The Meaning Behind The Symbols In Binondo’s Cultural Shops

Binondo By Way Of Belief: How Crystals, Charms, And Feng Shui Can Help Us Manifest A Better Life

A shop vendor performing sound cleansing. Photo by Dom Pamatmat

Beyond its unique flavors, Binondo visitors can also find spiritual healing and connection through the Feng Shui and cultural shops sandwiched in between restaurants and food establishments.

When walking through the streets of Binondo, you may find yourself exploring the area with a child’s wide-eyed wonder. You’ll find yourself turning your head in different directions to get a glimpse of its rich culture, wondering where that sound or smell is coming from. It’s a true treat for our five senses; you can hear the buzz of the crowd as you line up for restaurants and smell, touch, and taste various Binondo food.

While waiting in long lines in Binondo, you may also find your eyes wandering over to the shops filled with Feng Shui charms and decor. Along Ongpin Street, there is shop after shop with rows of decor, crystals, incense, paper money, candles, and various objects that are said to bring fortune and luck into your life. Some shops will warmly welcome their visitors while others may be more reserved. But no matter how you are received, it is difficult to not be intrigued by the maximalist displays of these shops, and the promise of finding better luck is as alluring as the mouth-watering food of Binondo.

The facade of Dragon Phoenix Enterprise. Photo by Dom Pamatmat

At Dragon Phoenix Enterprise (located at 807 Ongpin Street), every corner seems to be bursting with these items. Amulets, charms, figurines, and books welcome customers into the space, where more is to be discovered. What’s better is that Feng Shui is a practice that can be easily adapted into our daily lives. “It’s good for everybody and it is very practical. It’s like an application or software that everyone can use in their life,” says Jean Yu Chua, its owner.

As much as Feng Shui is a spiritual practice, a lot of its beliefs and meanings lie in visual symbols. These symbols, aside from bringing luck to people, balance the energies of our environment and our bodies. Inside Dragon Phoenix, there is shelf after shelf of Happy Buddha figurines, which are said to bring happiness and welcome good energy into your home. Prosperity cats are perhaps even more familiar to us; they’re the little cat figurines with a paw waving at you, often found in shops. The waving paw of the prosperity cat attracts good fortune, good sales, and good customers for shop owners. Dragons are also a prominent symbol in Feng Shui. Even when it is not the year of the dragon, it is still ever-present as it is the symbol of power and strength.

Dragon figurines fill up the shelves. Photo by Dom Pamatmat

These symbols are sometimes combined with the natural energies of crystals. Taking a detour from Ongpin Street, a hidden gem awaits at 817 Benavidez Street. The store may appear bare with its white walls but at the World Of Crystals, it only draws attention to its glittering crystal charms and figurines.

Crystals, a spiritual tool used across various practices, can be used for balancing, healing, and manifesting certain energies. Whether it’s for luck, health, self-love, or prosperity, there is a crystal for your every need. They also come in a variety of forms at the World Of Crystals: bracelets, tumbled, spheres, towers, crystal caves, intricate carvings, and yes, even in Happy Buddha form. Crystals can also be carved into Pi Yao, a Chinese mythical creature that symbolizes wealth, good fortune, and protection.

Amethyst geodes inside the sh. Photo by Dom Pamatmat
The store sign of World of Crystals at Benavidez Street. Photo by Dom Pamatmat
A pile of crystal towers. Photo by Dom Pamatmat

Atong Sy, the owner of World of Crystals, particularly recommends two crystals for the coming Chinese New Year: citrine and nephrite jade. Citrine is a yellow stone that promises optimism, self-confidence, and concentration. It can also help with depression, anxiety, and letting go of the past.

On the other hand, nephrite jade is for abundance, protection, wisdom, fertility, peace, harmony, and joy. For crystals to display around your workplace and bedside, Chua recommends amethyst geodes and emerald raw stones to harmonize the space and attract positive energy.

Crystal bracelets for luck, fortune, prosperity, and health. Photo by Dom Pamatmat

The next time that you visit Binondo, consider treating yourself to a spiritual experience along with tasting its infamous cuisine. In between biting into your fired siopao and waiting in a long line, let your eyes wander over these cultural shops, stop by, and experience Binondo by way of spiritual beliefs.

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