Posts Tagged ‘Haw Flakes’

Last October 25, 2011, I blogged about Exploring Binondo on Foot with hubby and I promised that I would upload the pictures I took of the place. Each picture has its own story to tell.

The Chinatown in Manila is considered the oldest and was established in 1594.

One’s visit to Binondo would not be complete without tasting their delicious and tasty pork dumplings called siomai. They are served hot from those bamboo  racks.

The Calesa or Kalesa, others call it karetela. It’s the 18th century Rolls Royce of the Philippines . It’s a horse-driven carriage that you can still see plying the streets of Binondo.

Have you ever tasted Durian?  Known in Southeast Asia as the “king of fruits”, the durian is distinctive for its unique odor, large size and formidable thorn-covered husk. It is largely cultivated and grown in Davao City.

A busy street corner around Ongpin.

Chinese drug stores abound in  all corners of Ongpin St. I bought a bottle of White Flower (an essence used for headache, muscle pains etc.) and it was slightly cheaper than at Mercury Drug Store.

At the place where we had our lunch, hot green tea was offered for free.

Castanas or roasted chestnuts are sold by the kilo.  We often see lots of people selling these during the Christmas season.

Side by side with modern transport are these Kalesa and tri-bike.

A colorful Chinese store in Ongpin selling everything from Chinese lantern and figurines and other Chinese ornaments which they say are for “good luck”.

One of the famous bakeshops in Ongpin is the Salazar Bakery. They sell all kinds of sweets from hopia to tikoy, machang , mooncakes and other exotic baked goodies.

I was delighted to see this array of a childhood favorite, Haw flakes. They are Chinese sweets made from the fruit of Chinese hawthorn.

Hopia baboy, hopia black monggo, hopia monggo, you name it, they have everything cleverly arranged in shelves – so tempting.

Ah, sugar cane! Another childhood favorite, we used to munch on those sugar canes back in the province. Now they have a more convenient way of extracting the juice without  biting on those hard canes.

The North Bridge of Ongpin – another landmark which would take you to the various small eateries around the place.

Another bakeshop famous for different flavors of hopia is the Eng Bee Tin. They are packed in colorful tin foils and are simply tasty.

These are different fruit preserves and sticky rice cakes called Tikoy.

This is Binondo Church, one of the famous landmarks of Binondo and is known as the Minor Basilica of San Lorenzo Ruiz, our first Filipino saint.

It was founded by the Dominican priests in 1596.

This is Plaza San Lorenzo Ruiz, right in front of Binondo Church.

Hopia galore – the things I bought in Binondo.

And Tikoy too!

Would these be left behind? I want to go back there and buy some more.

I had a lovely time taking shots of these stones. That’s me holding the camera!

Look how old the buildings are, but not far from these are some highrise buildings which are mainly banks.

They’re colorful, aren’t they?

Koi fish for good luck?

It was just lovely to see this large Buddha made of orange jade ( according to the store owner, it’s for prosperity and good luck too).

I am planning to further explore the place before Chinese New Year, that’s when you could really bargain for even lovely jewelries and accessories which the place is famous for.


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When you think of the place, you associate it with calesa (a horse-drawn carriage which is the best way to enjoy the streets of Binondo), Chinese shops, hopia, Tikoy and authentic Chinese food, you name it, the place is teeming alive with commerce, yes, the Chinese way. Not to be left out is the beautiful Binondo Church which is one of the oldest churches in the Philippines. Binondo Church is also known as the Shrine of San Lorenzo Ruiz, the first Filipino saint who was born of a Chinese father and a Filipina mother.


I think Ongpin is the heart-throb of Manila Chinatown. It is where you could find Chinese herbal stores, restaurants, groceries, jewelry shops, and some local banks.  Street vendors abound in all corners of the place.

Hubby and I had the chance to explore some of the streets in Chinatown this morning particularly Ongpin. I was looking for a simple set of necklace and earrings to buy and my daughter  suggested that we visit the place.  I’ve been to the place several times but this is actually the first time that I looked at every nook and cranny trying to find an inexpensive jewelry that would fit my budget. I brought my camera and took lots of pictures but as usual I could not upload them here yet. Such a pity really since I am excited to share what made me love the place this morning despite the noonday heat. I came prepared of course by bringing an umbrella but you won’t really use an umbrella while exploring. I should have brought my sun hat instead.

We decided not to bring the car and just had a commute from our place to Cubao, then from Cubao, we took a taxi  and alighted near Binondo Church.  It was still early when we arrived but the place was busy with morning traffic, tricycle rides/tribikes (why should you ride on a tricycle/tribike when it is far easier to walk?), street vendors selling different kinds of fruits, Chinese stores gaily decorated in mostly red and the  faint smell of horse dung from some calesa lining up the side streets.  First stop was a Chinese jewelry shop but I was taken aback when I asked about a simple bracelet and they quoted a price way beyond my reach.  Where could I find something that would fit my budget?

After about five stores, we found this friendly Chinese couple selling not onlyjewelry  but also big Chinese figurines like Buddha in different shades of stones, mounted rocks that have stones in them (I am not sure what they are called) and several accoutrements normally found in Chinese stores. In Ongpin, you have to haggle with the price and meet halfway. You can have a big discount if you know how.  I told him it was a gift  for my birthday in a few days and fixed a price which he said was way too low. There comes your flair for drama –  told him we came all the way from Cainta (which is true), a two-hour ride to Ongpin,  and I also told him that I will use it for my daughter’s wedding in three weeks (see, I am not lying) and I only got enough money to buy that set, to have lunch later and bring home a couple of Hopia. He gave in and hubby told me later, “sana tinawaran mo pa, papayag din naman pala.”  Meaning, we could still haggle with the price. But the vendor gave me a gift, a three-inch tall gold-plated rabbit figurine mounted on a flat black wood. It weighs a little heavy and he said, “pampaswerte”  which means it is for good luck. The thing is, I was quite surprised when he didn’t give the items all at once but placed them instead in a bowl of metal and had to spin the sides with something resembling a thick spoon to produce a sound which was like ethnic music to my ears. He did it twice, once with the set of earrings and necklace and one more time with the rabbit figurine. Then he placed the set on a lovely box and made me choose which color. I was grinning like crazy when we went out of the store. By the way, he even allowed me to take pictures of their shelves with all the colorful array of Buddha figures, Koi fish, green balls and such.

We had lunch at Hap Chan and ordered fried lumpia, siomai and different kinds of balls set in a bed of Pechay Baguio. Simple as it was, it was yummy. It came with free hot tea in tall mugs. After lunch was time to really explore the place. I took shot of the sleeping Calesa driver, took shot of the guy selling large Durian fruits (he even requested if he could see the picture so I showed it to him) and he smiled and said thanks. I took shot of the guy selling sugar cane. Yes, you heard it right, a long cane of about six feet costs P60.00, ready to eat, because he would peel it for you when you buy one. Castanas which are only common in department stores during Christmas season were pegged at P200.00 per kilo. Seedless grapes were sold at P180.00.

A trip to Binondo or particularly at Ongpin would not be the same without buying the specialty of the place which is Hopia. Best known establishments selling tasty and delicious hopia are the Salazar Bakery and Eng Bee Tin Bakery. I was craving for it so I bought some in Salazar and some in Eng Bee Tin. Hopia Pandan is P40.00 per pack (five pieces). Hopia Mochipilia Ube Macapuno costs P44.00 and a Special White medium-sized Tikoy  is at P160.00 per box. Hopia Mongo and Hopia Black Mongo cost P38.00 each at Salazar’s while Hopia Ube special is P40.00 per pack. Tikoy and a  bagful of hopia and hubby was laughing at me when he saw what I bought. “Naubos ang pera ko dahil sa hopia.”  Gee, I spent all my money on hopia. I was delighted to find an old-time favorite called Haw Flakes.

Wow, that completes my Binondo trip and I really want to go back and try the food at Nueva St. It was a fine day for exploring and Binondo is such a lovely place to do it. A day would not be enough to know the place but it definitely makes it memorable.

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