On Chinese New Year ‘s Eve on February 9 and New Year on February 10 this year, Chinatown in Manila becomes the focal point of various activities celebrating the beginning of another Chinese lunar year. This cycle, it’s the Year of the Water Snake.
During this time, “lucky money” placed in red envelopes called hong bao (in Mandarin) or ang pao (in Hokkien) is given as a gift especially to children while adults usually exchange gifts. People are encouraged to wear red, a lucky color, as well as urged to think happy thoughts to start the new year on a positive note. Food also becomes an important part of the celebration as lucky dishes such as tikoy, believed to aid growth and prosperity, and a whole fish with its tail and head intact, which signifies harmony throughout the year, are served and ejoyed together by the family.
Enjoy a full-on Chinese New Year experience by heading to Binondo during that weekend and where bargain shopping easily comes to mind. Who knows what lucky charms you might also stumble upon in this district.
The first Chinatown in the world—also named as one of the best Chinatown’s by CNNGo last year—is also getting a bit of a face lift as it welcomed a different mall in the area, the Lucky China Town mall, just last year.
“It used to be just a place where you can find wholesale and bargain malls. Lucky Chinatown offers shoppers the experience of luxury,” says Kevin Tan, first vice president and head of Megaworld Commercial division. “The shops here are not the typical bargain stalls in Binondo. It has a unique mix of tenants, both foreign and local, that raises the bar for doing business in the district.
It’s a logical development as Chinatown, a significant finance and business district, has its share of affluent Chinese families as residents.
Lucky Chinatown has three parts, the mall itself, Chinatown Walk and the soon-to-open museum. As a heritage project, it plans to open a museum showcasing the best of Chinese culture, paying tribute to the history of Old Binondo as well as highlights the rich history of Chinese immigrants and the cultural diversity of Manila. With these, it aims to revive Binondo back to its glory days as a thriving commercial, shopping, and tourism hub in Manila.
“Lucky Chinatown also aims to complement the lifestyle of the residents of Binondo. Most cities have full-scale malls that are booming. It was only right for the busy district to finally have its own,” says Tan. The mall gives a friendly door to business owners and students looking for some relaxation without having to go to another mall in the next city.
The mall includes cinemas, coffee shops like Starbucks,; restaurants like Tao Yuan, Kig Chef, California Pizza Kitchen, Bon Chon Chicken, Uncle Cheffy, Kuse, Sumo Sam, and Red Crab Alimango House; retail stores like Bench, Mango, Cache Cache, Penshoppe, Maldita; and a host of service shops such as spas, salons, and telecom stores.
“We are overwhelmed with the feedback that customers have been giving. Shoppers are delighted to find that such a mall now exists in Binondo and it shows as the sales of our tenants were beyond their expectations,” Tan shares.
• Lucky Chinatown is located at Reina Regente St. corner Dela Reina St., Binondo, Manila. Mall hours are from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.