The fun-filled day started at Binondo Church, apparently there was a parade of Santo Nino images, to honor the feast of Santo Nino. It was a version of the Sinulog festival, locals carried their Santo Nino images from their home, some people danced to the drum rhythm while they revel on the street.
Santo Nino Images placed on top of a pedicab
After the procession, we decided to have a walking tour around Binondo to have a feel of Manila Chinatown. You would know you are in Binondo when you see Chinese signages, vibrant oriental decorations, red lanterns, food halls , and amulet stores.
Binondo also known as the Chinatown in the Philippines is one of the oldest Chinatown in the world founded in 1596. A compact community with great walkability. The epicenter of Binondo is the popular street of Ongpin, named after Roman Ongpin. Ongpin is a Chinese businessman who secretly supported the Philippine revolution by providing foods, money, and provisions to the revolutionists. In recognition to his support to the Filipinos, his monument stands beside Binondo Church.
Roman Ongpin Monument
The whole stretch of Ongpin is like a theme park of foods. There are massive food stalls in almost every establishments – traditional chinese delicacies. Crowd flocks the area because of the dining options with low prices. However the most popular food stop would be President Grand Palace Restaurant, a favorite to both Filipino and Chinese families.
For dumpling lovers here’s Tasty Dumplings.
Hopia anyone? Eng Bee Tin makes the best Hopia in town, and Tikoy too.
Siopao made in Ongpin will surely satisfy our ravenous stomach.
Food odyssey it is!
We stopped by at President’s Restaurant, it is again open after almost a year and a half renovation. They offer various dishes of chicken, duck, pigeon, frog, crab, prawn, shark fins, and vegetables.
We had Fish lip soup, Yang-chow, Braised duck with Mixed vegetables, and Hakaw. Their servings are good to feed four people, but we were only two. lol
Chinatown remained to be one of the most important trading communities in Manila. When visiting this place, do not miss the shopping opportunities. Chinese traders offer home appliances, clothing apparels, chinese trinkets, household wares, charms, amulets, and pieces of gold jewelry.
There are Chinese beliefs that oriental decorations along with charms bracelets and amulets could affect one’s happiness, wealth, good health and relationship.
Chinatown has busy atmosphere, it has its own charm probably because of the authentic feel chinese neighborhood; they too have already adapted to the ways of our country but managed to remain true to their Chinese roots.