18 Kilometers - Blumentritt to Binondo

Around two hours left before 12 noon but we were still not halfway through our pilgrimage to Baclaran Church. Our group just crossed the train tracks of the Philippines National Railways (PNR) at Blumentritt but we still have miles to go.

Filipinos for Life Pilgrimage Route from Blumentritt to Binondo
F4L pilgrimage route from Blumentritt to Binondo.

Our next stop was the Shrine of the Holy Spirit (Dambana ng Espiritu Santo) located in Manila’s Santa Cruz District. I'm glad that I managed to enter this church but the crowd prevented me from taking good photos.

Interior of the Shrine of the Holy Spirit
The interior of the Shrine of the Holy Spirit.

I believe that it is a beautiful church. The painting at the altar depicts the descent of the Holy Spirit during Pentecost. The scene depicted by the painting is very apt for the shrine because it is the event when the Holy Spirit emboldened the first Christians.

The crowd prevented us to pray a decade of the Holy Rosary so we just chose a spot in front of Mama Mary's image outside of the church.

We used the LRT stations to mark our progress. We even stopped at each station to pose for photos.

AJ posing at LRT - Tayuman Station
Boss AJ at Tayuman Station.

My experiences in Manila taught me to expect street children on the streets. There are plenty of them in Manila and I saw some of them during the pilgrimage.

Street kids at Rizal Avenue, Manila
Manila street kids

It would be wrong to lump these kids as “children” of the poor people of Manila. I know that each street kid has a unique story. Some might even be a son or daughter of a well-to-do family. Nonetheless, it is not good for them to stay away from their families. Where are their parents?

Another common scenery on Manila's streets is the perpetually under renovation streets.

A portion of Rizal Avenue under construction

AJ commented that this portion of Rizal Avenue was also under renovation during their pilgrimage last year. Does that mean that they renovate this portion of the avenue every year? What a waste of taxpayers' money.

Members of Filipinos for Life walking along Rizal Avenue

We quicken our steps. We knew that noon is near and we want to reach Binondo by that time. Our next stop would be Quiapo Church.

F4L pilgrims at LRT - Bambang Station
LRT - Bambang Station

Our group finally reached Recto Avenue around 11 AM. I was glad to finally reach a familiar place.

Intersection of Recto Avenue of Rizal Avenue
Intersection of Rizal and Recto avenues.

Recto Avenue was once a busy commercial hub. The place has theaters, malls and bustling commercial center. Its golden age occurred during the time when Escolta and Binondo were the commercial center of the country. Recto Avenue fell to disrepute and this place is now known as the place where people can get fake Ids, fake diplomas, fake birth certificates and other fake documents.

Quiapo Church is just a short walk from Recto Avenue. Unfortunately, the church is very crowded but that is not surprising. Quiapo Church houses the image of the Black Nazarene, which has millions of devotees. It is no wonder that this church is crowded to the max.

Quiapo Church

With no place to stop for praying, our group decided to go to the nearby Santa Cruz Church.

It was my first time to see Santa Cruz again since the day I went back from Thailand. The white paint of the church's exterior was now replaced by brown (or orange) tiles. Santa Cruz Church is still under renovation during our visit.

Santa Cruz Church in Manila

After our prayers, we entered Binondo Chinatown and walked along Ongpin Street to reach Binondo Church.

Horse-drawn or kalesa at Ongpin Street
You'll know you're in Chinatown once you see these kalesa.

Ongpin Street is the main street of Binondo Chinatown. Many people go here for the food (Chinese restaurants here have excellent dishes), or for history (this Chinatown is the oldest in the world) or just for taking photos.

Golden Cross of Binondo Chinatown at Ongpin Street
The golden cross along Ongpin Street.

Binondo Chinatown is the place where Christianity and Chinese cultures meet. A golden cross along this street is a testament this “clash of cultures”. People light up joss sticks at this cross instead of candles, which are the usually found in regular Christian spots.

Binondo Church, Manila
Binondo Church

We finally reached Binondo Church and said our prayers. Noon had just passed and our belly is rumbling. We are in the right time to visit a Chinese restaurant highly recommended by our group leader.

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  1. nice dame nu talagang napuntahan nu? ehehe umaga pala
    kayo nagbibisita iglesiah nu kasi kame nakagawian naming gabe gawin

    1. Uo MeCoy. Sobrang daming napuntahan kaya kailangan kong hatiin sa ilang segments ang blog post ko para sa gala kong ito.

  2. Quiapo Church! I remember eating balut near there haha!

    1. Oh yeah. You're correct. Are you with me during that time? :-P

  3. And Binondo Church! Too bad I did not get to go inside to have a look!

    1. Well, you can visit Manila again so you can peek inside this church. :-)

  4. Huwaw ang sarap talagang mag gala pag maraming kasamang barkada. Ang dami nyo din na bisitang Churches ha. Nice!

    - oh, so you already visited our country some time ago?

    1. Tama ka. Masayang gumala kapag OK ang mga kasama sa gala. :-)

      Fiel-kun, Foong already visited Manila. I met him during his visit here.

  5. Wish ko talaga makapunta ng Binondo Church ... napadaan lang kasi kami dito pero di ako nakapasok sa loob...

    Love the Santa Cruz church.. our San Roque church kasi nirerenovate din and almost ten years na ang lumipas at di pa din xa tapos but we see the progress naman ^_^

    1. Naku. Kaag naligaw ka sa Binondo ay subukan mong pumasok ng Binondo Church para sulit ang punta mo dun.

      Ang bagal ng progress ah. Baka kasi kulang sa pondo kaya mabagal.

  6. I agree that it seems there's always some sort of renovations going on in one part of the Metro or another. I just don't understand why they don't use more reliable and hardy construction materials.

    1. The reason for that is corruption. The materials used for roads are low class because the contractors are forced to use such materials to stave off the kick backs given to government officials.


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