Gong Xi Fa Cai! Welcome the year of the Metal Rat! The Rat begins the new cycle of the Chinese Zodiac and to the Chinese they are symbolic of wealth and plenty.
There is more to the lunar New Year than just the fireworks, the sweet sticky food and the red envelopes. Add temple visits to your must-dos during Lunar New Year celebrations. Try this age old practice to usher in good fortune in the year ahead. Avail of this unique opportunity to get to know the culture of our Filipino-Chinese countrymen.To start off, here are five temples you can self-drive to for an auspicious start to the Year of the Metal Rat.
Filipino-Chinese Taoist Temple of Manila
Unit 301, 506 Caballeros St., Brgy. San Nicolas, Binondo, Manila
Rev. Christopher Co is known for his feng shui advise fortune telling and, it’s one of the most visited temples during in the Chinese New Year. Devotees light incense, offer food, and pray to deities during their visit.
Kuang Kong Temple
Kipuja St., Sta. Cruz, Binondo, Manila
Still in Binondo, the Kuang Kong temple is another attraction. It is named after the Chinese ‘God of War’ who represents justice, and protects the innocent, and the kind, from danger. Well-wishers light candles and incense, and place offerings, before his image the altar.
Seng Guan Temple
1176 Narra St., Tondo, Manila
Dubbed as the “Temple of Thousand Buddhas,” Seng Guan Temple is also one of the biggest temples in Binondo Chinatown. This three-floor temple houses special rooms for chanting sutras, meditation, prayers, and shrines dedicated to buddhas. Being a major cultural center for the Filipino-Chinese community, it is the go-to temple on Chinese New Year’s Eve.
Santo Sing Kong Buddhist Church
657 Morga St., Tondo, Manila
This Ecumenical Church is a solemn spot in the middle of Divisoria. Its main devotion is of two folk Chinese deities, but it also enshrines images of different faiths as seen on its wooden pillars. Patrons offer prayers, light candles, and incense to bring luck for the year ahead.
Fo Guang Shan Mabuhay Temple
656 Ocampo St., Malate, Manila
First established in Cebu in 1989, FGS Mabuhay Temple Malate grew from a Dharma Center in Aranque Street, Manila Chinatown. The temple holds programs, and activities, connected to Buddhism like Dharma talks, and yoga classes. The temple opens its doors to everybody for light offerings, tea ceremony, and “a thousand Dharma Assembly” as part of the Lunar New Year celebrations.
The temple tour is a perfect job for driving your own car, taxi’s won’t wait for you to finish your business of offering and praying. But with Drive you can take your time among the many vehicles available for rent. And around the narrow streets of Chinatown,it seems like the perfect job for a compact car.
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