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Binondo: Symbol of perseverance amid adversity

THE ‘kalesa’ (horse-drawn carriage) has been around since Spanish colonial times.

On the surface, Manila’s Binondo district, the world’s oldest Chinatown community, may have lost its old glory to the ravages of time and march of progress. But its rows upon rows of stores offering jewelry, traditional medicine, charms and food remain open especially in anticipation of the Lunar New Year.

This is most evident on Ongpin Street, its main road which is bookended by two religious destinations, Binondo Church (more formally the Minor Basilica and National Shrine of Saint Lorenzo Ruiz) and Sta. Cruz Church (Our Lady of the Pillar Parish).

CHINESE bites: Store sells dim sum delights.

The attendants at the jewelry shops look bored and forlorn, probably due to slow sales owing to the pandemic, but the eateries draw residents and visitors alike.

There’s still an abundance of siopao, siomai and hopia — available at both the mom-and-pop stores and the Salazar and Ho-land bakeries.

All sorts of charms to attract good luck and fortune.

The biggest of them all, Eng Bee Tin, now looks like a swanky department store, its interiors similar to that of an airport souvenir shop.

Sidewalk vendors boast having the freshest looking veggies and fruits.

Shanghai fried siopao store.

The sense of history one feels while walking from end to end of Ongpin is heightened upon seeing old but strong-looking Chinese women selling tikoy — the sticky rice cake offered as good luck for the Chinese New Year.

These are the folks whose ancestors comprised the early wave of immigrants that left China during its impoverished, turbulent years to find and build a new life in the Philippines.

‘BIG sale’ at jewelry shop.

STREETFOOD cart in Ronquillo of Ongpin.

ENG Bee Tin’s main store.

FRESH fruits and vegetables by the sidewalk.

OUR Lady of Pillar Parish or the Sta. Cruz Church is one of the two religious institutes that bookend Ongpin Street.

Credit belongs to : www.tribune.net.ph

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