family collage

Monday, February 3, 2014


For 3 years now, my little TEAM YAP family would go to Chinatown in Binondo, Manila to celebrate CHINESE NEW YEAR. What we usually do is park our car in Manila Cathedral and ride a horse drawn carriage (or kalesa) going to Ongpin Street in Chinatown. We do that for 2 reasons: One, parking would be impossible on the busiest day of the year in Binondo, and Two, because the kids loved horses and it's always a thrill for them to ride a "kalesa".

When we get to Chinatown, we would usually just walk around and fill up on street food or marvel at the celebration happening on the streets. Afterwards, we would eat at a simple Chinese restaurant then end our mini-party by another "kalesa" ride going back to the car.

We were all pretty much excited on doing this simple TEAM YAP tradition for another year. Of course, like what would always happen, there were some minor hitch and glitches that made it all the more memorable!

Kung Hei Fat Choi everyone!

Going to Binondo, Manila for the CHINESE NEW YEAR!!!

As always, we parked our car in Manila Cathedral, and looked for a mighty steed to take us to Chinatown. A ride would usually cost around P500 especially if you get the kalesa in popular areas (Fort Santiago, Luneta, etc) but when you haggle and hire one in non-tourist areas you'll get it for as low as P200.

Unfortunately unlike before, ALL "kalesas" were in Binondo, Manila for the CHINESE NEW YEAR. So while thinking of a Plan B on how to get there, guess what we did?

TAKE PICTURES!!! He he he he!

My little guys by the fountain. All throughout the trip Mati kept texting his lola on what we were doing in our CHINESE NEW YEAR celebration. 

TEAM YAP invades Manila!!!

We were all wearing either green and brown -- the recommended colors which would give luck for the Year of the Horse! 

Here we are circa 2012 for our CHINESE NEW YEAR day wearing all green. Color coordination is so important for me you know. Tee hee! I'm sure my kids will hate me when they grow up!

It was a lovely morning and we did not mind passing the time around such beautiful monuments. 

Since it was impossible to hail a horse, we all decided to ride a pedicab going to Binondo Manila. The kids did not mind and was pretty excited to try it out for the first time!

Yub and Mati went on the first one!

At first they were ahead of us. 

(Don't worry, we were moving at ALMOST  a snail's pace....)


But then they let us go ahead being the gentlemen that they are. So we won! Yipee!

We got off at Jone's Bridge and had a bit of a walk.

Weather was quite cool so we did not really mind.

Again, this was a new experience for the kids to walk atop a bridge amidst whizzing traffic. 

We stayed for a while to look at the birds and the "parked" cargo boats. 

This is a wonderful sight that would somehow remind you of old Manila!

Of course, my husband wants to have a profile pic again... He he he he he!

Yes! We got down the bridge!

Welcome to CHINATOWN!!!

The place where the ancient Chinese traditions still live on amidst the ever changing development of society...

The place where the East rules and heralded by the West...

The place where Chinese food is cheap but authentically delicious...

The place where corners just breathe of exotic trinkets and what have yous....

But the kids suddenly got hungry...

And so we went to 7-11.


My husband and I were really excited to feast on the Chinatown street food which we enjoyed last year but then the kids were hungry so I guess we may have to forego that desire for now. 

Andrei had siopao anyway so that was a bit of a Chinese bite for us! He he he he!

Since the kids were hungrily devouring their food, we got envious and ate 7-11 grub as well! H ah ah aha!

TEAM YAP on cam!!!!

Okay. So going back to our China town trip for our CHINESE NEW YEAR celebration...

We passed by Eng Bee Tin which is the most famous Hopia and Tikoy store there is.  But if you plan to get some for CHINESE NEW YEAR it would be impossible! We went to 3 branches and all have crazy lines like this!!

You would THINK that you were lining up for IHOP, that is, back in the days when there WERE lines... he he he he!

For the CHINESE NEW YEAR, it is believed that if you have this sticky, glutinous cake, you will have unity with your loved ones and fortune will just "stay" with you. That's why caring people would give these sweet delicacies as gifts during the season.

Not to worry, if you were not able to receive some or if lining up at Eng Bee Tin is not your thing, there are many vendors all around the streets that sell these nummy yummy sticky cakes! 

We also saw these...

... and these! I read somewhere that if you have 12 kinds of round fruits (or vegetables) on your table for CHINESE NEW YEAR, you would be assured of a bountiful 12 months ahead!

Binondo Church! 

This cultural heritage has stood its ground since the year 1600 and worth a visit every time you're in Chinatown!

Here we found Ongpin street and it is where we will officially start our CHINESE NEW YEAR celebration!

What the...

The whole street was just jampacked and human traffic just stretched out as far as the eye can see!

Though a bit overwhelmed, we were still excited to walk it all through!

It was VERY noisy with the music from the street dancing. As a result, poor Andrei thought there would be fireworks to follow. He covered his ears for most of the walk.

Here are some of the interesting sights we caught in Ongpin Street for the CHINESE NEW YEAR!

Year of the Horse lucky figurines...

Colorful Chinese trinkets for good luck!

Our first dragon sighting....

Ala Marty Mcfly (Back to the Future) or Dustin Hoffman (Midnight Cowboys) We're walking here! We're walking here!

Ongpin street may be a bit crowded but it was still quite a fun experience for us!

I can't say the same for Andrei though...

WELCOME to Manila Chinatown!!!

Red is also the lucky Chinese color and you would see a lot of people wearing that shade!!

This is what awaits us on the other side of the road!

Lost near the emporium? Tee hee!

Yub bought the kids these interesting birdlike toys for P35 each. It certainly kept them occupied and entertained for most part of the walk.

I always forget to buy Andrei some earplugs. Now I know what "Santa" should give him next year... Tee hee!

Sticky rice delicacies and a Chinese "swatter" for bad luck!

Sticky purple cakes!

Slathered with lots of butter and topped with condense milk! YUM!

I remember that this was the store which let us rest the last time we were in Chinatown. The ladies inside found Mati and Andrei cute, that's why. He he he he!

And right on schedule, Andrei was now throwing a hissy fit.

But his tantrum took a "break" when he saw these colorful birds sold at the street!

Andrei : "Mommy can we buy some?"

I promised to buy him new pets if he behaved and finish his food for our CHINESE NEW YEAR trip.

Secretly, I hoped though that he WOULD continue on with his tantrum and not finish his food so we wouldn't have to add ANOTHER set of birds to his growing mini zoo at home.

Tee hee! Yes I'm THAT sort of wicked. Kidding! 

Pugo chicks :  Please adopt us...

Beautiful red lanterns were just everywhere!

Some were sold at the side streets!

This is the place with the red arch!

Like I said, Chinatown WAS crowded but the kids entertained themselves with their new "birds".

Thankfully, it was not so crowded anymore at the far end of Ongpin street!

Oops! Spoke too soon! 

There were many Chinese dragons roaming about Ongpin street and while they really "blessed" the stores/homes for prosperity and fortune, to me they added the F in FUN farty!

Sorry, PARTY!  He he he he!

We stopped by the store of one of our blogger friends to say hi and the kids were amused with their little coffee/tea machine!

I'm glad that my boys are not that jaded (even with todays' technology) that they are still very curious and get fascinated with the simplest of things!

Stonibert Lim (FOOD ALPHABET AND MORE) was PURPOSELY away when we dropped by that we just had a nice chat with his very charming wife Joan.

Tee hee! Just kidding Stoni!!!!

We were getting hungry so it was time for us to fuel up on our hungry insides!

Dear Joan recommended us to try LUCKY RAINBOW! They were supposed to join us, but Stoni was still hiding (bwa ha ha ha! Kidding again!) 

When we got there, we knew that it was a restaurant that served DELICIOUS food because of the lines of hungry diners waiting for their turns!


Blogpost soon to follow!

After lunch, Andrei reminded me of his promise.

Now could you resist that sweet face?

Yup! For P35, we got 4 little colored birds!

Awww...aren't they cute?

(Jaz -- just to give you an update, Andrei put these little birds in the same cage as his chicks who were not too keen on having more "flatmates". RIP little birds. We did not expect that baby birds could also be murderous. Sorry!)

After buying the birds, we encountered yet again another Chinese Dragon!

This time, Mati was called by his former schoolmate named Virtues who was part of the "Dragon pack". I let the 2 chat up while we looked for a mode of transport going back to the car.

And yey! Our prayers were answered!

The kids, especially Andrei, were really looking forward to riding a kalesa! And we were thankful that one was available to take us back to the car!

Stoni said that usually, a kalesa ride around Binondo would only cost P50. But since it was CHINESE NEW  YEAR, rates were up and we were asked to shell out around P500. Good thing my husband haggled a bit so we got this mighty steed for P250.00!


All throughout the ride we kept on singing the "Lone Rangers" theme.

Yes. That was not so CHINESE NEW YEAR-y of us! Ha ha ha ha!

We passed by again Virtues' dragon...

And another one!

Andrei was so excited with his kalesa ride!

The very nice horse owner even took us around Manila a bit even if the deal was just to take us back to the car!

And we're back!

The nice horse man even let Andrei ride his horse "Alipin" for a bit!

Still a great and memorable CHINESE NEW YEAR celebration! It may not go as exactly as we hoped it would be, but we still enjoyed the day nonetheless! Can't wait for our mini celebration again next year!



  1. I want to go to the Lucky Rainbow now, too. :( Take me there...

  2. Hi dear Kathi!!! We should really schedule a binondo foodfest and invite the food alphabet team with us. Tara!!! Lets sked that AND the Luneta trip!!!

  3. Haha! Next time hindi na ako magtatago, hope to see you guys again in Chinatown! =)

    1. Ha ha ha ha!! Let's have a Binondo lunch soon! Yohoo!! :)


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