(This post has been sitting in my drafts for three days)
I remember a time when Quiapo was alien territory for me. I’d pass by the church many times throughout the years and see the mass of people that always seem to mill around the area, but I’ve never really been there. Not before a class project we had to do for a Pscyh class (what was the class called again, with Dr. De Castro? Not 108.) maybe ten years ago. My groupmates and I decided to go to Quiapo Church and the surrounding area. Alfred offered to join us and we met up with him at Plaza Miranda. But that’s old news.
In the past three to five years, Quiapo has become a common destination for us. Before, it was to buy beads at Wellmanson (tama ba?). Then the purpose for the visits changed, we’d go to the camera stores along Hidalgo. Sometimes we’d go to the optical shops for Alfred’s glasses.
Yesterday, Dad and I were there to get speakers for tonight’s videoke session. ‘Twas the first time in a long time that Dad and I had a day out just the two of us, and the first time we went to Quiapo together.
I took pictures from my BB while we were on the road, and sent tweets about it. Here’s the story for those not following on my Twitter:
No traffic along España, what a relief! This was at around 3PM when one would expect traffic to start building up, specially two days before Christmas. I guess the mass of people were elsewhere, like Ortigas center where the big malls are.
We only slowed a bit at the Quiapo underpass. Before getting here, we had to pass through the Q.Ave-Lacson intersection where we were stopped by traffic cops. Dad was on the turn-left lane before he realized that that’s what it was. The green light was on for vehicles going straight through so Dad waited for an opportunity to switch lanes and we could go on our way. Unfortunately, the yellow cops saw us and stopped us right in the middle of the intersection. Dad explained how he wasn’t aware of it, and the good cop eventually let us go, without a ticket. No, we didn’t have to give him pamasko.
Upon arriving at this area, with a view of the Isetann Mall, my Dad started reminiscing. He said that Isetann used to be where the famed Cinerama was. It used to be state-of-the-art cinema of its time (60’s maybe). It was also the site of the studio where his grandfather’s radio program aired from. His lolo is Buenaventura Medina, Sr. Because he worked there, he had access to movie passes and that’s how Dad and his siblings got to see the first film with sense-surround (his terms), How the West Was Won.
He shared other bits of childhood memories too, like having a spot at the breakfast table of his Lolo who lived next door. He says he was the only apo who went there for brekky. I should record his stories.
After we got the speakers from Joy’s at Raon (lowest prices), we left the boxes in the car and walked all the way to Excelente to get us some ham. Ang daming tao! It’s like each person who emerges from this thick layer of people was coming off a victory in battle. It didn’t really take too long, maybe ten minutes. That’s Dad there in white on the far left. We ate all the ham he bought today, it really is yummy and worth the money spent for it. Dad only got half a kilo and we shared some of it with Papa. Now Dad’s thinking of going back there to get more.
Dad also showed me where the Globe Lumpia House is. I love their lumpia! Alfred and I couldn’t find it before, mostly because we never asked around for it. We thought it was a bigger place, more noticeable. I was surprised that something so famous was a humble place like this. We walked all the way back to Raon from Excelente to buy lumpia for dinner. We sat at their ‘dine-in’ space to sip some Sarsi while waiting for our take-out.
When we passed through the first time, the place was jam-packed on both sides. People just go for the lumpia and nothing else. 🙂 The second time we peeked in, there was more room. Thankfully.
The walk back from Excelente to Globe was a long one through people-packed streets. If you weren’t careful, you could get run over by a kuliglig. As for us, it wasn’t the kuligligs that were bent on killing is, am L300 delivery vehicle was backing away from his parking space and trying to maneuver. He wasn’t mindful of the people (and vendors) he could hit though, he was backing up as if the sea of people would magically part for him! Everyone banged on his rear to get his attention!
From the lumpia house to the car, it was a comfortable walk through the stores selling all sorts of uniforms, gun replicas, etc.
I took this final photo from inside the car on our way home. The sun was setting but that didn’t mean goodnight for Quiapo just yet, it was still bustling with people. As for us, we were back on the road, and it was a pleasant drive with very minimal traffic.
Near UST, Dad commented on how the street seemed to look better. I think they laid concrete over the old road, and then they fixed up the middle island with those new fences. The streetlamps were changed too. Does this mean no more flood for this strip?
Anyhoo… it was a fun afternoon at Quiapo with Dad. 🙂