There are always lots of possibilities when you are looking for a street. With every turn, there are so many probabilities. Yet, we found Ongpin Street. We found it without a map. We did not even ask anyone for directions. We just followed our instincts and we were simply willing to get lost.
Our quest took place one Saturday morning. We were supposed to visit UP Diliman but for some reason, we thought of going to the Chinatown instead. So from Antipolo, we boarded a jeepney bound for Cubao and got off at the Santolan Station of the LRT Line 2 where we rode the train going to Recto. Then from Recto, we walked going to Doroteo Jose Street.
We were welcomed by Chinese Lanterns which kind of gave us a hint that it could be a legit path to Ongpin–or something like that. This idea was supported by the fact that there were Chinese-looking characters on the signs of the establishments around. With all these in mind, we continued walking.
We were really unaware of what we were doing or where were were really heading to that time. Since we did not carry any map, we just trusted our instincts. We turned each time we felt the need to; we turned just for the heck of turning.
We saw good signs, fortunately and we felt safe. Still guided by the undecipherable Chinese-looking characters on the signs, we just continued walking.
At some point, a certain coffee shop caught our attention. It was called First Cup Cafe and Restaurant, a humble looking coffee place along a street called Alonzo. We got inside the place and were greeted by an old electric guitar hung on one part of the wall. The said coffee shop was filled with Christmas decors. In fact, Christmas decors outlined the huge mirror which was also one of the highlights of the shop’s interior.
We got the table near the entrance and asked for the menu. In no time, we were delighted by the shop’s greatest offering: unlimited brewed coffee for only PhP60. Right then and there, We knew it was heaven. This, it was confirmed when our first cup was served. It was also quiet inside the First Cup Cafe, which I also loved. I even thought of including it in the list of my hideaways–places in which I hide whenever I want to just enjoy myself or finish a project.
After enjoying several cups of coffee in our new-found heaven, we continued walking. Then suddenly, our attention was captured by a familiar sign. It read “Salazar Bakery.” Having heard about it in TV shows, we never hesitated and got inside the store. We even bought hopia baboy and did not mind the fact that we had the smallest purchase as everyone was taking bags and bags of goods from it.
Near Salazar Bakery, we saw an arch and by the looks of it, we could already say that it would lead us closer to what we were looking for. And we were never wrong. As soon as we entered the path, we saw some lucky charms being sold.
There was also an abundance of tea houses and Chinese Restaurants along that street, whose name we did not know until we reached its end. There was Binondo Church and near the church, there was a street sign.
It read “Ongpin St.”