Every trip to Quiapo is always an adventure. You are transported to this overwhelming microcosm of tastes, sights, and sounds quintessential to Filipino culture (with notable influences from the Spanish and Chinese). It’s a feast for the senses! The bustling district is full of peddlers selling everything from watches, to bags, to make-up, to dried fish, and to fruits! All at rock-bottom prices!
The Quiapo church is home not just to devotees but to peddlers of sampaguita (see the fierce look on ate’s face!), colorful candles (where you choose the one corresponding to your purpose of petition, yey to marketing strategies!) abortifacients, masked in the less direct but still implying “pamparegla”.
Hidalgo Street, a haven for photographers, is where you could buy cameras of all sorts, from the latest SLRs to the more vintage film ones! I still have a roll of film undeveloped, better have it done here for a minimum cost.
Surrounding Quiapo is also the chinatown of Manila – Binondo. Central to it is the very culturally colorful Ongpin Street. I remember tasting fried siopao for the first time and instantly feeling a rush of joy. I remember seeing too much gold! I remember eating scallops, and black chicken, and sipping free tea in a hole-in-the-wall chinese resto dating back to who-knows-when. Next time, when I eat there again, I’ll take a lot of photos!
Also in Quiapo is the famous Ramon Lee’s Panciteria. This establishment has been around since 1929 and when we dined there, the place was full of gramps! There was a pair of old men who told the waiter after they paid their bill that they were already eating there way back when it still wasn’t called Ramon Lee’s Panciteria. The waiter just thanked the two and scratched his head afterwards wondering what the place was called then. He must have made a mental note to ask the old men once they dine again.
We ordered their best sellers, special pancit canton for 170pesos and their wok-fried chicken. True to being in Spot.ph’s Top 10 Pancit in Manila, the pancit really delivered in terms of taste and value for money. It was juicy and the noodles were cooked just right, not soggy and not hard, with the right amount of chewiness. The fried chicken was likewise good. The sauce (kind of reminds me of atsara) that goes with it really counters the fatty flavor, while bringing out the sweetness of the chicken.
Every visit to Quiapo is not complete without dropping by Ramon Lee’s. It’s the perfect way to end a tiring day of shopping and haggling.
Oh my. This photo does not give justice to the pancit and the fried chicken. It wasn’t even shot on location. haha. We had our left-overs packed and then ate it at a drinking session later that night. Suffice to say that we just can’t get enough! (Justice served.)
J: Oh yeah! I bought this peacock ring for 35 pesos! I use to buy the same thing from an online multiply shop for 120 pesos!
Scale bangle for 50pesos! whaddup!