Walked around old Manila – Binondo – the oldest Chinatown in the world with high school buddy, and former Minister of Information under President Joseph Estrada, Joel Paredes.
We went around Ongpin Street and vicinity and got to see the oldest continuing restaurant in the Philippines (ironically named New Toho Food Center, since 1888), the hopia factories (Eng Bee Tin and Polland), the excellent Chinatown Museum, the original Ma Mon Luk and various other establishments and of course, Binondo Church.
Binondo used to be the main center of commerce in Manila, still is, where all types of businesses run by Filipino-Chinese thrive. They are really trying to revive the area to its former glory – the streets are cleaner, the esteros, although still are dead are trying to be lifted to life, the street vendors especially in the neighboring Divisoria are rid of. There is a new mall, a new museum, a new vibe that sometimes feel like New York. I hope it continues.