I was actually not very enthusiastic about the Chinese New Year this year. Never have and probably never will be. No offense to my Chinese friends and the rest of the Chinese community, but it’s just that I’m a Filipino, and it bears no significance to me. I don’t know what it means, what it stands for, and as a pure Filipina, I don’t even know if we, non-Chinese, should be celebrating it! I think that Pinoys with no Chinese blood in them celebrate the occasion to participate in the festivity and the fun, but don’t really know what it means.
Well, I’m not entirely a kill-joy here, so I went along with my friends to go on a Binondo walk on the eve of the Chinese New Year. Perfect timing, too, because an event we were expecting completely failed and wasted our precious time, so we thought, “Hey, why don’t we make our own event?” And we did. Oh, we were warned by a co-blogger to expect that the Binondo streets would be heavily crowded, but we still went to try to make good out of an unfortunate occasion.
We saw a lot of these lucky charms and other “pampaswerte” being sold on the streets. I think that the regular Pinoy has fallen in love with the idea that by doing certain practices or having these lucky charms, it will alter his/her luck, and completely changing his fate. Hope is such an addicting drug. Maybe that’s why the non-Chinese are drawn to the Chinese New Year festivities. A hope for prosperity and better luck is something that helps urge them to move forward with their lives.
We were really on a mission to go see the biggest tikoy ever made in the Philippines by Eng Bee Tin. Eng Bee Tin, as most of you are familiar with, is probably the most popular supplier of Tikoy in all of the Philippines. Thanks to Cha, we got to talk with Eng Bee Tin’s owner, Jeric Chua, and was personally introduced to the ginormous Tikoy that was the main attraction of the place.
The giant Tikoy weights 264 lbs, and measuring 3 feet in diameter. It bears the logo of Eng Bee Tin, with a dragon and a phoenix on it. Jeric estimates that the heavyweight tikoy can feed about 500 people! Unfortunately, with everyone touching and poking the giant tikoy, Eng Bee Tin’s management has decided not to cook it and give it away anymore for safety reasons.
Just right across the street from Eng Bee Tin, you can find Mr. Ube, a Chinese restaurant under the management of Eng Bee Tin. I heard from Cha that all the revenue earned by Mr. Ube is used by the owners to buy an ambulance, as a way of giving back. If it was true, then isn’t it a good thing that a business exists solely for a good purpose?
We didn’t stay long at Eng Bee Tin because Sir Jeric was busy attending to the media who came to interview him. Not having eaten our lunch yet, I suggested that we had lunch at Masuki (formerly called Ma-kong) for some noodles and big-ass siomai.
Masuki remains to be my favorite noodle house here in Binondo, and my favorite place to recommend when I’m in Binondo with friends.
Trust me when I say the siomais are big. I confidently ordered two, but couldn’t finish the second siomai. And also, I love the sauce. Everything goes well with the sauce.
While we were eating at Masuki, this group of dragon dancers kept making kulit us for loose change. As in to the point where we feel harassed, but we decided to let it go because it’s CNY and good vibes and all. They were a group of cute kids, too.
Before splitting up, we decided to make one last stop at Ho-land to buy some hopia. We ended up with these:
After splitting up, Alice and I were already on our way to Recto when I suddenly smelled something irresistible when we walked past Lord Stow’s. I could not resist the call to try out their Egg Tarts, not when it smelled that good ten meters away!
It was good ♥
I went home with a box of Tikoy from Eng Bee Tin (thank you, sir Jeric!). I was totally not expecting to get any tikoys this year, but I got lucky. So you see, I actually tried my best to participate in the festivities and not be the KJ that I am. Maybe this is just how I deal with how this year’s was a totally different CNY from last year, and how I am coping with the realization that it doesn’t and doesn’t have to mean anything to me anymore.-HANA