Jewellery street in the bustling heart of Binondo
Welcome to the bustling heart of Chinatown. On Ongpin Street, the dominant colours are red for luck, yellow for fortune, and of course gold.
Ongpin Street is also known as the 'Jewellery Capital of the Philippines'. All along Ongpin you will see various jewellery stores owned and operated by Binondo’s Chinese residents. Selling watches, charms, and feng shui items, some of which can’t be found anywhere but in Ongpin. Down the middle of the street is jam-packed with food stalls and a variety of Chinese restaurants! Visit at night, when the locals come out to eat and relax.
What’s in a name?
Ongpin Street is the namesake of Don Roman Ongpin a Chinese businessman and philanthropist. He was an avid dealer of art supplies and had a store - El 82 - in Binondo. National figures like Antonio and Juan Luna, and Pedro Paterno were frequent visitors of his shop. He was a public supporter of the Spanish colonial government, but secretly used his store as a meeting place for anti-Spanish propaganda and ran ammunition supplies for the Philippine Revolution. It was not until the American colonisation in 1900 that he was caught and put in prison. His contribution to the Philippine revolution was rewarded by the government by renaming the former Calle Sacristia into Ongpin Street.
One way to make sure you are not paying too much is by checking the barcode of a jewellery piece. Usually, the final digits contain the price in RMB, the Chinese currency, which trades at RMB 6.68 to USD.