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2014 Chinese New Year at Manila Chinatown

Part of my 2014 resolution is to be more adventurous and curious. So on a whim, I forced my friends to go with me to Manila Chinatown to celebrate Chinese New Year. No, I’m not Chinese and although my family have Chinese heritage, I don’t really consider myself as a Filipino-Chinese. Plus, my physical attributes doesn’t resemble any Chinese features.


Anyway, it was my first time in Manila Chinatown. I’ve always wanted to go but I guess it’s not a priority whenever I plan trips. Truthfully, I expected to see a lot of stalls selling lucky charms, tikoys and of course, Chinese food! What I didn’t foresee was the massive influx of people also wanting to join the festivities! Parades, dragon dances and fire dancers scatter in the streets entertaining every passing audience. I was like a kid lost in a foreign land!

Chinatown is known for its cheap and delicious food. This is the main reason why I wanted to come. But to my disappointment, we weren’t able to eat in the restaurants we want because each one is full and crowded. We ended up eating at Tasty Dumplings, in the street parallel to Ongpin. Surprisingly, the food was awesome.

After we ate, it seemed like all the parades and dragon dances started simultaneously. Every road is crowded (and blocked, so to say) with people watching the different activities. There was one moment when we were stuck because there’s a car blocking the road while a lion dance is on-going in the side walk. It was stalemate for a while until a dragon dance is moving from one road to another. We somehow forced ourselves under the dragons and mimic the movements! It was so much fun for my first ‘dragon dance’ despite the tugging, pulling and yelling from everyone.

The experience was exhausting. We only spent a mere 5 hours there and we were dead tired after. One of my friends even slept in the jeepney on the way to SM Centrepoint. But I would definitely do this again! 🙂

L-R: Joed, Anna, me

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