Binondo: the oldest Chinatown | Inquirer Business

Binondo: the oldest Chinatown

/ 06:19 AM February 11, 2017

Binondo remains an undisputed center of wholesale and retail trading for commodities

Binondo remains an undisputed center of wholesale and retail trading for commodities

Binondo has become place to be, not only for the Chinese New Year festivities, but for all the celebrations of your life’s milestones.

What can you find in Binondo and what makes it an ideal home investment? Let’s explore.


Every major city in other countries may have a Chinatown, but there is no Chinatown quite like Binondo in the city of Manila.


Founded in 1594, it is the oldest Chinatown in the worId. It has become the melting pot of almost all the commercial endeavors of both Chinese and Filipino merchants.

It is the undisputed center of wholesale and retail trading for commodities because of its strategic location—being near the harbor centers namely North Harbor, South Harbor, and the Manila International Container Terminal.

The district was also the first stop of the Chinese immigrants who settled and found a new life in Manila. With the coming of these immigrants, a new culture was introduced.

The baby boomer generation, who grew up with nothing in their pockets after World War II (migrants from Mainland China). had set up their businesses, became successful, and have always stayed in Binondo because they are part of closely-knit families who wanted to stay close to home.

They get to enjoy all the urban trappings of a modern residential development where neighbors and friends are nearby, while still feeling connected or rooted in historical Chinatown. In addition, top Chinese schools and educational institutions in the university belt area are also just around the corner.

Choosing Binondo

Today, people from all walks of life can find lots of reasons to choose Binondo as their home and place of business.


For one, land values have been consistently appreciating despite the crowded and seemingly low compliance on zoning guidelines. Malls, office buildings, and condominiums have also sprouted in Binondo, which further boosted real estate value in this important section of downtown Manila.

It has transformed from a busy, commercial district into an ideal residential neighborhood that’s slowly attracting those who have an affiliation for the past and the present.

Notably, despite the rise of modern infrastructure in the area, Binondo has retained its cultural and historical identity. Binondo blends the past and the present with the future.

Meanwhile, as the population and local economy continue to grow, so is the demand for better living and working conditions.

Most Chinese businessmen, for example, are converting their property into high-rise buildings to meet this demand. The trend is to make the place of work the same place where one lives.

Great investment

Teeming with hundreds of commercial and retail establishments, multinational financial institutions, as well as med ical and educational institutions, Binondo provides a high return on investment.

Besides, one can easily access the vibrant shopping havens around Binondo such as the famous Lucky Chinatown Mall, Cityplace Square, 168 and 999 Shopping Centers among others.

People, especially the millennials, are now open to living in high-density locations such as Binondo because they crave social engagement and prefer to live in homes that truly cater to their lifestyle.

Another reason why Fil-Chinese investors pick Binondo as the place to settle and start their families is its proximity to key facilities and lower-priced food essentials found especially in Divisoria, known for its wide assortment of low-priced goods as well as wholesale and bargain shopping.

For those who want to avoid the crowds, frenzied atmosphere and maze-like set-up, there are several air-conditioned malls such as the Tutuban Mall and the 168 Mall, among others.

With all the modern amenities it offers, there is no doubt that anyone who wants to build and grow a business while raising a closely-knit family will definitely find Binondo as the place to be: secure, convenient, and comfortable.

Start-ups can structure and scale their ventures so they get a relatively stress-free environment conducive for increased success. As feng shui masters say, it’s a great way to roost your brood in the Year of the Fire Rooster.

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Prof. Enrique Soriano is an executive director at the W+B Advisory, and the program director for real estate at the Ateneo Graduate School of Business.

TAGS: Binondo, Chinatown, property

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