Chinatown , Manila – Philippines
Santa Cruz church group photo
Walk with Chan in partnership with NGO groups like Binondo Fireworks and Firecrackers Lovers Association , photography groups, freelance media , bloggers , food and cultural hoppers went for a whole day tour of several important and historical places which encompasses Santa Cruz, Binondo, San Nicolas and Divisoria areas.
Plaza San Lorenzo Ruiz
We started the day quite early , most of the participants arrived at past 6:00am at the fountain area within Plaza Santa Cruz, We saw some photography group and families that are waiting for their tour around Chinatown. The largest contingent was from Novaliches , Quezon City which numbered around a dozen participants , while there are some participants which came all the way from Nueva Ecija, Cavite , Pasay , Parañaque , Makati , Pasig , Manila and Rizal province. There were 50 plus participants from different age group.
Golden Pharao , Chicken Plant , Rabbit’s Foot, Golden Chicken Fern, Lamb’s Foot
Local peddlers selling them at a few hundred of pesos for unsuspecting buyer – They call them with different names . They are being sold as good luck plants which are gathered from the forest ( Mount Banahaw and Mount Cristobal in Quezon province ) according to the seller . This fern species is critically endangered species and is found between 200 meters to about 1, 600 meters in altitude. If grown improperly and grown in Metro Manila conditions , This fern species will surely meet its untimely death !
Cibotium barometz – This is medicinal and throughout its range some shamans , witch doctors , native people believes that it can ward -off evil spirits , hence a lot of them seems to e sold during auspicious times like Chinese New Year or Christmas season. This fern is slow growing and due to forest destruction and illegal collecting for the past hundred of years cause its dwindling population .
China, Taiwan , Nepal , Indonesia (from Java to Sumatra), Japan, North East India, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and Philippines .
The common Chinese names for this tree fern species include ‘Jinmao Gou’ or ‘Jinmao Gouji’ (Golden Hair Dog Fern, Scythian lamb, Golden Fu Dog Fern ), in Guangdong province it is called “Huanggoutou” (Yellow Dog’s Head Fern). In Malaysia the fern is known as Penawar jambi, bulu pusi, bulu empusi. The common European names for this fern include the ‘Woolly Fern’, Tartar for ‘lamb’, the vegetable lamb’.
ordinary house plants become extraordinary ” Good Luck Plant” with red ribbons and nice plastic pots
It seems that it is very interesting mix of Philippine festivities like ati-atihan, fire-blowers , people in vampire costumes, mardi-gras dancers and among others.
The fire- blowers are accompanied with loud banging noises ( mardi-gras beat) are also an added attraction to the event. They held a small envelopes ( Ang Pao) and solicit money or goods from the spectators, tourists and even shop owners.
We passed -by several places like Ongpin, T. Pinpin , Sabino Padilla, Salazar street then Benavidez site of our favorite Maki Place by Mañosa.
Lucky Chinatown Mall
The group slowly went to Lucky Chinatown Mall for a quick stop over ,It started raining before we left the mall .
Ramada Manila Central
Some of the participants eventually break-away and toured the nearby Seng Guan temple just a few blocks away and then promise to return by lunch time at Ramada Manila Central.
Ms. Sydneylyn B. Tan- Business Development Specialist ( Ramada Manila Central)
Our group was warmly received by Ms. Sydneylyn B. Tan which explained the Emperor’s buffet promo . It was the grand launching of the promo ( Luna Deck) and the hotel is starting to offer them on February 20, 21, 22 , 2015 at News Cafe Mezzanine and all sundays starting March until December 2015 including declared holidays .
participants and guests
This is the time of the year that all restaurants within Chinatown district are filled to the capacity . We opt to book this place as this had a commanding view of the Binondo and San Nicolas district . Security is also tight and visitors had more time to relax and have some time bonding with each other.
There were exciting array of western, asian , fusion desserts fruits, white fungus with dates, lotus seeds ( supposed to be good for a person’s skin and digestive system) almond jelly , emperor’s salad , dimsum, bite size tikoy , muffins, cookies
pork crispy lechon
Another must try is the pork crispy lechon , Unlike other lechon in other restaurants, The skin is very crispy and the meat is tender. It is also accompanied with sauce. We were fortunate to take photos of the food before it was chopped-up and eaten. In few minutes , It was GONE !!!!
chicken feet with tausi
stir fry broccoli with fish fillet
glutinous rice cake , firecrackers , umbrella and Chinese hat
I was not able to taste all the foods offered by the hotel ( downside of being one of the organizers of the tour) , We had a short program and need to entertain some guests . . Maybe next time.
Panciteria Macanista y Buen Gusto- photo courtesy : Binondo archives
The old photos shows the glory days of the old panciteria ( noodle house) . This was mentioned in the El Filibusterismo – Chapter 25
Panciteria Macanista y Buen Gusto crowd along San Fernando street, Binondo
The old panciteria ( circa 2015) building is almost in a sorry state and it was now owned by a Filipino-Chinese businessman who plan to convert and demolish the house into a building . This is also a popular debate on several facebook pages and forum site on the real value of the old house. Sadly, very few of the participants knew the place even existed .
Wikipedia : http://tl.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_filibusterismo
The group toured parts of San Nicolas district and before 4:00pm , The group decided to took a passenger jeepneys plying San Nicolas -Escolta route .
New Toho Food House
Antigua Toho or New Toho Food restaurant is considered as the oldest still existing Filipino- Chinese restaurant within Manila’s Chinatown- the store is located along Tomas Pinpin street near Dasmariñas street. The restaurant was established in 1866 and was even mentioned in Jose Rizal’s -Noli Me Tangere novel .
Pork asado is a MUST try when you want to eat at the restaurant. It is always out of stock and it must be pre-ordered days or even weeks in advance, especially on special events and occasions. It had a smokey flavor and had a right texture .
lumpiang Shanghai is another popular dish in this place
Pancit canton with pork liver, liempo , carrots, beans, shrimps , chinese cabbage
Chinese kikiam ( or Que -Kiam / Que Keng )
Another MUST TRY , Basic ingredients includes ingredients minced ground pork ( giniling na baboy), diced carrots, shrimps ,finely chopped red onion ,minced garlic, chopped green onions or chives, minced Chinese mushroom, diced water chestnuts wrapped in soybean ( tao peh ) . Its special sauce ( spicy and non-spicy ) are to crave for.
participants ( photo credit: Mr. Ralph Soriano )
We then distribute the t-shirts which was sponsored by Binondo Fireworks and Firecrackers Lovers Organization and printed by Nick Printing
Nick Printing Services: 0923-375-5851/ 099-8615-76-90
The group took its final leg walking around Ongpin, Sabino Padilla, Yuchengco , Teodora Alonzo and Zacateros street.
Zacateros street could be derived from Spanish word for the one who works with hay either by cutting or selling it. We finished the tour at the temple , ending our full day of tour.