I love visiting historic places. Not only it widens up my knowledge, it helps me understand the culture of the people living on it too.

I’ve been to this district many times before whenever I would go to Divisoria but I had no idea that this place has rich in history and serves as a major role in our economy eons ago. All I had in mind then was the banal buildings and the flocking of big bank companies that huddled and towered ubiquitously.

What I am referring to is Binondo.

I learned from the information that I’ve gathered that Filipino and Chinese history started to intertwine together at the district of Binondo in the City of Manila. Binondo is renowned as Manila’s Chinatown and is the oldest Chinatown in the world.

Ignited with curiosity, I undoubtedly went there bringing together my HTC phone, which has an excellent camera to take pictures, carefully kept inside my ebony satchel.

Upon entering the hunchback bridge, I told the jeepney driver to cease me on the right side once we pass across. As we both agreed, I got off and started walking. The looming arch of Chinatown is undeniably protruding victoriously a few steps from me. It reminds me then to recall the long forgotten stories that I’ve read.

In 1594, when the Catholic Chinese were relocated to Intramuros, the Spaniards were, therefore, among friends. They were given a parcel of land called “Binundok” a tagalog word meaning hilly terrain. It’s a one-and-a half kilometres long islet surrounded by streams. The Spaniards corrupted the word “Binundok” and named the islet, “Isla de Binondo” or the Isle of Binundok.

After a long battle of journey, the influence of Chinese Filipino on the national economy has been enormous: from 20th century until 1970s when the exodus to Makati began in earnest, they made Binondo the Philippines’ de facto Financial and business capital. The lack of land, however, killed Binondo’s future.

What Binondo was left with after the business diaspora to Makati was some of the priciest real estate in the Philippines. Ironically, this was another factor that made business firms flee to other cities and other neighboring towns in Metro Manila.

Binondo today remains a center business – but mostly classified as SME or small to medium enterprise. These are businesses one sees aplenty along Binondo’s many crowded streets and alleys.

Along with the overabundance of SME, what strike one about this district is a deep nostalgia for a glory that fled away and became scant five decades ago.

The nostalgia, however, has been transformed by Chinese Filipinos and other imaginative Filipinos into a thriving tourist industry. Binondo has become one of most popular tourist destination in Manila especially among overseas Chinese.

Today, Binondo is famous for its tourism offerings that include bargain shopping; exotic “Binondo” cuisine; places and Chinese Filipino linked to the Philippine Revolution of 1896; religious sites and historic buildings.

Minor Basilica of San Lorenzo Ruiz church located at Plaza Lorenzo Ruiz along Ongpin St. This church is named after St. Lorenzo Ruiz. A Chinese Filipino martyr defending Roman Catholic against the Japanese in 1637.

This church is overwhelmed with murals at the ceilings.

While waiting for the fortune to come.

This delectable Siomai at Ying Ying’s Tea House is devilishly delicious.

Chinese sanctuary


Chinese good luck charms for sale at Binondo’s alley

Eng Bee Tin’s hopia is the most delicious hopia I’ve ever tasted in my entire whole life so far.


~ by sherwinportillo on April 27, 2012.

2 Responses to ““BINONDO””

  1. @lesleycarter;catchcarri and wrands: Thank you for liking.

  2. hi, ms. malou. thank you for the like.

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