09 September 2010

Quaipo Market & Robinson's: Our Last Minute Detour

So problem came when we didn’t know how to go to Quaipo from the Binondo Church. The French guy DID finger point to somewhere but of course we couldn’t just walk our way off based on a less assuring finger point. After so much walking that had drained the energy out of our legs since morning, we simply didn’t want to take the risk of walking another distance only to find out we went to the wrong place.

Alright, at least that was the best reason that I could give to Lizzie. One thing that I respected so much about her was that she was just so inexhaustible and tireless I wondered where all the energy of hers was coming in from! My legs were going so loose I finally gave up my balls and suggested that we took a tri-cycle to Quaipo.
A little bit of negotiation skills had actually dragged the fare down to 50 pesos (RM3.50) expecting that Quaipo would be just somewhere nearby from there. How wrong I was – the tri-cycle took us deep into the back alleys, zig-zagging its way through massive areas of residential flats and combating against some of the craziest traffics that I’ve even seen – all for RM3.50! I felt such a jerk as I handed the money over to him (the driver). Erkkkk.
The Quaipo Market had suddenly become one of the highlights in our whole trip to Manila. Unlike Divisoria, the Quaipo Market is much cleaner and it feels much safer to be wandering off around.
The vast variety of religious stuff that come in big bundles caught me almost off-guard.
I was only about a few steps into the open market when I found myself raking in a stash of rosaries into my pocket.
Quaipo really is such an amazing and exciting place to be. Mark my word for this but no one should leave Manila without paying a visit to Quaipo.

For one thing, it is where the Minor Basilica of The Black Nazarene (also known as St. John The Baptist Parish) is located which is famously known as the venue of the annual self-torturing processions to celebrate The Feast of the Black Nazarene and Good Friday every year.

The name – The Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene – takes after this dark-colored wooden sculpture known as The Black Nazarene which is enshrined at one corner of the church. It is said to have the life-size of Jesus and many devotees believe that it has many miraculous attributes such as a cure from a disease and a quick finding of a spouse. OK, I made up about the spouse. But then who knows if we really really ask for one right? LOL

The interior? You gotta go there and see it for yourself and to experience the amazement. Churches in Manila are just so stunning I've actually run out of words to describe how beautiful they are.

YOU SHOULD NEVER leave Quaipo without making your time taking a walk around in its flea market.

You really don’t have to buy anything but your eyes need to be fed with all the things that they offer for your curiosities here.

For one thing they really know how to make their stuffs more appealing to the eyes of the passersby and market-goers.

And then it is probably the only place where you can see colored eggs in BIG NUMBERS. Purple? Erkkk. No thanks.

Oh well, farm produces in Manila seem to have a lot of similarities with what we have here in Malaysia. The only thing that makes them different is probably the way they are so nicely placed on the tables. They really are so well-positioned if you know what I mean.

And we probably don’t have much of this here in Malaysia, not as big too, since too much of this would make 60% of the Malaysian population go hot under their shirts. One piece of it is said to be sufficient enough to send you up to the raging fire in hell. *gulp

Ironically, it is located just a few hundred yards away from this beautiful mosque, the only mosque that I saw in my whole trip to Manila actually.

If you go to St. John Church in KL on a Sunday, you’d see how the place is full of Filipino hawkers selling stuffs just outside of the gate. Apparently, they ‘imported’ the culture from Quaipo.

If you are not afraid of knowing your fate in the future quiet too soon, there are dozens of fortune tellers so ready to squeeze the beejeezees out of you by telling whether you’ll live long enough to watch the next World Cup. *knocking on my wooden table.  

Hehe. Kidding. I am not sure if they’d predict your date of death. Oh well, as much as I was so curious about, amongst others, HOW SOON I was gonna get married and when would I ever hit a jackpot and all, I’d rather say no to them.

Besides – there’s no way anybody could know about anybody else’s future. Only Allah does. That’s the belief. MY belief.

Our little excitement in covering the Quaipo flea market was suddenly interrupted by a heavy downpour.

The hawkers seemed to know all too well on what to do when a rain comes. They were so quick to put everything under the protection of a plastic cover, all in a matter of a few minutes. Amazing.

Oh well, it was the worse time to be stuck in the rain in Manila. We were there on the very last day and we definitely still had quite a few more places in mind.

Again I was so tempted to go to the fortune teller while waiting for the rain to abate. I kept saying NO every time the urge struck me. AFRAID? No la. I just don't believe it. LOL

When the rain showed no way of diminishing, we decided to buy an umbrella and continue walking. TADA.

The Man with Umbrella. Somehow I felt so sexy walking with two shafts on me once at a time. :-P

Oh well, as you've probably known, Manila has an issue about having too many fastfood outlets and less local restaurants. And sure enough, we couldn't find any local restaurants that serve comfortable seats and proper meals around so we finally gave up looking in the rain and settled for a KFC.

AND I really had no idea why would there have something like this standing right in the middle of the tables. I found it quite so..... errrr.... distracting? Erkkk. What the.... God please help me! :-P

So, fast forward, we continued walking in the rain and on with our shopping spree. Negotiating the price at the Quaipo Market has proved to be so worthwhile.

You’re not gonna believe how generous they are in dragging the prices down when you say things like “God bless you but God will bless you  more if you lower the price for me” or even “You’re so beautiful, just like most Filipino women are”. Seriously, it worked on me BIG TIME. One thing that I like most about Manila is the fact that English is widely spoken here and it makes bargaining and negotiating such a smooth business.

LOL! Before I knew, I was already short of hands to hold all the things that I had bought at the Quaipo Market. 

I wished we could stay there longer for more of the bargaining and the nice experience of mingling with the crowds but it was already quite late and we were like on the other side of Manila. We had a long way back to the hostel. Again… jeepney.

And we were dropped off at the most unlikely spot from where we had to walk down a dark and silent and scary street to our very last destination of the whole trip to Manila – a place called Robinson’s.

ROBINSON's is like the mecca of eateries and pubs in Manila. The whole stretch of street is full of pubs and eateries you might be, as they always say,spoiled for choices.

And it is also a major place of choice for all the Beauty and The Beast couples showing their affection upon each other out in the open.

There are just so many of them I felt like puking had to knock on any wooden surface that I found every time I saw one. I TRIED very hard not to imagine myself being one of them in 20 years time from now. *palis2..

And somehow they seemed to be the prime targets of the rambling kids who were all over Robinson's asking for money from the passersby. They'd resiliently follow them around, even waiting outside of grocery stores until they (the couples) get tired of being followed and finally give 'em some spare change just to make them go away.

AND TRUE STORY, I overheard this conversation between this another Beauty & The Best couple as they were making their way into the Pharmaceutical store. o.O *knocking on my wooden table again. 

Apparently, the continuous walk had cost a toll on Lizzie’s feet. I remember how I was half-surprised and half-shocked when she showed me a big ‘hole’ of blister under one of her feet. It was further worsened by the rain as we had to walk into ponds of water with all the elements of contamination only God knows what.

Buying things at the Pharmaceutical shop in Manila espcially in Robinson's area is not something that you’d enjoy doing. I could only sympathize at Lizzie who had to drag her feet into a very long line of people at the consultancy counter and another one hell of a long line at the cashier counter.

It must have been at least 45 minutes before she finally got to buy what she wanted to buy. So sorry for her.

So………………. After a little bit of walking around, we picked this restaurant to be our ‘resting place’ for the night.

Callie 5 is the name – you gotta note this name down. It is not just an ordinary restaurant; it is A SPECIAL PLACE FOR SPECIAL PEOPLE. Or so it claims itself to be and I had to give my nod to it after awhile.

And a special place indeed, this place brings out the best of musical bands with the best live performances that you can never get to see anywhere here in Malaysia. Seriously, watching them performing some of the most difficult songs that anyone could ever suffer singing, I found myself having a goose bump most of the time. They had the most stunning vocals that part of me wanted to come onstage and cut their throats open to see for myself how their throats look like to have an amazing voice like that. 

And the place really knows how to put up a charm to allure people like me by hiring beautiful ladies so ready to serve for special people like me. I mean, serving us with the drinks. :-P

Lizzie took a little bit of her time to to do a little bit of treatment to her feet while I kept enjoying the live band performances.

Hehe. So, since we still had so quite a lot of pesos in our pockets (ehem!), we made the night a special one by ordering special meals for a special dinner at a special place with the special people us.

What a perfect place to end our last night in Manila with.

Calle 5 for sure is highly recommended for those who come to Manila to see for themselves how Filipinos are gifted with so much talent and why international breakthroughs made by people like Charice Pempengco and Arnel Pineda – whose talents were both discovered through youtube.

It was a quarter past midnight when we decided to call it a day and hailed a taxi back to our hostel in Makati.

Oh well, cabbies in Manila have this tendency of playing tricky just as it is in most other third world countries including Malaysia and Vietnam (my worse encounter!).Since taxi ride is time-rated in Manila, they’d make sure that their fuel tank is ALWAYS near empty so that they can always have a reason to make a refuel stop.

In fact you can see how they’d dawdle at the gas station, have a long chat with the gas station attendant and all while the time meter continues to tick away and so is your money.
SO………that was how our LAST day in Manila was spent – The massive but scary Divisoria Market, the spiritual flea market of Quaipo and the vibrant and energetic Robinson’s. It'd be the time to bid farewell to the wonderful city of Manila the very next day.

And believe me, it didn't feel good.


Pu3 said...

Interesting Quaipo o_O Im amazed by the arrangement of the fish, very very nice! Why would they give such an effort? i wonder~ everyone's doing the same thing?

And lol, cant believe you actually took the pictures of the 'Beauty and the beast' argument! Must be quite a scene huh

aud said...

Ah, now you're in Quaipo! That's the Black Nazarene church I was talking about. Seems like you shopped a lot there :)

I did get my fortune read for fun - it was so funny I burst out laughing when she read the cards!!

fufu said...

you have nice journey :) enjoy reading your adventures :) what a lovely and authentic market ya...and nice church! did you try the local fast food chain there? something like KFC or McD...

JIPP said...

Pu3: Yupp, not only the fish, in fact the place everything so nicely on the tables. All of them seem to do that. Wonderful. :-)
Aup: Wahh, u did go to the fortune teller? Wonder how was it. Hehe. Yupp, it could hv been fun. I probably wasn't ready to hv somebody forsee my future. It can be disturbing even if I keep saying I don't believe it. Hehe.

JIPP said...

Fufu: I did go to a Mang Inasal, one of the local restaurant chain. But then, most of the fastfood restaurants in Manila is dominated by US-based fastfood restaurants. Japan also has its share there. It is quite an issue actually in Manila having too many of them.

Kelvin said...

Wat meat is tat?

JIPP said...

errr, pork rib or someth. :-)

Ken said...

The church looks majestic and big!
I heard from my friend who just came back from Manila that there's so many Chinese fast food chain over there.

Filipino likes Chinese food? Haha...

Overall, this is an eye-opening post!
Keep it up!

JIPP said...

Hehe. Yuppp, we all think we know so much about this neighbouring country of ours when there are so many things that we don't know actually. Yes, Chinese food dominate most of the restaurants there but somehow there are quite different from what we have here in Msia. One thing for sure, they've got pork more than anything else. Hehe.

fufu said...

i mean jolibee... :) and ChowKing... etc... argh i wanna go back again...

JIPP said...

Ohhh, those. Yupp, I did see them around but I didn't get to go in. May be next time. You can always go back there Fufu. It's our neighbour. :-)

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