Last Saturday I went with some friends on a long awaited tour of Intramuros and Binondo. I say long awaited as our tour guide Anson Yu, being such a busy man, had to be booked a month in advance. He does really great tours of Intramuros as he has such a vast knowledge of the place, and being a tour guide along with his photography, keeps him particularly busy.

Anson on the right starting our tour

So David, Neil, Dong, Rodge and I all met at Fort Santiago in Intramuros to start our tour. The history in this place is very interesting, but to be honest, I do have a hard time allowing all that information sink in. There’s a lot to take in at once! Being a ‘relator’ in character (as Neil explained to me from my Strengths Finder results), I have a much easier time remembering stories of real people, (as in an actual live person standing in front of me telling me their story). But I really enjoyed this trip all the same as I love to explore cultures and where they developed from. Just don’t go asking me for an in-depth recap. You’re better off taking the tour yourself. I would definitely recommend it.

Here are some photo’s taken at Fort Santiago…


You can catch a ride on one of these for a couple of hundred Pesos


Entrance to Fort Santiago


A kind of spooky corridor..


Carvings on the Manila Cathedral door


Here is the group getting some very interesting information from some of the Friar’s that live there.


Here is David and I smiling by the dungeon. How brave we are!


It may look like David is talking to a statue, but there was a real person behind it that he was talking to. Don’t worry.


Time to play dress up at the Rizal Museum. Your never too old!


One of the guards chilling out.


After Fort Santiago, we headed to my area of expertise.. Food tasting!

Binondo is a very interesting place where you can experience great food as well as a dynamic Filipino-Chinese culture.

Walking down the streets of Binondo, you can’t possibly get bored with all the distractions around. Jam packed with various kinds of vehicles, street vendors, and many interesting people along the way.


This bike is made by Bambike using Bamboo for the frame. Pretty cool!


Footsteps to nowhere


I had no idea what this was so I asked. Apparently it’s corn hair meant for UTI infections. Hmmm… interesting


One adorable little girl along the way, totally ready for a photo shoot!


Jars of pickled.. well pickled everything really!

Our first stop was a restaurant called ‘Sincerity’ where Anson promised us the best fried chicken. My initial reaction to being told we were going to China town to eat fried chicken was…

“What!? We are really going all the way to China town in the heart of Binondo for fried chicken??”
Anson replied “Yes, but this is the best fried chicken you will ever try.”

So on that note I ‘slightly less’ enthusiastically agreed to visit the fried chicken place.
Anson did the ordering for us as he’s the expert. He mentioned he had been visiting this restaurant since he was a child, so that along with all his frequent touring, he already knew the menu inside out.

He ordered us a whole fried chicken, a bowl of special rice which had peanuts and taro inside, and some frogs legs as well as a pork dish wrapped with beancurd. I did in fact really enjoy the Fried chicken, and I loved the way the rice was cooked, and how the added peanuts and taro complimented the flavor and added texture. The Frogs legs I can’t comment on as I wasn’t so keen on trying them, and the pork dish just isn’t my thing, but the others really enjoyed it.


The famous Sincerity Fried Chicken


Delicious rice dish with peanuts and taro. We’re not huge rice eaters so one bowl was enough.


And here are the frogs legs. Tastes like chicken from what I heard, so why not just eat chickenn!? I’m just saying….


Quekiam is the pork dish which has quite a distinct flavor. A bit hard to describe, so you will have to try it!

All this food was plenty to feed the 6 of us, and will you believe that the bill came to just P850.00, which was amazing for the amount of food we got.

Then it was on to a dumpling place where they make the dumplings right in front of you. All 6 of us squeezed around a small table, grabbing extra chairs where we could find them. These places were not designed for comfort, but to eat great food then get on with our busy days and make space for the next hungry, dumpling craving people…

We ordered two orders. One order of plain pork dumplings and another of dumpling with chives.


Here we are anticipating the taste of these all famous dumplings


And here is the staff making them right beside where we sat


Here are the plain pork dumplings


And the dumplings with chives

The others like the plain pork dumplings as the flavor of the pork stands out more, but I liked the one with chives, only as I’m used to eating meat with veggies and I’ve always loved sidings of fresh herbs or salad or vegetable, and this was the closest I would get to a garnish with my dumplings.

After we were all filled up with dumplings, we then went onto a Chinese deli where they sell lots of Chinese pastries. The hopia there is very well known, and I love the custard hopia they have there. It was really good! These shops are filled with regulars.
While Fort Santiago we tried talking to a few Japanese tourists with not much luck as we didn’t understand each others language, but they were very friendly all the same. Yet the in the streets of Binondo, everyone seemed to know exactly where they were going and what they wanted and the customers in the Chinese deli were no exception. They came in, grabbed a basket full of goods as if they had a few families to feed, then left like clockwork.


Here is the entrance to the Chinese Deli


A lot of mochi and other pastries to choose from


Some freshly cooked savory goods


The custard hopia. Mmmm I love custard!


And various flavors of milk tea

Well this was a last stop for me, and as much as I was craving for halo halo (yes, even after all that food!) because it was so hot and sticky, I had to rush to my Saturday evening music ministry at Victory – Ortigas Kids Church.

This tour was so much fun, and I would really recommend it, especially to those who live here and have not yet done it! It’s a shame when tourists know more about the history of a country than the locals. I know as I can quite certainly say that all the tourists that went to visit London, knew way more history about the place than me in all my years of me living there, so I know it happens.

To get in touch with Anson, you can add him on Twitter: mrbinondo