Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Touring the oldest churches in the Philippines


Binondo Church
The "Minor Basilica of Santo Lorenzo Ruiz" in Binondo, Manila came about due to the Spanish colonisers' distrust of Chinese settlers in Manila. As more and more Chinese converted to Catholicism, the new converts needed a place to worship—but they were not permitted to enter the walled city of Intramuros, where Manila's churches stood.

The church was constructed by the Dominican order in 1596 to meet the Chinese Catholic community's spiritual needs. Time has not been kind to the Binondo Church—it was destroyed by the British in 1762, by an earthquake in 1863, and by American bombs in 1944, but each time it has risen from the ashes. The present reconstruction was only completed in 1984.

The Binondo Church's bell tower is its oldest surviving part, and the one that displays the most conspicuous influence from Chinese architecture—a five-storey octagonal building that resembles a Chinese pagoda. And once you’re done exploring the nooks and crannies of the church, head out to the Chinese eateries along Ongpin and Salazar Streets and have an instant Chinatown food fest. (Photo by Harvey Tapan) 

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