Time travel to Binondo’s heyday with Chinatown Museum’s ‘Digital Manila’ Exhibit

Published August 5, 2022, 11:41 AM

by Jessica Pag-iwayan

Binondo during its heyday in the 1930s in high resolution

LOOKING BACK — Chinatown Museum reopens with a ‘Digital Manila’ Exhibit to showcase the golden days of Binondo, Manila (Photos by Manny Llanes/MANILA BULLETIN)
LOOKING BACK — Chinatown Museum reopens with a ‘Digital Manila’ Exhibit to showcase the golden days of Binondo, Manila (Photos by Manny Llanes/MANILA BULLETIN)

Binondo has been known throughout the years as the country’s Chinatown. But before this moniker was applied, this colorful place was home to families and businesses, and is the root of various traditions and cultures we have today. 

This is what Chinatown Museum, the country’s first cultural museum, wants people to see as it reopened with a brand new exhibit that will bring visitors back to pre-war Binondo. The show named “Digital Manila” features exhibits sprawled over 161 square foot of floor space, where visitors can explore a rare collection of digital renders and footage depicting the urban landscape of Binondo during the height of its economic success in the 1930s.

This exhibit is created in partnership with Renacimiento Manila–a group of artists, creators, and history enthusiasts committed to heritage advocacy, with a particular interest in Manila’s built heritage—are photos and digital renders of the iconic buildings and landmarks of Escolta, the country’s pre-war economic center and financial hub, which was once called “The Wall Street of Asia”. 

Through video walkthrough and installations featuring old and current photos, guests can also learn more about the dynamic evolution and the vital role Escolta played in Philippine history. The exhibit, supported by the National Commission for Culture and Arts (NCCA) and Fundador, will run until December 2022. 

Alcaiceria Gallery

“We are very excited to once again open our doors and what better way to welcome back our visitors than with a unique historical exhibit that will educate and endear everyone to the old Binondo and the pivotal role Escolta played in our nation’s history”, says Janine Cabato, head of Megaworld Museums. 

To further support the exhibit, Chinatown Museum has also lined up various programs for museum visitors for the rest of the year including sketch walks, bike tours, food tours, and photo walks.

Educational talks to be conducted within the museum are also in the pipeline. These include symposiums on historical Binondo architecture by Arch. Lorelai de Viana Ph.D and Escolta’s Art Deco buildings to be facilitated by heritage advocate Ivan Man Dy of Old Manila Walks. 

Chinatown Museum opened last June 2019 to provide a glimpse of Binondo’s glorious past as the world’s oldest Chinatown. It features 18 galleries, which showcase various influences and historical events that have shaped the cultural, social, and economic threads of the current Binondo.

Chinatown Museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 a.m  to 6 p.m., and is located at the 4F North Wing of Lucky Chinatown, Reina Regente St. Binondo, Manila.