Lunar New Year 2023 at Binondo

After two years of waiting, the team was finally able to do our annual street shoot in Binondo, thought to be the oldest Chinatown in the world, for the Lunar New Year celebration for 2023. With everyone eager to welcome the Year of the Water Rabbit amid frenetic dragon and lion dances, bright lanterns, loud firecrackers, spectacular fireworks, and, more importantly, Chinese delicacies you’d only get to enjoy on that particular day, the coverage team has always excited to join in on the festivities. has always been having our Lunar New Year coverages and street shoots since 2014, so we were happy to again have our adventures as we took part in the festivities with our friends in some of the most historical places in Manila.

With us on our adventure were our Cosplay Models Sab and Anmu as Boy-Type Ranma and Girl-Type Ranma, along with our photographers Keileen, Chris, Jake, Mat, and our friends Gian and Kizu. Together we just set out to enjoy the sights and sounds that Chinatown happily offered on this occasion.

The Lunar New Year is an important occasion to many cultures. This year it falls on January 22.  The date of Chinese New Year is based on the Chinese lunar calendar.  The date changes yearly but is always between January 21 to February 20. The main reasons why the Lunar New Year’s is observed are to celebrate a year of hard work, to relax and bond with family, and to wish for a lucky and prosperous coming year. It is believed that a good start to the year will lead to an even better year.  The celebration usually includes reunion dinners with family, giving of red envelopes (also known as “hong bao”) to children and elderly, setting off firecrackers, buying of new clothes, and hanging of rabbit-related decorations.

Binondo is thought to be the oldest Chinatown in the world, making it a historically and culturally significant place, and it is shown in its distinctly Chinese buildings and signage and the narrow, winding and sloping streets which helped make it a financial center as well. And on that particular day, those same streets were filled with revelers, foreigners, travelers, and the curious, all just happy to be part of the festivities.  It was a holiday, but most stores, shops, and restaurants were open to serve traditional Chinese delicacies like tikoy and hopia, and customers flock to them, not minding the long lines, as long as they have their fill of tradition.  And everywhere there are charms and decorations that are supposed to bestow good luck.

Traditional Chinese performances are often seen on the streets such as dragon dances, lion dances, and imperial performances amid drums and firecrackers, bringing life and adding to the lively, festive feel to the celebrations.  The crowds couldn’t get enough of them as they took photos of them and selfies with them.

We were busy and were having too much fun that we never got to keep track of the time, so afterwards we had a nice little late dinner somewhere.  After the meal we bid our goodbyes and called it a day. And it certainly was a fun and unique one. Hope to be back again next year.

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Xtian Mack

Xtian Mack took up AB English Studies, Major in Creative Writing at UP Diliman. Currently works for a medical transcription company. He is the Founder of, doing photography, writing, and reporting for the website. He has covered over 300 cosplay, anime, gaming, and pop culture events in the last five years. Loves cute and furry things.

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