We’ve visited Chinatown in Manila twice since June to check out what its nooks and cranies offers to folks like us waiting to be surprised. After delivering Paco to his grandparent’s house, we were off to our adventure!
Without any photo devices to document our trip (which is now more of an exception than the rule) Thelma, Andres, Ponso, and I rode jeepneys that kept Ponso and Andres transfixed to the going-ons of the outside world while counting the passengers inside the jeepney and checking out the magical gadgets installed in the driver’s dashboard.
At the Arranque Market, we rode a Kalesa in a horse named Richard that carefully traversed the busy streets to Binondo Church manned by its owner, Mang Boy. It is not easy to decorate a kalesa with its aluminum sidings that can run up to P80,000 with its intricate designs. For our kalesa, Mang Boy, the driver, said that he had his designs made in Malabon. Richard the horse, he said, is up for sale for P30,000.
After saying our long goodbyes to Richard the horse, we stepped inside the Minor Basilica of St. Lorenzo Ruiz and was impressed with the new paintings adorning the church’s ceiling. One of the caretaker offered us a quick background of the painting and told us that a man named Joe (described as a ngo-ngo, a person with a speaking defect due to a cleft palate) from Balintawak, Quezon City was commissioned to paint the ceilings. The caretaker’s story about Joe was longer than the actual explanation on the drawings.
We then checked Carvajal St., the small interesting sidestreet, and entered Ho-land Bakery. Hearing my query on what the best hopia is, an old tsinoy offered his story on the history of the hopia wars. He said that Ho-land Hopia and P0-land Hopia came from the same family but was separated by family rifts. While Eng-Bee Tin Hopia made it big due to its Ube hopia. He ended by saying, “Hopia liked my story.”
We ate lunch at a full-packed hole in the wall chinese restaurant then bought Korean ice cream in a chinese store. The melon flavored ice cream was creamily good!
Walking back to Binondo Church, we again spotted Mang Boy and Richard the horse and offered us a ride to Intramuros. We were lucky enough to check out the North Mindanao exhibit at the Clamshell Hall and watched the show showcasing talents from that region. the singers from Cagayan de Oro belted out songs really good and the Oroquieta City dance troupe made Thelma teary-eyed with their dance rendition of “Pinoy Ako” (of the Pinoy Big Brother Fame). “
Ponso woke up as we prepared to ride the taxi home while Andres drowsily sat dreamily in the backseat.
July 8, 2009
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