Binondo is the "Chinatown" district in Manila. It became the center of commerce during the American occupation. Many of Binondo's commercial establishments were destroyed after World War II, with companies moving to Makati, one of the financial capitals of the Philippines.



Binondo was created by Spanish Governor Luis Pérez Dasmariñas on 1584 for a settlement for the Chinese Immigrants (called Sangleys), with the intentions of converting the Chinese to Catholicism at the initiative of the Spanish Dominican Fathers. Spanish officials forced the Chinese to convert into Catholicism and if not they'd be executed. Luis Pérez Dasmariñas played a prominent role in the massacre of 24,000 Chinese after the Chinese revolt in 1603. The reason for the massacre was that he wanted to avenge his father's death under the hand of the Sangleys. Binondo's population grew rapidly with many Chinese Mestizos, products of intermarriage between the now-Catholic Chinese and local Filipinos. The district is therefore known as the birthplace of the Chinese Mestizos, including St. Lorenzo Ruiz, who became the first Filipino saint, and Mother Ignacia del Espiritu Santo, a Mestiza de Sangley who was the founder of the congregation of the Religious of the Virgin Mary.


Locals predominantly speak Tagalog and, as most of their ancestors are from Fujian province, Minnan or Hokkien is widely spoken too. Mandarin is also known by some as it is a subject in Chinese schools. English is widely understood as well. Besides Chinese dialects and Tagalog, other Filipino dialects are spoken too.

Get in

Get around

Chinatown is best explored with Calesas or horse driven carriage. Taxis and jeepneys are also available.


Binondo Church



Chinese New Year

  • January 23, 2012
  • February 10, 2013
  • January 31, 2014

Mid-Autumn Festival

  • September 30, 2012
  • September 19, 2013
  • September 8, 2014

Annually the Chinese New Year is celebrated on January/February, people commemorate this celebration through lighting up firecrackers and dragon dances are also done. People rush to temples and churches to pray and give thanks for the blessings of the past year, the celebration lasts for about two weeks with Lantern Festival commemorating its end. After Hungry Ghost Festival, Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated, which is also known as Moon Festival or Mooncake Festival, in this occasion people eat moon cakes, offer moon cakes and round fruits to the Moon Goddess Chang'e and the God of Agriculture Shen Nong. During this celebration try Hopia (mooncake also called as Unity Cake).


Pastries and Sweet Meats like Hopia(mooncakes) are the best buys. Exotic ingredients are also found in Binondo such as ginseng, shark fin cartilage, deer horn, dried snake, bird’s nest as well as Animal testicles may be found at apothecaries. Apothecaries cater to visitors and are willing to help by asking their symptoms and they'll provide you remedies for it. Teas, Brews and Powders are also found in apothecaries. Tableas; Chocolate tablets and Cocoa used for making hot chocolate during Spanish times are also popular, they are found at La Ressurection. Goodluck Charms and Talismans are also found in various shops in Binondo, along Ongpin Street, stalls selling Gold, Silver and Jewelery can be found as well sugarcane and chestnut vendors are sold by carts along the street, the streets are usually crowded because of them.


Hokkien Cuisine is prominent in the district as most of the people are of Hokkien ancestry.Tikoy; sticky rice cakes, Hopia; mooncake, Kiampong; a variant of fried rice, Siomai; a variant of dim sum, Siopao; Hokkien version of Baozi or steamed buns with meat filling, Machang; glutinous rice with a meat filling wrapped in banana leaf a kind of dim sum in a way,Mami; Noodle Soups, Hakaw;Also a variant of dim sum, are just some delicacies worth trying.





Various English newspapers are scattered around Binondo such as Business World, Daily Tribune, Malaya, Manila Bulletin, People's Tonight, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Philippine Star and Sun Star Manila. Tagalog newspapers include Abante, Kabayan, Pilipino Star Ngayon. Other newspapers in other languages include Manila Shimbum in Japanese and Siong Po - Chinese Commercial News in Chinese. If you need internet services you can visit Netopia Internet Cafe which is located in Juan Luna street.

Go next

Across the River Pasig from the Binondo area is Manila's oldest district, the walled city of Intramuros. Visit Quiapo, home of the Black Nazarene which is in Quiapo Church, devotees flock here during January for the annual festival of the Black Nazarene, believed to give miracles and blessings.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Sunday, March 27, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.