Exhibitions

Permanent Exhibitions
Mission Settlement
During the late 1500s, Binondo was the center of spiritual ministry for the Christianized Chinese in Manila.

During the late 1500s, Binondo was the center of spiritual ministry for the Christianized Chinese in Manila. Binondo Church was founded by the Dominicans, who were tasked with the ministry of the new Chinese converts.

Baptism appealed to the Chinese because it allowed them to leave the parian and marry local women — incentives which aided their business dealings

Figures of Faith
The saints on the retablo are deeply connected with Binondo. Nuestra Señora del Santisimo Rosario, also known as La Naval de Manila, is currently housed at Santo Domingo church.

The saints on the retablo are deeply connected with Binondo. Nuestra Señora del Santisimo Rosario, also known as La Naval de Manila, is currently housed at Santo Domingo church. San Nicolas de Tolentino is known to be the patron saint of Chinese mestizos. The original oil painting of Nuestra Señora del Pronto Socorro is carefully displayed at Binondo Church.

Mother Ignacia del Espiritu Santo and San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila were born in Binondo and baptized in Binondo Church.

Alcaiceria
The Alcaiceria de San Fernando was constructed in 1752 following a Royal Decree of Ferdinand VI. The area was to be a residence and trade center for transient Chinese.

The Alcaiceria de San Fernando was constructed in 1752 following a Royal Decree of Ferdinand VI. The area was to be a residence and trade center for transient Chinese.

The Spanish government allowed the Chinese to conduct their economic activities. This strategic location, fronting Intramuros across Pasig River, allowed the military to monitor them. It was a bustling commercial area where merchants traded their wares, like textiles, housewares and various commodities.

The last original wall of the Alcaiceria is currently at Pedro Guevara Elementary School at San Fernando Street, San Nicolas.

Mestizo De Sangley
Chinese mestizos were raised in the Philippines from a Chinese father and a native Filipina mother during the Spanish colonial period.

Chinese mestizos were raised in the Philippines from a Chinese father and a native Filipina mother during the Spanish colonial period. Because of their education and high social status, they pioneered the emergence of the Filipino nation. The modern term for “Chinese Mestizo” is Tsinoy.

Shopshouses
The Chinese immigrants were popular as cooks. One of their major offerings were goods made from flour (e.g. hopia and siopao).

The Chinese immigrants were popular as cooks. One of their major offerings were goods made from flour (e.g. hopia and siopao). The most famous of their snacks was the mooncake or nian gao.

Industries
Binondo is a historical business district. The industries that can be found are tobacco, distillery and banking.

Binondo is a historical business district. The industries that can be found are tobacco, distillery and banking.

After the Galleon Trade, the Spanish government encouraged tobacco planting and cigar-making as a source of revenue for the colony. While the northern provinces provided tobacco dried leaves, Binondo evolved into a center of cigar manufacturing from rolling to packaging.

The Chinese played key roles in manufacturing, for instance, of liquor. They turned sugarcane, a cash crop, into rum but beer was brewed by Spanish-Filipinos at their brewery at San Miguel, Manila.

Since Binondo was considered the center for trade and manufacturing, banks began operating in the area. During the 1850s- 1880s, the country’s first three banks opened in Binondo.

Esteros De Binondo
Binondo is an island bound by estuaries or esteros. It is a mix of fresh water from Pasig River and salt water from Manila Bay.

Binondo is an island bound by estuaries or esteros. It is a mix of fresh water from Pasig River and salt water from Manila Bay. The esteros facilitated the transport of goods such as bananas, coconuts and building materials via cascos. In Noli Me Tangere, Ibarra bids farewell to Maria Clara at the azotea overlooking the estero while Elias waits below in a casco.

El 82
El 82 was a shop that sold hardware and art supplies. Its name commemorated 1882, the year of the country’s rebirth after the cholera epidemic.

El 82 was a shop that sold hardware and art supplies. Its name commemorated 1882, the year of the country’s rebirth after the cholera epidemic. “82” was also the store’s phone number. El 82 was founded by Ramon Ongpin, who was a popular mestizo that held positions such as: teniente primero de mestizos and a cabeza de barangay. He also supported the 1896 revolution by providing funds and supplies.

Origins of Revolution
During the Philippine Revolution, the Chinese mestizos sympathized with non-Chinese Filipinos.

During the Philippine Revolution, the Chinese mestizos sympathized with non-Chinese Filipinos. Revolutionary fervor began brewing in Binondo. Katipunan was founded at the corner of Elcano and Azacarraga streets. The Binondo residents joined the Propaganda Movement and fought in the war. Local business men gave financial support. The residents wanted independence from Spain too.

Taller De Carpenteria
Many Chinese immigrants worked as craftsmen. One of the most well-known craftsmen

Many Chinese immigrants worked as craftsmen. One of the most well-known craftsmen, Ah Tay, is best known for his high quality Narra furniture that blends European Baroque and Rococo styles with indigenous plant patterns into the design.

Ah Tay beds are identifiable by their intricately carved bedposts. Squash motifs can be found in the corners of the bed frame. Some carvings are inspired by native fruits.

A lesser known side to the story of the transient and immigrant Chinese is the story of the Opium den, which is largely contextualized by the Opium Wars.

Botica De San Fernando
Chinese boticas made natural herbal concoctions and medicinal cures available.

Chinese boticas made natural herbal concoctions and medicinal cures available. Common herbs include goji berries, peony, saffron and oregano, with emphasis on herbal medicine from traditional Chinese medicine. To prevent diseases, practitioners balance forces through herbal dietary prescriptions in the form of broth, powders and pills.

Turn of the Century
From 1870 onwards, many Filipinos became increasingly critical of colonial abuses.

From 1870 onwards, many Filipinos became increasingly critical of colonial abuses. The entry of liberal ideas from Europe and other Spanish colonies led to a clamor for independence. The newspapers in this gallery highlight key events from 1805-1965.

Tranvia
During the late 19th century, the Tranvia was a streetcar that provided mass transportation for Manileños.

During the late 19th century, the Tranvia was a streetcar that provided mass transportation for Manileños. The first five liñeas interchanged at Plaza Calderon de la Barca where it is currently known as the Binondo Plaza. The Tranvia was initially horse -drawn, but the Compania de Tranvias de Filipinas eventually turned them into electric-powered streetcars.

La Estrella del Norte
La Estrella del Norte was a retail store established by the Levy Brothers, who were French-Jewish migrants.

La Estrella del Norte was a retail store established by the Levy Brothers, who were French-Jewish migrants. Their first store was on Calle Real, Iloilo City, while their second branch was at Escolta. The store was known for luxury goods, especially watches and jewelry.

Flavors of Binondo
Binondo is known to be a food hub that blends native, Chinese and Spanish influences. Among its popular offerings include pancit, tsokolate and hopia.

Binondo is known to be a food hub that blends native, Chinese and Spanish influences. Among its popular offerings include pancit, tsokolate and hopia. Pancit is a thick noodle made from rice and wheat flour. It is sauteed with pork and vegetables and may come with or without soup. Cacao came to the Philippines from Mexico where it originated. Filipinos consumed it and manufactured their own tsokolate by mixing cacao nibs with sugar, and molding these into discs and tablets. Making and selling table was picked up by Chinese merchants because they saw it as profitable. The term “hopia” is a combi- nation of the words, “ho” (good) and “pia” (pastry). It refers to a cylindrical-shaped traditional Chinese pastry that is baked in a charcoal fueled oven (pugon).