This blog is a compilation of topics about Filipino - Hispanic culture (and nothing extraordinary as the title suggest). Most of the posts here are copied from other sites and are not from my own thoughts. Please visit my other blogs, you can find the links at the right side of this blog. Thank you.

Binondo, Manila [Chinatown]

Plaza San Lorenzo Ruiz and Binondo church

Binondo is an enclave in Manila primarily populated by Chinese immigrants living in the Philippines. Historically, the place called Parían near Intramuros was where the unconverted Chinese immigrants (called Sangley by the Spaniards) lived while Binondo was the place where the converted sangleys and their descendants, the mestizos de sangley or Chinese mestizos resided. The Parian was sited by the Spaniards within the range of Intramuros cannons, to prevent any uprising coming from the Chinese.

Binondo is located across the Pasig River from Intramuros and the home of Chinatown (said to be the oldest in the world) in Manila. The district is the center of commerce and trade for all types of businesses run by Chinese merchants. It is said that this district was already a hub of Chinese commerce even before the Spaniards came in 1571.

Founded in 1594, Binondo was created by Spanish Governor Luis Pérez Dasmariñas as a permanent settlement for converted Chinese immigrants across the river from the walled city of Intramuros where the Spaniards resided. It was originally intended to replace the Parian near Intramuros where the Chinese were confined. The land grant was given to a group of Chinese merchants and artisans in perpetuity, tax-free and with limited self-governing privileges.

The Spanish Dominican fathers made Binondo their parish and succeeded in converting a great many of the Chinese residents to Catholicism. Binondo soon became the place where Chinese immigrants converted to Catholicism, intermarried with indigenous Filipino women and procreated to produce a nascent Chinese mestizo community. Over the years, the Chinese mestizo population of Binondo grew rapidly. This was caused by two factors: the lack of Chinese immigrant females and the policies of the Spanish authorities in expelling and massacring pure-blooded Chinese immigrants who refused to convert. Luis Pérez Dasmariñas played a prominent role in the massacre of 20,000 Chinese after a Chinese revolt in 1603.

Binondo is the historic birthplace of a new race called mestizo de sangley. It was also the birthplace of St. Lorenzo Ruiz, a mestizo de sangley who would later become the First Filipino Saint and also Mother Ignacia del Espiritu Santo, who is also a mestiza de sangley and was the foundress of the Congregation of the Religious of the Virgin Mary. Plaza Lorenzo Ruiz and the Binondo Church (formal name: Minor Basilica of St. Lorenzo Ruiz) are named after him. And the Chapel of Our Lady of China now in Binondo Church.

ChinaTown, Binondo, Manila

Links: Chinatown, Chinatown Adventure, Binondo, Revisited
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