So it’s one week into the “Year of the Ram” (or Goat, or Sheep, whichever you prefer) and I’m just now posting the photos I took of the Chinese new year celebrations here in Manila. -_-
I’ve actually already wrote a long-winded post but got sidetracked by an overload of work from my job. Real life has to come first, of course. So scrap the War-and-Peace version, here’s the “barebones” version that won’t take until 2016 to finish.
For the 4th year in a row, I trekked to Binondo to watch the festivities and take photos. I started in 2012, the first year the President declared CNY a special non-working holiday, and may I say at the outset that I think the first year was the best one. (Streets were closed off and everything was more organized. Are you reading this, Manila City government?)
Now that that’s out of the way, here are the photos.
Binondo is the oldest existing Chinatown in the world. It’s an old area of the city with a long stretch of road that is bookended by two churches: Binondo Church (proper name is Minor Basilica of St. Lorenzo Ruiz) on one side, and on the other end, Santa Cruz Church (Our Lady of the Pillar Parish Church) which is technically located in Santa Cruz district and not Binondo, and therefore is not part of Chinatown. Pedantics aside, these two churches are the main entry and exit points to and from Chinatown. Normally I would start from Binondo Church where the hub of the celebrations are, living in a nearby district my whole life until around 3 months ago. Since moving house, Santa Cruz Church has become my entry point, and this was where I started.
Roasted chestnuts (or castañas, as they are known here) are a sight familiar during Christmas and Chinese new year. In the streets of the Philippines, they are roasted manually in these big woks by tossing them around in uniformly-sized hot volcanic stones.
Stores in Chinatown sell these all year long, but business is particularly good on new year’s day
Sugar cane vendors
I found their peeling long stalks of sugarcane fascinating to watch. There’s a certain zen to how synchronized their movements are, like there’s a tempo only they could hear, oblivious to the bustling sounds around them.
Children gets the most enjoyment.
Internet-ready watermelons. See? They’re already hashtagged! XDD
It had started to rain steadily not long after. I insisted on taking a photo of my friend’s lens dotted with raindrops. She kept telling me to hurry up because her lens is not weather sealed. (Well, buy Pentax, like me!)
We took shelter at the nearby sidewalks. This old hat vendor approached the family standing next to us. I don’t wear hats, so I kept hoping the family standing beside us would buy one. Luckily, because of the rain, he made a sale and sold one to the mother!
Staples during Chinese new year.
Enterprising kids imitating a dragon dance by fashioning a DIY dragon out of some baskets and blankets
Super long dragon sponsored by an insurance company
High pole lion dance. In the end, missed footing caused both of them to fall and sustain injuries.
A young apprentice in charge of the drums of the lion dance
Taiwan-style spring onion pancake
Lastly, more lucky charms
2012 CNY : https://theincoherentellipsis.wordpress.com/2012/01/23/19/
2013 CNY : https://theincoherentellipsis.wordpress.com/2013/02/12/2013-year-of-the-snake-chinese-new-year-in-the-philippines/