Lazada Philippines

Monday, February 11, 2013

Welcoming The Year of the Snake at Ramada Manila Central

I guess there's really no reason at all to leave Manila before and during the height of Chinese New Year, because with the addition of this newly opened international branch of Ramada Hotel in the oldest Chinatown in the world - Binondo - a unique, oriental Filipino style Chinese New Year celebration is what awaits to every visitors of this colorful district.

Last weekend, together with some bloggers, I was invited to join them in welcoming one of the most colorful celebration in the world, the Chinese Lunar New Year. And with our host, Ramada Manila Central, an exciting and truly memorable experience is set for us that is said to inspire us in discovering Binondo and to entice us with bits and pieces that will make our Year of the Water Snake slithericious! 

Ramada Manila Central is just a few months old, and with their goal to promote Binondo to the world, they have this "Discover Binondo" program, a campaign that is available to all their guests who wants more of just relaxation and comfort in the busy district of Binondo. Sounds exciting, right?

The Chinese New Year's Eve

Well, that's what we had last weekend, amidst the busyness of the whole town, all in our red attires, we braved and discovered Binondo the fun and tummy-filling way. From discovering Binondo's heritage, to good taste and great bargains, a fun and young Manila's Chinatown is just what you need before you shout Kung Hei Fat Choi or Kiong Hee Huat Tsai! :-)

My Room

So, right after checking in and enjoying our room for a while, we headed to the lounge where we had a sumptuous lunch prepared for the hotel's blogger guests. This is my first time to try their food here, and as expected, every dish was at their best. With a touch of Chinese New Year celebration, we were treated to a modernized Chinese cuisine that hit the right spot of our hungry tummy.

After some mingling with the people who will be with us on this tour, the group pushed to the first destination - Dong Bei Dimsum.

Dong Bei Dimsum

Popular for its really sumptuous handmade dimsum, the place is usually flocked by local tourists who are in for some affordable but great-tasting Chinese dishes! They all got us on their dimsum, and we would want to stay longer but since the dining space is so limited, after some minutes, the group decided to just have some takeouts and head to our next destination.

A spot that is so hard to miss, Sto. Cristo de Longos Shrine was our next stop for the "Discover Binondo" tour. This shrine symbolizes how Catholicism and Chinese faith bind together harmoniously.

Sto. Cristo de Longos Shrine

Locals and guests of Binondo can light up incense for free here for their prayers and wishes. That day, just like any other places here in Binondo, the shrine was full of people thanking the Almighty for the fruitful year that we had, and also of people who are seeking for some light for the coming year. I'm a frequent of this place every time I'm here in Binondo, but it was only then that I learned that it has a name. Hehe.

Right after that, our guides took us to one of the best spots in buying some Chinese charms and trinkets, the  Evergreat Enterprise. It was here where I was able to buy some souvenirs, and with prices ranging from Php35.00 to Php50.00, you'll be able to take home a handful of trinkets that you can share to your family and friends.

But before that, on our way to that store, we saw these people burning what seemed to be papers with Chinese characters on it. It was said that those are "Chinese monies" that they are burning. It was one of the many old Chinese traditions that is still being practiced here in Binondo. It was believed that these burned Chinese monies will go to their love ones who already passed away or in the the other world. It was done to make sure that their loves one won't suffer in the other life.

Looks and sounds really interesting. :-)

Our next stop was Carvajal Street, where fresh fruits are for sale and some authentic Chinese products that are rarely seen on supermarkets and groceries  Most of the fruits here are imported from China, so I guess, Carvajal is a must-visit if you love fruits and if you're here in Binondo.

Sadly, this street is very narrow, so you really have to fit in yourself and have a lot of patience. But when it comes to prices, they really give good bargains, so don't hesitate to push your luck when you're here, okay? Haha!

But if you don't really like going to narrow places, since the whole stretch of Ongpin Street became one huge market that day, I guess, by just being on Ongpin Street, you'll already enjoy spending your money - may it be on food, trinkets, clothes or toys!

The last leg of our short "Discover Binondo" tour ended at Roman Pinpin's Monument and at the Minor Basilica of St. Lorenzo Ruiz or the Binondo Church.

Minor Basilica of St. Lorenzo Ruiz or Binondo Church

Established in 1596, Binondo Church is considered one of the priced gems of Manila City with the first Filipino saint as its patron saint - San Lorenzo Ruiz, who happens to be a Filipino-Chinese. While the Roman Ongpin Monument was erected to honor one of the first Filipino-Chinese citizens who aided the Philippine Revolution - history, yes, they got a lot of it here in Binondo too!

Roman Pinpin's Monument

After that tiring tour, Ramada Manila Central guides didn't let us miss the thing that we all love about Chinese - the food! And at the hotel lobby, a train of appetizing Chinese New Year delicacies are waiting for the hotel's guests.

From dimsun, to Prosperity Salad, which is my first here in Ramada Manila Central, to buchi and colorful tikoys (rice cakes) that I just so loved, our afternoon fun was capped with these delectable treats that prepared us to the party that night.

The Night at Binondo

This wasn't my first night in Binondo area, and since I already experienced Ramada before, I'm kinda aware as to how safe here. There are CCTV cameras in every corner of this old town, and so as the night watchmen who make sure that every guest of this humble place is secured.

Our plan on the night of Chinese New Year's Eve is to explore the latest mall in the area, which is the Lucky Chinatown, and to watch the ongoing celebration they had there.

Lucky us, we were able to catch Champ Lui Pio performing that night, and by seeing Champ, I know that I'll be seeing my friends Miss Tricia Pablo and Miss Ethel Cachapero, handlers of Champ, so, yeah, it was really a fun night for me!

Champ Lui Pio

Right after watching some of the performers that night, the group decided to go back to the hotel to party with the other staff of Ramada Manila Central. Their Chinese New Year party was held at the deck of Ramada Manila Central, where the most awaited display of colors is waiting for all of us.

And just in time, as the clock ticked to 12 midnight, the sky was filled with amazing display of fireworks showing how well-spread the Filipino-Chinese here in Manila. And since we are all over 18, what better way to celebrate all of this amazing treats than by drinking! Here in Ramada, they concocted a drink that tells how unique this place is, toss to Ramada the drink! Hehe.

The Chinese New Year

The following day,which is the Chinese New Year's Day, was more colorful than the Chinese New Year's Eve. With dragons and lions dances all over Binondo, it so hard to move from one place to another. The place was also packed with more local tourists who were eager to capture the fun and colors created by this worldwide celebration. 

While in Ramada Manila Central, guests were treated to an amazing lion dance that kids and adults got to enjoy. There were more food and tours lined up too for all the guests, sadly, our checkout time has come, so as much as I would love to cuddle up on my very beautiful and comforting bed, I have to say goodbye to this beautiful place.

But since I got to really enjoy my first Chinese New Year experience right here in Binondo, I promise to be back to witness more of their wonderful journey towards promoting the interesting district of Binondo. 

Kiong Hee Huat Tsai, to my fellow Filipino-Chinese and to the rest of the world who are celebrating this captivating celebration! May the luck and blessing of the heaven be upon us always!

Happy Rammmpa!!!


  1. had so much fun! my first Chinese New Year celebration right in the heart of the world's oldest Chinatown! truly memorable! cheers to Ramada Manila Central! :)

    1. Hey, I had fun with my idols too! To more travels or at least hotel accommodations for us! Hahaha! Happy Snake Year! :-)


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