Quiapo, Manila

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Map of the Manila showing the location of Binondo
City Manila
Population (2000) 24,615
– Density
Area km²
Barangays 16
Cong. Districts 3rd District
Facade of the Quiapo Church

Quiapo is a well known district of old Manila, Philippines, and a place which offers cheap prices on items ranging from electronics to native handicrafts.

Quiapo is also famous for the Black Nazarene. Thousands of people parade through the streets to touch the statue where it is supposed to produce miraculous effects. A number of faithful usually collapse in a faint during the ritual, and some have even died. The Feast Day of the Black Nazarene (also known as Quiapo Day) is celebrated every January 9th.

Plaza Miranda is the heart of Quiapo District. It is a square or a public plaza in front of the St. John the Baptist Church or Quiapo Church as it is widely known. It is also a popular site of political rallies. In August 21, 1971, while the Liberal Party held their Miting de Avance in the plaza, a bomb exploded, killing 8 and injuring almost 100 civilians.

The Quiapo district is also home to a sizable Muslim population in Manila, and The Golden Mosque is located there. A veritable army of fortune tellers and stores offering herbal products surround the Quiapo church. The biggest problem underlying the district is piracy and bandits. The largest area where you can buy pirated movies, software and pornographic videos can be found in Quiapo where the stores sprawl over four public streets.

Through the years, the glory of Quiapo steadily declined. During the American period until the late 70s, Quiapo and its surrounding vicinities like Avenida, Binondo, Sta. Cruz, Escolta and the university belt, were the centers of trade, fashion, art, higher learning and the elites of Manila, however as the Light Rail Transit (LRT Line 1) run over the Rizal Avenue, the main thoroughfare of Avenida, dirt and vehicle emissions were trapped underneath, leaving the streets dark and gloomy. The results of this development were the exodus of many establishments and the arrival of ruffians and bandits. After the first EDSA revolution in 1986, the vibrancy of Quiapo diminished, although some flea markets, handicraft stores begin to rise due to the presence of the widely visited Quiapo Church.

In recent years, the local government of Manila, spearheaded by Mayor Lito Atienza, launched the Buhayin ang Maynila (Revive Manila) project which greatly rehabilitated Quiapo and its vicinities, most specially the Plaza Miranda, the Lacson underpass and the University Belt. Parts of Rizal Avenue, starting from Carriedo St. to Claro M. Recto Avenue were converted into a pedestrian shopping arcade.

Hidalgo Street in Quiapo

Newly renovated R. Hidalgo street

R. Hidalgo Street in Quiapo is a hodge podge of knick-knack vendors, covering legitimate business establishments mostly selling photography-related items. For Filipino photographers it has long been the Mecca for photography equipment at, more often than not, lower than market prices. An assortment of accessories from on-camera flashes, studio lights, bags, tripods, lenses, batteries, CDs, DVDs, actually anything photography-related can be found there. In 2006, John Chua, a well-known advertising photographer based in Makati City proposed the Hidalgo Project to the Manila City government. The proposal includes the rehabilitation and beautification of Hidalgo Street as a Photographers' Haven. It was very well received and the Mayor immediately appointed government personnel to execute the project, expected to finish before the end of 2006.

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