Binondo, Manila is said to be the world’s oldest Chinatown. It was established by the Spanish in the 1500’s, but was already a bustling spot for commerce between locals and Chinese traders way before the Philippines’ colonization. It’s also one of the most textured and cultural areas of Manila, in my opinion, with its diverse scenery and frenetic energy. Grand old Spanish buildings sit side by side with tacky contemporary storefronts. Display windows feature random assortments of Chinese products, while street vendors roll carts piled high with produce. Kalesas, traditional Filipino horse-drawn carriages, weave through tricycles and pedicabs. And the sea of people penetrates every cranny.
These photos were taken around Binondo during a photo walk I did with university friends back in 2008. (Yes, these have been sitting idly in my hard drive for almost ten years!) They were taken with expired Fujifilm Superia 200, which underwent ordinary film processing, and a Canon Rebel G. The developed film was then scanned to create these digital images. To be honest, these aren’t always the best composed shots I’ve taken, but I really love the grains and striations in the end result. I think its texture perfectly captures the vaguely faded, discolored, and very gritty atmosphere definitive of Binondo itself.