Since my video about Quiapo was so popular, I decided to profile another neighborhood. This video about Binondo is educational and spiritual, but mostly just fun. Let me know what you think.
Binondo is an enclave in Manila primarily populated by ethnic Chinese living in the Philippines. It is the oldest Chinatown in the world, established in 1594. Historically, this was where the Spanish permitted converted sangleys, their indigenous Filipino wives, and their mixed-race descendants, the mestizos de sangley or Chinese mestizos, to reside. Similarly, Parían, an area near Intramuros, was where the Spanish first restricted unconverted Chinese immigrants. They allowed sangley settlement at Parían because it was within the range of Intramuros’ cannons, and they felt they could control any uprising from the labourers.
Located across the Pasig River from Intramuros, Binondo has typified a small Chinese town, and is referred to as the local “China Town”. The district is the centre of commerce and trade for all types of businesses run by Filipino-Chinese merchants. Given the historic reach of Chinese trading in the Pacific, Binondo was already a hub of Chinese commerce before the first Spanish colonisers arrived in 1521.
Binondo is also considered a historic centre of the mestizo de sangley community; famous residents include St. Lorenzo Ruiz, the Filipino protomartyr, and Venerable Mother Ignacia del Espiritu Santo, founder of the Congregation of the Religious of the Virgin Mary.
Before World War II, Binondo was the centre of a banking and financial community which included insurance companies, commercial banks and other financial institutions from Britain and the United States. These banks were located mostly along Escólta, which used to be called the “Wall Street of the Philippines”.
After the war and new development, most businesses began to relocate to the newer area of Makati. During the financial crisis of the early 1980s, it had the moniker “Binondo Central Bank”, as the local Chinese businessmen engaged in massive black market trading of US Dollars, which often determined the national Peso-Dollar exchange rate. Given its rich historical and financial significance, Binondo is said to have one of the highest land values nationwide.