By Richa Noriega and Allysa Nievera
The Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year, marks the beginning of a new year in the traditional Chinese calendar. The Chinese-Filipino community in the Philippines considers this annual tradition as the most-anticipated event of the year.
The Chinese culture in the Philippines is very influential in the country, and Filipinos are known to participate in the celebration of the Chinese New Year by enjoying authentic Chinese cuisines, consulting feng shui experts and having their Chinese horoscopes cast for good luck, paying respect at temples, and visiting places that offer cultural performances such as dragon dances and fireworks displays.
Here are some places to visit that will make your Chinese New Year celebration more meaningful and interesting:
Binondo, Manila is the heart of authentic Chinese culture in the country. Dubbed the “Chinatown” of Manila, it is home to many in Chinese-Filipino community, restaurants serving traditional Chinese cuisine, and businesses that have been around for decades.
Ongpin Street in Binondo, Manila is the place to get authentic Chinese food such as dumplings, steamed buns or siopao, braised pork, hakao, hopia, succulent thick noodles, and sweet tikoy rice cakes.
During the Chinese New Year, the street is filled with entertaining spectacles such as dragon dances and fireworks, while vibrant red lanterns decorate homes and establishments. It is known for its famous jewelry shops purveying high quality gold and gems.
The Philippine Chinese Buddhist Temple in Binondo, Manila
The start of the Chinese New Year celebration is also a time for praying, meditating, and lighting candles to encourage good luck and prosperity in the coming year.
The Philippine Chinese Buddhist Temple, designed in traditional Chinese style, was built and founded by the Chinese population in Manila in 1979. It is a place to commemorate important events and preserve the cultural heritage of the Chinese people.
Filipino Chinese Taoist Temple in Manila
The Filipino Chinese Taoist Temple in Caballeros St., Binondo, Manila, is another place where one can embrace the solemnity of the New Year. According to its website, feng shui consultations and blessing rituals are offered at this temple, but strictly by appointment only.
Chinese Garden at Rizal Park
If you want to get in touch with nature inside the city but with Chinese vibes, this is the best place to greet the Lunar New Year. This garden is located inside Luneta Park in Manila.
Most families spent time there with picnic mats spread under big trees or sitting inside the pagoda. There is also a pond with fish gliding lazily through the water. This is a perfect place to relax and ponder the New Year.
Banawe, Quezon City
Banawe Street in Quezon City has been branded an authentic and world-class hub for the Chinese community. The “Chinatown of Quezon City” will showcase a series of performances on Chinese New Year.
Among the activities lined up are traditional dragon and lion dance performances, Chinese music and arts activities, and wushu martial arts exhibitions that highlight the rich Chinese culture, hosted by the Quezon City government.
Authentic Chinese restaurants are also found here that serve delicious Chinese cuisine. To spice up the festivities, a fireworks display followed by a grand concert will top the celebration.