Binondo: Oldie But A Goodie

Every major city in the world has a Chinatown and according to Cable News Network's travel website, CNNGo, Manila's Binondo is one of the best.

Joining Binondo in the website's 'World's Best Chinatowns' list by Simon Ostheimer ( are Chinatowns in Havana, Cuba; Kolkata, India; Bangkok, Thailand; Johannesburg, South Africa; Melbourne, Australia; Vancouver, Canada; San Francisco, United State; and London, England.

But not only is Binondo one of the most scenic Chinatowns, it's also the oldest. Established in the 1590s, the Spanish created this enclave in Manila as a settlement for Catholic Chinese. Located across the river from the walled city of Intramuros, it was positioned so that colonial rulers could keep a close eye on their migrant subjects.

"Although almost 20,000 Chinese were killed following a revolt in 1603, Hokkiens continued to flock here from Fujian, and today, Binondo is an integral, thriving part of the Filipino capital," the website read.

According to CNNGo, the best place to start a tour in Binondo is on Carvajal Street, otherwise known as Umbrella Alley (so-called for the multitude of umbrellas that protect the small street stalls), which offers some of the best street food in the city.

"A stand out feature, one of the many must-sees in the area is the landmark Binondo Church, built in 1596, which is home to the Santo Cristo de Longos or Crucified Christ," the website said. "Must-visit restaurant is Café Mezzanine above the Eng Bee Tin Chinese Deli (famous for hopia ube pastries) in Ongpin Sreet. A part of the restaurant's income goes to Binondo's fire department, whose iconic purple truck is parked beside the Binondo Church."

What's the best dish to order? CNNGo picks the infamous Soup No. 5, made from cow's (or sometimes horse's) testicles.

According to Ivan Man Dy, the man behind Old Manila Walks that feature the famous Big Binondo Food Wok tour, Binondo's inclusion in CNNGo's list is a welcome promotion of the Tsinoy's (Chinese-Filipino) unique heritage.

"On the other hand, I would also like to have our city officials take this as a wake up call to work on the preservation of Binondo Chinatown's cultural heritage value. We need to take active steps in working to conserve and further promote the historic flavor of Binondo. We can make the place better with regards to a lot of things (like basic infrastructure and street zoning). A recognition like this is nice but we also need to have something to show for it," Man Dy said.

Man Dy said Binondo has been the nucleus of the local Chinese community in Manila since the 16th century. More than the siopao, siomai and mami legacy, Chinatown is testament to the Tsinoys' historical journey from being immigrants to becoming an integral part of the country's tapestry. It is a symbol of how an ethnic community has enriched Manila's melting pot of cultures.


Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • United States seeks access to Philippine bases as part of Asia pivot
    United States seeks access to Philippine bases as part of Asia pivot

    The United States has asked for access to Philippine military bases in eight locations to rotate troops, aircraft, and ships as Washington shifts its forces to Asia and as China expands its military presence in the South China Sea. U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, in a speech in Arizona, has outlined Washington's next phase in its Asia "pivot", deploying its most sophisticated destroyers, bombers and fighters to the region. The Asia "pivot" has already seen U.S. Marines rotating through the …

  • China's island-building to loom large at SE Asia summit
    China's island-building to loom large at SE Asia summit

    China's creation of new island footholds in contested seas will hover over a Southeast Asian summit that has become an annual test of the region's nerve in standing up to its massive neighbour. The South China Sea hot potato drops this year into Malaysia's lap as the rotating chair of the 10 member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and host of Monday's meeting. ASEAN states Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei claim parts of the strategic South China Sea, but Beijing …

  • Philippines, China trade accusations over sea threats

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippines accused China of aggressive maneuvers against its reconnaissance plane and fishermen in disputed seas where Beijing has stepped up construction of artificial islands, but China reiterated its claim on the strategic waterways. …

  • Indonesia orders execution of Mary Jane, 9 others
    Indonesia orders execution of Mary Jane, 9 others

    Indonesia has ordered preparations for the execution of 10 drug convicts, including Filipina Mary Jane Veloso, as the Philippine government filed yesterday a second appeal for judicial review of the case to save the maid from death by firing squad. The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) of Indonesia released an official letter dated April 23, instructing prosecutors to prepare for the execution of 10 convicts, the Jakarta Post reported yesterday. The execution would be conducted after the …

  • Noy to visit Canada, Japan
    Noy to visit Canada, Japan

    President Aquino will embark on a state visit to Canada in May and Japan in June to meet with his counterparts and promote Philippine interests. Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said Aquino accepted the invitation from Canadian Governor General David Johnston to make a state visit to Canada from May 7 to 9. Tied to this trip is the President’s one-day working visit to the United States to meet with potential investors and with the local Filipino community in Chicago, Valte …

  • Business groups back K to 12 program
    Business groups back K to 12 program

    The government’s K to 12 program adding two more years to basic education received support from various business groups yesterday. However, they urged relevant government agencies to deal with issues regarding the implementation of Republic Act 10533, the Enhanced Basic Education Act or K-12 Law. In a statement, business groups led by the Philippine Business for Education (PBEd) said RA 10533 is a milestone piece of legislation that intends to bring the Philippines up to par with the rest of …

  • Happiest nations: Phl ranks 90th
    Happiest nations: Phl ranks 90th

    Switzerland is the happiest country in the world, while the Philippines placed 90th, according to a global ranking of happiness unveiled in New York on Thursday. Switzerland was followed closely by Iceland, Denmark, Norway and Canada. The 2015 World Happiness Report is the third annual report seeking to quantify happiness as a means of influencing government policy. The United Nations published the first study in 2012. …

  • Asean leaders want binding sea code with China
    Asean leaders want binding sea code with China

    Southeast Asian leaders will seek to speed up plans for a binding code of conduct with China governing behavior in the disputed South China Sea at a summit next week, Malaysia’s foreign minister said Friday. Foreign Minister Anifah Aman said a massive flow of Muslim Rohingya refugees from Myanmar to neighboring countries will also be discussed at the two-day summit of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which starts Monday. Anifah said leaders are expected to raise concerns …


Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Poll Choice Options