2019 Chinese New Year Special Tour in Manila’s Chinatown

Royal Postal Heritage Walking Tour in partnership with WalkwithChan, Binondo Firecrackers and Fire Lovers Association, Philippine Philatelists and Collectibles FB, Heritage Advocates and other non-government organizations conducted a guided tour within the heart of the world’s oldest Chinatown last February 5, 2019.

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Santa Cruz Church also known as Archdiocesan Shrine of The Blessed Sacrament

The participants came from all walks of life, students, professionals, bloggers, journalists, travel operators, academe, people that are involve in heritage, culture, collecting clubs and even a Japanese expat !

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Carriedo fountain replica ( photo courtesy of Mr. Philip Reyes)

We started the tour at around past 7:00 am. Some participants were already there at around 6:30 am.  We also have two participants who came from Biñan, Laguna province.

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Mr. Philip Reyes– is the earliest bird among the group. He got 1 box special Delite Herbal tea as a prize. He came around 6:20 am ahead of the other participants.

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Delite Herbal tea are available in major supermarket chain and a daily sip of this would boost one’s immune system. Perfect for everyone, especially for those walking for whole day. It had three flavors turmeric -ginger with tamarind  calamansi, salabat and ampalaya ( bitter gourd).

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Chinatown Lailai Hotel reception area

Chinatown LaiLai Hotel began offering an affordable breakfast and lunch buffet meals to the general public about 5 years ago. They include them as package ( usually breakfast buffet) for their guests staying at their premises.

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breakfast buffet dishes

The hotel restaurant used to have a wider selection of dishes at a more cheaper promo rate of Php 148 from 2015- 2016. Then they increased to Php 168 in the later part of 2016 with about 12 to 16 dishes with bottomless coffee and powdered juices ( orange or grape).

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dining area

The slight change in their promo price was posted early December 2018, which also in effect increase their price to Php 199. (Php 300 regular price).

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Chinatown LaiLai Hotel facade

However for regular patrons, the change in their prices also affected the selection and varieties of their dishes. We notice that they remove the popular fried boneless bangus, tocino, longganisa, sauteed radish and even their fried lumpiang shanghai off their menu list.

In general, their dishes are more varied compared to the regular fast food restaurants within the vicinity. Who could not resist the value for their hard earned money by having a breakfast buffet? However, some commented that they must try to improve the set-up by offering some senior citizen and pwd discounts.

Our group tried our best to reach out to the marketing and management of the hotel. It seems that they are too busy for the Chinese New Year celebration that sparing us some time seems useless. Personally, It would be a big marketing opportunity on their side since there are some participants from Daily Tribune, Manila Times and bloggers within the group.

Address: 801 Ongpin St. corner Sabino Padilla Street, Binondo, Manila

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Lao Po Pia at Php 47.00 per pack

Salazar Bakery is one of the oldest and well-known bakeshop within the Chinatown district. Some were able to buy their hopias, sweetheart pastry and tikoy.

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Salazar bakery different array of products

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Ongpin estero restaurant stalls

The group decided to visit the popular estero. There are about a dozen or so stalls offering cheap Filipino-Chinese and regional Chinese cuisines.

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fresh squids, clams and fish fillet

The only drawback are the stench coming from the estero, flies and children begging for alms. One must be careful with their belongings and have a watchful eyes. Some unsuspecting people and children can easily snatch an opportunity to get one’s item.

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Uy Suy Bin Building along Quintin Paredes street is endangered of getting demolish.  This is one of the few art deco building along the street. New Po Heng lumpia ( vegetable spring rolls) and home- cooked meals used to be located at the ground floor area of this building along with a well-known banking institution and hundreds of tenants.

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Filipino-Chinese Friendship entrance arch along Quintin Paredes street

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fountain

Plaza San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila or Plaza Binondo is home to two magnificent fountain, These two dates back in the late 19th century.

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grill works

There are also some old ancestral houses remaining within the street. Their intricate iron grill works are amazing sight to behold.

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Seng Guan temple with festive buntings

Seng Guan Temple is located along Narra street within Tondo district. The temple compound is just one block away from Tutuban Mall. Seng Guan Si was established by Wu Jianglu, Wang Zhenwen, and members of their Chinese Buddhist Society in the Philippines. Mahayana Buddhist is practice in this temple.

The facade has well detailed intricate carvings in bas relief made from granite stones imported from China or Taiwan. It is also a common practice among Filipino-Chinese and Chinese to place their offerings, sampaguita garlands and light incense in the large bronze incense burner placed at the altar of Guan Yi during the first day of the new year.

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Seng Guan temple with devotees and tourists

There are beliefs that this will brings prosperity and good luck for those who practice this ritual. The group had a hard time queuing among the throngs of people in red dress. It is regarded as the first Buddhist temple in the Philippines, being the first temple with a resident monk, Venerable Seng Guan (1889-1962).

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2nd floor of the temple

 This three-floor temple crowned with beautiful golden stupas is also known as “Temple of Thousand Buddhas”. The second floor of the temple had chandeliers, is famous for the carved murals that depict different scenes from Buddha’s life and the three silk-mache gold Buddhas.

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Some historians would agree that this is one of the oldest and probably largest in Manila in terms of its building size, compound, devotees and family urns that are deposited within the temple grounds. On the top most portion of the temple, one can see concrete stupas painted in gold color.

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large buddha images

There is not much old structures remaining at the current compound. Most of the temple structure was burned down in the late 1960’s and the present temple compound is was reconstructed in the early 1970’s to mid-1970’s. Some of the buildings within the compound are just barely few decades old. Relatives and family friends living within the Binondo and Tondo district are devotees of this shrine.

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We also went to Lucky Chinatown Mall for a quick snap shots.

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Chinese lauriat style ( Ying Ying restaurant)

Our next stop over was Ying-Ying restaurant at around past 11:00am. This is a Filipino-Cantonese restaurant along Dasmariñas street in Barangay 291 within Binondo district. We ordered a 12 course Chinese lauriat dishes with almond jelly as dessert and choice of soft drinks ( coke, sarsi or sprite).

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group photo ( photo courtesy of Mr. Edwin Galvez)

The name was derived from the proprietor and the business is doing quite well.

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long lines of people waiting to eat  ( photo courtesy of Mr. Edwin Galvez)

Proof to the pudding were hundreds of people queuing in line just to eat at this restaurant whenever there are occasions and important gatherings.

Address: 233-235 Dasmariñas street corner Yuchengo street, Binondo, Manila

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This is another building endangered getting demolish along Dasmariñas street. It is said to be one of the works of Andres Luna de San Pedro.  In neo-classicial style architecture.

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Hap Hong Hardware Co. building along Dasmariñas st. cor. Quintin Paredes street.

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Panciteria Macanista de Buen Gusto located at 539 San Fernando Street, Binondo mentioned in Dr. Jose Rizal’s novel ( El Filibusterismo)

We walked towards the other side of Binondo district. This had one of the historic parts of the district. There are also some of the last remaining centuries-old ancestral houses.

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Fundicion de Hilario Sunico

This used to be owned by the Sunico family clan. There is a foundry at the back of the ancestral house where 176 church bells , iron grills and cast iron were made. Some of the bells and iron grill works adorn some of the old churches and ancestral houses in the country were cast.

Unfortunately , the property was sold several decades ago and the current owner operates a junk shop.

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old ancestral house with tile roof- now several commercial stalls are located

This is a few example of ancestral house located in 638 Elcano corner Lavezares  street, Binondo with tile roof still intact. This could possibly dates back in the late 18th or early 19th century. ( Some architects, heritage advocates estimate that this house is between 200 to 250 years-old)

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few remaining ancestral houses within Lavezares street , Binondo, Manila

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285 Lara street corner Barcelona street

This ancestral house is getting a new paint job and minor renovation at the ground floor.

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Peñarubia street

Ancestral house of Mr. Ralph Soriano along Peñarubia street. The old house was built in the late 19th century. This was repainted and minor repairs were made last year.

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Kim Yek Engineering and Foundry located along 529 to 533 Camba street

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ancestral house located on a corner street -painted in light pink

A few block away from this location along Calle Madrid was at a house numbered as 28-D. In this house were Gregoria de Jesus was kept by her parents from marrying his then fiancee’ Andres Bonifacio.

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Madrid street signage made from tiles

The documents at the National Archives and National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) revealed that she managed to write hasty letter to the gobernadorcillo of Binondo dated 6 October 1893. Its contents roughly translate into:

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Gregoria de Jesus ( Lakambini or Muse of Katipunan)

“I am Gregoria de Jesus from Caloocan, a Tagalog maiden, and a minor age. I wish to contract marriage with my novio (fiancee) Andres Bonifacio of 11E Sagunto Street, Tondo. When my parents found out of my good intentions, I was brought here to Binondo and placed in 28-D Madrid Street.

 I am truly a prisoner here. I have no liberty at all. I appeal to your power to mediate and give me justice. Take me from here, summon my fiancee, fulfill the necessary government requirements so that we can get married. I ask justice from you and hope that you listen because this appeal is addressed to anyone with a kind heart.”

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Jaboneros street marker- This is one of the few remaining street markers made during the Spanish colonial era using tiles and hand-painted. Jaboneros was named after soap makers who sells them in bulk.

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arch of solidarity -along Calle San Fernando

Arch of Solidarity serves as demarcation entrance between Binondo and San Nicolas district

San Nicolas was a barrio located within Binondo district, But was separated as an independent district towards the late 19th century. Unfortunately, some people would only refer San Nicolas because of the street which bear its name.

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Iglesia ni Cristo chapel- lokal ng San Nicolas

Iglesia ni Cristo chapel located along 338 Jaboneros street had a unique architectural style. Curiously, this Iglesia ni Cristo -lokal ng San Nicolas also provide service in Chinese language. This was repainted to a light bluish hue compared to the light brown color few years back.

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San Nicolas street

An ancestral house located within Binondo/ San Nicolas district with old street tiles still intact.

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historical marker ( old house was numbered 476 to 478)

The current building is called Oceancell building located in 478 Calle San Fernando, Binondo. This used to be an old wooden house called Leyba house where Doña Teodora Alonzo y Realonda Rizal ( mother of Dr. Jose P. Rizal ) lived until she died on August 16, 1911. Along Estraude Street is the house which the Rizal family rented after the remains of Jose Rizal were exhumed from Paco cemetery.  This is also the place where Dr. Jose Rizal bones were kept before they were finally interred at the monument.

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General Antonio Luna ancestral house located at Urbiztondo street. He was born on 29 October 1866 in Binondo, Manila, the youngest of seven siblings. He studied at the Ateneo de Manila where he finished his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1881.

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City Plaza condominium building located near Urbiztondo street near Plaza del Conde, Binondo, Manila

There are also rumors that there is another old ancestral house that was located near the fire station in which modern City Plaza condominium building now stand.

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Coast and Geodetic Survey building

Coast and Geodetic Survey Building is located 421 Barraca Street,Binondo, Manila

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San Nicolas fire station located at 296 San Fernando corner Madrid street

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Antiqueño restaurant located along Madrid corner Lavezares street

Antiqueño restaurant which is located at the ground floor and a residential house at the second floor. The house is in neglected condition and possibly scheduled for demolition.

The house of Mason Faustino Villaruel at No. 8 Calle Asuncion served as meeting place for the members of the Walana Lodge.

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a modern building along Calle Asuncion

It was in this house where an auxiliary lodge for women mason was founded. Doña Rosario Villaruel (Don Faustino’s daughter) became the first woman mason in the country.  Asuncion street is popular among wholesalers of onions, garlic and cheap plastic wares. Most of the lower numbered houses and buildings are located in the Binondo area.

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Casa Tribunal de Naturales

Calle Asuncion with some of the few old buildings which was used in the late 19th ( 1886) as a village court. Today very few people living within the area know the historical value and the building is under neglect and privately owned.

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book which describes the historical value of the house and its architectural plan

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Ilang-Ilang restaurant group photo

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 participants

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different specialties of Ilang-ilang restaurant ( photo courtesy of Ms. Winnie Ramos)

different dishes- chopseuy with quail eggs, buttered fried chicken, pata tim with winged pea, spinach with tofu soup, sweet and sour soup, fried rice, fried botchi with a choice of seven up and pepsi.

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Chinese new year parade along Quintin Paredes street ( photo courtesy of Mr. Ralph Soriano)

The pink and blue colored t-shirts were also handed out by Mr. Ralph Soriano ( chairperson ) Binondo Firecrackers and Fire Lovers Association and tikoys to all the participants. Much to the delight of the participants, Some of them did not expect that there will be these kinds of freebies.  Maraming Salamat po!

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participants ( photo courtesy of Mr. Ralph Soriano)

We also visit New Toho restaurant aka ( Panciteria Antigua Toho ) This was established in 1888. A visit to the historical Chinatown district is incomplete without dining at this place.

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(group photo- courtesy of Ms. Winne Ramos)

The simple ambiance, good food, personalities and historical figures who have dined-in at this place.

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We again toured several places, watched dragon and lion dancers performed. The group also went to a Buddhist temple in Santa Cruz and capped the Chinese New Year with warm greeting and endless farewell.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Visit to Kiu Pat Liong Shiao Temple within Don Galo,Parañaque City

Kiu Pat Liong Shiao is a Taoist temple located along coastal road located within Barangay Don Galo within Parañaque City. This is sometimes referred as Chinese temple.

Kiu Pat Liong temple compound with high walls

This is one of the iconic landmark located within the city . This is temple which was built more than 30 years ago and is one of the more elaborate temple. Traffic reporters would put this temple as their reference point during traffic report or segment.

Kiu Pat Liong Shiao gate 

We decided to visit this temple after a certain Mr. Marcelino Chua Sy posted in a FB religious site last May 27 that the temple is closing down and is giving away some of the altar and Taoist deities.

FB page group post

Some of them are shocked with the posting, so they told us to recheck if the story is true.

local marker 

I tried to ask some of my friends who are active at the temple , one of them is Master Chua Hu Hua and some of my friends living within the city.

Santa Monica chapel

I decided to tag along a friend, who is a volunteer at a Buddhist shrine in Makati , They might need an altar ( just in case) We decided to visit the temple last June 3 saturday . We took a jeepney ride ( with Baclaran with Zapote , Quirino Avenue) paid the Php 8.00 fare and dropped off at Santa Monica chapel along Quirino Avenue .

The place is less than 4 kilometer from Baclaran church .

There was a bronze statue which commemorates the Lim Ah Hong or Ah Hong  which attacked the area on  November 29, 1574 , later identified as Don Galo or Dong Galo

We went to the temple and talked with the caretaker and 2 Filipino-Chinese guardians of the temple.  They allowed us to visit the altar and lighted an incense.

We manage to talk with the caretakers and they told us that there was no truth with the rumors and They do not know anyone with a surname Mr. Chua who is in charge of the place.

Address: Buensuceso St, Don Galo, Parañaque, Philippines

A Busy Morning Bell Temple Visit in Baguio

Magsaysay Avenue, Baguio City-Philippines

A must place to visit Baguio is the famed Bell Temple or Bell Church , This was a last minute adjustment in our Baguio itinerary since everyone opted to visit this temple , forgo the strawberry and flower farm visit. This is near the La Trinidad arch border .

La Trinidad arch

entrance to the temple

This was the first itinerary before we visited the Ben Cab Museum last May 18, 2016 .  The tour was arranged by Azalea Hotel and Mr. Melo Villareal , What i did was to go inside the temple and lighted an incense and pay homage to the deities of the place.

undulating walls with Chinese names

The undulating walls have Chinese characters written in red paint. I think they were the names of Filipino-Chinese and Chinese families who have donated money for the building of the temple and its upkeep.  It also doubles as cement plant boxes .

Bell Church manicured lawn

Paifang or Pailou entrance to the temple compound

Bell Church is a Taoist church, and is open to public at 6am to 5pm. There were 2  lions that are guarding the entrance to the center garden .  The architecture of the temple compound is a mix of traditional Chinese and modern ones.

main temple

Unlike my previous visit, photography is not allowed inside the main altar and the Kau Cim or Kau Chim is a fortune telling practice that originated in China in which the querent (person asking the question) requests answers from a sacred oracle lot.

children

Beside the temple is another hall in which we saw some children practicing Chinese martial arts. They also teach these children the art of lion dancing and other routines. These children sometime participate in Manila during Chinese New Year and some auspicious occasions.

day time blooming water lily

Unfortunately the person was not present in the temple , otherwise We  have to try to Manila branch.

 

dragon fountain

There is a water lily pond  at the middle of the courtyard  in which people throw coins to make their wish come true . There is another pond with a dragon fountain spouting water with dozens of kois and tropical fishes . There are a lot of bell design at within the garden and its garden.

The bell temple ground had beautiful landscaped gardens and gates leading to several sections . What makes the temple grounds beautiful are the flowering plants, bromeliads, roses, water lilies , ferns , orchids and annuals flowers .

Kok Fan bust

Kok Fan is also known as Ng Pee who is said to have founded the Bell’s Temple .

roses in bloom

Bell Church | Baguio Taoist Temple
Address: Magsaysay Ave., Baguio City
Telephone: (0917) 355-4788
Open Hours: 6:00AM – 5:00PM
Entrance Fee: Free
( voluntary donations are accepted inside the main temple for its upkeep and charity works)

Visit to Thousand Buddha Temple along Maria Clara and Don Pepe Street in Quezon City

15 Don Pepe Street corner Maria Clara street , Barangay Santo Domingo ,Santa Mesa Heights -Quezon City , Philippines

This is one of the largest Buddhist temple in this part of of the city . The temple is founded by a monk from Seng Guan temple in the mid- 1980’s who have some misunderstanding ( financial and teachings ) with Master Tuan Yin. 

The second floor had several hundred Buddha statues and the hall is also used for the ceremonies.

( left ) Doña King Pao Guat Typoco– prominently displayed at the main hall and ( right )  Don Ty Tiong Typoco

With the help of some local Filipino- Chinese like Dr. Lucio Tan and his mother , (Doña King Pao Guat Typoco and Don Ty Tiong Typoco ) mother and father of taipans Tan Yu and Don Jesus Typoco Sr.

Mr. Tan Yu established King Pao Guat Typoco Tanyu Internationale (KTTI) Foundation in memory of his late mother in the early 1990’s which provided scholarship among thousands of indigent students from all over the country. Mr. Sy ( manager ) of then Storck Candy  and some prominent businessmen with deep  Buddhism faith.

 Buddhist scholars and deities within the perimeter wall of the temple

The head priest was able to purchase a small lot and construction began shortly . There used to be several big time contributors living near the temple . Their donation of cash and construction supplies fuel the growth of the temple complex.

Quan Yin statue with Indian tree ( False Ashoka )  – Polyalthia longifolia

It is a favorite site for television , commercial and photo shoot, since the ground is well kept with manicured grass and man-made lagoon where hundreds of kois , red ear slider turtles are found.

man-made pond with kois

The Indian tree or false ashoka was planted within the compound the the late 1980’s to beautify the garden .

columbarium building

My grandparents ( paternal side)  , several aunts , uncles , relatives and close friends were interred at the temple’s columbarium units . I have seen the growth of the temple compound to what it is today.

Manila Buddha Temple is also known as Po To Si  or PO CHE CHIAM SI among those who frequent the place.  The columbary construction started in the late 1989 until early 1990’s where cremated remains have their final resting place.

columbary units ( one unit can hold 2 to 3 urns)

At least 8,000 to 10,000 cremated remains were interred inside the columbarium building since it was built . Each vault can hold up to 2 urns with 108 spaces length and 880 vaults . The full capacity of the columbarium units are estimated between 95,040  ( one interred inside the vault ) to 190,080 if two were interred .

live flowering plants especially orchids ( Phalaenopsis ) are  offered by relatives

The second floor (Dr. Lucio Tan’s mother is said to be interred)

temple entrance viewed on top of the temple and Philippine Buddah Care Academy 

In 1997, Philippine Buddah Care Academy is the realization of the Venerable Master Guang Chun’s aspiration a number of decades ago at the adjacent lot which is almost as large as the main temple. Whenever there is a need for extra parking space ( especially during All Saint’s Day , All Soul’s Day and Chinese New Year ) The school would open its parking area for the visitors.

Philippine Buddha Care Academy students

He and his capable assistant, the Venerable Master Guang Xue, the superintendent of Thousand Buddha Temple, commit themselves to the mission of spreading the doctrine of Buddhism to purify people’s minds and promote Chinese virtues and culture.

screen caption from MMDA twitter -August 17, 2013

During the first decade of existence, The academy enjoyed a robust growth in terms of student enrollments – However , after series of unfortunate events that happened during the succeeding years like mismanagement , a fire which started at a nearby shanty area and spread to one of the school building, caused a lot of damage to the classrooms and facilities.

burning paper -folded into bar shaped money for the dead and guardians of hell

There are also campaign by the temple management to minimized the burning of paper money which cause some environmental concerns on its immediate neighborhood. I just do not know how the others will react on this reminder. Perhaps , they should be burning their paper money within the confine of their homes.

Controversies

Both the school and the temple had its own share of controversies . There are several accusations that the head nun Chong Yau Kan also known as Kwang Xie had been getting a lot of solicitations from the public even without rendering their services. The head nun and monks also go around funeral chapel offering prayer and chanting service for departed one so that they can earn money and racket by doing this.

facade of the columbarium

There are also accusations of exorbitant fees for memorial prayer service and wooden plaque at the columbary costing reaching around Php 180,000 ! I think the one which made accusation did not check that memorial prayer service was already quite expensive ( even before)  the simplest ceremony would cost at least one month worth of ordinary wage. Excluding columbarium vault.

I found these accusations preposterous until several people who refuses to be named keep on insisting that these are the ordinary cost. Mahal ang Padasal para sa Patay  ( Cost of Memorial Service for the Dead is Expensive). This is why they defray the memorial services , since they cannot afford the cost.  This was a different story when they bought the columbary units several years ago.

Some also say that the head monk and nuns are living in a life of luxury with several townhouses located in Tagaytay ,  Fairview and upscale house located in Muntinlupa .

I have nothing against the monks and head priest of the temple. But with several relatives and friends interred within the temple compound . I think , I also have some concern with regards to the persistent rumors about mismanagement and being mata-pobre ( elitist ) looking down upon those people without money or status in life .

They should be living in a life of simplicity and the teachings of Buddha .

Website: https://peacefullife1000.wordpress.com/

Ripoff Report : http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Buddhacare-Academy/internet/Buddhacare-Academy-Thousand-Buddha-Temple-Buddhacare-Academy-scam-Thousand-Buddha-Temple-536209

Unofficial Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Thousand-Buddha-Temple/119748038108192

Scam Exposure:  http://www.scamexposure.com/scam-report/thousand-buddha-temple-ma-clara-quezon-city-cheating-people-money-thousand-buddha-temple-quezon-city-cheating-people-money-c165966.html

Chong Hock Tong Temple in Manila’s Chinese Cemetery Demolished to Paveway for a New One

Chinese Cemetery -Santa Cruz, Manila – Philippines

Chong Hock Tong temple ( photo :by the author )

Chong Hock Tong Temple was built in 1878, it was one of the very few remaining pre-war structures in Manila. Gobernadorcillio Carlos Palanca Tanchueco ( Chinese name: Tan Quien Sien) and Mr. Lim Ong who has been credited for supervising the construction , financing the cost of construction  . The temple is closely affiliated with the Tsinoy community, it was never declared a historic landmark by the government. There are also century-old acacias and mango trees within the grounds with neatly manicured lawn.

temple main altar ( before the demolition )

The architecture has been described as “reminiscent of those in Fujian province as well as those in Singapore, Taiwan and Malaysia with their colorful friezes and uniquely upturned eaves.” There is also a small inner courtyard where sunlight can penetrate.

side altar ( with statue of Don Carlos Palanca) right side

The temple is very simple but the details are very vivid and colorful, it is also guarded by two fu- dogs and old bells are found at the side of the temple

fu dogs guarding the entrance

There was a persistent rumors late last year that the old temple will eventually be demolished to pave way for a bigger and stronger structure.

temple ground

I manage to got a first hand information a few days ago when a distant relative told me that the old temple was demolished when they went to the cemetery to pay homage to their parents.

cement rubble

Leaving no time to waste, I felt the urge to visit the Chinese cemetery to confirm if the story was true. Lo and behold,  the old temple was indeed demolished.

Manage to personally interviewed at least 10 people from caretakers, gardeners, mausoleum owners , security guards and joggers who frequent the place on what happened to the old temple. Each had different accounts and stories to tell.

The demolition of the temple started mid- February 2015 and ended sometime last week around March 13 or 14, 2015 . We were sadden by the recent development, We always try to visit the old temple and pay some homage to our fore bearers . We  visit  the grave site almost on a weekly basis” according to Mrs. Marilyn who requested to withheld her surname.

old logs from the temple

It was demolished to pave way for a bigger temple twice the size of the current one, Artisan and craftsmen will come from Taiwan . The structure will be stronger and better compared to the old  ones which had termite infestation and can accommodate more people. ”  a caretaker from nearby mausoleum.

The demolition is quite slow last February but took a quick phase as some of the wood are weak and were easily dismantled  towards mid-March” . – caretaker

It will be renovated and larger temple will be built , They were able to keep some old logs , altar , Buddha statues , bells and the statue of the one who built the temple ” ( Referring to Don Carlos Palanca. )  -caretaker

We will surely missed the old temple , It was built during the Spanish regime .   It was a time when Chinese and the non -Christians were segregated and have their own cemetery and the temple reflects some touch of Filipino artisans , some of the laborers who built the shrine are trained by the local Chinese and their mastery and craftsmanship is superb. The temple managed to stand for more than 130 -plus years is already a legacy on its ownI have no idea if they are restoring them or enlarging the templeIt seems to be re-building a new one” .  – According to a mausoleum owner.

Masakit na mawala ang lumang templo na saksi na sa mga kasaysayan at kaganapan dito sa lugar.  Noong bata pa kami madalas kaming pumunta diyan at umuupo pa kami sa mga batong upuan diyan para magpahinga” – an old lady with several relatives that were buried in an apartment type grave.

Ang templo na iyan ay parang landmark o  reference point namin kung bumibista kami dito, Diyan namin matatandaan na malapit na ang puntod ng aming mga kaanak. ” visitor to the cemetery.

this statue is a mute witness to the destruction of the temple

There was no proper consultation or even a public hearing conducted by the association , with regard to the demolition of the temple ” . They should have properly consulted those families which have plots here . I think they just decided on their own“. – Ms. Betty Lao

Based on what i have heard, there was no plan to restore the temple , but it was more of making the temple larger and grander with artisan from Taiwan and some say Mainland China -Fujian province .

The cemetery officials and the Philippine Chinese Charitable Association which managed the place cannot be reached  for possible plans on the temple.

Note: The names of the persons interviewed during the process were withheld for security , safety reasons ( except for those who willingly express that their sentiments to be published online) .

“We are saddened to hear about the demolition of Manila’s oldest surviving Chinese temple at the Manila Chinese Cemetery and shocked at the level of ignorance regarding heritage conservation in the country,” says Heritage Conservation Society president Ivan Henares.

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