632.3544151
More photos on Pinoy AdvenTurista's Facebook Page, click here.
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