In Binondo, vendors are grateful for Chinese New Year



By Anna Valmero

MANILA CITY, METRO MANILA— In Binondo, Filipinos and Fil-Chinese vendors alike took advantage of the week-long Chinese New Year festivities to earn a little more than the usual.

On my trip to Binondo on New Year’s Day, I met Jeff Bolato, who has been peddling dragon decorations that can be hanged on windows and even public jeepneys. Selling these at 20 pesos apiece, he says business was good.

Even Filipinos, he adds, believe the dragon is a lucky charm, moreso if they buy it Binondo. Jeff set up shop at Ongpin Street near the Philippine-Chinese Friendship Arch to attract more customers.

Peter Balbarosa, on the other hand, believes selling “good luck” plants sets him apart from the other vendors. His Chinese palmera and “money maker” ornamental plants – which he sells for 30 pesos each – can be placed at home or in the office, requiring only little sunlight and water.

“I bought these at the Manila Seedling Bank for 20 to 25 pesos each. I put up a low mark up so I can sell them easily.,” he says.

Half an hour past noon, fruit vendor Garry Soriano is selling the last kilos of his kiwi, Jiro persimmons and ponkans. He sells the large kiwi fruits at eight pieces for 100 pesos and the persimmons at 150 pesos per kilo – much lower than his asking price a few days before.

Comparing himself to vendors of lucky charms, Garry says business was a bit slow since there are numerous fruit vendors like him. Still, he said wanted to spend the rest of the day with his family by going to Binondo Church so he chose to still sell albeit at lower profit.

Restaurants, meanwhile, were overflowing with customers, some lining up for at least 30 minutes to get seats. As soon as a table is left empty, a new set of customers come in.
“Business is hectic this time of year and that is good,” says Gerry Chua, owner of Eng Bee Tin and Mezzanine Cafe.

Related stories:

‘Feng shui’ characterizes positive attitude of Fil-Chinese in Binondo

Why eating ‘tikoy’ brings luck during Chinese New Year

How to enjoy your trip to Binondo this Chinese New Year

How to attract good fortune this Chinese New Year

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