Today my parents and I took the bus to Quiapo, which was the old commercial district in the City of Manila, to do a little bit of shopping. We actually live in the suburbs about 25 km away, and it’s been a long time since I’ve been to that part of the city, so I wanted to see how it has changed. My dad grew up just about 2km away in an adjacent district, so he is a font of knowledge on how the place was before.
Though I have been there many times, I always find it to be an interesting place. Then as now, the focus of the area is a basilica dedicated to the Black Nazarene, which draws pilgrims from all over the country. We stopped by the church for a short visit first before we emerged into a sea of humanity, sellers and shoppers spilling onto the streets, where there was trade in a great variety of stuff. Within the district there are areas dedicated to particular things: optical shops, cheap electronics, cameras, sports and music stuff, flowers, bicycles, fresh veggies, cheap clothing. The area is a bit run down these days, but little by little, improvements are being made to restore it.
One of our stops was a little food shop with just one food item on its menu: fresh vegetable spring rolls with garlic and peanut sauce. This shop has been in the same place and selling the same item since 1957, and my dad kept telling me that he used to frequent the place when he was studying in university, just down the street! He says that the rolls are as good as he remembers them 50 years ago, and I think they are really good.
I wasn’t able to bring my own food for the trip, but managed to stay more or less on schedule with my meals. My two meals on the road weren’t as clean as I wanted them to be, though, but still was able to have some protein with each meal. I’ll make sure to supplement with a protein shake before I sleep tonight.
Hope you discovered or rediscovered something today.