Top 5 Things To Do in Chinatown

In no particular order…

01. Ride the calesa (horse-driven carriage). Some people may argue against it, animal cruelty and all, but nothing beats the experience of clip-clopping your way along the narrow Binondo streets with the wind in your hair and the smell of fishballs wafting around you. Unless I’ve been overcharged, a trip starting from a Binondo street, going ’round the post office, over the bridge, passing Binondo Church (actually called San Lorenzo Ruiz Minor Basilica), one of the oldest churches in the Philippines, and back costs 100 pesos only.

02. Visit Buddhist temples. It’s good for your soul. If nothing else, the huge golden Buddhas are pretty impressive to look at.

03. Just walk around. You get the feel of the town better that way. And there are lots of stuff selling on the streets and in shops that you won’t get anywhere else. If you need wonder herbs, exotic fruits, desserts, reasonably priced gold jewelry, joss sticks, Buddha statues, funeral candles with elaborate dragon design, firecrackers, snake soup and placenta soaps, you know where to go. If you still have time, you can stroll through the marketplaces of Divisoria for crafts materials in dirt-cheap prices. Not all of them are the best quality, though. You just have to look hard for great stuff. Be sure to have your valuables hidden somewhere safe.

04. Eat at one of the many superb restaurants serving authentic Chinese dishes. I’d recommend President, Tasty (delish dumplings), Masuki, Golden Fortune, and Hapchan. These are the ones I can personally vouch for. Consult this forum thread for more suggestions.

05. Take pictures. ;-)

5 Comments so far

  1. nina (unregistered) on September 7th, 2005 @ 11:25 pm

    i miss going to chinatown! well, actually eating there XD but i haven’t really wandered around chinatown, only in divisoria

  2. mela (unregistered) on September 8th, 2005 @ 1:37 am

    I’ve done everything but #2. Don’t ride calesas when you’re with a foreigner though. Like almost everything tourist-y in Manila, the prices triple when drivers and vendors smell $$$.

  3. Peter (unregistered) on September 8th, 2005 @ 10:06 am

    Well to be honest, I haven’t done 1. Maybe we should do a MetBlog Trip to Chinatown?

  4. anna l. (unregistered) on September 8th, 2005 @ 11:02 am

    all for it. ^_^
    i’d advise against making me the guide, though. for the health & sanity of y’all. seriously.

  5. len (unregistered) on September 15th, 2005 @ 9:30 am

    i recommend ivan m’s walking tour called the big binondo food bowl. we joined last saturday’s tour and had a blast! he took us to places that served great dumplings, fried siopao and more; places we wouldn’t have discovered on our own.

    aside from the yummy food, the tour’s really educational too.

    ivan’s at

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