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Binondo, Sta. Cruz and Quiapo Walking Tour Package

Photo credit to Edgar Alan Z Yap

Binondo and Quiapo of old Manila are places may be synonymous to crowded streets of homeless beggars, peddlers of pirated goods and prevalent thievery but one cannot speak of the Philippine history without acknowledging these places. When I heard about Edgar Alan a travel blogger that he is going to conduct his inaugural tour, I was having second thoughts if there’s more to these morbid descriptions I mentioned above I can learn from.  But when I went home and remembered how we traversed the dirty old streets in between a few calesas, tricycles and jeepneys almost banging from different directions under the heat of the sun, I did proved myself wrong because I can totally speak that there are more to know from these places. I did not bring a camera that time so I decided to go back only with my camera and started finding my way back to the places we went to.

I  organize a Binondo, Quiapo and Sta. Cruz private tour packages, For more information please contact 0998-989-3921 or email mariaronab anytime.

Click HERE to join our 2016 Special Chinese New Year Food Tour Package Including Chinatown, Binondo and San Nicolas

Binondo is where a lot of Chinese live and do their business. It is not surprising that within that area is a place called Chinatown which was established in 1594 therefore becoming the oldest Chinatown (outside China country) in the world. Historically, this was where the Spanish permitted converted sangleys (Chinese immigrants who converted to Catholicism), their indigenous Filipino wives, their mixed-race descendants and the mestizos de sangley or Chinese mestizos to reside.


Catholic Chinese lighting incense sticks to a Cross
From LRT Carriedo, just walk down and you are in Binondo already. When you see the Don Roman Santos Building, a neo-classical, Graeco-Roman architecture at Plaza Goiti (now Plaza Lacson) to the left, just keep on walking until you see the Binondo Church where Andres Bonifacio was wed. In front of the church and just across the street is the Chinatown. 

When you get inside, never leave this place tasting their food! Below are my suggestions:

1.       A fruitshake store along Ongpin Street. They have the widest selection of fresh fruits that you can choose with a suggestion of health benefits. For example I chose carrot + ginger + apple because it says on their board “Frequent drinking of these can clear one’s mind”.

2.       Noodles Everyday. Their minced pork and sweet and sour pork all with rice are my favorites! For as low as P99 the drink is free. You can choose a glass of soya milk, an ice tea or a service hot tea.

3.       Quan Yin Chay Vegetarian Food Garden along Masangkay Street. They serve mock-meat style dishes. A must try is their siopao made of wheat bread and insideis mushroom etc.
4.       And a lot more to choose if you are looking to taste grilled Peking duck, tikoy, dimsum, sharks fin, siomai, egg tart, hand pulled noodles etc.

Quiapo is known for its 400 year-old Quiapo Church where the feast of the Black Nazarene is held with millions of people attending every year and also very well known as a place for marketplace bargain hunting. Surrounding is a chaotic place of people selling almost anything, fortune-tellers using cards,  manghihilot (locals doing native way of massage), etc.  

Quiapo Church

Don’t leave Quiapo without checking these places:

 1. The Muslim Town. Erase the usual perception that our Muslim brothers are all war – freak. You can go inside this place silently and if you are wearing the proper dress code you will be permitted to go inside the Gold Mosque where they pray. After that try walking along the nearby streets and you will see a lot of carenderias serving Muslim food or the Halal labeled. There are a lot of tiangge style dress shops for Muslim dresses that are suggesting their latest fads as well.

2.       Hidalgo Street a haven for photographers for finding photography related items and Plaza Miranda known as the place where a bomb exploded in 1971 that killed 9 people and a hundred plus injured.

3.       Nakpil-Bautista House. This is where a number of Katipunan meetings were held and Juan Luna’s “The Parisian Life” painting which GSIS bought back for a total of P46 million in a Hong Kong auction was earlier owned by one of the owner’s daughters.

4.       Boix House right side of Nakpil-Bautista House, a decaying old European designed house. Nothing more interesting about this but it will hit our heart how a lot of the symbols of our culture and heritage gone so fast because no one cares. It is up to you how you will give meaning of the last three words I said.

6.       Ocampo Pagoda. An old house built in 1908 that survived from Japanese bombings because they thought this house belongs to their comrades. The design of the house is  a fusion of 3 races: Japanese, Korean and Medieval style. Let me know if you agree or not.

7. Basilica Minore of San Sebastian.  It is the only all-steel church in Asia. It's design is being compared and rumored to have been made by the Eiffel Tower of Paris. I love the Gothic style and I loved it more when I went inside.

There you go, amid the disordered surroundings you will surely encounter the first time you are there I hope this won’t hinder you to take a walk to these places. I challenge every photographer to take pictures of everything there. To take beautiful photos as work of arts from rubbish squatters area, assorted fruits lined up in on top of a wooden cart and street kids without slippers playing in the streets. I am telling you this is the picture of what Manila is not the classy surroundings of Makati or The Fort. Here you will get to know Manila itself.

If you'd like to do a DIY tour of walking food tour of Binondo, please click here our top 10 restaurants to dine for the most authentic, tastiest and most historical dining places including the nearby San Nicolas, Quiapo and Sta Cruz.


Hi there :) My name is Maria Rona Beltran, the  Founder of this travel blog and shop - Travel Maria you are reading right now. I want to stay connected to you to a lot of other ways so I am sharing you other social media accounts.  See y'all online soon:)

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