Did you know that the oldest Chinatown in the world is located in the Philippines? It was established in 1594. I thought it could have been in Vietnam, Korea, India, Thailand, Laos, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Russia, Pakistan, Nepal, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan or Afghanistan (its neighbouring land-based countries). Here are the 6 Things You Can Do in Binondo (China Town), Philippines!
1.) Visit the Largest Chinatown Arch in the World
It is dubbed as the largest Chinatown Arch in the World, at 3.8-feet taller than the one found in Washington, DC. It is a testament of China-Philippines friendship amidst the rising tension on territorial disputes in West Philippine Sea. It was built for PHP22,500,000 (USD500,000) by the City of Guangzhou, China.
2.) Send your prayers in Minor Basilica of Saint Lorenzo Ruiz
Also known as Binondo Church, this church is patroned by the Philippines’ First Saint, Lorenzo Ruiz. He was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1987. In front of the church, you can buy candles depending on your wishes. I lighted orange for my success in pursuit in law school, white for world peace, green for very good health and money, red for sustained passion, and pink for love and friendship.
3.) Confucian-Christian religion in the streets
Somewhere in the corner streets of Binondo, you will encounter this small chapel which seems to combine Confucian-Christian religions. Although there are confucian items such as incense and jiaobei blocks, the appearance of that Cross is very much interesting.
4.) Buy your lucky charms
Since it is nearing Chinese New Year, there is nothing wrong to buy some lucky charms for your protection. I accompanied my office colleague Bijin from India in this shopping. Lucky Charms in China town are much cheaper in price!
5.) Mourn and Take Action for this Dead River
This is called Binondo river. This is a testament of how irresponsible humans ruined the ecosystem of other living things. It is now colored black, stinky, and no signs of life.
6.) Pose with the Red Christmas Tree
This Red Christmas Tree is very symbolic to Communist China. Get your selfies of it in Lucky Chinatown Mall here in Binondo!