Binondo Chinese New Year

Kung Hei Fat Choi! Happy New Year to all of You!

This is the first time I really felt the Chinese New Year Celebrations. My wife’s family celebrates it and this is the only time that I appreciate it. We treated it like the Jan. 1 New Year and celebrating it in Binondo makes it more special. It was my first time in Binondo during this celebration and I avoided it in the past because I don’t know what to do in Binondo or what to expect. There is that occasional fear of pick pockets and feeling of being an outsider trying-hard-to-celebrate-the-New-Year that prevented me from experiencing the Binondo Chinese New Year!

We had fun chasing the dragons/lions all around China Town. The photo opportunity is quite different because there is no organized schedules and the happenings are organized by the shop owners. What happens is, each store prepares something for the lions — it could be candies or lucky coins to eat and sometimes beer to drink. They court the lions to dance and bring good luck to the store. The end of the dance is usually culminated by fireworks. Before the lion leaves, they get the angpao containing cash usually hooked high above the store’s entrance. It is quite an experience to see these dragons and lions do this ritual all over China Town.

Tips in celebrating Chinese New Year in Binondo. (I’m putting this as a mental note for next year)

1. Bring Ear Plugs! The fireworks are so loud that it can damage your ear drums specially if you are near taking the photos.
2. Follow the dragons/lions. There is no set schedule on when the dragons/lions appear so the best way to find out is to follow the group of dragons/lions.
3. 10am and 4pm festivities on the eve of Chinese New Year. Usually most of the lions appear during this time. I’m glad that this year’s CNY falls on a saturday.
4. Go on a Food Trip. You should bring someone with you who would know where to eat in Binondo. After joining Ivan’s Big Binondo Food Wok, somehow I can say that I know my way around Binondo’s culinary secrets.
5. Celebrate it with friends and family. Binondo will remain a mystery to most of us and it is quite an experience to explore it with family and friends. I’ll try to organize something next year.

It was nice bumping into Sidney of Sari Sari Store, Ivan Henares of IvanAboutTown, and SenorEnrique of WishYouWereHere. Check out their post on the Chinese New Year @ Binondo:

Here are some postcards from the Binondo Chinese New Year…

The Lion Dance amidst the Fireworks.

Fire spitting Badings

To cast off evil spirits and bring good luck.

Dragon showing off the candies and lucky coins before throwing it to the crowd.

The Dance of the Three Dragons.

In fear of the Dragons.

That Angpao is mine!

Shopping for your lucky charms.

Wrestling with the Fireworks


12 thoughts on “Binondo Chinese New Year

  1. Hi Anton,
    It was nice meeting you and your family! After reading you blog for such a long time it was great to meet you in person!
    You are right about the earplugs!
    Cool shots!

  2. I can’t wait to find a smiling and fat pig lucky charm in San Diego, Ca. They said it is good if it is kept inside the house or bedroom. It must positioned facing the living room or bedroom.

  3. ei Anton,
    you almost saw the tutubi there! 🙂
    was texting Eric on his whereabouts but I was trapped in Intramuros “following a paper trail” sans my camera
    missed the chinese this year because of that but there’s always next year…

  4. Glad you enjoyed the Chinese New Year festivities. I love your great and colorful photos. It must have been wonderful witnessing all that.
    Awww, poor Aidan must have been overwhelmed by those dancing dragons.
    Thanks for sharing.

  5. Oh lordy. I think I saw you!–>If you were the one with the spanking big digital camera!(…aside from that foreigner guy also taking pictures!) I spy my (dental) office in one of your pics… and yep, I was surprised by the invasion of the fire breathing badings. Kung alam ko lang ikaw yon I should’ve treated you to what else, but Chinese food.Cheers!

  6. Great pictures, Anton!
    It was a great pleasure to have run into you and your family, as well as Ivan and Sidney! What a perfect afternoon to welcome the Year of the Pig!
    Hope to get together soon, but this time with my dSLR 🙂

  7. Very vibrant photos Anton, bravo! Wasn’t Aidan scared of the dragons? 🙂 For the first time I ‘celebrated’ Chinese new years, but over at Malate. We had a pretty good time, and I think this won’t be my last. 🙂

  8. gong xi fa cai!!!! its truly wornderful to see the dragon and lion danced accompaned by cymbals and shows spirit of prosperity to come forth. i suggest that you also post the picture of how chinese celebrates all souls day. thats all fei chang gan xie nin!!!!!!

  9. Hello Anton,
    Happy New Year!
    I would just like to ask for some assistance on where to buy authentic/genuine charms like the “Everlasting Fortune and Love in Front of your Eyes” and the Grade AAA Rose Quartz Peony Pendant Necklace”?
    I look forward on your reply
    Thank You

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