MANILA, Philippines - The City of Manila's Chinatown - Binondo - has been included in the list of the "World's Best Chinatowns" by CNNGo, the travel website of Cable News Network. Binondo joins the list of the most scenic Chinatowns found in major cities of the world: Havana, Cuba; Kolkata, India; Bangkok, Thailand; Johannesburg, South Africa; Melbourne, Australia; Vancouver, Canada; San Francisco, United States of America; and London, England.
Bustling with commercial activity, Manila Chinatown is located across the Pasig River from the Walled City of Intramuros. A Chinese Goodwill Arch welcomes visitors. Once inside Chinatown, one finds structures, spots, and institutions depicting the rich Chinese culture and heritage. In Binondo are found good restaurants, specialty shops, bazaars, pastry shops, jewelry stores, age-old churches, fast-food outlets serving delectable Chinese dishes, and apothecaries selling traditional herbal medicines. Side streets and alleys sell an array of assorted products from fruits and vegetables to hardware, furniture, and ornaments.
Carvajal Street, also called Umbrella Alley for the umbrellas that cover small stalls, is known for delicious street food. Near a bridge on Ongpin street, Binondo's main street, are rows of fastfood and restaurants, gold shops, specialty food selling siomai, siopao, noodles, and delicacies, and the popular "estero" (creek) eatery. Ongpin Street is named after Don Roman T. Ongpin, a Chinese businessman who gave financial aid to "katipunan" during the 1896 Philippine Revolution. When his store burned down, he donated the insurance proceeds to General Emilio F. Aguinaldo. His statue stands beside Binondo Church.
Binondo, the world's oldest Chinatown, was established in the 1590s by the Spanish as a settlement for Catholic Chinese. Non-Christian Chinese were allowed to move into Chinatown much later in 1790. The Spanish legacy of Catholicism is seen on the Architecture of Manila Chinatown. Ongpin Street is flanked by stone-walled, historical churches at each end; the Santa Cruz Church built in 1608 and Binondo Church built in 1596. Taoist and Buddhist temples serve the religious needs of the Chinese populace. Iconic purple fire trucks, maintained by Chinese volunteer organizations, are on standby.
We greet the City of Manila, headed by His Honor Mayor Alfredo S. Lim and Vice Mayor Francisco M. Domagoso, District I Representative Benjamin D.R. Asilo, District II Representative Carlo V. Lopez, District III Representative Ma. Zenaida B. Angping, District IV Representative Ma. Theresa B. David, District V Representative Amado S. Bagatsing, District VI Representative Rosenda Ann M. Ocampo, Liga ng mga Barangay President Salvador H. Lacuna, and Sangguniang Kabataan Federation President Eunice Ann Denice G. Castro, other Officials, Employees, and Residents, and wish them all the best and success in all their endeavors. CONGRATULATIONS AND MABUHAY!