Alternative to Binondo: Where to welcome Chinese New Year

Hawkers sell lucky charms at every street corner, dragons and lions dance inside stores for good luck, and everywhere the sound of drums and revelry fills the air as they prepare to greet the Year of the Sheep.

But the celebrations aren't just centered on Binondo. Other cities are joining in the festivities, with neighboring Caloocan City holding a free concert on the eve of the Chinese New Year. 

On Wednesday, February 18, a portion of the Bonifacio Circle will be closed to traffic for the construction of a stage in preparation for the 6 pm concert, which will feature performers Enchong Dee, Rocksteddy, Mocha Girls, Siakol, The Voice Kids winners Lyca and Darren, and other guest artists.

A 30-minute fireworks display is also set for midnight, to ring in the new year.

Motorists are advised to expect heavy traffic on February 18 and 19 at the Monumento area, as the Rizal Avenue and EDSA wing of the Bonifacio Circle will be closed to traffic. (READ: Rerouting schemes for Chinese New Year countdown)

If going to Binondo is too far, Quezon City residents can join in the revelry at the city's own Chinatown.

It's the second time the city will be celebrating Chinese New Year on Banawe Street, following the inauguration in 2013 of two arches that formally marked the city's own Chinatown district, home to several Filipino-Chinese-owned businesses.

Cultural performances, fireworks, concerts, and the traditional lion and dragon dances will serve as the highlight of the two-day festivities that will begin on Wednesday at 6 pm until 4 pm the following day, February 19.

Special discounts and freebies await the public from the 150 restaurants and establishments in the area.

Chinese Consul General Qiu Jian has also been invited to attend the festivities.

The Quezon City government partnered with the QC Association of Filipino-Chinese Businessmen, Incorporated and the QC Chinatown Development Foundation Incorporated for the two-day event. –