Binondo Church (Minor Basilica of St. Lorenzo Ruiz) is one of the less-celebrated Catholic churches located at the heart of Manila for two reasons. It was primarily built for the Chinese-Filipino Catholic community, and it is located in an area in Manila that is more popular for shopping.
Binondo Church was built in the 16th century primarily to give Chinese converts a place to practice their new faith. Chinese-Filipinos were banned from entering the Intramuros and so they could not go to the famous San Agustin Church, the Manila Cathedral or any of the other Catholic churches inside the walled city, which was then the center of Catholicism in the Philippines. Owing to this and many other restrictions segregating them from the rest of Manila’s population, the Chinese-Filipinos established their community north of the Pasig River. As more Chinese converted to Catholicism, they soon built their own cathedral. The original structure was founded by Dominican priests in 1596, but was destroyed by invading British forces in 1762. [Read more…]