Name it, they have it. The fanciest chandeliers, the most exotic food, fresh fruits, haw flakes, herbal medicines, fine jewellery, and lucky charms, you can all find them in Binondo, Manila's Chinatown. In the heart of Binondo is Ongpin Street, stretching from the Minor Basilica of San Lorenzo Ruiz to Carriedo Street in Quiapo, where they have some of the best Chinese restaurants in the city.
I occasionally go when I'm craving for Chinese food but this time, I went because I wanted to see the Chinese doctor recommended by Lulu Tan-Gan. The doctor would hold your pulse and from there he'll identify your illnesses. My dear friend from college, Gwen Tangcueco accompanied me, she's always happy to volunteer as my tourist guide and interpreter. We got a queue number from the doctor and calculated it will be an hour wait more or less, so we decided to take a little tour of Ongpin.
I hoarded ube hopia from Eng Bee Tin and tried their ube pao and some siomai. We window shopped for jade and lucky charms, and got some Feng Shui 101 from the friendly shop owners. Back at the clinic, the doctor felt my pulse and with an impish smile, exclaimed "may factoly ka ng sugar!". Why wasn't I surprised? He prescribed me herbs to boil and drink for my high sugar count and I bought it at the drugstore down at the street corner. I felt cured already, from the good laugh with the doctor, and from my happy tour with Gwen.
|The Ongpin North Bridge|
|Ready to eat sugarcane|
|Watermelons, squash, onions, and garlic sold on carts.|
|Herbal medicines my Chinese doctor prescribed.|
|Eng Bee Tin, famous for their ube hopia.|
|My tourist guide, my good friend Gwen Tangcueco.|
|Ube pao from Eng Bee Tin|
|Looking at jade pendants|