14th February 2010, is Valentines Day and same time Chinese New Year in Manila. I went to Chinatown for the occasions however, I learned that the main celebrations for the Chinese New Year was already done yesterday which was the eve of the Chinese New Year. Anyhow, Ongpin street is also full of peoples, Chinese, Filipinos, mestizos, and some Western tourist. and I took some photos which I posted here.
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 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.
Prior to Makati, Binondo was the main center for business and finance in Manila for the Chinese, Chinese mestizos and Spanish Filipinos. Before World War II there was a bustling banking and financial community which included insurance companies, commercial banks and other financial institutions from Britain and the United States. The banks were located mostly in Escolta which used to be called the "Wall Street of the Philippines". After the war most of these businesses began to relocate to the newly developing area of Makati, which is mostly owned by the Ayala family. Binondo is also famous for its imitation of a small Chinese town which is locally called "China Town". During the financial crisis of the early 80s, Binondo earned the nickname "Binondo Central Bank" as Chinese businessmen in the district engaged in massive black marketing of US dollars, often dictating the actual Peso-Dollar exchange rate. The term has survived to this day.
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View of Pasig River in the vicinity of Jones Bridge and MacArthur Bridge in Manila.
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