Monday, March 22, 2010

Down in Chinatown

Part 2 of the Chinatown series. Part 1 here.

Chinese-Filipinos (or more populary known as Chinoys) are considered one of the largest ethnic groups in the country, making up about 20% of the entire population. Most of the Chinese are business owners engaged in family business. In fact, the richest man in the Philippines, Henry Sy, who owns the largest mall chain in the country, is Chinese.

Most of the Chinese in the Philippines live in urban areas, especially Metro Manila. In Manila, Chinatown is located in Binondo (Binondo comes from the word "Binundok" or boondocks). It is said that the district was already the center of Chinese commerce even before Spanish colonial times.

The Chinese Filipinos are mostly Christians, which makes them unique from the Chinese residing in other parts of Southeast Asia. Still, most of them practice more traditional Chinese religions like Mahayana Buddhism or ancestor worship (including Confucianism) side by side with Christianity. Part 3 tomorrow!

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