Saturday, January 21, 2012


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, Binondo was the area 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 to live. 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 laborers.

Located across the Pasig River from Intramuros, Binondo has typified a small Chinese town. Locally it has been called "China Town". The district is the center of commerce and trade for all types of businesses run by ethnic Chinese merchants. Given the historic reach of Chinese trading in the Pacific, this district was already a hub of Chinese commerce before the first Spanish colonists came in 1521.

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