Sunday, February 7, 2021

A Historical Gem in Downtown Manila

The favorite place for bargain hunters in the metro and probably from all over the Philippines is the busy district of Binondo and Tondo in downtown Manila.

It's often describe as chaotic and disorganized shopping destination causing traffic congestion and petty crimes. People would dare to follow the crowd just to cross the street full of carts and products laid over the street.

It's too crowded, and sometimes not passable to vehicles and to pedestrians. Even shoppers would get stucked during rush hours and during weekend due to the massive crowd.

For several years that was the scene until a change in leadership took place in 2019 with the new Manila Mayor, Isko Moreno. Since then, I've witnessed how this old shopping district has transformed to become much organized and clean as compared to previous administration.

The downtown Manila in the district of Binondo and Tondo has been the center of trade and commerce back in pre-colonial times. It has thrived even during the Spanish era and post World war 2, as it was rebuilt and bounced back stronger and wealthier, being the home of the Chinese-Filipino businessmen and their families.

Despite the hustle and bustle of the district, there's a hidden gem of historical significance that may have been taken for granted or ignored by the people.

But this structure has caught my attention since I love historical buildings and has a deep appreciation for the government's efforts for its restoration.

This building is the old Tutuban Railway Station built in the 19th century during the Spanish era. This was the country's first roadrail network in mainland Luzon; the line from Manila to Dagupan. 

The old structure is fully restored back to its original image through the acquisition and restoration efforts by the Ayala company in 2016.

The 20-hectare Tutuban property is even made beautiful and more pleasant giving a better shopping experience to visitors with the Tutuban Shopping Center adjacent to the old Tutuban Main Station. 

There's also a monument and park built in memory of the great Philippine hero, Andres Bonifacio who's born in Tondo. Not many people may have noticed, but this little park and monument has a great significance and a reminder of our glorious past.

The next time you visit downtown Manila for a great bargain hunt, take a closer look and pay attention to this charming building that's restored to meet the new age and the new generation of mighty Filipinos. 

©️ 2021 Del Cusay