Bahay Tsinoy : Displaying the Chinese Heritage in the Philippines

Published: 21st August 2009
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According to historians, the relationship between the Philippines and China dates back many centuries. Philippine prehistory reveals that the country's connection with other Asian nations began predominantly with the establishment of land bridges. Various Southern Chinese tribes accessed the island bringing along with them many unique cultural practices. Barter trade took place between the two countries by exchanging commodities such as silk, mother of pearls, shells, ornaments and even porcelain. With time, a considerable amount of Chinese population began to arrive in Manila.

Even today, Chinese immigrants also known as Tsinoys remain to be Philippines' largest population of foreign origin. The influence made by them in various fields such as art, fashion, food and lifestyles is clearly visible even in modern day Philippines. Some of the most prominent business establishments in the country such as shopping centres, hotels, airlines and even banks are owned by the Tsinoys. However during the first few years when the Chinese arrived in the Philippines the Spanish who were the then rulers considered the Chinese arrival as a major threat.

The Tsinoys were given permission to reside only in a place called the Parian, positioned away from the Intramuros which was the walled city of the Spanish. At Parian the Chinese were allowed to practice their trade. However, they had to do so under extremely cautious circumstances because the cannons of Intramuros were always pointed towards the direction of Parian.

All this took place over two hundred years ago, and today Intramuros is home to the Bahay Tsinoy which is an intriguing museum that conserves relics of this noteworthy Chinese heritage that is blended into the lives of the Filipino. Literally meaning Chinese-Filipino House, the museum is separated in to 14 sections such as the Early Contacts, Parian and much more. The Early Contacts area reveals that the Chinese arrived in the Philippines way before the Spanish did. At the museum visitors will also get the chance to observe full-size replicas of 18th century Chinese houses and there are sections displaying the role played by the Chinese during the Philippine Spanish War and World War II. Visitors will also have the opportunity to explore numerous photographs, a collection of shells that were used for trade and various prints.

All in all, the impressive Bahay Tsinoy will take visitors all the way through 10 centuries of how the Chinese lived life in the Philippines and their contributions made to art, culture and even the economy. Staying at a Manila apartment accommodation that enjoys easy access to the museum is the best way to conveniently explore all its wonders. For instance, visitors can find lodging at the centrally located Ascott Makati which is an exceptional luxury apartment in Manila that will add convenience and luxury for a memorable stay.


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