Kung Hei Fat Choi 2015: Chinese New Year 2015 in Binondo, Manila, and toy shopping at 168 Mall in Divisoria
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My son saw his first dragon dance and lion dance in 2009 during Chinese New Year festivities hosted by a supermarket in Makati City. It was only my second time to see these dances that are emblematic of Chinese New Year celebrations across the world. Wearing colorful lion and dragon costumes, some 30-odd lithe and limber young men danced to the rhythmic beats of drums and gongs, as fireworks erupted in the sky. Afterwards, we got some takeaway pancit (chow mein) and called it a day. Since then, watching the dragon and lion dances at the mall had become a yearly tradition of sorts for us. This year, I thought we’d change it up a bit by watching the dragon and lion dances where Chinese New Year celebrations are most lively and vibrant, the Chinatown in Binondo, Manila.
Because February 19th was a special non-working holiday, traffic moved fast from Taft Avenue up to the Escolta-Tomas Pinpin junction, where it crawled to what felt like two kilometers per hour. Celebrations were in full swing when we reached Binondo at around 9:30AM. There were at least two dragon and lion dances being performed on Ongpin and Juna Luna Streets and hundreds of hands holding up cameras to capture every Facebook-worthy moment. OB vans from various news agencies had staked their choice spots the night before. Throngs poured in from streets surrounding the Binondo Church rotunda. Vendors hawked everything from lucky charms to raw sugarcane sticks. Merry-makers hoping to chow their way through the historic district’s iconic eating joints were frustrated by long queues. It was fruitless to even try to get inside the famous Cafe Mezzanine, so my son and I ran to the wide, welcoming arms of the 168 mall food court in Divisoria.
Besides, we had really come for some toy shopping. My son’s constantly revolving interests had paused once again on the Ninjagos, and Divisoria is where one can find reasonably priced facsimiles of a Danish brand of building blocks. Motito owns a couple of authentic Lego Ninjago sets which now lie neglected in a plastic storage bin after being assembled a year ago. If his renewed obsession with the Masters of Spinjitzu would have the same ending, then I’d rather he indulged in it without burning a hole in my pocket this time around.
At 168 Mall, many of the toys looked to have been picked over by holiday shoppers from two months prior. There were a handful of Disney Frozen dolls, Big Hero 6 and Guardians of the Galaxy action figures, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles plastic weapons sets, Transformers robots, Minecraft blocks and figures, and all manner of superheroes rendered in Lego minifigures. It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, that they were all knockoffs. Counterfeits produced by the so-called ghost or midnight shift in many Chinese factories. But since we were celebrating the Chinese Lunar New Year anyway, what better way to give back to the land and people that have given us so much than by acknowledging the fruits of their labor.
It’s always a delight to see how far I could stretch my money when shopping in Divisoria. On this outing, Motito and I managed to snag ten pieces of miniature-block base plates (for a wholesale price of P100 each), a deck of authentic Bicycle playing cards (P100), two Ninja building sets (P450), and two packs of Ninja minifigures (P300). The quality of the Ninja building sets was surprisingly close to that of the genuine article. They even came with a color step-by-step instruction booklet. The base plates were flimsier than the authentic kind, but at 100 bucks a pop, I couldn’t complain as they served their purpose satisfactorily.
If our just-concluded toy expedition in Divisoria is anything to go by, then I look forward to more wonderful discoveries in the Year of the Wood Sheep.
Hi. Where in the Divisoria is that toy store located? (the one in the photo) Thanks.
The toy stores are located on the fourth and fifth floors of the newest wing (Soler-Recto) of the 168 Shopping Mall.
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Hi kung gusto nyo ng mga lego toys open na po ang divisoria mall un dting nasunog, at mkikita nyo stall nmen basement 606, lahat ng hanap nyong toys dun nyo mkikita. Hope to see you all. Thank you
Hello Rosalyn. Maraming salamat sa information na ito. Isa ang Divisoria Mall sa mga paborito kong bilihan ng mga laruan at giveaways. See you at Basement Stall 606!
Hi po, inquire lang ako about sa mga 8 in 1 mini figure legos. how much po kaya pag 8packs ang kukunin pero different characters? starwars, Avengers & Lego friends? I prefer Decool & SZ brands. Salamat po.
If I recall correctly, it’s about P240 per pack of eight.
Meron po ba nabibili sa 168 mall na street fighter toys?
Hi, Pao. Parang wala akong nakitang Street Fighter toys, pero hindi ako sigurado ha? Mas maraming variety sa mga toy and hobby shops sa 3rd Floor, Shoppesville Greenhills, malaki ang tsansang mayroon doon. If you haven’t been to one already, you can try going to the ToyCon (Toys and Collectibles Convention) on June 10-12, 2016, at the SMX Convention Center, MOA Complex.
Meron po bang Lego angrybirds mini figures po Jan yung tig 35 pesos po?
Meron po bang Lego angrybirds mini figures po sa store na sinasabi nyo po yung tig 35 pesos lang po? Si bomb, chuck and 2 pigs
They have imitation Lego mini-figures of many Angry Birds characters. Depende sa availability yung mga gusto mo.