Manila during the Spanish regime was the country’s center for arts and commerce. As times passed by, the city image was stained with crimes, lack of discipline, traffic, and pollution. Bukas Quiapo Tours aim to bring back the city’s former glory by showing the tourists most of the important landmarks within the district of Quiapo.
What is Bukas Quiapo Tours?
San Sebastian Basilica Conservation and Development Foundation together with Fundacion Santiago Inc. organized Bukas Quiapo Tours. Founded September of last year, it’s the first community-led tour bringing visitors to Quiapo’s historical landmarks. The tour would take about 5 hours inside an air-conditioned van which encompasses 12 stops such as the Bahay-Nakpil Bautista, San Sebastian Basilica, the Manila Golden Mosque and Cultural Center, and the Quiapo Church.
This article will feature some of the highlights of the tour.
Bahay Nakpil-Bautista: the only public heritage house in Quiapo
A well-preserved 18th-century structure, Bahay Nakpil-Bautista (also called “Tahanan ng mga Katipunero“) now serves as a museum. This grand, old, historic site is the only heritage house in Quiapo open to the public.
In the year 1914, a notable architecture named Arcadio Arellano designed the house for Dr. Ariston Bautista and his wife, Perona Nakpil. The lot measures 500 square meters and had two stories, which mostly constructed from wood and stone materials.
The historic house served as one of Katipunan‘s meeting place during the Spanish colonial period. As part of the tour, some of the displays to anticipate are the paintings of Katipunero, the Kartilya ng Katipunan, and other memorabilia regarding the revolutionary movement — these are just a few from the list.
Bahay Nakpil-Bautista withstood the test of time to show a glimpse of the history of our country. Surely, many of the stories inside this house shaped how modern Filipinos are experiencing more freedom today.
San Sebastian Basilica: the only all-steel church in the Philippines
Finished the construction in the year 1891, San Sebastian Basilica was reputed as an architectural wonder considering it was made completely from steel. It took 10 years to build and the only all-steel church in the country and one of the few in the world.
Currently, the church is under extreme restoration expected for completion in the year 2021. Inside the building reside beautiful work-of-arts from different countries. It displays carefully crafted stained glass windows and paintings of religious icons.
Unfortunately, the structure foundations are corroding and the wall paintings are starting to fade. Also, the holes from the stained glass windows are visible. Many endowments and organizations such as the U.S. State Department’s Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation helped to restore the all-steel church.
The church is not just a building to practice the Catholic faith, it also symbolizes the inspiration, passion, artistry, and unity of the people both Filipinos and other nationalities to construct such an almost impossible structure.
Now, history seems to repeat itself. With the help of various groups and experts around the world, these same traits are making the completion of San Sebastian Basilica’s restoration possible.
The Muslim Town with the iconic Golden Mosque
Perhaps, the most memorable part of the tour would be the Muslim Town within the parts of Estero de San Miguel and Quezon Boulevard.
The most visible part of the Muslim Town is the iconic Golden Mosque, the largest mosque in Manila. It was built in the year 1976 as preparation of then-first lady Imelda Marcos prior to the visit of then-Libyan president Muammar al-Gaddafi. The visit did not happen, but the project led to the establishment of the Muslim community. As of now, the Maranaos, Tausugs, and Maguindanaons are most of the people that reside near the mosque.
For woman tourists, they should wear an Islamic dress called abaya which covers the hair, neck, and arms before entering the mosque.
Outside the mosque, merchandise such as Muslim head-wears with different designs and the Quran with other Islamic books are available. Also, mouth-watering traditional food like the spicy fish dish known as bungkaong, the palapa side dish, beef rendang, and unique varieties of chicken delicacies are all worth trying.
Quiapo Church: the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene
Arguably, upon hearing the word “Quiapo,” it is impossible not to also think of the famed Quiapo Church. Located along Plaza Miranda and Quezon Boulevard, it is well-known as the home to the 17th-century life-sized image of the Black Nazarene.
The church is the center of pilgrimage for many Filipino devotees. Every year, the procession of the Black Nazarene gathered a great number of bare-footed devotees to express their supplication and gratitude. Riding on the andas or carrozas, the Black Nazarene travels to different barangays within the Quiapo District and back to the church. This yearly procession takes approximately 5 to 23 hours.
Founded in the year 1586, the church survived numerous wars and plots to destroy its structure. In 1984, the church was expanded in order to accommodate the growing number of devotees. After three years, the then-Archibishop of Manila Jaime Cardinal Sin reconsecrated the church. Finally, in the year 1988, the church was declared a Minor Basilica.
More than just a simple tour
With energetic tour guides, signing up for the Bukas Quiapo Tours is a great way to see Quiapo at its best. The place seems known more for its troublesome image. The tour will, however, let the tourists experience the true beauty of the richness of the district’s important histories, various cultures, and helpful communities.
More than having a simple tour, the proceeds will be spread out to different communities. The tour guides and the local businesses that provide giveaways are part of those who will benefit from the profit sharing.
This will provide livelihood opportunities for Quiapo residencies, not to mention the additional donation for the restoration of heritage sites including San Sebastian Basilica.
How to sign-up for the Bukas Quiapo Tours?
To sign-up, those interested should first start answering the Reservation Form at http://tinyurl.com/BukasQuiapoReservations.
The regular price is Php1,700. If two or more people will sign-up together, the price will go down to Php1,500 per person. Senior citizens and PWDs are also entitled for discounts.
The modes of payment are the following: Paypal, Bank of the Philippine Islands direct deposit/bank transfer, and direct payment in Bukas Quiapo Tours office.
Private tours are also negotiable
For any information not included in this article, go to the Bukas Quiapo Facebook Page.
Source: Coconuts Manila