Friday, June 08, 2007


II every aspect of Philippine life, in every phase of Philippine history, in its culture and tradition, language and songs, in everything Filipino, there throbs a Chinese presence which found its way there long before Philippine recorded history. Although political, economic, or cultural exigencies throughout Philippine history sometimes isolate the Chinese Filipinos from a destiny shared with Filipinos, in the end, in everything that is Philippine, there emerges the Tsinoy -- the Chinese who is Filipino of the the Filipno who is Chinese. The Tsinoy -- molded through the centuries by Philippine life; enriching this land with the legacies of his Chinese heritage.

Bahay Tsinoy: A Museum of the Chinese in Philippine Life

How true it is, but how these words strike me with undeniable irony.

You see, in my high school in which almost half of my classmates were Tsinoys, none of this local historical aspect was ever taught to us. And sadly, since these classmates had to dash off to their afternoon Chinese school after classes, there wasn't much opportunity for us to develop meaningful friendships. Yet, much like them, I, too, walked the streets of Santa Cruz and Binondo as a youngster, though mostly on Saturdays with my father.

How I wonder what it would have been like to gallivant on these same streets along with them. I'm sure I would have discovered other interesting aspects of Chinese life, culture, sights, and foodstuffs besides those that my father had delighted in showing me. There were times he would even take me to the Chinese opera staged right there in Plaza Miranda, though neither one of us understood its dialogue. Nonetheless, I would have also enjoyed seeing a Hong Kong-made movie in Chinatown with these Tsinoy classmates and later enjoy a snack in one of their favorite noodle shops.

With great embarrassment I admit it was only when I moved back to Manila from New York that I finally realized the immense influence of the Chinese in our local history; that is, even before the arrival of the Spaniards. Never thought before that the Tsinoys are just as much a Filipino as I am, as well as my Ilocano and Bicolano cousins.

Bahay Tsinoy, a wonderful museum that all local and balikbayan Filipinos should visit!

Bahay Tsinoy
Kaisa-Angelo King Heritage Center
Anda Corner Cabildo Streets, Intramuros, Manila
Telephone: 526-6798 and 527-6083
Admission: 100 pesos for adults; 60.00 pesos for students

You may also want to check out my previous posts about the Chinese influence in the Philippine Archipelago:

Banking and the Early Chinese Traders

Ysla de Binondo and the Chinese Revolt

Don Carlos Palanca Tan Quien-Sen

Herb for the Nerve

The Chinese Cemetery

Also, my friend Ivan Mandy has announced his new walking tour schedule.
A sampling is as follows:

The BIG Binondo Food WOK!
Nibbling our way through Chinatown
When: June 9, 2007 ; Saturday at 2:00 PM (4 hours)
June 23, 2007; Saturday at 2:00 PM (4 hours)
Rates: P650.00/head
Meet at the lobby of the Binondo Church

Power, Palace and a shot of Beer!
Poking around the old Palace neighborhood
When: June 29, 2007 ; Friday at 1:30 PM* (3 hours)
Rates: P850.00/head (inclusive of fine-dine merienda)
Meet at the San Sebastian Church Steps

Mounds, Magnates and Mausoleums
A Chinese Cemetery Walk
When: June 17, 2007 ; Sunday at 3:30 PM (2.5 hours)
Rates: P500.00/head
Meet at the red temple (Chong Hock Tong) inside the Cemetery grounds.

For additional information, visit:


posted by Señor Enrique at 6:07 AM


Anonymous rhodora said...

Oh, this is where I should bring my daughter and her classmate-friends/flatmates!

Nice pics, especially the first one! :)

In some Philippine history textbooks in high school and elementary, it is mentioned that there is at least 10% Chinese blood in every Filipino. :)

June 08, 2007 9:44 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...


Ivan also offers this surprisingly "free" guided tour of Intramuros which I beleieve the Bahay Tsinoy is included as one of the stops.

Walls of THIS Content!
An Intramuros Walk

When: June 24, 2007 ; Sunday at 2:30 PM (3 hours)
Rates: Free* (gratuities accepted)
Meet at Plaza Roma in front of the Manila Cathedral

Details at

You may want to chech with him first!

Have fun!

June 08, 2007 9:50 AM  

Anonymous rhodora said...

Thanks, Eric. I think I should recruit more of Gem's high school classmates who are now in Manila for college. You see, these kids are "too sheltered" they only know the malls and flashy places in Manila, that they are missing much of their own heritage.

June 08, 2007 10:16 AM  

Blogger carlotta said...

china has always been close to my heart. i remember watching kung fu movies (dubbed in english) as a kid which i loved. aside from that, i also love the traditional music and clothes, the great wall, the food, the history, yeah, everything about china i love. di naman masyadong obvious na love na love ko china lol =)

the guy on the left side (first picture) reminds me of a picture of my chinese ancestor who was wearing the same clothes. i forgot which relative has it though.

btw, i will be joining ivan's free tour. =)

June 08, 2007 10:49 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...


May I suggest you start with Gem and her flatmates, and then let them persuade the others. Doing these tours with a busful of kids might take you away from enjoying them yourself ... hehehe!

June 08, 2007 10:56 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

And during the 90s, Carla, I'd enjoy the Saruday morning Wu Tang Clan martial art (english-dubbed) TV show from Hong Kong!

Some older Chinese men often talked to me in Chinese in Binondo. I wish I knew how to :(

I'll email you before those tours!

June 08, 2007 10:59 AM  

Anonymous rhodora said...

Oo nga ano, Eric... hehehe.. I got too carried away. I felt like a high school teacher again herding my students to an educational field trip. hahaha!

June 08, 2007 11:13 AM  

Blogger U.T.O.Y said...

makapagregister na kay ivan senor...

ive been in intramuros sevral times but i havent been to some of those areas na included in his tour...

June 08, 2007 4:19 PM  

Blogger Bugsybee said...

Eric, it's a pity that our history textbooks downplayed the great importance and contribution of the first Chinese traders and settlers to us. In fact, many of us are descended from Chinese ancestors. Most of our history stuff focuses on the Spaniards, the Americans, WWII and the Japanese.

I am glad that we have this Chinese museum now and schools should include it in their itineraries.

Beautiful pictures you have here. I also noticed that you changed your banner. You are now officially a photojournalist! Congratulations! :)

June 08, 2007 5:25 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

This time, Rhoda, you've got to just kick back and immerse in culture at your leisure :)

June 08, 2007 7:22 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

You have to try taking these walking tours, Utoy! It's quite informative and fun :)

Better register early!

June 08, 2007 7:23 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I agree with you, Bugsy. Somehow the Chinese got downplayed yet they have enormous contributionsto to our nation building!

Please check out Bahay Tsinoy, Bugsy, you won't regret it.

Thank you. I figured if I called myself a photojournalist, then I am totally obligated to be just as professional and mindful of maintaining a spotless integrity as those icons in the field.

June 08, 2007 7:28 PM  

Blogger sheilamarie said...

eric, this museum seems to be a very interesting place to visit. Madalaw nga!

You are right when you said that there is not much info about the tsinoys. mostly what we see or visit have something to do with the spaniards.

anyways, will surely visit this museums... will add it to the long list of places that you've written about here. LOL!

June 08, 2007 10:29 PM  

Blogger mimi said...

ang daming malalakbay po talaga sa intramuros anoh? one of my fave place on earth! basta iba ang hiwaga..

June 09, 2007 12:21 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Hala! You and your hubby and little Lucho might soon end up needing a few months to truly enjoy the Philippines .... hahaha!

But this is really a very interesting museum, Sheilamarie! Very nice presentation as well. I am waiting for permission to take photos inside, because I want you and everyone else to get a glimpse just how wonderful it is :)

Yes, a must to include in your list of Manila places to visit!

June 09, 2007 6:57 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

It is so convenient for me also, Mimi, to go to Intramuros, and this is the prime reason I enjoy visiting this historic enclave of what was once the whole of Manila.

Ang ganda din ng Fort Santiago park!

June 09, 2007 6:59 AM  

Blogger ladybug said...

This post of yours brings back memories. I like going to Bahay Tsinoy, esp. since this is where our wedding reception was held. They rent the ground floor to couples who would like to have their wedding reception there. And it's not as expensive as its neighboring establishments.

June 09, 2007 4:34 PM  

Blogger pusa said...

wow very nice photo señor! didnt know this museum at cabildo, is this new? or i just havent notice it before/

June 09, 2007 4:41 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Wow! That is one spacious ground floor, Ladybug with a beautiful winding staircase! That must've been a really nice reception you had :)

I really love what they had done there, especially the installations -- so lifelike!

June 09, 2007 8:00 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Must have been at least a couple of years, Pusa. A really nice museum which I highly recommend -- so much to absorb :)

It is a beautiful building, too, but I didn't realize it was a museum until only recently :)

June 09, 2007 8:02 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

You want to learn to speak a few phrases of Chinese? Try these:

Learn To Speak Chinese In 5 minutes

(Important: Read Out Loud)

English Phrase / Chinese Translation

1. “That’s not right”…………… Sum Ting Wong

2. “Are you harboring a fugitive?”.. Hu Yu Hai Ding

3. “See me ASAP”……………….. Kum Hia Nao

4. “There goes Stupid Man”………. Dum Dum Wa King

5. “Small Horse”……………….. Tai Ni Po Ni

6. “Did you go to the beach?”……. Wai Yu So Tan

7. “I bumped into a coffee table”… Ai Bang Mai Ni

8. “I think you need a face lift”… Chin Tu Fat

9. “It’s very dark in here”……… Wao So Dim

10. “I thought you were on a diet”.. Wai Yu Mun Ching

For more visit:


June 10, 2007 7:22 AM  

Blogger reyd said...

Nice article about Bahay Tsinoy, Eric
We can learn more about the Filipinos on that museum, especially how the Chinese culture influenced most of us. I just don't agree on the place where Bahay Tsinoy is right now. Intramuros should be left alone and no other buildings should be there to preserve the history of that site. Although, the builders of the Fort were mostly Chinese, Bahay Tsinoy Museum can find a better accessible place right in the heart of Binondo.

June 17, 2007 12:09 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

A very good point you have, Reyd. Ideally, it should be close to Binondo Church right somewhere around the plaza. However, I've a feeling you can't find a lot available for purchase there, not to mention of its astronomical price. But I like your idea.

I am trying to get permission to take pictures of the interior of this wonderful and educational museum so as to attract more locals to visit it.

Thanks, Reyd!

June 17, 2007 7:32 AM  

Blogger Old Manila Walks said...


Your point of building Bahay Tsinoy in the heart of Chinatown (Binondo) was raised a few years ago even before they built the museum. In the end, Intramuros won because of logistical concerns. While its fitting that it should be built in Binondo, the district (as people see it anyways) is primarily a business one and its only recently that it has sort of reinvented itself as a cultural one with the advent of cultural tours in the area. As opposed to to Intramuros where people actually go there to visit musuems.

Regarding Intramuros being 'left alone' to preserve its history, what did you mean by that? I am in the opinion that Intramuros has to be a vibrant cultural districts and if anything, institutions such as the BT Museums add life and vibrancy to the old district. That said, the facade should be in sync with the original buildings in Intramuros but alas, its with probablly 95 percent of the buildings in the district.


Your correct about the astronomical land price being another factor on why it was built in Intramuros

June 20, 2007 8:42 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I wouldn't mind getting a nice apartment somewhere in Binondo and spend my days walking around and taking photos :)

June 20, 2007 8:53 AM  

Blogger reyd said...

To: Old Manila Walks (Hey, Ivan, is that you?) This is Chok of,

Anyways, what I meant by leaving Intramuros alone is, what was there during the colonial period(s) should be revitalized and no other structures should be added. I just saw what is being built there right now(some sort of a sport complex?). (I was guilty of enjoying the fun of playing tennis and golf near the old Victoria Court, which I believe should not be there either). :D
Well, if making Intramuros a vibrant place and will lead to a peaceful place to visit at night, then I'll go for that.

June 21, 2007 12:02 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...


I cut and pasted your comment and emailed it to Ivan!

June 21, 2007 12:40 PM  

Blogger reyd said...

Oh, I see, Thanks ~

anyways, Intramuros should be really preserved. Kahit na tahimik na daw ngayon dun, takot pa din ako mag-pagabi. :D
Maraming kasi kaming experiences na nakakatakot around that area in the 70's. (Buti kung multo, kaso mga tao eh) "LOL"

June 21, 2007 1:03 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I can understand your concern, Reyd. However, I thinkk the Intramuros Administration folks have dome a good job of cleaning up the place and restoring peace, but then again, it still may not be as safe at night as when during the times of the Guardia Civil ... hehehe.

June 21, 2007 2:26 PM  

Anonymous Grupong Tales said...

Hi! We're a group of Philippine Institutions 100 (Ang Buhay ni Rizal at ang Kanyang Mga Akda) students from UP Diliman. We're pasting a link of this blog entry of yours on our Multiply site in connection with our post on Bahay Tsinoy. Thanks!

May 18, 2008 11:33 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Hello Grupong Tales!

Thank you! You have my permission to use my photos of Bahay Tsinoy in your site.

You may also check out my follow-up post, "Inside the Bahay Tsinoy" for more pictures:

Good luck with your site!

May 19, 2008 6:03 AM  

Anonymous Grupong Tales said...

Señor Enrique,

Thank you for giving us the permission to use your photos of Bahay Tsinoy and you blog entry, "Inside Bahay Tsinoy."

Grupong Tales

May 19, 2008 6:58 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

You're welcome, guys!

Cheers and good luck!

May 19, 2008 7:33 AM  

Blogger Jandy said...

Dear Senor Enrique,
I'm Jandy, I'm Indonesian who visited the museum. But i can't take picture there :( May I get permission to use ur pics as complementary of my paper. I will cite your site.

Thank you.
Jandy Luik

June 23, 2008 7:48 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Yes, Jandy, you may use these pics for your paper. Good luck!

June 24, 2008 6:23 AM  

Blogger my name is Someday said...

i too walked the streets of santa cruz/binondo for a few years, and have a little bit of chinese blood. thanks for this info! i surely would go visit the museum next time i'm in the coutnry.

March 16, 2009 5:35 AM  

Blogger Tabitha said...

Hi, I'm looking for photos to be used for the Department of Foreign Affairs' (DFA) cultural website and I'd really love to include this photo.

Your photo will be credited on the website for sure :)

Hoping for your positive feedback! You may contact me at :)

September 05, 2012 11:21 AM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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