by: Jenica Villanueva
Being one of the world’s oldest existing countries, China has become a powerful nation with a rich history, artistic heritage, magnificent dynasties wonderful landscapes, and a great literature which makes it a well-ordered society that stretches over thousands of years.
The history of ancient Chinese in the country can be traced back in early 90’s when “approximately 600,000 ethnic Chinese were made up less than 1 percent of the population. Because Manila is close to Taiwan and the mainland of China, the Philippines has for centuries attracted both Chinese traders and semi-permanent residents.”
Chinese Filipinos, or more commonly known as ‘Tsinoys or Chi-noi’s’ has always been one of the largest ethnic groups in the country with Chinese immigrants comprising the largest group of immigrant settlers in the Philippines. These FilChi’s, according to research, comprise 1.3% (1.1 million) of the total population. However, due to their increasing number of population in the country, they have made up their nations inside the society; making them establish businesses and firms not just to to survive in their daily living, but introduce the Chinese culture as well.
Re-Discovering Binondo: Chinatown.
Binondo is the world’s oldest Chinatown. Established by the Spaniards in 1594, lies here different tourist attractions which marks the Chinese culture. Located in an area of just about 1 square kilometer right in the heart of the city of Manila, Binondo bustles daily with trade and commerce which the Chinese are known for and it culminates thousands of years of Filipino and Chinese relationship.
Like other Chinatowns in other parts of the world, Binondo is also known for tastiest Chinese cuisine in the entire metropolis.
As you pass along the Ongpin streets, the major artery that cuts through Chinatown’s heartland is an enticing treasure trove of gold-smithery, countless eateries serving traditional Chinese dishes, pastry shops with tempting oriental delicacies,and apothecaries selling herbal packets and exotic remedies. Equally inviting are the interwining side streets and alleyways along this thoroughfare boasting of an overwhelming array of assorted goods ranging from fresh produce and exotic preserves to ornaments, hardware and furniture shops.
But there is more to Chinatown than mere shopping, dining, and enjoying. Beyond the enticing colors, noises, and the smell, this place’ surely proposes further exciting discoveries.
So, come on! Join us as we unravel the mysteries beyond Chinatown. Hopia. Siopao. Siomai Tikoy. Lucky Charms. Chopsticks. Kung Hei Fat Choi. Binondo. Experience China at its finest! ☺