One of my favorite side trips when I go shopping at the 168 Mall in Divisoria is Binondo. Binondo is known as the Manila Chinatown for it is the home of many Chinese businessmen and the location of various Chinese schools and temples in Metro Manila.
It is like going to a different country when you enter Binondo. The shops here sell different stuffs not ordinarily found in malls. You can also eat authentic Chinese food here plus buy exotic fruits and traditional Chinese herbal medicines. Even the newspaper here is different, where the characters are all written in Chinese.
Ongpin Street Marker in Manila Chinatown
People also flock this place during the time of the Chinese New Year. Here you can buy different lucky charms and Feng Shui items.
History of Binondo: The Manila China Town
The Manila Chinatown is the oldest Chinatown in the world. It was built in the year 1594 by the Spaniards. The Spanish colonizers built a village for Chinese immigrants and their families so that they can monitor their movements closely. They chose Binondo as the main relocation site for Chinatown for it is near Intramuros, the main fort of the Spaniards.
Over the years, Binondo became a bustling place for commerce. During the World War II era, this place became the center for most banks and insurance companies.
The Arc in Manila Chinatown
Most of the Chinese people here speak Minnan or Hokien for their ancestors were mostly from the Fujian Province. Mandarin is also popular in this area. Many Chinese traders and students can also speak Filipino and English.
The Binondo Fieldtrip: Manila’s Chinatown
Binondo is a great place to explore. It is place rich in history and culture. It is also located in the heart of Metro Manila, so going here would not consume too much time or cost you much on transportation expenses. It is also a great place for food trips for you can see lots of Chinese restaurants serving authentic Chinese dishes and delicacies.
Traditional Chinese Drugstore in Binondo
Do -It-All Chinese Herbal Medicine
How to go to Binondo
The easiest way to reach Binondo or Manila Chinatown is by going to Taft Avenue. When in Taft, just ride a jeepney going to Divisoria and ask the driver to drop you at the front of the Binondo Church.
You could also go to the Manila City Hall terminal ( Lawton) and look for the same jeepneys.
Binondo Tourist Spots and other attractions
Here are some of the tourist spots, places to visit and attractions to see when in Binondo, the Chinatown of Manila:
One of the most iconic places in the Manila Chinatown is the Binondo Church or the Minor Basilica of San Lorenzo Ruiz. It is one of the most historical churches in Manila. It is said the Andres Bonifacio was married here. In front of the church lies the park named after San Lorenzo Ruiz, the first Filipino Saint.
Side of Binondo Church
The Kuang Kong Buddist temple is open to the public and is one of the main temples in Binondo. People go here to burn incense sticks while offering their prayers. Another popular temple here is the Seng Guan Temple.
The Purple Fire Trucks
The local fire volunteers in Binondo ride in purple fire trucks. These purple fire trucks can usually be seen parked at the side of the Binondo Church. The trucks are painted in purple for they were donated by the owner of Eng Bee Tin, a hopia factory famous for their ube hopia and ube tikoy.
Eng Bee Tin and other Chinese restaurants
Don’t leave Binondo without going to this place. They make some of the best hopia and tikoy in town. You can also go on a Chinese food trip and try out various delicacies like siopao, siomai and imported fruits imported from China.
Eng Bee Tin Store in Chinatown
Ongpin Street is the main street of the Manila Chinatown. It is near the Binondo Church and is home to many traditional Chinese drugstores and authentic Chinese restaurants and shops. The Filipino Chinese Friendship Arc will welcome you once you enter Ongpin street.
Fruit Stall in Ongpin Street
There are too much to see and too much to eat here that 1 day is not enough to cover all of Chinatown. FTB will try to update this article in the future for more shops and restaurants in Binondo. Hope to be there again soon and conduct another fascinating Binondo Chinatown Walking Tour.
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