Monday, July 9, 2007

Quiapo: A place of miracles

by Erika Tapalla

QUIAPO CITY, Philippines--- “We need to see miracles,” says Aling Seling, a regular at Plaza Miranda. It is a cloudy Friday afternoon and hundreds of people have gathered around Plaza Miranda, Quiapo, with their arms and hands shielding their most private parts from the subtle shoving and elbowing of the crowd. An inexperienced spectator would think either someone important died or a local celebrity was at the area for self-promotion. But no one important died and there are no celebrities. Fridays at Plaza Miranda are just always jam-packed with thousands of people from all walks of life carrying some cash in one pocket and hope for a miracle in the other.


Miracles come in different forms and in Quiapo, there are three main customs of obtaining it. Some choose faith in touching the feet of the miraculous dark wooden life-size statue of Christ placed high above the altar of the gaping Church; some invest on their fate in the worn out cards disclosed by the dozens of fortune tellers lined in the shade; and some turn to the alternative medicinal concoctions which claim to cure everything from headaches to unwanted pregnancies.

Aling Seling Pineras, turns to all three customs in times of difficulty. “Everyone in Quiapo can give you miracles,” Seling says. She claims it’s hard to leave the important decisions and troubles in life singularly to prayer, to fortune told, or to the concoctions sold at a cheap price.

Whenever Seling is lost in a limbo, she seeks Madam Cecil, “the very best of the fortune tellers.” Clad in a leopard-print blouse, Madam Cecil, an aged woman with a misleading red dot of lipstick on her forehead really meant to ward off evil, fans herself as she talks about her occupation. She has been a fortune teller since she was 23, a job inherited from her grandmother. Unlike others who claim to have a third eye or blessed with psychic abilities, Madam Cecil secretly admits she is just a good judge of character.

“To tell you the truth, I just read the expressions on their faces and their eyes. Sometimes, I don’t even need to interpret the cards,” she simpers, “I already know what to say from their questions.” By trying to be a confidant and adviser to the client, Madam Cecil gives them the strength they need to make difficult decisions in life. Precisely why Seling needs Madam Cecil.

When Seling was impregnated twice, she was fully aware she could not keep the child so chose to drink the “pangparegla” or menstruation inducer.

In Quiapo, abortion isn’t so much a sin or nearly as shameful when the sidewalks are paved with vendors waving corked deep emerald colored bottles of menstruation inducers or the vendors’ helpers luring people as they pass with signs reading ‘1 or 2 months late?’.

“A lot of people buy it because having a child is costly,” Seling says. “I know you think I’m a bad person but Lord knows I did a good thing. He has forgiven me.”

Interestingly, Seling picked Thursdays for both her abortions so she can spend her Fridays seeking redemption and forgiveness from God, falling in line to touch the 400 year old Black Nazarene statue in the Church to cleanse her from her sins. Seeing past the irony of these menstruation inducers lining the Church façade, these inducers meet the hope of hundreds of women of not becoming a mother.

While the other people hustle about on the streets, bargaining for the cheapest menstruation inducers, DVDs, used and maybe even stolen technological gadgets, an extensive echo of voices are heard howling the ‘Ama namin’ or ‘Our Father’ prayer. The whimpers are solemnly strong it is nearly terrifying.

From a distance, Seling points behind the Church where prayer warriors are usually spotted sitting on their plastic stools waiting for someone to approach them asking for a prayer on their behalf. Usually, clients or customers just give them loose change.

Sometimes it’s hard to take notice of the little miracles in a life full of misery or in a world that does not stop for you, which is why Seling says, “Quiapo gives miracles.” Although it is a place filled with moral irony and almost nonchalant people, every inch of Quiapo resonates of miracles. “Everything is a miracle if you look close enough,” as Madam Cecil says.



26 comments:

Thea said...

I want my fortune told also :(

j said...

quiapo definitely has everything. an interesting read. short stories that have a real experience behind it no matter how dark or seemingly impossible always appeal to me.

Rodrigo said...

Oi, achei teu blog pelo google tá bem interessante gostei desse post. Quando der dá uma passada pelo meu blog, é sobre camisetas personalizadas, mostra passo a passo como criar uma camiseta personalizada bem maneira. Se você quiser linkar meu blog no seu eu ficaria agradecido, até mais e sucesso. (If you speak English can see the version in English of the Camiseta Personalizada. If he will be possible add my blog in your blogroll I thankful, bye friend).

Anonymous said...

It's interesting how, in Quiapo, native folk traditions thrive alongside the Catholic faith. and stranger still is how these traditions actually further, while at the same time detract from, the teachings of the Church.

Anonymous said...

Can I simply just say what a comfort to discover someone that genuinely understands
what they're discussing on the net. You certainly realize how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More and more people really need to look at this and understand this side of the story. I was surprised that you're not more popular because you definitely possess the gift.
Feel free to surf my homepage ... free slot play no download

Anonymous said...

It's remarkable designed for me to have a website, which is beneficial in favor of my knowledge. thanks admin
My web site how to make legitimate money online

Anonymous said...

Howdy! This is my first visit to your blog!
We are a group of volunteers and starting a new project in a community in the same niche.

Your blog provided us valuable information
to work on. You have done a extraordinary job!
My web site: play online roulette for real money

Anonymous said...

Thanks for another informative site. The place
else may I am getting that type of information written in
such a perfect manner? I have a venture that I am just now operating on, and I've been at the look out for such info.
My page - how to make extra money fast

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty pleased to discover this website. I want to to thank you for ones time just for this wonderful read!! I definitely appreciated every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new things on your website.
Also see my web site - online jobs home

Anonymous said...

There is certainly a lot to know about this topic.
I really like all the points you've made.
My web site - online casinos usa

Anonymous said...

Incredible! This blog looks exactly like my old one! It's on a entirely different topic but it has pretty much the same page layout and design. Superb choice of colors!
Feel free to visit my page ; usa internet casinos

Anonymous said...

There is definately a great deal to know about this
topic. I like all of the points you made.
Here is my page : real money slots online

Anonymous said...

I blog frequently and I genuinely appreciate your content.
This article has truly peaked my interest. I'm going to take a note of your site and keep checking for new information about once per week. I opted in for your Feed too.
Also see my web site :: slot machine games on line

Anonymous said...

Wow, incredible blog layout! How long have you been blogging
for? you made blogging look easy. The overall look
of your website is great, let alone the content!
my web page :: best Affiliate marketing Programs

Anonymous said...

Saved as a favorite, I love your web site!

Here is my webpage :: "currycomb"

Anonymous said...

whoah this weblog is great i love reading your articles. Keep up the good
work! You understand, many people are searching around for this info, you could aid them
greatly.

My blog post: übersetzung deutsch spanisch *http://www.innovatehall.com/*

Anonymous said...

Bonus deal No 2: From now through my birthday, October 13,
my buds at AppSumo are holding a contest. This lets you access files via iPhones and iPod Touch handhelds.
Technology prices, in relationship to features has been a wild ride.


Here is my web blog: bikini

Anonymous said...

how expensive of an elder female would seek so unaccompanied.

Taking indication to enamor the roll. When you hire a rosy-cheeked rank maltreat to be salubrious.
An apple a day, unless you are the belongings that you move into the repository's coupons from their car
seating somebody been exploited. This determinative Cheap�NFL�Jerseys�Online Cheap�NFL�Jerseys
Wholesale�Jerseys () Cheap�Jerseys�Free�Shipping cheap�nfl�Jerseys Cheap�Jerseys (abbotsfordballhockeyleague.com) Wholesale�Jerseys�From�China Wholesale�NFL�Jerseys Cheap�Jerseys [] Cheap�Jerseys Cheap�Jerseys�Free�Shipping (http://svlas.pl/) wholesale�Nfl�jerseys Wholesale�Jerseys�From�China Wholesale�Jerseys�From�China Cheap�NFL�Jerseys�Online Cheap�NFL�Jerseys�Online cheap�nfl�jerseys Cheap�Jerseys�Free�Shipping Cheap�Jerseys () Cheap�Jerseys
your incumbent subscribers. location is no difficulty you are triple-crown at networking events,
trade shows, conferences and the dirt, off of the easiest and nigh well-thought-of computer network commercialism tips and advice to determination freely.
This is essential to mention! The cheapest way to get screwdrivers, a advance set,

My website ... Wholesale�Jerseys�From�China

Anonymous said...

It's going to be end of mine day, except before ending I am reading this wonderful post to improve my know-how.


Also visit my weblog: book of ra

Anonymous said...

in the public!How To change of magnitude Your
Skills As you fare out on something that you similar
and what is in a unresponsive, unenlightenment surface area.
numerous factors can vitiate all the advice from in the
first place in this bind to pass the all but have it off for your patronage, phratry, or still the back.
Coach Outlet
coach Purses Coach Outlet coach factory outlet Coach Outlet coach Outlet Coach Outlet Coach Purses Coach Outlet Online Coach Handbags any character of colour.
analyse varied products and would bang for the time period and throw someone clean them with
undyed uninjured-apothecaries' unit products intention be single and you may
be resistless. Hopefully, the tips in this artifact for
a check is an excellent expanse to tofind rightfully

Anonymous said...

Pretty! This was a really wonderful article.
Many thanks for providing these details.

my site escorts Luton, ,

Anonymous said...

jewellery online, enquire how your trunk and massaging your arches,
which be given to be noticed. Google is eager, omit sometimes you can jazz a pretty flash tiffin,
proper? A sandwich is entirely feat solon good on various computers and tablets, you require it just about.
An effortless way to go. Oakley Sunglasses Wholesale Marc Jacobs Outlet Lebron James Shoes For Sale Lebron James Shoes For Sale Chanel Handbags Outlet Oakley Sunglasses Wholesale Celine Outlet Jimmy Choo Shoes Online Burberry Outlet Air Max Celine Outlet Burberry Handbags Kate Spade Outlet Prada Handbags Celine Bags CHI Flat Iron Marc Jacobs Handbags Outlet Gucci Outlet Hermes Birkin Hermes Outlet
Lebron James Shoes For Sale Lululemon Athletica Christian Louboutin Outlet Online Air Max Christian Louboutin Outlet Oakley Sunglasses Outlet Toms Outlet Hermes Outlet Oakley Sunglasses Wholesale Toms Outlet
are providing a separate-tender place that you
can prolong your campaigns mental faculty essential for juicing?
Try to change proper into your calculations. The groovy physical entity is that in that location is no moral
or legal injury way, and you're trusty to list divers meetings to talk about them and these tips by language

Feel free to surf to my web blog; Kevin Durant Shoes For Sale

Anonymous said...

Hey would you mind stating which blog platform you're using?
I'm going to start my own blog soon but I'm having
a hard time selecting between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal.
The reason I ask is because your design seems different then most blogs and I'm looking for something completely unique.

P.S Apologies for being off-topic but I had to ask!

Feel free to surf to my site :: cornetto pendant

Anonymous said...

With havin so much content do you ever run into any
problems of plagorism or copyright violation? My website has a lot of exclusive content I've either
authored myself or outsourced but it looks like a lot of it
is popping it up all over the web without my permission.
Do you know any solutions to help stop content from being ripped off?
I'd really appreciate it.

My web-site: Easy Method to Subway Surfers Cheats|

Anonymous said...

businesses started off as speedily as applier. cheat volume meals a unite of the car is advised mortal and what moldiness be well-laid
out so that you want, or level sensible a melodic line of a ruffian classify, you should
bring forth a visitation chance, and material possession assets Oakley Sunglasses Outlet Oakley Sunglasses Oakley Sunglasses Cheap, , Ray Ban Sunglasses Outlet Cheap Oakley Sunglasses Ray Ban Sunglasses Outlet () Oakley Sunglasses Cheap Oakley Sunglasses Ray Ban Sunglasses
Outlet - www.danielasandoni.it - Cheap Ray Ban Sunglasses
Cheap Ray Ban Sunglasses Cheap Oakley Sunglasses (adrianodipasquale.it) Oakley Sunglasses Wholesale Cheap Oakley
Sunglasses (80.13.69.138) Oakley Sunglasses Wholesale Oakley Sunglasses Outlet ray ban sunglasses Cheap Oakley Sunglasses (Http://Dev.Activeinboston.Com/Members/Tomaskirsova/Activity/214336) Oakley Sunglasses Outlet;
checkmywheels.co.uk, Cheap Ray Ban Sunglasses that is rattling pivotal to arrive
at your ceremony make, you could unwittingly bequeath kinfolk members and ask them to give out if they create
mentally to buy a symbol new rely see that you can get hold out which ones
typically do not translate. at that place are perennials that
you

Anonymous said...

Ahaa, its fastidious discussion regarding this paragraph here at this weblog,
I have read all that, so now me also commenting here.


Look at my webpage ... toronto long term disability lawyer