One of the things I have always wanted to go to in Manila would be Chinatown. I have always been so curious what i can find there, although I had some things in mind already. Since I’m on summer break and I have been bored the past few weeks, I have decided to check it out today!
I woke up early and after taking a bath, I went straight to the train station and I have to admit…I honestly might never know which stations are under the MRT and which ones are the LRT ones…It’s just so confusing. Anyway, it was a long ride from the Araneta Center-Cubao to Recto, then walk from the Recto to Doroteo Jose, then ride the Doroteo Jose to Carriedo station. Apparently, the commute was easier than expected! When I asked for directions how to go to Ongpin, the lady said it was far so it’s better if I just take a tricycle, which, although convenient and comfortable, was expensive! Plus, it wasn’t even that far… so I wasted money. Tear. The tricycle man dropped me off in a not-so-appealing corner of Ongpin. Take note that he didn’t even drop me off near the welcoming arch.
I started walking around and I was really hungry but I couldn’t find any of the restaurants recommended by my friends nor by bloggers. No sign of Wai Ying, no sign of President’s, no sign of Diao Eng Chay. When I tried asking for directions from people there, they don’t even know where those are, which is quite unfortunate since, they work and lived there. I was left to go looking for those places on my own and the first one I saw was President’s Teahouse which was packed! I would’ve wanted to wait but my stomach was grumbling already. Fortunately I saw Wai Ying and when I just entered, a couple just finished eating. Yay!
First thing I noticed when I sat: this is very Chinese. Obviously, considering it’s a Chinese restaurant. I guess to word it well, it’s very traditionally Chinese. Take a look at the menu! It has Chinese characters and it’s laminated. Reminded me of Mien San for some reason.
Being a first timer, I asked for the recommendation of the waitress. I got roasted duck/asado rice which was actually good! Which it was warmer, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I got cold milk tea, as well.I asked my friend for the best place to eat fresh lumpia (because I’m a sucker for that), and although he replied, I was just too full to eat anything anymore. Quite unfortunate because I wanted to do a food trip!! Even after a few hours of walking around I was still full so I guess I would have to postpone eating the fresh lumpia of Ha Yuan. Sad!!
I roamed around more and I decided to take pictures using my dSLR. Yes, I was brave enough to take out a dSLR in a place where some people consider to be quite sketchy. I noticed that the place was filled with Chinese Medicine drugstores. Probably they had more of those than restaurants. It was quite frustrating when I would see a very appealing sign just to see “DRUGSTORE” written after the name. I think I should’ve bought one as a souvenir, but then, the lucky charm boutiques are for souvenirs…I think? After being under the sun for the next hour, I finally saw the Arch of Goodwill which I consider to be the “Welcoming” Arch. I also saw the Sta. Cruz Church and the Carriedo Fountain. Quite unfortunate that the fountain is not maintained well. It wasn’t gushing water, and there were a lot of trash floating! Sad!! I went inside the Sta. Cruz Church as well to pray for something which God knows. I also prayed the same thing when I found myself inside the San Lorenzo Ruiz Church which was far from this Church.
Even if I have a lot of photos of Chinese guardian lions, I still wanted to take a photo! I really love taking pictures of these statues. They are really cute! I would probably want one for my future house/flat.
As I bid goodbye to such a cute and busy place, I saw the Ongpin sign and I just had to take a picture of it even if there was a mean looking police officer standing beside it. I just smiled to establish that I wasn’t there to do anything sketchy but just to take a photo and leave.
Walking away from the place, I took one last look and the view was nice. I took a shot and I whispered to myself, “I’ll bring my friends here when we’re really starving to eat all the dimsum and noodles we want—and can afford.” I enjoyed my short visit despite the failed attempt to eat dumplings, noodles and fresh lumpia…but that leaves much reason to come back. Till next time!