Quiapo Church in Manila - Philippines
One of the most famous churches in the Philippines, the Quiapo Church has become in many ways symbolic and representative of the religious ways of the Filipino people. In tours of Manila, a stopover here is almost mandatory.
The history of the Quiapo Church began in the late 1580s when several Franciscan missionaries set about building a house of worship. The original structure built at the site of the church was made of bamboo, but were quickly replaced with stone foundations. It was destroyed by a fire in 1929, but reconstructed in the 1930s, and the work was completed in the early 1960s.
The Quiapo Church is most famous for the Black Nazarene, a statue of Jesus Christ made out of wood. The crucifix itself was constructed in Mexico and delivered to the Philippines by Spain in 1767. Exactly how the Black Nazarene attained its color is subject to debate; some believe that a fire struck the ship where it was being carried, while others ascribe more miraculous origins. As all records pertaining to it seem to have been lost, the real reason may never be known.
Through the years, the Quiapo Church has become a site for devotees, especially on Fridays. During this day, the Catholic faithful would head to the church and on their knees, light a fire on a candle and pray to the statue. On certain occasions, the statue would be taken out and go on a procession. Because of the belief that the Black Nazarene is capable of performing miracles when any part of it is touched by an individual, hundreds of thousands of people attend the procession, hoping to lay a hand on the figure.
There are other tourist attractions around the Quiapo Church. These include the flea markets at Evangelista St, where herbal medicines are sold, the Quinta Market where fruits and vegetables are peddled, and of course, the fortune tellers in and around the area.
If you are wondering how to reach the Quiapo Church, it is located at Plaza Miranda in Quiapo, Manila. If you are at T.M. Kalaw St just ride a jeepney and ask to be taken to Quiapo. From there you can get a good look at the church. There are guide tours that will cost about 500 Php ($10), but the advantage here is that you will also get to see the other tourist attractions nearby.
If you are looking for churches in the Philippines to visit, there are several to choose from, but few can compare with Quiapo Church, especially as it pertains to displaying the belief and practices of the Filipino Catholic.