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Friday, February 20, 2015

PHOTOS: Chinese New Year 2015 photo walk in Ongpin Street, Binondo, Manila


The Philippines celebrated Chinese New Year yesterday Feb 19, 2015, and the only place to go to celebrate it is in the long stretch road of Ongpin St. in Binondo, Manila, it’s the Chinatown of our country and it’s considered as the oldest Chinatown in the world that was established in 1594 that start first as a settlement for Chinese people and a center for commerce and trade during and before the Spanish colonial period.

Chinese New Year is also called the Lunar New Year based on the cycles of the moon according to the Chinese calendar. Chinese people celebrate the new year every last day of the last month of their Chinese calendar, usually falls between January 20-February 21. For 2015 we welcome the year of the Sheep. (yeah I read some info on Wikipedia)

But the word Chinatown were not used anymore, the only one who use the words are the tourist and maybe some people who lives in Manila. But today, we call it now as Ongpin or Binondo and this is the main ground were we can feel and embrace the Chinese tradition.

Its really awesome that we can celebrate New Year two times per year, my first celebration here was in 2011 when me and my wife Lace stayed in Ramada Hotel in Binondo, there we experienced a similar New Year that we celebrate every January 1, there’s fireworks display, lots of food on the table and gathering of family and friends in welcoming their Lunar year. But the celebration didn’t ended in a New Year’s eve setting, we witnessed for the first time on that year the fun, colors, noise, delicacies and culture and tradition of the Chinese people. When we experienced that, our plan is to go and visit Binondo every Chinese New Year.

Although we always fail to visit it the following year, for 2015, I decided to go and do a photo walk, because the Chinese New Year celebration in Binondo is the most picturesque ever, because there’s lots of people, lots of scenes and lots of moments to capture. My plan is to join the photo walk activity organized by the Nikon Club Philippines, I registered online and got a slot, but I woke up late in the morning to join the 7:00am meet up in the fountains of Carriedo.

I arrived at around 10am and went ahead on my own to do my own photo walk and also a coverage here in my blog.

I took all photos using my Nikon D5300 DSLR with 18-55 VR II Nikkor lens and I mounted it on my Rapid strap for a quick shoot and hide the camera thing.

Btw, thanks to Nikon for the camera and Ted for the strap ^____^

I was planning to bring my Olympus E-520 dslr camera because it has a 45-150mm Zuiko telephoto lens, but I didn’t bring it with me because carrying two DSLR is a bit heavy.

It’s a fun impromptu meet up in the crowdy area of Ongpin st. I’ve meet bloggers Myke Soon with his wife and friends celebrating the new year (they lived nearby ), Ted Claudio joining a photo walk with a photographer friend, Edel Santiago and her friend, and other photographer friends who are there to cover for news.

I went here alone and I didn’t have a battle plan. All I want to do is a photo walk, but I forgot to map my route and look for a place to eat my lunch. During my photo walk, I missed a lot of opportunity to eat and buy food in some street food vendors, the food looks clean but everything that is sold on the street that day were prepared and cooked fresh.

After traveling from Cavite to Lawton, I rode the jeep going to Sta Cruz, Manila. I walked some minutes reaching the Sta. Cruz church and the fountain area, infront of it, you’ll see the Chinatown arc that leads you to Ongpin st., Binondo.

Next time, I’ll bring my bottled water and some snacks. I was so hungry at around lunch time and all restaurants and mini food hubs are full of customers. My plan is to eat at Quicksnack and in Estero, but all food joints are fully booked and I heard that the waiting time is around 1 hour.

For next year, I will prepare myself and go back in Ongpin as early as 6am, for me to enjoy everything – the food, the view, the weather and also the Chinese culture and tradition.


My first view before entering Ongpin st.


This dragon says hello to me! ahhaahha
thank you!


Looking back before I leave Sta Cruz, Manila


Spotted a Nikon shooter. I think he do a photo walk too


The long walk starts here.
the long and winding road of Ongpin st.


Kiong Hee Huat Tsai!! photo op backdrop infront of an establishment here in Ongpin.
I forgot if it’s a hotel or a restaurant.


Street food vendor prepares the hot sand to cook the castanias seeds.


Long lines in Eng Bee Tin store.
Are they having a discount sale ???


The lone biker.


Lucky charms for sale


Mamang Fishball vendor


Buko kayo dyan!


Lucky charm and wishing plants


Fresh fruits for sale


Solar powered lucky charm ornaments


Year of the Sheep mini statue


Red balloons


Mei Sum, I will visit you soon!


Red Lantern hanging all over Ongpin


I didn’t know that we have this coin-OP parking machine. I saw these in HK and they are very useful.
I’m not sure if this is operational.


The new generation of cigarette vendors


Firecrackers selling is still present.


My fave resto!!


I will try this next time!!! Fried Shanghai Siopao!


Young lady sells cotton candy. People flock around her to buy and also to take a photo of this cotton candy vendor.


Lion dancer


”A dragon flies above the crowded street of Ongpin”


After taking this photo…. we ran as fast as we can away from this fire crackers.


Fire breather…….


awww….. Binondo girl


I spotted this girl in Chinese dress accepting photo op from the crowd.


I’m now at the other side of Ongpin


Lots of colorful balloons.
I want to take home that dragon balloon, but its too big and hard to transport that back to Cavite.


Whoa!!!! look at the crowd!


I don’t know what that is.
but the guy said that it’s a kind of plant from Mt. Banahaw and they call it Golden Pharao plant


A Kalesa got stranded in the middle of the crowded street of Ongpin


Here I saw the group of Nikon Club Philippines members doing the group photo walk
awwwww di ako kasali hahahaha


A store sells lots of lucky charms and ornaments


Hermit crabs for sale.
A guy sells this at PHP5 each up to PHP 30 depends on the size
I bought 4 small hermit crabs so that my son can have a close encounter with marine animals.
I hope we can breed this at home.


Ducklings for sale.


Colored chicks.
poor chicks….


Spotted a watermelon vendor in Salazar st.


Spotted a foreign photographer in action here in Ongpin


awwww colored chick as a raffle prize by a street vendor


Snapped a ninja mode photo of Myke Soon, but he spotted me before I disappear ahhahahah


The crowd went double after reaching the 2nd bridge


Drums and beat group performing a loud and feet stomping tunes.


I call it the area for selfie and pray


Aye aye captain! – Spongebob


Dragon and lion dance infront of BPI bank


Spotted a street kid running away from me


hello Binondo church!!


Tourist aircon jeep


Ted Claudio spotted a pro photographer friend in the middle of the crowded Binondo


I bought a PHP 5 cockroach toy
and I successfully scared my wife at home hahahahah sulit ang PHP 5


Bukayo – artisinal sweet coconut strips with brown sugar glaze


Ted and the lion


We went back to meet Edel.
Our target meet up is in Estero.
The crowd build up is so fast.. I think everyone are going to eat lunch


One of the weird attraction here in Binondo.
Street kids performed their own lion dance using a vegetable box and cloth.
People around them throws coins as donation for their performance.


Ted checks his Samsung tablet for messages from the DAAN photography team


Spotted a kid wearing a lion dance costume
I was actually looking for the store who sells that costume


inside Estero.
a mini food stalls at the side of the estero (polluted river)


Edel says hi and hello after the meet up hahahahah


My view of Ted driving his Hyundai car
We went to Harbor Square to eat lunch with Enzo Luna

We ended our day after a day tour in National Museum.

Azrael Coladilla is the blogger and founder of Azrael's Merryland Blog. This blog started as a personal blog in 2003, and then converted the blog into a lifeblog about his interest and reporting about pop culture, lifestyle, entertainment, technology, food, travel, toys, outdoor adventure, internet and social media. Awarded as the 2009 Most Influential Blogger for Luzon, Philippines, awarded by the Philippine Blog Awards. He is the founder of several online communities - Manila Bloggers Network, Philippine Bloggers Network, Oh My Food! community, Cavite Bloggers, Travel and Blog Community, and Philippine ToyCon. Azrael's Merryland Blog is included in a list of top 50 Blogs in the Philippines , ranked 65th in Top 100 Blogs that Matter , 49 must read lifestyle blog in the Philippines. and rank 40th in 100 Top Philippine Blogs by Feedspot.
He loves to travel, explore, discover, eat new food, document and record his life, meet new people, do photography and collects Transformers toys.
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