Binondo (Chinatown), Manila - Stein Travel
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Binondo (Chinatown)

Established in 1594, the city of Manila's enclave of Binondo is the oldest 'Chinatown' in the world - and remains to this day as one of the largest, most authentic, and most culturally intriguing to foreign visitors. Binondo was established by the Spanish at the end of the 16th century, when they gave some tax-free land that lay outside the bounds of Manila to (converted) Catholic Chinese immigrants, along with self-governing privileges. The immigrants, who hailed mainly from China's Fujian province, soon established a bustling community - and these days, Binondo is one of modern Manila's most vibrant areas, constantly buzzing with trade and activity. Most visitors to Manila visit Chinatown to shop at the wholesale stores, where everything under the sun may be purchased (and usually at good prices); or else to sample the wide range of exotic cuisine. One of Binondo's best features is its converted movie theatres, which now house top-quality restaurants turning out traditional Chinese fare.

Information & Facts

Language

The official language of the Philippines is Filipino, but English is widely spoken. Tagalog is the most predominant of the many dialects or local languages spoken throughout the islands.

Money

The currency of the Philippines is the Peso (PHP), which is divided into 100 centavos. Major credit cards are widely accepted in the cities and tourist destinations. Banks do not always accept travellers cheques, but a receipt of purchase is useful. ATMs are available in the major cities. US dollars are widely accepted in Manila and other tourist areas and are the easiest currency to exchange; otherwise Euros and Pounds Sterling can also be exchanged in banks and hotels. Banks open from 9am to 3pm, Monday to Friday, but their ATMs are open 24 hours. It is best to carry pesos when travelling outside of major centres.

Time

Local time is GMT +8.

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