I and the boys finally achieved our plans of visiting Manila's Chinatown a day before Chinese New Year. We didn't bring a car because it's typically an hour-long drive from Cainta to Manila and I also read that most of the roads leading to Chinatown are closed. So from our house, we went to SM Marikina, parked the car there, and walked to the Santolan LRT Station. We road the train to Recto Station. I had planned to make another train ride from Doroteo Jose (LRT-1 line) to Carriedo Station but I thought of exposing my "sheltered" boys to what Manila is really like, hehehe. So we rode a jeep from there to our first stop, Santa Cruz Church.
Santa Cruz Church was built by the Jesuits in June 20, 1619 and it was the first Roman Catholic Church in the area. In front of the church is Plaza Sta. Cruz where the Carriedo Fountain stands. Ongpin Street is already a few steps away and it is where the Third Welcome Gate (Arch of Goodwill) to Manila Chinatown can be seen.
We have planned to walk the whole stretch of Ongpin from the Sta. Cruz side to the Binondo side. From what I've read, almost all of the activities lined up for the Chinese New Year are lined up in Ongpin Street.
True enough, halfway through Ongpin, a huge stage was propped right smack in the middle of the street, by the corner of Sabino Padilla Street. Apparently, Chinese New Year being declared a non-working holiday paved the way for the First Pedestrian Day at Manila Chinatown.
At this point, we felt the intense festive air in the place. Kiosks were lined up along the streets showcasing Chinese traditional art, books, and religious customs.
|Offering flowers to Buddha.|
Of course, there were a lot of peddlers selling Chinese good luck charms and what-have-you's.
We turned right upon reaching Salazar Street and turned right again at Benavidez Street so we could have our lunch at Wai Ying Fastfood. You can read about our food trip HERE.
Finally, we were able to reach the end of Ongpin Street where Binondo Church is.
We are planning to go back probably during my boy's summer vacation. There are still a lot of places that we weren't able to visit in Chinatown. The place is rich in culture and history. I only wish that the people who live and frequent the place realize that so they can take extra care of the place's historical sights.
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