Known as the “old downtown”, Quiapo is famous for being the site of the Quiapo Church and the feast of the Black Nazarene. It is also a haven for cheap items ranging from electronics to handicraft products. The busy, congested streets of Quiapo are a filled with street vendors, churchgoers, fortune tellers, beggars and shoppers. People from all walks of life have traversed the ins and outs of Quiapo, which makes it one of the busiest spots in Manila.
Quiapo, which is located at the very heart of city, used to be an area of prominence. Until the late 1970s, Quiapo, along with surrounding vicinities like Binondo, Avenida and Sta. Cruz, are the centers of trade and education for the city’s elite. As years go by, the condition of the areas deteriorated, especially when the Light Rail Transit (LRT) was built. The pollution from vehicles became trapped underneath, giving the streets a dark and gloomy faÃ§ade. The area quickly became congested, which attracted the settlement of bandits and ruffians.
During the recent years, the city’s local government launched rehabilitation projects to restore the former glory of Quiapo and its surrounding areas. The streets and the underpass were turned into pedestrian-friendly avenues with the help of lighting and fresh paint.
Aside from being a center for worship, Quiapo is a paradise for shoppers. Several air-conditioned malls have been added to make shopping more comfortable for people. Some sections of Quiapo are popular for particular merchandise. Hidalgo Street is a haven for photographers because of the side-by-side shops offering photography-related items at lower than market prices.
Quiapo is also known for its original architecture. Hidalgo Street of the old was considered as the most beautiful street in Manila because old 19th century houses that line the streets. The local government made plans to restore the former beauty and prominence of the place. Among the historic structures in Hidalgo Street and its nearby areas include the Nakpil-Bautista House, the Paterno Mansion, the Ocampo Mansion and the Zamora House.