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In Dr. Teresita Obusan's book "Mystic or Mistake or Exploring Filipino Mysticism in Quiapo", a very striking verse runs: "Tondo for bravery/Binondo for wealth/Sta Cruz for arrogance/Quiapo adrift." One who lives in Manila must surely know the meaning behind this play of words.
Quiapo is situated near waterways, hence it conjures the image of lulutang-lutang, or staying
afloat or adrift. In fact, the place got its name from kiapo, which is a lily-like plant that counts the marsh lands as its natural habitat.
But more than this literal meaning are the connotative meanings of floating-ness ascribed to
Quiapo.Metaphors of flowing water, clashing bodies of water, merging waters rush into perceptive
minds in bringing the understanding of Quiapo up to another level.
In Quiapo, people,vehicles,merchandise and just about anything flow. In streets and busy intersections, they are rivulets, or rivers, or canals that are always in a hurry and seldom tarry.
Like a collision of courses between the river's down currents and the sea's high tide up movements,Quiapo is home to several clashes of forces: western and alternative belief systems, thriving commerce and trade vs impoverished state of the past's glorious artistry, the sacred and the profane,and more ironies, oxymorons, and paradoxes.Still, these figurative expressions have their ways of agreement.
Like water blending with water, people from different walks of living get melted and become one as they embrace the culture that is distinctive and unique of Quiapo.
The image of drifting-ness and floating-ness may give unfavorable impressions to many as it is associated with the absence of anchorage or foothold. Yet, it is the same image that gives boundless
possibilities for discoveries. As one maxim says," You cannot step on the same river twice."