Skip to main content

A Visit to Chinatown in the City of Manila

Chinatown, Manila, the Philippines - January 29, 2012

We missed the opportunity to see Chinese New Year celebration in Manila last Janaury 23, 2012 so I and my wife decided to go here in Chinatown 6 days after. Actually, we have no any plan of going here and go buy jewelries at the popular Ongpin Street where Chinatown is also popular about. It was just a what-you-see-is-what-you-get tour and my main intention is to actually capture different angles of the town as well as of the scattered items with Chinese traceability. Take a look on these first few photos that I took.

On the Photos: The China Town "Welcome" Street Structure




We walked straight from Quiapo Church going to Binondo Church via the famous Ongpin Street. This could really be the highlight of Chinatown primarily because on everywhere you look, there is something about Chinese that can be seen. Even the posts, the establishment names and the advertisement banners are in Chinese language. It was our first time to reach the place and so we happened to realize that we were already at Chinatown when this "Welcome" sign appears in front of us.

On the Photos: Chinese Signs, Items and Symbols Seen from Everywhere










And so we continued walking after passing the Chinatown Welcome point. All I wanted to do by that time is to take photos while my wife keeps on looking for something that is Chinese. Our necks are about to break looking from side to side, corner to corner, here and there, until we saw something attractive. After a few minutes, we found ourselves sitting inside the popular Four Season Cuisine restaurant. Looking from the outside, this restaurant seems to be just like the ordinary street restaurants here in the Philippines. But when our orders were served inside, it was like eating in Beijing. Since we do not want to eat exotic and unusual Chinese foods, we decided to eat common-to-see cuisines in the Chinese fast food chains in the country. The special wanton noodles with lots of toppings, the canton noodles with authentic sweet Chinese oil, the so-called "lumpia" in the Philippines and the fried rice called "kiampong" boosts our appetite. I used chopsticks of course. It was the highlight of our being in the Chinatown that day. Fabulous foods!

On the Photos: Chinese Foods at Four Season Cuisine Restaurant








After that excellent food trip, we moved out and go look for something more amazing. And yes, we were amazed by these colorful fire trucks. White, black, violet and red and some other colors at the sides, corners and accessories obviously made these trucks very eye-catching. These are the Binondo fire trucks that are rescuing lives every year. Binondo community is very active when it comes to fire prevention campaigns. After these trucks is the Binondo Church, one of the oldest Church in the Philippines. The architecture is completely Gothic and western.

On the Photos: Binondo Fire Trucks on their Assorted Colors


On the Photos: The Binondo Church in China Town






Beside the Binondo Church are the huge street signs, the old Manila's trademark horse carriages, and the busy people and cars passing back and forth. The blending of Chinese and Filipino cultures can be seen at this portion of the Ongpin street. Filipinos are visibly working while Chinese are on their feet going here and there. Inside the Binondo Church are people expressing their faith.

On the Photos: Different Views of the Ongpin Street






We then decided to return back and get inside the stores that caught our attention earlier. It was the Eng BeeTin - Home of the Best Hopia and Tikoy, that gave my wife a very brilliant idea. That idea is, of course, to buy these delicious hopia and tikoy inside that store. Right at the very entrance of this store is the ube pao stand. We didn't buy ube pao but we were able to see the different colors and it was impressive. And there was so many more Chinese delicacies inside. Every customer seems to be in a hurry getting the items they want. It was after our shopping when we heard people talking about Eng BeeTin's 100 years anniversary. We looked around and yes, promo ads are posted everywhere. We were happy upon knowing that what we bought are on their discounted prices.

On the Photos: The Famous Eng BeeTin Store in China Town






In that short period of time, I was able to observe how Chinese move inside this town. It was an ordinary day but I realized that it was really a way of life for Chinese people here to walk and do their business just like the normal Filipinos. Some are buying stuffs, some are in groups and taking photos, some are in the street mini-temple offering prayers to their god, and some are there to live simply like the ordinary Filipino people. I saw this high tower where Chinese are coming in and out. I was able to capture three cute Chinese girls with an old lady as their guide. I was also able to take photos of the Binondo Chinese Mission Parish, the Binondo Suites Manila and the President Grand Palace Restaurant.

On the Photos: People and Landmarks in China Town
















As we leave Chinatown, I was able to witness how some Filipinos are spending their everyday in this community. An old lady asking for alms, some young boys in the Manila-Beijing Friendship Bridge asking for coins from the by-passers, vendors with their carts parked at the street-side, polluted river seen on the bridges, and pedicab boys waiting for passengers; all of these can be seen at this long stretch of the Ongpin street. Since this is my first time to be here, I realized I was wrong with what I'm thinking before. I thought Chinatown is like the Makati Business District and the Ortigas Center in Pasig City. I just thought that this town is well-organized and generally luxurious and beautiful. I was wrong base on what I had just witnessed.

On the Photos: Filipinos' Way of Life at the Ongpin Street in Chinatown










It was a memorable day, indeed. We tour the streets of Quiapo and then we commuted going back to Pasay via the Light Railway Transit or LRT. Chinatown in Manila is just one of the many Chinese communities in the Philippines and in the world. I have no enough idea about the history of the Chinese occupation of Manila during the past centuries. I am just aware that there are thousands of Chinese in the Philippines and most of them are operating their own businesses. Somehow, I really feel the Chinese presence that day mainly because of the lucky charms, symbolic street decors, Chinese characters seen from every corner and red arts and symbols of the Chinese New Year. But I was also deeply concerned about these Filipinos living in this community who are still seeking for lucks but there seems to be none.

Got the ideas about Chinatown in the Philippines? What about the Chinese things, got curious about them? Find a time to visit this place and it's up to you to discover more about Chinese.

Comments

Most-Read Posts of the Month

“I Love Baguio City” - My Travel Story in the Summer Capital of the Philippines

The Strawberry Farm, Burnham Park, Mines View Park, the Mansion, Wright Park, Lourdes Grotto, and Session Road; these are among of the popular landmarks in the more commonly known “Summer Capital of the Philippines” – Baguio City. Why so? Well, the temperature here seldom exceeds 26 degree centigrade. During the cold season of December to February, the temperature falls down to even below 10 degree centigrade. The record low temperature was 6.3 degree and that was on January 18, 1961.

How to Travel to Baguio City?
Going to this cold city in the mountainous province of Benguet, Philippines is a six to seven hours travel by passenger utility bus from Manila. Starting from EDSA, traversing the NLEX, entering SCTEX, exiting the province of Tarlac and going through the neighbouring provinces of Pangasinan and La Union, and then exploring the zigzag road of either the Marcos Highway, the Kennon Road or the Naguilian Road, the coldest place in the Philippines will be reached. Baguio is about 2…

"Business as Usual" as the Filipinos Define It (Vulcanizing Shop, Sari-Sari Store, Bakery) – Part 1

I asked the shop owner about these old unused tires on what are they doing with it. The Vulcanizing shop owners says, “Oh, someone will pick up those tires and pay us 5 or 10 pesos each. Sometimes they just take it for free”.


Vulcanizing Shop - A Classic Example of Filipino Business
You’ve most probably seen and been into a local, typical vulcanizing shop like this one in the photo. The business concept is very simple. Here’s a customer with his flat or deflated tire and the vulcanizing boy will repair it using a rubber compound patch, a heating tool, and an air pump. If it’s a regular car or van tire, repairing one may only take 10 minutes the cost of which is around 30 to 60 pesos. If it’s a tire from a truck or bus, it could be around 30 minutes and the repair would cost the vehicle owner around 100 to 150 pesos.

Here’s the thing. A shop like this one could potentially earn a revenue of 1000 up to 2000 per day just by repairing a flat tire. Why? Well, with thousands of vehicles like j…

Filipinos! Here is My Free Education Advocacy that I Want You to Know

In the Philippines, we often hear this statement from the Filipinos about education:


“Hindi hadlang ang kahirapan para makatapos ng pag-aaral.” Poverty is not a hindrance to finish education.
I completely disagree! Allow me to explain my side.





Millions of Filipinos are unable to step highschool and even college because of the hardships in life we have in our country. Many are poor and therefore cannot afford the cost of education in the Philippines. If paying 5,000 to 20,000 pesos per semester in a Philippine college is already tough, then how about more the daily baon, school projects, transportation allowance, boarding house, and extra expenses?


Wake up! This is the truth. That Filipino statement with all respect, if I were you, forget it. Accept the fact that you cannot just earn your education in the Philippines because you are poor.

This is not an insult to anyone. I am from a poor family but I was able to complete a college degree despite of that. If you really want to find a solution…

Who are These OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) and Why are They the Modern Heroes of the Philippines

At the turn of the millennium, the Philippine government launches this campaign program calling the overseas Filipino workers or OFWs as “Mga Bagong Bayani ng Bayan” (Modern Heroes of the Nation). From then onwards, different organizations established programs giving awards and recognitions to selected OFWs who did a remarkable contribution or action to their family, friends, work or in general, to the country.


OFW ka ba?Bakit?Eh kasi dating mo pa lang, mayaman ka na. Boom! 
(Are you an OFW? Why? Because with just the way look, it seems that you’re rich. Boom!)

My Cousin Dado as an OFW in South Korea 

At present, OFWs around the world are estimated to be around 12 – 14 million. This is approximately 10 – 12 percent of the Philippines total population. These OFWs are distributed on many countries all over the globe majority of whom are in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Japan, Singapore, Hongkong, Taiwan, South Korea, and Italy. Immigrant workers in the United States, Australia and Eu…

2019 Philippines National and Local Election - Could this be the Politics that Will Save Us All?

Re-post: As the Philippines National/Senatorial and Local elections will be held on May 13, 2019, I think it is good to remind Filipinos once again the essence and flow of elections in the country. Local or national elections, not much of a difference if its about our culture of voting. Choose the right candidate, vote him or her. And with this post, you can be guided.

Today is the right time to again exercise our rights as a Filipino. Candidates have already introduced themselves. You roughly have the ideas who tells the truth and who's giving the lies. Your today and your future depends on these officers who will take the seat in the senate, municipal office and the house. Vote buying may feed you today or in a week, but remember you will live in 3 to 6 years while the people you voted is in the seat. Remember, corruption kills Filipino people. So think! Will you be still alive 3 or 6 years from now?

Vote wisely Filipinos!

Suffrage is the right to vote. With over 54 million voters,…

MONTEMARIA

Catholicism from another perspective – this is how I understand the pilgrimage site of MonteMaria in Batangas City, Philippines. It was a huge site development project with the 96-meter tall Mary, Mother of All Asia statue as the centerpiece. You have to see it for yourself to believe!

What (not Who) is MONTEMARIA? Just for clarity, MONTEMARIA is the name of the 130-hectare township or development site project. Also, Montemaria is a place in Batangas City to which the site more likely is named after. The statue or monument or tower is called "Mother of All Asia - Tower of Peace". You may simply call it Tower of Mary or Statue of Mary. The surrounding place meanwhile is known as the Mother of All Asia Shrine.

Holy Week in the Philippines
We visited this place during the Holy Week of 2018. During this week, many Filipino Catholics are visiting religious places which is part of what they call "Visita Iglesia". It is not uncommon for a pilgrimage site like the MonteMaria…

BAYANIHAN – Filipinos’ Last and Only Hope in Beating the Odds of Times

Illegal drugs, criminality, corruption in the government – these are the evil things killing the Filipino people for many decades. The government and its armed forces alone are not enough to cure the bleeding wound of our generation. The hope of a better Philippines will come from us – the people.

As a Filipino, what really went wrong with us? Why are we living in this society full of hatred, bias, inequality, and divisiveness?


This blog is meant to uncover the truth behind a distinct Filipino culture that got hidden in the dark for decades - BAYANIHAN. I had been blogging for about a decade and I have shared a lot of the stories telling why Filipinos are divided in terms of political and religious beliefs, ignorant in the many aspects of the society, denied of our rights and privileges over many things, and betrayed by a few elites running the political and economic systems of the land. It could be only two things: we were being fooled yet we are not aware of it or we were fooling o…

What Filipinos Truly Miss About the Philippines

Filipinos are known to have strong family ties. That despite of the fact that we have to leave our families and friends behind to work somewhere far, we still choose to pay a visit them whenever the time allows. In a way, these fiesta tradition, Christmas holidays, holy week, election day, and other occasion days are what brings Filipinos together. During these days, bus terminals, seaports, and airports are full of Filipinos queuing up for their rides heading home.

It’s in a Filipino wish list - to go back home no matter what.

When I got my first job in the city back in 2005, there’s always this feeling that I wanted to go back in my home province and see how things go on there. You know that feeling of missing home and you’re too far away. You really need patience, more of it. Back then, I want to see my parents, my friends, and relatives whom I had grown up with. I want to see the green environment, that place that made me a person that I am today. Since then, I tried making ways o…

Filipinos Very Own Jeepney is in Manila and Everywhere in the Philippines

Jeepney symbolizes the culture of the Philippines. This is the primary means of transportation of the Filipino people. This vehicle can be seen anywhere in the country. There is no city, town or barangay that has no jeepneys to represent them. Jeepney is the life of the people in the Philippines.

On the Photo: Jeepney Blessing Ceremony
Children and adults in this photo are excited about the blessing of this new jeepney. Coins were thrown on top of the jeepney and they scrambled for it. For the jeepney owner, this is the start of a new day, a new business venture. Jeepney like this one, which has a stainless body costs around P300,000 to Php400,000 and is mainly used as a passenger utility vehicle.


How many jeepneys can you see here?


How about here?

Riding a Jeepney - How it Feels to be in It
Riding on the jeepney might not be that comfortable and convenient to all. If you are tall, you have no other choice but to bend your neck a little. If you are fat, worst case that the driver will charg…

Great Reasons Why You Should be Proud to be Pinoy Today

Yes, we live in a poor country. We walk up and sleep in a country with high unemployment rate, low quality of life, high crime incidence, rampant corruption in the government, unsolved traffic issues, high poverty and so on and so forth. We are residing in a country where there are New People’s Army, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Abu Sayyaf Group and plenty of other leftists doing harm to the nation’s freedom and sovereignty. Many of our rivers, oceans and lands are totally polluted – some are dead. Our streets are flooded with criminals, kidnappers, snatchers, drug addicts, drug pushers and tons of other bad elements invading our liberty. In remote areas around the country, there are children walking barefoot, on their empty stomach and with unconditioned mind and body just to taste the education which their parents were forced to believe that “poverty is not a hindrance to education” – but is not. We experience over and over again the fury of strong typhoons leaving us billion-wort…

Talk to Us

Name

Email *

Message *