At The Plaza of San Lorenzo Ruiz
Every Chinese New Year, it's a Family Tradition to spend the day in our country's "Manial Chinatown" or commonly known as Ongpin. Last year though, we skipped, since Leia was too small to enjoy the festivities. This Year, I decided that we go on the weekend to avoid the big crowd, it could have been a happier stroll on the day itself but people will twice as many as yesterday.
DID YOU KNOW THAT our own Ongpin, is the "the World's Oldest Chinatown"?
It was established in 1594 and expands to Quiapo, Santa Cruz and San Nicolas. It was already a settlement outside of Intramuros for Chinese commerce even before the Spanish colonial period. Binondo has been the center of trade and commerce in Manila where businesses are run by the Filipino-Chinese. Noted people who lived here are San Lorenzo Ruiz, the First Filipino Saint and Mother Ignacia del Espiritu Santo, founder of the Religious of the Virgin Mary.
A QUICK TOUR IN ONGPIN
1. We left home late morning yesterday and took Binondo Church as our first stop. It's a mandatory for us to visit, pray, light candles and even attend the Mass here before going on our day around Ongpin. This is one of the oldest churches in Metro Manila, and Aaso known as the Minor Basilica of San Lorenzo Ruiz. It was founded by Dominican priests in 1596 for all the Chinese converts to Christianity.
I am always amazed on how the Church looks from both the inside and the outside. It has been noted that it went through many reconstructions due to war and natural calamities, yet it has remained in it's Classic Architecture form through the centuries. Looking at the altar, do you find its resemblance to that of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome?
2. Now we are going our way to Ongpin St., located on the right adjacent side of the Church. Our next stop is the country's most famous store of Tikoy and Hopia, Eng Bee Tin. Located very near the Church, Eng Bee Tin has been on the industry since 1912. The Family Business has grown from just a small stall back then, and is now run by the 4th generation. They have recently opened their newly-constructed building as their biggest home of chinese delicacies. Apart from this, they have like 3 or more stalls still along Ongpin and adjacent streets so there's no missing out their stuff. Check out these yummy finds.
3. Cruising along Ongpin, you'll find Shopper's Mart. The biggest Chinese grocery along Ongpin. They have a lot of unique Asian finds here that you won't see in most groceries.
4. Along Ongpin, you'll also find Roasted Chesnuts along the street. I love chestnuts and before it has always been a staple in family tables during Christmas and New Year. Chestnuts are lower in fat than similar nuts and a good source of fiber.
5. Another mandatory place for us to visit when in Ongpin, is the Holy Cross of Longos.
located on the right side wall of Shopper's Mart, is a wall niche dedicated to Sto. Cristo de Longos. People flock here to light incense sticks, make offerings and pray.
6. One of my favorite places to shop is at Bee Tin Grocery. You can find a lot of Chinese Delicacies here from preserved fruits, beef jerky, noodles, pre-packed cooked food (siomai, kikiam, machang etc.) biscuits, plus tea and coffee.
7. Here's Quan Yin Chay Vegetarian restaurant and store wherein they serve choices of vegetarian dishes. They also have a small grocery where you can buy frozen veggie meats and dumplings.
8. Along Ongpin, i also get the chance to check-out this store selling lots of Chinese displays and accessories, New Victory Trading Corporation.
9. Formosa Bakery offers breads and pastries that's baked fresh daily. They have alot of breads and cakes to choose from. One of their best-sellers is their Pork Floss Bun. They also offer -30% on breads before closing.
10. Salazar Bakery has been around for quite some time in Chinatown and is offering a lot of favorites like cakes, rolls, tikoy, siopao and pork buns.
11. Finally getting to our Lunch place (along Gandara St.) , Ang Tunay Beef House.
This store has been quite a favorite of Chinese-Filipino because of the variety of dishes. I Love almost all their offerings here, particularly the Bamboo Shells, Fried Bituka, Baktaw, Garlic Prawns and Kiampong!
12. Next is my favorite shop for all things Crystal and Charms. I became addicted to these gems from years back. I personally believe that these help me also get through life's challenges and in all over-all luck for the year. I am also a fan of Jean Chua, the owner of Dragon Phoenix Enterprises.
13. Shanghai Fried Siopao is one of the best-selling delicaices along Ongpin too.
if you havent tried one, why not get some bite when you're in the area. Their shop also offers a lot of other delicacies.
14. I also eat Chinese Lumpia when in Ongpin, and this is where i usually get them - Eastern Garden. They've been around since 1950.
15. The Siopao from Mei Sun (formerly Maxim's) is really good, and we regret buying just a few!
16. One of Ongpin's Best - Tubo Juice (Sugarcane) from Jane Carlos Modern Store.
Did you know that this is a natural medicine recommended to drink by Chinese Doctors?
There you have it, my Top Picks When In Ongpin. There's still more out there but I hope you find my list informative. Next time you decided to visit Binondo, try to check out these spots and let mw know how you find them yourselves. :)
xoxo --- Rycee