Monday, February 8, 2010

Quiapo Market

So on Sunday morning we decided to try a couple of things 1) the elevated train 2) marketplaces 3) navigating Manila.  We were successful in all.  We headed for Quiapo Church and marketplace - 3 train stations away.  The trains were even air-conditioned, and there was a female-only section we could ride in.  The ride cost < $2 for 7 of us - not too shabby.  The market was RIDICULOUS - there were hundreds of vendors and THOUSANDS of people.  We attracted quite a bit of attention too - being the ONLY white people there.  Everyone was trying to get us to look at their goods.  Speaking of goods - you could buy anything from DVDs (House Season 6 even!!!), sun glasses and clothes to dried fish and vegetables.  We enjoyed going down the aisles, although Erica was not used to all the commotion (nothing like it in North Dakota!).  We looked around and also visited the famous Quiapo church which has a black crucifix which was brought over by Spanish priests during the 1600's.  Mass was going on (for 4 hours) so we didn't get farther than the narthex inside, but there was a jumbo screen in the marketplace so you could see the priest.  We all bought some trinkets - Chinese lucky charms, flying airplanes, T-shirts ("We have BIG sizes, Ma'am") and some veggies.  A word about this Ma'am thing - EVERYONE calls you Ma'am or Sir, except that Ma'am sounds like "Mum".  It's so common that we've even started saying it back!  We are also the largest people in most company, and by large I mean we can't wear child's-sized clothes.  It's part of the culture here to point out that they know we can't fit in their clothing, but nonetheless my ego has taken quite a hit and I will be joining Weight Watchers when I get back to the States! 
After the market we bought some questionable street food (shaomai - basically a bun with some pork inside) that we re-heated at home and ate for lunch.  Some of us went to the pool for the rest of the day and the others just stayed in and enjoyed the activity-free afternoon.


  1. Try going to Binondo (China Town). It's near Quiapo. You could also go to Divisoria (168 Mall, Divisoria Mall, etc.)

    Greenhills is a good place if you want to purchase pearls. Ensure to haggle.

    Makati is also a good place. It's safer and there are lots of fabulous shops. (Greenbelt and Glorietta areas)

    More shops here:
    Bonifacio High Street, Serendra, Market! Market!
    Rockwell Mall
    Shangrila Plaza, Mega Mall, The Podium

  2. I *love* markets in foreign countries... they all seem to have them... so different from what you see in the States... fun times!