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Quiapo is the heart of Manila in every way imaginable. It is one of the busy downtown in Manila with its colorful jeepneys. It is the site of the Basilica of Saint John the Baptist, known to everyone as simply Quiapo Church. It is the most visited church in the country and home of the Black Nazarene, the miraculous figure that is the centerpiece of the massive Quiapo fiesta with its big feast in every January.

Quiapo is the center of mass transport in the city, where nearly all major public transportation routes converge. Politically, it is where Plaza Miranda is located, where many a political movement or campaign has been born, lost and won. The energy begins in the area around Plaza Miranda with its countless stalls selling flowers, candles, all kinds of novelty items and of course food. There are vendors on every corner and young kids never fail to badger you to buy their plastic bags for so-and-so.

We liked to go in Carriedo, all sorts of merchandise are sold in its many stores, ranging from low-priced to high-quality electronic equipment. We always bought different celphone accessories on some stores. The streets are lined with vendors selling little bits and pieces of everything. Walking from the LRT terminal, a shopper is confronted by stall upon stall of street vendors. Ceramics, electronics, hardware, clothing, DVDs and VCDs; you'll find everything for sale on the street.

When you get to Quiapo itself, the street vendors tend to be food and produce merchants. Fruit and vegetable vendors are everywhere. The food is cheap and tasty. We always ate our lunch on that place. If you're paranoid about cleanliness or picking up diseases, then dining Quiapo style may not exactly be for you.

Typical of Quiapo, the mood is somewhat festive and very busy. Lots of people are milling the streets; and every now and then a mad pedicab operator will come barreling down the street yelling to warn people of his coming.

But when you are in Quiapo please try to follow these precautions while in the area. Make sure you know where your wallet is. Quiapo isn't a den of thieves or anything, but it never hurts to play safe. Keep your cash on you, where it cannot be filched out of a purse or a pocket. Don't take too much cash with you. Bring an empty bag to stash your loot. Normally, shops will give you a shopping bag to keep your stuff. Considering how much you just spent, would you walk around Quiapo with the stuff dangling from a shopping bag? Normally a good rugged canvas bag that you can hug close to you is best. Backpacks are not ok because slashing has been known to occur. Wear sneakers, applies specially during the rainy season, where puddles and watery mini-black-holes abound. Also, it is highly likely that you will walk around in circles for a bit... so wear something comfortable.

Be alert always when you are in Quiapo! Keep your wallet and celphone! Coz we already had a bad experience while we are in Quiapo before. Someone get the celphone of my husband on his bag. So, be alert!!

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