Quiapo, the Melting Pot
Barcelo and Hatol are your main guides to Quiapo’s inner workings, but the tour has also made countless other partners in the community. One of which is Bahay Nakpil-Bautista, an ancestral home built in 1914 and is now a heritage site. Of course, you might remember the surname from Julio Nakpil, composer and second-in-command to the Katipunan revolution’s Supremo Andres Bonifacio, and his wife, Gregoria de Jesus, Lakambini of Katipunan. The extraordinary couple also called the Quiapo site home, where they lived with Julio Nakpil's sister Petrona. The house—built by Petrona's husband, Dr. Ariston Bautista—is a wonderful bahay-na-bato that stands apart from its colonial-era predecessors thanks to its Art Deco influences.
Santos-Viola is a familiar figure during the tour, and has many stories to tell.
“This house—if it could talk—it can tell you many stories,” says Bobbi Nakpil Santos-Viola, grandchild of Ariston and Petrona Bautista-Nakpil and current President of Bahay Nakpil-Bautista Foundation, Inc. She recounts the many tales her elders had told her of what it was like to live in Quiapo, a pivotal place throughout history. Standing a few meters away from Quiapo Church, the house was once witness to the Fiesta ng Nazareno, which used to pass right by the home’s doors. It was the last leg of the procession, she says, and her family used to place an altar in front of their house for the passing devotees.
The Golden Mosque has been a part of Quiapo's landscape since the 1970s
Another stop on the itinerary is the Manila Golden Mosque, one of the two main mosques in all of Metro Manila (the other being the Blue Mosque in Taguig). The huge structure sits right in the center of a thriving Islam community—living and breathing proof of the many cultures that blend together in Quiapo. "The Bukas Quiapo Tour is providential because it provides us with the venue to highlight the dialogical aspects of Muslims' and Christians' relationship here in this community," says Rummel Ihan Santos, representative of the Interfaith Office of the Quiapo Church. According to Santos, the church has been working with this community since 2011.
This Muslim community has called Quiapo home since the 1970s, and the Bukas Quiapo Tour takes you to visit not just their religious center, but also the lively area they’ve made their own. Right outside the Golden Mosque are streets lined with colorful shops and small restaurants that serve up delicious Halal dishes. People are everywhere too, and they’re more than happy to welcome you in.
The interiors of the San Sebastian Basilica stand as a testament to time.