#160 Manila Chinatown

Philippine jeepneys exiting from the main gate to Manila Chinatown and Ongpin Street

The Manila Chinatown, located in the heart of downtown Manila, perhaps is the most liveliest Chinatown in the Philippines. Part of the Binondo district, Manila Chinatown remains an authentic Chinese enclave in the Philippines.

The main street that cuts across this district is Ongpin which runs centrally and is the showcase for all things Chinese and traditional. Winding along for 10 jam-packed city blocks, Ongpin is glitz and glitter, traditional and exotic and an assault on the eardrums, the senses and one’s tastebuds.

The mishmash of stores offers everything you never thought you needed, from high-carat gold, live snakes, Chinese medicines, firecrackers to luscious Chinese moon cakes in very fast-food bakeries and restaurants. Modern hardware shops stand cheek-by-jowl beside traditional apothecaries that sell freshly-squeezed cobra bile. If you’re on time (just before the cooking pots and pans are readied) you can even spot live iguanas tethered on sidewalk poles.

For first-time visitors who are not intimidated by the smoke, chaos and commercial frenzy, cheap thrills and surprises are guaranteed in this corner of Manila.

Enjoy the Manila Chinatown!

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