Saturday, April 30, 2016

Rediscovering Manila: Chinatown

       It seems that almost every country in the world has a Chinatown. The Philippines boasts the Binondo, a district in Manila  and is the world's oldest Chinatown. One thing that Filipinos can be proud of is that it is the oldest Chinatown in the world, established in the 1594 by the Spaniards as a settlement near Intramuros but across the Pasig River for Catholic Chinese, it was positioned so that colonial rulers could keep a close eye on their migrant subjects. It was already a hub of Chinese commerce even before the Spanish colonial period. Binondo is the center of commerce and trade of Manila, where all types of business run by Filipino-Chinese thrive.

       Binondo is a haven for Filipino-Chinese people where they live in a very Chinese way even though they're away from their native China.

Filipino-Chinese Friendship Arch
       For very Chinatown, there has to be an arch. The one in Binondo is located at Quintin Paredes Rd near the foot of Jones Bridge, and is touted as the world's largest Chinatown arch. It is said to be 3.8-feet taller than the one found in Washington, DC. The foundations of the arch are 30 meters deep to prevent collapse in case of earthquakes.The arch cost P28 million to construct and was funded by China Energy Fund Committee (CEFC) The CEFC is a non-profit, non-governmental think tank involved in public diplomacy.

      It's a testament of Filipinos friendship with the Chinese although recently, the two nations are in dispute of territory. It was inaugurated in July 23, 2015 to celebrate both the 444th founding of the city of Manila and the 40th year of diplomatic ties between Philippines and China.

Entrance at Ongpin St. facing Santa Cruz Church

       Amid the bustling city of Manila, there's another city inside where everything is Chinese. The place is too crowded by both Chinese people, tourists, and ordinary people like me who wants to experience the place.

       All the stuffs here are Chinese related: bracelets, lucky charms, foods and more. Chinese has a reputation of being good at business. In fact, richest people are either full-blooded or with Chinese descent.

Ongpin North Bridge
       Along Ongpin St, you'll see several archs like the one above.

Ongpin South Bridge
       Binondo Chinatown is a haven for Chinese people living here in the Philippines. If you haven't been to China, you can try to go here and experience the atmosphere as if you're in their country. -Jon-

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