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Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Chinese New Year 2016 in Chinatown, Binondo, Manila (my photo story )

Hi everyone, Im happy to share here my photo walk snapshots of the festivities of Chinese New Year 2016 or the Lunar New Year celebrating the start of the Year of the Fire Monkey. The main venue of the celebration happens here in the heart of Chinatown located in Binondo, Manila.

The entire Chinatown is transformed into a colorful big stage, its so noisy, crowded and the place will give you some kind of a vintage feel because of the simplicity and preservation of the entire Chinatown. Btw, Binondo’s Chinatown is considered as the oldest Chinatown in the world, the place is heavily visited by foreign tourist and also turn us pinoys as a local tourist.

For the celebration, we embrace the culture of the Chinese and pay homage for their influence to us and their ancestry, Also the contribution of the Filipino-Chinese to our country. Im happy that this celebration is a part of our mixed culture, its hard to forget whenever we have a Chinatown nearby, the fun part is that the celebration is a national holiday.

Happy Chinese New Year to you!
Kung Hei Fat Choi
Gong Xi Fat Cai
Kiong Hee Huat Tsai

My day started here when we meet up first in Chinatown Lai Lai Hotel, we booked our stay there in time for the Chinese New Year. After dropping our bags in our hotel room, I invited my blogger friends - Enzo Luna of, Ted Claudio of and Eli Villagonzalo of , to eat our lunch in Masuki in Benavides st.

Actually my plan is that to have a scheduled meet up at 12nn in New Pho Heng Lumpia house in Quentin Paredes, but all of us were so busy that day of Feb 7, 2016 and we arrived in Chinatown at around 2pm – just perfect timing for our check in at the hotel.

After eating our lunch, we started our short photowalk around Binondo, here we spotted two guys burning some paper, I think those are messages or printed paper money for the spirits.

At the sidewalk, we saw a seller of this Taiwan’s crepe or pancake called “Chapati”
According to the street vendor, she’s the only person in Manila who sells Chapati.

Lion dance costume and a paper sculpture of a monkey inside Chinatown Lai Lai Hotel.

Just showing our room at Chinatown Lai Lai Hotel.
Thanks to Ms. Nadj and Ms. Apple for fixing our accommodation.

Continuing our photowalk, I spotted lots of street performers and people in costume.
Here we saw that the street performers allow people to try their costume, for example, this girl was invited to try wear the lion dance costume

DIY- Batman armor and mask done by this guy…awesome work!

At night time, we were invited by Chinatown Lai Lai Hotel to watch the Lion and Dragon dance outside their hotel.

Btw, we were there because we were invited by the hotel to cover their soft opening.

Eli doing a selfie with the Chinese Dragon

Group hug photo of my blogger friends who were there to experience the Chinese New Year.

Lion and Dragon dance inside the hotel.
Every establishments in Binondo are visited by these costumed animals, I think it brings good luck to them and also drive bad spirits away ( I need to research about this pala)

My view of Ongpin st while at the roof top of Chinatown Lai Lai Hotel.

Behind the hotel, we noticed this high rise condo building lights up.. giving us a TRON feeling.

Another view from above
This was around 9pm of Feb 7, 2016.

I just missed the contest – Little Empress and Emperor
cute kids in traditional costume.

Our plan that evening is to cover the fireworks and program at the Filipino-Chinese Friendship Arch, so we took a quick shortcut in the corners of Binondo and here I spotted a restaurant that I might visit soon.

In Escolta, we saw Buddy Zabala, bassist of Eraserheads and The Dawn band.
We just missed the performance of The Dawn that evening.

We did some surveying and ocular around the area, we asked the security staff about the location of the fireworks display, then we are informed that the fireworks will be at the other side of Jones Bridge.

So we need to go back and get a good vantage shot, facing the arch and capture the glow of fireworks behind the arch and bridge.

Facing the arch infront of me.. behind me is the fireworks display. So this vantage will not work, I need to go there and stood in the middle of the crowd to get a good photo of both – arch and fireworks.

I did some long exposure shot…. crap I don’t my tripod with me
and I just used that fake Gorillapod that I bought from CDRking

Ted informed me that my photographer friend Richmond Chi was at the other side of the arch, I went there and greeted him, he was there for 3 hours waiting for the fireworks display.

Awesome guy with lots of passion of photography

Here’s my position waiting for the fireworks display.
Manila Mayor Erap was on stage

The fireworks started…… Im glad that I have a 10-20mm Tokina lens on my Nikon D5300 DSLR
Thanks to sir Allan Florendo for the lens, I adopted his lens when he decides to go full mirrorless.

I took a lot of photos and I only got this one good photo of the fireworks display.
I took this pic without a tripod hahahah.

Selfie muna.

Yul Servo on stage..
ano sya? congressman ba?

Long exposure shot in Escolta st.

Ended our night at around 1am
We just finished covering the opening of the Chinese New Year
Its my first time covering this event and I super enjoyed it, I will go back here next year.

View of Ongpin st. at around 2am
We went back tot the hotel after a quick midnight snack in Ying Ying Tea House.

Good morning Chinatown!
Me, Ted and Enzo started our own photo walk after breakfast.

Ted and his photographer friend, its funny that I have the same photo from last year hahahah.

Prosperity Cake

Prosperity Cake vendor pulled out by the local officials..they are asked to back down in preps for the parade

Just like last year, these street kids did their own lion dance using make shift basket and cloth.
They are much appreciated by the crowd and they dance with beat using tin cans and wood as a drum.

The old arch of Chinatown in Ongpin st.

Chinatown is the most selfied venue that day because of the colorful display of some Chinese decor

Old lady checks some statue of the Year of the Fire Monkey

Almost all corners of Ongpin you’ll see these statues… the monkey is the friendliest of all lunar animals.

Look at the crowd!!
I didn’t even noticed that there’s an armored car in the middle of the crowd

Guy and his lucky charm wares.

Colored chicks and ducklings.

Happy shooter at the street kids lion dance area

Another view of the crowd… look at those colorful balloons


Mother and kids

The kid was surprised when the lion stop over behind her

Korgivit E was given away
yeah..I took a tablet that day..just to power me up LOL

The dragon arrives.

The cute kid asked his daddy to take her to that direction

Kid candy vendor eating his yummy burned corn

Eng Bee Tin, most visited store in Binondo because of their hopia and tikoy
Also, they attracted the crowd when the displayed their giant tikoy.

Flower beh, gusto mo?

Kid drummer… he plays the drum while his dad serenades the crowd with his voice and guitar strums.
Im kinda sad to see that this young kid have to work really hard just to earn money… I noticed that he is sleepy and tired too.

Spotted some shooters on top of the purple fire truck

My view of Binondo church

Spotted this GMA van parked near the church

Binondo Church

Mang Mando, a cigar vendor that we met at the other side of the street, he told us about the parade at 2pm

On the street of Binondo Church, the parade and dance of lions and dragon are non stop.

Me and Enzo went out of Ongpin and decided to visit Lucky Chinatown Mall.

Triker and Biker

The original king of the road…the Kalesa

Kalesa are still active here in Binondo

Balloon vendor

Nao.. nao..
lucky cat statue outside the mall

Lucky Chinatown Mall have its own Chinese arch

Monkey lantern, as part of the 8 ways of spiritual something

This cute
I just noticed that the bikes are small and perfect only for kids hahaha.
I was hoping to hop on it that day

Write your wish on the wooden notes

Chinese lanterns every where
ganda di ba?

The place is very photo inviting
here we spotted a pretty girl having a photo in Lucky Chinatown Mall

We also met these teenagers taking their turns for a photo op.
Enzo told them that he can take a group photo together.

Selfie muna…

There’s a dragon shape hay at the area filled with lots of incense

I also spotted that pretty girl again on site.
and she noticed me too snapping a photo.
Happy Chinese New year to you!

Inside Golden Phoenix store…I was here last year during the tour with RJ Ledesma and Lucky Chinatown Mall

Here I met Sam Chua, a colleague in the toy collecting community, I just learned that his family owns Chinatown Lai Lai Hotel. Here he showed to us his custom toy that will be released soon.

I blurred it because its not yet in complete form.

Throwing some coins at the money tree will bring good luck

Statue of Buddah

Lots of people line up here to pray and wish

On our way out of the mall and head back to the hotel.

Hasht 5 ? hahahahah

Okay that was the end of my photo walk…..I was tired and sick so I decided to call it off and have some rest back at the hotel.

Thanks for viewing my annual photo coverage of the Chinese New Year celebration in Binondo, Manila.

I added some photos below as a part of the behind the scene of this photo project.

My first photo actually last Saturday before entering the Chinatown area

Inside our room at Chinatown Lai Lai Hotel

Lunch at Masuki

Rest time….wasak mode

Breakfast at Café Chino

Meet with Rence Chan

On our way out of Chinatown, we met our blogger friend Stonibert and Joan Lim, and also met their cute baby boy Skyler.

Thanks Ms Apple for fixing our hotel booking!
see you soon…. and for sure we will avail your free aromatic massage ahahah

Thanks everyone for reading….


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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