Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Trip to Binondo 2012

At last, after years of waiting, I finally experienced Chinese New Year in Binondo!!!

It's a good thing that, for the first time (ever?), the celebration to welcome the year of dragon was declared a special non-working holiday by the MalacaƱang, and that's the primary reason why I can go there and got a first hand experience of the festivity.  And according to some, the declaration was basically the reason why the number of pinoys that trooped to Binondo, primarily Ongpin street, doubled or even tripled as compared with the previous celebrations.  Well, I do not have even the slightest idea as to how many people came that day, but I can tell you that a lot is an understatement.

I went there alone to shoot and at the same time, being a first timer, to be an usisero.  With the throng of people in Ongpin, no one will feel alone and no one can tell that I am an usisero. 

The moment I stepped out of the bus in Sta. Cruz and walk towards Ongpin, people in red and cameras flashing (literally and figuratively) are as common as the ponkans and oranges selling 5-for-P100.00.  It wasn't that hot, but you'll sweat with the energy of the place coupled with the endless walking and countless bodies that merged into that area.

My objective was to watch and shoot a dragon and lion dance.  The moment I heard a vicious beating of drums, I run towards to the area where the sounds are coming and found a lot of people circling around some performers, but they're not dragon/lion dancers, some kind of ati-atihan group that joined the business of giving and collecting envelopes to all in exchange for some dance and fire eating.  I stayed for a while, shoot some and walk away.

I saw some dragons "walking", and the mere sight of them excites a lot of people (including me) and before I can say dragon, people swirled around them and have their pictures taken.  I thought it was a main recipe for chaos and I was in the middle of it, so I excused myself and settled in the nearest corner, and took my time shooting.

It was after coming from Dong Bei (for a take out dumplings) that I got to witness a Lion Dance, the dragon performers just finished their part when I arrived though.  It was an amusing sight!  My adrenaline pumped with the beat of drums and cymbals, I almost forgot to take pictures as I was glued watching their routine, hehehe.
They performed in a newly-opened restaurant, and the coins thrown by the lion dancers to spectators were, understandably, more than the usual and the kids and oldies alike have a merry time catching them.

As I went my home, I walked again going the Sta. Cruz way, it was a long walk as I stopped every chance I got to see a dragon dance, and taking picture of other stuffs.  I also waited in line to get my share of shanghai fried siopao.  Oops, sorry, no picture of the actual siopao, I forgot hehehe.

If the next Chinese New Year falls on a weekday, will it be a holiday again?

Hopefully, so I can go back and dance with the dragon and lion again!!! :)


bing said...

wow. what a lovely set of colors. your collection of pics for this post is like a burst of colors.

it is the food that i am interested in visiting this place. one day, we are going to have a taste of the food there. masasarap daw, e.

good to see a post. i hope the hibernation has ended he he

zherwin said...

thanks bing. i am also hoping that the hibernation has ended hehehe.

if you are going on a binondo food trip, invite nyo naman ako. :)

Ding | The Pinoy Explorer said...

I wanted to go, pero tinamad ako. LOL! Indeed, the fried siopao is one of a kind! Veru colorful photos! I should attend the celebrations next year!

zherwin said...

ding, hopefully holiday ulit next year. babalik nga ulit ako ng binondo para sa fried siopao na yun hehe


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