Binondo and Escolta in Pictures

Last summer, my friends and I explored Binondo – an old district in Manila and known as the oldest Chinatown in the world, established in 1594 by the Spaniards for the Catholic Chinese, and Escolta – the historic street in Binondo  which was created in 1594 too, making it as one of the oldest streets in the Philippines and was once the center of commerce.

I wanted to take pictures of this old district in hopes of capturing the remnants of its former glory, however I was a bit disappointed that they failed to preserve or even restore most of the old buildings in Escolta but some were newly painted though. Well, I heard some groups now are doing something to revive famous street. But Chinatown is still interesting as it continue to be one of trading places in the country where all types of businesses run by Filipino-Chinese thrive.

I have to say though, touring this area is not for the faint-hearted. Hahaha! But I have seen a number of foreign tourists too, many of them backpackers walking and exploring the area themselves.

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Welcome to Manila Chinatown – the oldest Chinatown in the world!
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Tricycles and pedicabs at the North bridge
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Ongpin North Bridge
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Strolling around Chinatown under the summer heat. hahaha
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The famous Ongpin Street in Binondo.
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This is my friend walking in the street of Ongpin in Chinatown, Manila.
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Binondo Church. I am not Catholic, but I like taking photographs of churches because of its architectural design and historical significance
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The old Binondo Church and the fountain from Plaza San Lorenzo Ruiz, oh and the iconic jeepney of the Philippines. 😄
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Fountain at the Plaza San Lorenzo Ruiz
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Some locals looking up at San Lorenzo Ruiz statue as they passed by the plaza.
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Roman Ongpin Statue
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Natividad Building is a historic building along Escolta corner Tomas Pinpin. It was designed by Philippine-born Spanish architect Fernando de la Cantera Blondeau
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Alley in between the old buildings of Escolta
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Don Roman Santos Building is a Neoclassical building that was built in 1894
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The busy Escolta Street and the Sta. Cruz Church
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I don’t always get to visit places like Binondo or Escolta as I try to avoid being in crowded and busy areas in Metro Manila because they stress me out. But I have to say it was a fun Saturday as I get to take pictures of this part of the town. I was a bit scared especially because I have my dslr camera and the area is notorious for theft and different (petty) crimes, add to that the street dwellers who flock around as I shoot. But these two street kids didn’t approach me to beg for food or money, what they actually asked from me was to take a photo of them as they lay on that makeshift ‘bed’. I showed them their photo after I took it and they were really happy to see their faces. I hope to be back in this street again in the near future and hopefully I will see these two again to give them their printed photograph.
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A vendor outside the Sta. Cruz Church
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Escolta. (View from Sta. Cruz Church)
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A jeepney – popular means of public transportation all over the country.
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hard work
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Carriedo Fountain in Plaza Sta. Cruz. This is one of my favorite photos that I took during our ‘Binondo/Escolta tour’. When I told my friends I wanted to go to Escolta to shoot, this old fountain is what I had in mind. So when we finally saw it, after walking for about half an hour or so, I immediately took some photographs not minding the crowds and the busy traffic in the area. I liked how the kids play around the fountain too as I shoot. But of course I had to be careful too because as I said this area is known for some (petty) crimes. I was actually approached by a teenage boy and asked for some money but I refused. Then he said something about me taking a picture of him as he stand and jump from the top of the fountain. I said NO and walked away from him. I do not want to risk some people’s lives just for a (good) photograph or entertainment. NO WAY!
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Carriedo Fountain in Plaza Sta. Cruz.

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