Gong Xi Fa Cai! Walking in the world’s oldest Chinatown is a festive experience, one that is historic and romantic. Chinese New Year is like entering a surreal world.
Binondo or Manila’s Chinatown is the world’s oldest Chinatown. Established in 1594, it is a hub of commerce and culinary exploits. Once the commercial capital, it sits beside the iconic Pasig River.
The history of Binondo was bloody. The Spanish had burned the Chinese out of Intramuros time and time again. They established a parochial church and district across the river to put the Catholic Chinese. It had thrived and expanded to Tutuban and Quiapo.
To this day, Chinatown is place where one can “wholesale” the buying of goods for business. It is also a place to explore for food trips and walk on historic tours. Chinese New Year is one of the busiest times right along with Christmas Season. The streets are filled with vendors selling Tikoy and other delicacies. On Chinese New Year, the streets are transformed.
Red paper lanterns are hung in every lamppost. Dragon and Lion Dancers dance every hour. You can hardly walk with the number of vendors in the street.
Walk around, leave you car. The fun of this day is in the walking. Explore. Amidst the smell and the litter, Chinatown hold a special kind of romance. Go inside each shop and see something new. Taste each café, their specialties are different from the café beside them. Make sure to come home with a bag of Hopia and Dice.