Thursday, December 04, 2008


It would probably take an act of God to find Z.P. de Guzman Street completely free of people. Located only a block from Quezon Boulevard east of Quiapo Church, it is comprised mostly of residences, with some converted to rooming houses. And because of the private high school and technical college near its northern end -- along with the rows of reasonably priced but surprisingly tasty eateries -- the street attracts a continuous flow of pedestrians.

In the late afternoon when the sun is no longer as searing, Guzman swarms even more with foot traffic that peaks during the early evening when the neighborhood kids, home from school, make a playground out of its entire stretch -- the gleeful screams from their dizzying plays compete against the oftentimes off key singing blasting from the bistros' videoke machines; the resulting cacophony lending a festive air until the late night.

The street is divided into two separate barangay zones, with both having women as captains, which may explain the plentiful organized youth activities in the area, including regular feeding programs. And besides the inter-barangay basketball competition that is now going on, one of the barangays, No. 394, hosted a dance contest
last weekend.

Ranging in age from four to late teens, about 15 groups competed for the top prize of 5,000 pesos. There were no entry fees involved so as to encourage as many kids as possible to participate. Moreover, with official permission from the barangay office, the kids were allowed to solicit money for their costumes from the neighborhood residents and business owners; hence, making the event more like a community effort.

In the end, with every dancer bringing much joy to the appreciative crowd, every competitor was deemed a winner.
Needless to say, the event was a great success.

Grouped into two age categories, the video below is a collection of short clips of the dancers from the first category.

all images © 2008 Señor Enrique

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posted by Señor Enrique at 7:25 AM


Anonymous Anonymous said...

the feast of the Black Nazarene is just around the corner. i hope this time you will brave the surging crowd and take pictures.

December 04, 2008 1:04 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

The spirit may be willing, Anonymous, but alas, at my age, I lack the vitality and stamina necessary for such coverage. I usually cover the eve of the feast and the early morning hours prior to the massive procession.

Sidney Snoeck, by the way, had taken incredibly sharp photos of the feast over the years. You should check out his site: My Sari-Sari Store.

December 05, 2008 7:49 AM  

Blogger Photo Cache said...

Dont sell yourself short here Senor. I do want to see the before the day pics too. Sometimes, they are more interesting and more surprising.

Pakihaplos na lang ang poong nazareno para sa akin. Salamat.

December 05, 2008 8:34 AM  

Blogger nutart said...

your age, eric? you're timeless!...remember that! :-D remind your body that you're spirit and its master!

Dance is really a great neutralizer of boredom and even mental lethargy! I have seen it in so many cultures that had set peoples to connect with their inner selves no matter what the form it matter how short or long it takes too!

The yogi Yogananda advised to add to one's morning prayers a dance (well as simply as marching around the room vigorously) and say "I dance through the day. I am enthusiastic..." and so on and so forth. Maski about 30 and boogie and rock!

December 05, 2008 9:25 AM  

Blogger ka tony said...

Hi Eric,

The best & safe way to take great pictures of the "pasan" for Senor Nazareno, is from one of the roof of the buildings around Quiapo church. "Pasan" was my Father's panata para sa Mahal na Senor every year. According to him it's all about cooperation, strength, youth and specially experience. The most dangerous part is going out of the church door, where one can be squeeze.

Take care! Paki dasal at paki haplos mo na lang kaming mga nasa ibang bayan kay Senor. Salamat Eric,
ka tony

December 05, 2008 2:50 PM  

Blogger Daisy said...

Nakakatuwa naman talaga na ang buong barangay ay tumulong para sa kasayahan ng lahat.

Making it a community event struck me indeed. Only in the Philippines can you find that the default mood is to laugh, sing or dance even smile in the roller coaster of life. I find it amazing and I love it that our streets are not bare of people and not cold. I love the warm weather! I hate the cold.

Sabi nga nila it is not just a family that will raise a child takes a community. :)

It lifts me up to read your post Senor! I go hear to refresh my love of community and country :) and of course of our people!

God bless!

December 05, 2008 11:58 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Hi Daisy!

During the first couple of times that I passed by this street as a short cut from Hidalgo Street, I was rather apprehensive especially during the late afternoons early evenings. But then, as I got to know the neighborhood, I realized how friendly the local people are, and how safe the entire stretch was.

Through the years, I got to know some people, as well as the kids who'd ask, "Picture naman, kuya!" whenever they see me with my camera; hence, they told me about this dance contest and invited me to take their photos.

Like you, Daisy, I love our warm tropical weather, unlike the cold streets of New York, and the warmth of local folks certainly enhance the whole thing even more.

And you're right: It takes a community or village to raise a child. In this neighborhood, I've seen some people reprimanding unruly kids or litte tots straying too far from their homes, and sending them home, though not their own child. The sense of community is truly alive here!

Many thanks, Daisy. You've just inspired me to delve more into the life of our inner city :)

December 06, 2008 9:15 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

That is true, Ka Tony, but the privilege of gaining such access is indeed hard to come by at the day of the feast; most are already spoken for.

There were some Quiapo residents who had invited me to shoot from their second floor windows or balconies but the procession pass by their areas late in the evening; thus, not so suitable for picture taking.

Nonetheless, I'm sure something auspicious will come up; when meant to be, that is :)

Sige, Ka Tony, Ihahaplos ko kayo kahit sa simbahan na lang sa regular na araw kasi mahirap maklapit Kay Senor Nazareno sa araw ng fiesta niya.

December 06, 2008 9:19 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

How true it is, Bernadette. I did lots of dancing when younger. I should still. It's really exhilarating!

However, covering the day of the feast is an altogether different and serious matter. In some photography clubs, they even conduct workshops for those interested to brave the event. Sidney Snoeck is one to attest to the perils involved. It isn't really for the faint-hearted.

December 06, 2008 9:23 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Thanks, Photo Cache :)

Check out these I had posted last January:



Sige, Ihahaplos ko tayong lahat!

December 06, 2008 9:29 AM  

Blogger nutart said...

hahaha! When I was working as part-time artist in the La Tondena building, I would immediately clear out before the onset of the Nazarene procession. Mabuti na lang I'm not male...or I'd have to (to prove my virility ;-D)

I was although grown up in the patronage of the Lady of Penafrancia since my maternal side are Bicolanos. The INA fluvial procession can be just as crowded but maybe not as rough.

Basta keep dancing, Eric! Join the fun if you dare (haha!)

December 06, 2008 10:00 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Where is the La Tondeña building, Bernadette? So you did you work for the Palancas as Amorsolo had once done ? He created the "Marca Demoñio" label for the gin, you know?

My mom is from Albay! And my grandmother (her step mother) used to mention the Lady of Peñafrancia a lot when we were little.

There was a time when I would also set aside as Tuesday night to go to this club dancing; they played oldies music on Tuesdays and I'd dance my heart out. Bruce Willis worked at that club before he was cast for the male lead of "Moonlighting."

December 06, 2008 1:09 PM  

Blogger nutart said...

Gosh, Eric...I really forgot the name of the street except that it was where the old magnolia restaurant was. I recall eating a BIG banana split there of which I could not consume (I was very small...I think). Anyway, when you walk towards Quiapo from there you walk over a small bridge and right smack into the Ils de Tuls (ilalim ng tulay). I haven't been to quiapo from there for a long, long time...this was during my college days. By this you can see I was a working student :-).

It's nice to know a little more trivia about you too,! a Bicolano and dancer in you! You could have ran smack into Bruce Willis ;-)! My husband knows I'm a klutz when it comes to ballroom dancing...BUT! when it comes to dancing solo (and on any strong beat---make it African) I top him when it comes to creativity and endurance (ha!!) :-D

December 06, 2008 5:46 PM  

Blogger ka tony said...

Hi Eric & Bernadette,

Maki sali na rin ako sa masarap na usapan ninyo! I also used to have a snack at that Magnolia ice cream parlor on Echague (Carlos Palanca St.), on the left side of the street, by the small bridge, going towards Avenida Rizal, after my advertising meeting with Honey Boy Palanca many moons ago. You're right Bernadette, there was an old Spanish building of Magnolia on Calle Echague. During my younger years, one can tell with eyes closed when you to passed by area, 'cuz you can smell the yeast!

Eric, the "haplos sa Mahal na Senor" is simply a glimpse of the Senor Nazareno during the "pasan." My Father said that it was a privilege & considered very lucky to be able to touch & "haplosin ng iyong tualya" The Senor during the pasan, among the "Hijos de La Senor Nazareno." This is where cooperation among the devotees exist, if someone who's lucky enough to climb & reached the Senor, by stepping on the faces & shoulders of their fellow devotees (which they will encourage you), the lucky one should "haplos" The Senor the white towels his fellow devotees tossed to him, then should toss it back! This "miraculous white towel" was wrapped around me & my siblings, whenever one of us are seriously sick.

The forever route of the procession of The Senor Nazareno, this day traces all those side streets in the Quiapo families who gave the biggest contributions. From around Plaza Miranda to Villlalobos, to Echague, right to Gomez, right to Carriedo, left to Evangelista, to Quezon Blvd. & left under Quezon Brd., to Globo de Oro, streets behind Times theater on Quezon Blvd. To Barbosa, Escaldo, Norzagaray, R. Hidalgo, Farnecio, Duque de Alba, San Rafael, Plaza del Carmen, Raon, Mendoza, back to R. Hidalgo, Echague, Plaza Miranda & back to Quiapo Church - as far as I remember my Father told me. Somewhere at the same spot, every procession, in one of these streets same thing will happen, a "problem," the Senor will almost take a fall from the shoulders of the "Hijos de La Senor Nazareno." This all male "panata" is same as the Nuestra Senora de Penafrancia of Bicol, na pag mayroong sumakay sa bangka ni Senora Penafrancia, lulubog ang bangka!!! But there are female devotees of The Senor, who are dress in black, with candles following at the back of the procession, called "Paso'."

Make sure Eric to be like "Lawrence of Arabia", dressed as the tribe - con todo, naka-paa, white T-shirt, maoong na naka roll-up at tualyang puti! I used to follow the procession, aimed with my Nikon F, zoom (I found very useful), wide angle & normal lenses, during my younger years which was way, way, wayyyyy back...he, he, he

Eric, Maraming salamat sa iyong paghaplos sa Senor Nazareno para sa aming mga nasa ibang bansa, na matagal nang hindi nakakapiling ang butihing Senor!
ka tony

December 07, 2008 5:59 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's what I like about Manila - its non-stop carnival like atmosphere !

December 08, 2008 11:28 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

dance is the best way to attract kids to participate. it is a good way to keep them away from drugs.

December 08, 2008 9:19 PM  

Blogger Sidney said...

Love those smiling faces...

Thanks for the plug ! :-)

December 09, 2008 3:54 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Firstly, I apologize for this delayed response; I've been battling with a flu.

Like you, Bernadette, I just can't seem to get into choreographed or synchronized dancing like ballroom dancing. I do, however, enjoy freestyle dancing where I could just allow my body and spirit to flow with the music and sweat it out ... hehehe!

December 10, 2008 7:44 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Hi Ka Tony,

Will have to ask the local old-timers to show me where this old Magnolia Building once stood.

Thank you very much for sharing with us tghe route of the Nazarene procession! I did receive invites from locals to shoot from their second floor windows or balconies; however, where they live, the procession doesn't get to their area until past seven in the evening, which makes taking pictures quite challenging.

I can try and do the haplos during regular days in the church, Ka Tony, but not during the procession. It's virtually impossible to get near the statue during the procession ... hehehe.

December 10, 2008 7:49 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Most of the locals I've spoken to, BW, are raving about the festive week prior to the Nazarene fiesta in which loads of fun activities will be held all over Quiapo!

December 10, 2008 7:51 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

You're right, Bing!

Let me tell you, I didn't realize I'd enjoy this event so much. You should have seen the proud parents as their kids danced on stage :)

It was indeed a wonderful dance party!

December 10, 2008 7:52 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

My pleasure, Sidney!

Am taking a mini vacation from blogging and will return in the new year.

Wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday season!

December 10, 2008 7:53 AM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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