Remembering the old Binondo
Binondo, a district in Manila, was a place Chinese immigrants chose for main disembarkation in the 1500s. For that reason, it was called the first and oldest Chinatown in the world. Small businesses started to sprout, along with small restaurants and other establishments such as banks.
One of these was Philippine Bank of Communications (PBCom) which opened its first branch in 1939 at the Binondo Banking Center in Juan Luna, which, on those days, was the Philippines' Wall Street and central financial district. It did not take long before PBCom became a key pillar in the daily lives of the residents in the area. Fond stories were told of how deposit account holders would fill the bank premises every day, or how loyal bank clients would come to the branch every morning at the start of their work day. PBCom even became a popular landmark, with its impressive rotating doors, in-branch escalator (the first of its kind in the area) and even a grand piano.
As a way to remember where PBCom all started and to look back at how Binondo was 75 years back, PBCom took guests to an exclusive food tour of Binondo. The tour was hosted by Ivan Man Dy of Old Manila Walks with his renowned “The Big Binondo Food Wok’’ and revisited remarkable food spots in the district.
The first stop was New Po-Heng Lumpia House for authentic Chinese lumpia. The second was Quick Snack which served special Kutsai-Ah (empanada), fried tofu and pancit guisado. After that, we went to Dong Bei Dumpling for freshly made dumplings, stuffing pancake and Islamic-Chinese chicken. Fourth stop was a casual fried siopao canteen that sells various Chinese snacks and unique fried siopao. We went to Eng Bee Tin to try their custard-filled hopia. The tour also included a quick stop to Tee's Charitable House, which was opened for PBCom's guests that day.
We also visited PBCom branches in Ongpin, Masangkay, T. Alonzo and the bank’s very first branch at the Binondo Banking Center in Juan Luna. The newly-renovated and rebranded branches have been redesigned to become customer-friendly business centers, made more distinctive by brightly lit red and white interiors, customer service bays and glass booths where clients can discuss in detail with their relationship managers. They also proudly feature PBCom’s new logo— a rising dragon set against an orange and red background.
It has expanded its footprint beyond Binondo, and now has 69 branches around the country. This year, PBCom marks its diamond jubilee with a commitment to further its legacy with an end-to-end transformation strategy. PBCom is on an expansion plan and will widen its network of ATM sites and business centers and technological footprint within the year. PBCom continues to stay true to what it has stood for in the past 75 years of its existence: integrity, service and dedication.