Binondo Church: Exploring One of Manila’s Oldest Churches

Facade of Binondo Church Manila

While there are many beautiful churches across Metro Manila, there are those which stand out for their rich history and undeniably stunning architecture. Take for example the centuries-old Minor Basilica of San Lorenzo Ruiz which is popularly known as Binondo Church. 

More than being a place for worship, Binondo Church is a symbol of the fusion of Chinese culture and Catholic faith. 

Cover photo source: Wikimedia Commons

About Binondo Church

Binondo Church, also known as Minor Basilica of San Lorenzo Ruiz is located in the District of Binondo. It was founded by Dominican priests in 1596 to serve their Chinese converts to Christianity and accommodate the growing population. In 1762, British bombardment destroyed the original building of the Minor Basilica of San Lorenzo Ruiz and re-constructed in 1852. 

What’s inside this blog?

Explore San Lorenzo Ruiz Church Binondo with a pocket full of knowledge by reading this blog where we detail the Binondo Church history, things you can do, and what to eat in and around the district.

Binondo Church History

Interiror of Binondo Church Manila

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

The Binondo Church history started way back in the 16th century. Minor Basilica of San Lorenzo Ruiz or Binondo Church as what many would call it, was built in the late 1600s. A few years later when the population grew, the church was demolished and a bigger one was constructed in the 1700s to serve the religious needs of the Filipino Chinese communities. But during World War II, the San Lorenzo Ruiz Church Binondo was destroyed, in which only the facade, belfry and the Ongpin Street side, remained standing. It was then reconstructed.

Its facade is not the only interesting part of this church in Binondo because once you enter the structure, you’ll be welcomed by an amazing work of art from top to bottom. The arches and pillars are stunning and so are the ceiling paintings depicting biblical scenes.

And to those who are really into the Binondo Church history, your heart might skip a beat when you look at the floor where you can find pieces of tombstones with Chinese and Latin texts. The same tombstones  are used as plant boxes in the nearby Sta Cruz Church Binondo.

One more interesting thing about this church in San Lorenzo Ruiz Binondo is that this was where the first Filipino saint, San Lorenzo Ruiz, served as a sacristan when he was young.


Binondo Church Address

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The Church in Binondo also known as Minor Basilica Of San Lorenzo Ruiz is located in Plaza Lorenzo Ruiz Binondo, Metro Manila. Below is a map to keep you guided.


How to get to Binondo Church

A fountain in front of Binondo Church Manila

Photo credits to Wayne S. Grazio via Flickr

There are several ways to reach Binondo Church from different points in Metro Manila: by jeep, bus, van, or train. See below for the details:

By train

  • Take the MRT and alight at the Taft Avenue station.
  • Upon arrival at the Taft Avenue station, walk through the connecting foot bridge towards LRT-1 EDSA station.
  • Take the LRT-1 to Carriedo station.
  • Exit the station.
  • Turn left at Rizal Avenue, and walk past Sta. Cruz Church towards Bustos.
  • Turn left at Bustos, and walk about 1 block until you get to Ongpin. Chinatown begins there, right behind Sta. Cruz Church.

By jeep

From Makati

  • From Guadalupe or Sen. Gil Puyat Ave. (Buendia), ride a jeep to Cartimar, and drop off at Sen. Gil Puyat Ave. (Buendia) corner Taft Ave.
  • Go to the side across Atrium Suites and EGI Mall.
  • Ride an FX/jeep to Divisoria, and get off at Ongpin corner Q. Paredes. Landmark is Binondo Church.

From Paranaque/Pasay

  • From Taft Avenue, ride a jeep to Divisoria, and get off at Ongpin corner Q. Paredes. Landmark is Binondo Church.

From Quezon City

  • From North Avenue, ride a jeep/bus to Sta. Cruz, and get off at Sta. Cruz Church.
  • Turn right at Rizal Avenue, and walk past Sta. Cruz Church towards Bustos.
  • Turn left at Bustos, and walk about 1 block until you get to Ongpin. Chinatown begins there, right behind Sta. Cruz Church.

From Taguig

  • From NAMRIA, Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Gate 2, 3rd Avenue, 26th Street, 32nd Street, or 34th Street, ride a jeep to Guadalupe.
  • From Guadalupe, ride a jeep to Cartimar, and get off at Sen. Gil Puyat Ave. (Buendia) corner Taft Ave.
  • Go to the side across Atrium Suites and EGI Mall.
  • Ride an FX/jeep to Divisoria, and get off at Ongpin corner Q. Paredes. Landmark is Binondo Church.

Things to do in Binondo

jeeps passing through chinatown in binondo

While Binondo has always been known as the home of the world’s oldest Chinatown, there’s more to the district waiting for every traveler. We’ve rounded up all the must-try activities when in Binondo.

1. Food trip

You can never consider yourself a real foodie until you have been to Binondo. This district offers a memorable gastronomic adventure. From fried siopao, dim sum, and roast duck to adventurous eats like frog legs, Binondo has just about everything your tummy could ever crave. Don’t miss the Beef Lamien in Lan Zhou La Mien and Hakaw in Wai Ying Fastfood. They’re not famous to foodies for nothing, that’s why this tourist spot in Manila is a must-visit!

2. Explore Chinatown

While you’re in Binondo, you must not miss Chinatown. Not only does it offer additional knowledge about history, great food, and Instagrammable spots, but it is also the oldest Chinatown in the world.

3. Pray at the Binondo Church

Make sure to add Binondo Church in your itinerary because this place is one for the books. It has an amazing architecture and interiors. And here’s more, you’ll find tombstones on the floor in some parts of the church.

4. Visit Sta. Cruz Church

Sta Cruz Church Binondo, also known as the Our Lady of the Pillar Parish Church is a baroque Roman Catholic parish church in the district of Santa Cruz in Manila. The Jesuits established this church in the early 1600s for the growing community of Chinese Christians in Manila. You can also drop by the Ongpin Church when you visit Binondo and Sta. Cruz Churches to make the most of your tour.

5. Walk along the streets of Escolta

Escolta is one of the most underrated tourist spots in Manila. Although it looks greatly damaged and forgotten after World War II, it’s actually those factors that make Escolta so interesting. That’s why it’s easy to see why millennials and photographers love to visit it. Now, Escolta is not just a famous photography subject but also a great place to experience good food, arts, crafts, and music festivals. Make sure to visit this place in Manila for a trip to remember.

Frequently Asked Questions About Binondo Church

Q: When was Binondo Church built?

A: The church in Binondo was built in the late 1600s but was destroyed by British bombing in 1762 and re-constructed in 1852.

Q: Who designed Binondo Church?

A: Binondo Church was designed by Spanish architect, Domingo de la Cruz González.

Q: Where should I eat in Binondo?

A: If you’re going on a food trip in Binondo, do it right. We’ve listed all the best places to eat in Binondo.

  1. Wai Ying Fast Food
  2. Dong Bei Dumplings
  3. Shanghai Fried Siopao
  4. Lan Zhou La Mien
  5. Cafe Mezzanine
  6. President’s Tea House
  7. Awi’s Cafe & Restaurant
  8. Sincerity Cafe & Restaurant
  9. Masuki Mami House
  10. Estero Fast Food

Q: What to do in Binondo?

A: Here are some of the must-try activities in Binondo district in Manila:

  1. Food trip
  2. Explore Chinatown
  3. Pray at the Binondo Church
  4. Visit Sta. Cruz Church and Ongpin Church
  5. Walk along the streets of Escolta

Q: Is Binondo open for tourists?

A: As of writing, the National Capital Region where Binondo is located, and four other provinces are currently under ECQ which means leisure traveling is not allowed.

Q: Is there an entrance fee at Binondo Church?

A: There is no entrance fee at Binondo Church and other churches nearby like the Ongpin Church.

Q: What is the Binondo Church mass schedule?

A: The Minor Basilica and National Shrine of San Lorenzo Ruiz holds holy masses every day.

  • 7am and 12:15pm (Monday to Friday)
  • 7am, 12:15pm, 5pm (Saturday)
  • 8:30am, 10am, 12:15pm, 5pm (Sunday)

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