Places To Visit And Things To Do In Manila For A Festive Lunar New Year
Gong hey fat choy! We wish you prosperity and good fortune for the year ahead!
The Year of the Brown Earth Dog is finally upon us. Generally, it's predicted to be an excellent year that will reward those who persevere and don't hesitate, so starting February 16, "action" is the keyword to have in mind!
When it comes to welcoming this year of initiative and decisiveness, there's no better way to do so than to visit the most festive spots around the metro that are sure to delight all your senses. From authentic Chinese cuisine, grand fireworks displays, and non-stop lion dances, here are the best places to visit in Manila to ring in the Lunar New Year.
Uptown Bonifacio, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
Bonifacio Global City is getting in on Lunar New Year festivities by turning Uptown Bonifacio into the event's whole-day headquarters. On February 16, the mall invites families, friends, and couples to spend Friday enjoying their New Year parade, photo booth, lion and dragon dances, and grand fireworks display. Finish up the night with a movie or dinner at the conveniently located — and always delicious — Tim Ho Wan. If you don't have the time to travel to locations farther away from the city's central business district, this is the place for you!
Lucky Chinatown Mall, Binondo, Manila
Dog lovers, rejoice! Because it's the Year of the Dog, it's only right that our well-loved canine friends get their time in the spotlight. Lucky Chinatown mall in Manila is hosting "Barking in Style," an adorable dog fashion show starring only the cutest pooches! Dogs of all breeds, sizes, and outfits are sure to win hearts over. Also at Lucky Chinatown is the Interactive Wishing Lantern, a modern take on traditional Chinese lanterns you light up and whisper your new year's wishes to. The digital lanterns will be displayed on billboards in the area during the Lunar New Year countdown!
Dine in authentic Chinese retaurants
One of the best things about the Lunar New Year is getting to eat your heart out on authentic Chinese dishes expertly prepared by the most experienced chefs. We kid you not; in these restaurants, close your eyes and your taste buds will transport you across oceans to China's many, many food capitals.
Our must-visit dining destinations you absolutely must dine in on this special occasion include:
- Paradise Dynasty: For the rainbow xia long bao that deserves as the hype and five-star ratings it's received (The Podium, Ortigas / S Maison, Conrad Hotel, Pasay)
- Emerald Garden: For their fried pigeon, sizzling frogs legs, and steamed lapu-lapu (Ermita, Roxas Boulevard, Manila)
- President Grand Palace: For the hundreds of items to choose from on their menu, most notably their bird's nest and shark's fin soups, steamed lobster, giant pork buns, and Lauriat sets (Ongpin St., Binondo, Manila)
- Golden Bay Fresh Seafood Restaurant: For the seafood caught fresh daily that will always, always hit the spot (and which you can have cooked any way you want), as well as their smoked goose and roast duck specialties (Macapagal Ave., Pasay)
- Choi Garden: For their hot prawn salad, pineapple buns, stir fry beef, and juicy steamed suahe — need we say more? (Annapolis St., San Juan)
- Modern Sichuan: For their menu designed for spice-loving diners that includes suckling pig, hotpot dishes, fried golden crispy noodle, and spicy fried spareribs with salt and pepper (Fort Strip, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig)
For those looking to book a room at one of the city's luxe hotels, read this story for the best hotel restuarants to dine in for the Lunar New Year.
Binondo's historic churches and temples
Before the defeaning scenes in Binondo, there was the serene and silent inside the Seng Guan temple in Divisoria. Inside, it was as if you were in another world. Everywhere were the aroma of incense and the strong, sweet smell of patchouli; the worshippers, like this man, praying and paying respects to Buddha, greeting the new year with thanksgiving; and little kids taught of the buddhist rituals by their elders, bowing endlessly to their rightful gods. And again I am convinced that religion, no matter how conflicted and confusing, is still a gift to mankind. Photo by Eloisa Lopez @eloisalopez for @everydayphilippines #philippines #binondo #sengguantemple #divisoria #chinesenewyear #religion #faith #buddhism #everydayphilippines #everydayeverywhere
Did you know that Lunar New Near this year falls on the first Friday of the Lenten season? The Catholic Church reportedly "exempted" the Filipino-Chinese community and others wishing to celebrate the cultural holiday (which is basically everyone) from beginning the season of sacrifices, but while you're at it, why not consider visiting some of the historic places of worship scattered around Binondo, Manila's Chinatown? They're sure to be filled with a celebratory atmosphere all day and night long, and it's a great way to give thanksgiving for another full year of blessings ahead.
Have the Binondo Church, Seng Guan Temple, Kuang Kong Temple, Sta. Cruz Parish, and Nuestra Señora Dela Soledad De Manila Parish, and the miraculous shrine of Sto. Cristo De Longos De Binondo on your list.
Visit feng shui shops
?? Amethyst Druzy Quartz Geode - The Crown Chakra Stone. Origin of stone: Brazil. An Amethyst Feng Shui Cure for the Bedroom. Your body sleeps to recharge itself, but often the bed and room retains old energy, which is stale and liable to make you more tired, rather than feeling refreshed. Place an Amethyst crystal next to your bed on a night stand to re-fresh the energy of the environment. If anyone in your home suffers from nightmares, there are several stones and crystals that can ward off bad dreams. Placing Citrine under the pillow will completely stop nightmares. Also great for nightmares are Amethyst and other violet colored crystals. Amethyst is also an excellent sleep aid for those that have trouble sleeping peacefully. Amethyst can calm restless thoughts and provides peace of mind. The low level of far-infared heat emitted by amethyst crystals can help calm the body and have serene dreams while sleeping. #amethyst #amethystquarzt #quartz #quartzcrystal #crystals #crystal #gemstone #fengshui #homedecor #interiordesign #interiordecor #crownchakra #chakra #chakrahealing #chakrastones #crystalhealing #reikihealing #crystalenergy #minerals #metaphysics #metaphysical #healingcrystal #healing #healingstones #calming Shop Now: www.EarthsRareMinerals.com
As you welcome luck for the new year ahead, you're going to want to make sure it lasts all 365 days! One way to do this is by purchasing the right luck enhancers, bad fortune "cures," pocket trinkets, and feng shui calendars from the city's feng shui shops. Their experts can advise you on the best things to have in your home, workplace, car, and even bedroom depending on your Chinese astrological sign and what you wish to focus on (or protect yourself against) during the year.
Check out World of Feng Shui in Glorietta in Makati, Yin Yang Charms and Feng Shui Store in Bustos St., Manila, and Yin & Yang Shop of Harmony at New World Makati Hotel.
Celebrate with and in Binondo
Of course, we saved the best for last. Binondo is going to be the center of Lunar New happenings in Manila, considering that it's home to Manila's Chinatown, the oldest Chinatown in the world. The Filipino-Chinese community flocks here for the biggest celebration of the year and its streets are going to be bursting with everything you can think of: food, dancing, music, fireworks, lanterns, trinket shopping, chestnut and tikoy stalls, incense lighting, food and flower offerings, ampao-giving, and hundreds and hundreds of smiles from people having a great time. Get your dose of culture and enjoy Lunar New Year at Binondo!
Cover and content image from @vhallotte