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Quiapo Golden Mosque

Got called in for a day tour yesterday around Manila. We got to touring my usual spots---Intramuros (which I love, but I really am getting sick of the ugly lamp posts on Roxas Boulevard on my way there), Museum of the Filipino People and a short shopping trip in Ayala.

But one thing that caught me off guard was that one of my guests wanted to go to a mosque to pray and buy an abaya for his wife. I haven’t been to any of Manila’s mosques, pretty pathetic since I’ve been to mosques all over Mindanao all the way to Morocco.

Tsk tsk, but now it's time to adventure. And considering the influx of Muslim migration in Metro Manila, I have not seen an abaya shop in any of the malls. So I told him that we can both be tourists, and go the the famous Quiapo Golden Mosque. And off we went.... Built by Imelda Marcos for Libyan leader Khadafi in 1976, the mosque still stands in its shining glory. Well, not so shiny. Its gold dome is currently being renovated, but it is lovely nonetheless.

And since its the Muslim quarter, I’m sure I would find an abaya here.

So, I asked a few of my friends if they have been to the area, and no one has. Funny thing is we pass by the area a lot to buy dirt cheap DVDs and visit the Nakpil ancestral home, but I have never thought of visiting the mosque. Danger lurks in the area, someone told me. Whatever.

So I brought my two guests, engineers from Egypt and Saudi Arabia to journey my hometown.

Danger is my last name.

People were nice, as usual. I believe as long as you aren’t mean to people, and as long as you don’t look lost, people won’t bug you.

I walked into the compound and went to the information office and everyone was so welcoming. I couldn’t step into the mosque because I didn’t have my “combong” or head covering on, but I could walk around the compound. It was praying time, so a flurry of men passed by me in a matter of seconds. My guest, Aziz, wanted to pray, so I decided to walk around.

Well, if you are a fish, it would be pretty dangerous for you in this part of town. Smoked and skewered, its free-wheelin' life cut short, this fish sells like hotcakes and is eaten by fat-asses like me. Yea, I’m sure this is what danger looks like. Pieces of fantastic tuna specimen grilled to perfection---200 pesos for the small, 380 for the large. The yellow stuff on the right is yellow ginger powder, they put it on everything.

And to go with it, the ubiquitous “PALAPA” - a fave siding for all Maranaw dishes (Maranaw is one of the many Philippine Islamized groups. Businessmen and traders, they have traveled far and wide to hawk their wares), this is cooked till it looks like Picture Number 2.

After my 45 minute tour of this place, I decided, I have to come back. By myself and with my friends. The energy was great, the food looked amazing, but more importantly, I just want to show people, that this place is only dangerous for.......TUNA.

Want to go on an eco-friendly cultural adventure with Charisse? Gather any three of your friends and you may be on your way to an exciting Philippine tour. Choose what suits you here.

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