Quiapo is synonymous to faith, religiosity, and fanaticism or as what my nephew blogger, Leonard G. Reyes, calls it: indomitable faith. It is also identical to street hawkers selling cheap wares, food, and religious icons.
It is disappointing, that vagrancy and occasional petty crimes--and even conflicting Catholic practices on folk religion and Christianity, as aptly described by Prof. Jaime Bulatao as split-level Christianity, outshines the real essence of Christianity, Quiapo's rich cultural and religious heritage on Roman Catholicism, tolerance and understanding between Islam and Christianity, as well as its historical significance during the First Quarter Storm (FQS).
A clean-up was organized by the priests of Quiapo. Selling of "herbal" medicines--one of them is the makabuhay vine, which is known to have abortifacient qualities--are no longer allowed in front of the church. However, occasionally, some of these wares are still being sold along Quezon Boulevard at the side of the church and other wares sold on the sidewalks at the back of the church--away from the watchful eyes of the priests.
If we were to describe Filipino's faith, one can simply observe Quiapo. An interesting mix of Christian teachings, animism and quack healing, the fetish for "personal power" using amulets, the endless search for instant miracles, and folk religiosity, shape the Filipino's complex religious practices, which is already and deeply embedded in the Filipino psyche.