MY 15 MINUTES IN QUIAPO

I am no stranger to Quiapo. I practically grew up going to this place every so often. We frequent Quiapo church since childhood especially when doing Visita Iglesia during Holy Week. When I went to college & enrolled in my pre-medical course at Far Eastern University, I continued going to the church & to the side streets of Carriedo when securing/renewing NBI clearance & buying some cheap finds. Until now, since my work place is in TM Kalaw Ave., Manila, I usually drop by Quiapo whenever possible.

I ran an errand in Manila this morning and I found myself in the vicinity of Quiapo Church again. It’s so darn hot and as early as couple hours before noon, there was already a multitude of people from all walks of life. I suddenly remember that today is Friday : Quiapo day! (Friday is the novena/mass day for the Black Nazarene).

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Quiapo is both spiritual & commercial district in the heart of Manila. It’s a slice of Manila where people who are marginalized and those with so much, meet as hopefuls and prayerfuls. The strong Catholic faith of countless Filipino devotees who flock to the Basilica of Black Nazarene to ask for penance or pray for miracles, or simply pay homage or show gratitude for blessings; some even walk on knees to the altar, is a common scenario within the vicinity of Quiapo during Fridays.

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I managed to say my prayer outside the church and did not dare squeeze myself inside the church where a huge crowd was attending the Holy Mass.

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A huge LCD screen brings the Mass to the crowd outside. Then the homily caught my interest when I overheard the priest including a “Kapamilya teleserye : Tayong Dalawa” scenes in his homily. How creative! LOL.
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Then for few minutes, I took photos with utmost caution knowing that amidst devotees and prayerful are snatchers & thieves. And these scenes were caught with my random clicks.

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The obelisk in Plaza Miranda with colorful balloons being sold by numerous vendors.

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I wonder if those balloons can withstand the heat and still be considered as saleable items to kids.
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Sampaguita vendors who try to earn a decent living despite the irritating summer heat. I wish they do something to enjoy more what they do other than chatting with each other. Humming Beyonce Knowles’ “Single Ladies” or a local song “Hawak Kamay” may kill time while at work, don’t you think? LOL. And may I ask why is there a need for Quiapo Church authorities to put a signage as “BAWAL UMAKYAT”? I mean, who in his RIGHT MIND would do such thing? If any guy who’ll try to climb those barriers is schizophrenic or illiterate, now why bother to put such warning? It’s absolutely pointless! It’s the same as “BAWAL UMIHI” or “BAWAL TUMAWID, NAKAMAMATAY!” signs printed in pink aluminums on other public main roads. I just don’t get it! You don’t need to stress or emphasize things which are apparent to begin with and those things that require less intellect but instinct.
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Plaza Miranda and the vicinty of Quiapo church aren’t complete without the rows of fortune tellers. In this age of digital whatever, they still exist, their “BUSINESS” must have been really good! LOL. Seriously, I can’t comprehend why Church people tolerate this practice since God knows when, when in fact they preach that only the Good Lord knows tomorrow. Don’t get me wrong, I’m nothing against making ends meet by fortune telling, but isn’t there more APPROPRIATE venues to do such “business” ?
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ITO PA ISA! And why in the world those “PAMPA” (pampa-regla, pampa-galing etc) LEAVES & VINES being sold outside a Catholic Church? I think the house of God deserves our highest respect. And selling these so called HERBAL MEDICINES which are NOT approved by DOH/Department of Health and BFAD/Bureau of Food and Drugs, is again improper and illegitimate “medical” practice. As a licensed physician, I know a list of herbal medicine approved by DOH which are clinically tested to render positive effects. But these things sold in Quiapo are not bounded by such studies and are only supported by BELIEFS and “RURAL CULTURE” from generation to generations.
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I’m OK with flowers & candles since these are being used in religious veneration. But again selling it near a church is another story.
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The stalls beside the church that sell images of saints from Sto. Niño to Blessed Virgin Mary and others.
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My heart breaks whenever I see physically-challenged individuals who still try within their means, to make a living. I honestly admit that inspite of everything, I have frustrations and disapointments but the sight of these people who have strong will to go on with life, always gives me a reality check.
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It’s just always crowded in Quiapo and its side streets : Hidalgo, Carriedo etc.. It’s one of the busiest places in the Metro. But it appears to me now that Quiapo deserves a MORE SERIOUS MAKEOVER. I wish authorities and the public come out with efforts in bringing GLORY, “CLEANLINESS” and ORDERLINESS back to Quiapo. I hope those bandits, thieves, snatchers, and other ill-natured individuals realize that individual reform is a must. Don’t you wish for Quiapo to be a SAFE place even for our kids?
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Till my next Quiapo visit.
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7 thoughts on “MY 15 MINUTES IN QUIAPO

  1. i revisited quiapo last january with a friend from the states. i was taking pictures of the black nazarene inside the church when a security guard approached me saying (well, in a good manner) that it is prohibited. saw them all fortune tellers and vendors, my friend bought one small bottle of “healing oil” for 20 pesos.. and when he was back in u.s. he said it coagulated! aha, maybe it was veggie oil!

    whenever i see quiapo, i miss the days when we were in college. ^^,

    1. Actually, it also happened to me last Holy Week. I was at the last pew of the church when I decided to click my cam without flash and a lady-guard approached me saying it is prohibited. I apologized immediately and walked out of the church. I felt sorry really for doing that. I had no intentions of disturbing others who are praying but I just wanted to take a shot of the Nazareno…. True, it brings back memories of our old college days when we go as far as Legarda to Quiapo just to be on the G-liner bus to avoid going home late.

  2. Quiapo looked different now, a lot different than what I remembered. Maybe it is time to revisit and check out the places I used to go to when I was still living in Manila. Thanks to your post, it stirred up old memories in me.

  3. you’re shots are really nice especially the church. i like towers kasi. lalo na yung mga old structures. also, maybe it’s the shopaholic in me, i like the stalls outside. it has been our culture, i think na ang mga sellers na to (na kadamihan, crooks, hehehe) are thre. they are part of quiapo i believe. the fact that they are there means they got stay to where people flock… only means madami pa rin ang believers. diba?

  4. for me Quiapo is the small Pinas.. all walks of life, all kinds of merchants, all types of crooks, all types of religions, everything is in Quaipo!

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