Wikipedia: "Quiapo is a district and city square of Manila. It derives its name from the water cabbage (Pistia stratiotes), which is named Quiapo or Kiapo in the Tagalog language. Referred as the "Old Downtown", Quiapo is known as the home of the Quiapo Church, where the feast of the Black Nazarene is held with over millions of people attending annually. Quiapo has also made a name for itself as a place where cheap buys or goods are being sold at rock-bottom prices.
Plaza Miranda in the heart of Quiapo District, is named after Jose Sandino y Miranda, who served as secretary of the treasury of the Philippines for 10 years beginning in 1853. It is a square in front of the Quiapo Church, which is also a popular site of political rallies. On August 21, 1971, while the Liberal Party held their Miting de Avance in the plaza, a bomb exploded, killing 9 and injuring almost 100 civilians.
The Quiapo district is also home to a sizable Muslim population in Manila. The Golden Mosque and Green Mosque are located there. A veritable army of fortune tellers and stores offering herbal products surround the Quiapo church. The biggest problem underlying the district is the sale of pirated goods 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 1970s, 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)was built over Rizal Avenue, 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 People Power 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."
The Philippines are an archipelago of more than seven thousand islands off the southeast coast of Asia. Only half of these islands have been named and roughly one thousand are inhabited. Look at how beautiful they are! People first arrived here from the mainland around 25,000 B.C. by crossing a land bridge which existed at the time.The name comes from Ferdinand Magellan of Portugal, who explored the Philippines in 1521. He claimed them in service of Spain, naming them after Prince Philip. Spain controlled the Philippines for the next 350 years until the Philippine Revolution of 1896.Here's a picture of Fort Santiago, where the national hero Jose Rizal was imprisoned prior to his execution. He was a poet and novelist who supported peaceful reform, rather than violent revolution, against the Spanish government.This is one of poems in which he describes the creation of the world, as a gift to his mother:"Say they that tell of the world, the first dawn of the sun, the first kiss that his bosom inflamed, when thousands of beings surged out of nothing, and peopled the depths, and to the heights mounted, to wherever his fecund kiss was implanted"Violent revolution broke out anyway and the Philippines changed hands from Spanish, to American, to Japanese control over the next fifty years. Following World War Two they finally became an independent republic.Back to the beautiful ocean! You can dream about the Cafe Del Mar resort next time you find your screen saver kicking in when you're still sitting at the desk staring blankly. There's a series of DJ mixes with this title but I don't know if it refers to the same place. I would not be surprised.Annnnd to really get you buying your plane tickets...the sunset over Borocay White Beach!Text by Steve Smith.