Binondo Church (Chinatown, Manila) - Click to View Hi-Res Image

Binondo Church (Chinatown, Manila) - Click to View Hi-Res Image

Binondo Church, also known as the Minor Basilica of St. Lorenzo Ruiz, is situated at the heart of Manila’s Chinatown district. The church was founded in 1596 by Dominican priests to serve converts from the Chinese community to the Catholic faith. The original building was destroyed in 1762 by the British during their brief occupation of Manila. The current church, as seen in this photograph, was built on the same site in 1852. It featured an “earthquake baroque” style (so named because the design is supposed to allow the structure to withstand an earthquake) as well as an octagonal bell tower, a nod to the Chinese cultural of its parishioners. The current building has survived earthquakes (in 1863), fires, and American bombing during World War II (which left only the walls and the bell tower). It has since been renovated and restored.

This Minor Basilica was named after the first Filipino saint, San Lorenzo Ruiz, who was canonized by Pope John Paul II on October 18, 1987. San Lorenzo Ruiz was a sacristan (altar boy) at Binondo Church, and later worked as a clerk there. After being wrongly accused of killing a Spaniard, he sought refuge on a ship with three Dominican priests. The ship landed in Okinawa, Japan, where he and his shipmates were captured and tortured because of their religion. San Lorenzo Ruiz never renounced his religion, and he died a martyr on September 29, 1637.

That was this week’s TravelTuesday Picture of the Week, plus a bonus history lesson on Binondo Church and St. Lorenzo Ruiz. Enjoy the rest of TravelTuesday on Twitter. Don’t forget to follow me @hyperren!. Come back next week for another PotW!