Sweat. Tears. Blood. Mud. They all dropped here. All of these fell to draw history. They painted a picture of yesterday and they lead us to a wider path for a good tomorrow.
There is no unusual in this place in a glance. It is as busy as any other street in the Metro. This public square serves as a link between the adherents of Islam and devotees of Christ and share their rich culture and beliefs. Also, Muslims and Catholics are gaining their bread and butter here. Magnates and small-time businessmen make the spot active, expecting for good earnings to keep them going.
But there were memories stuck in my mind by various historical books which I have browsed years back. It is not just a crowded avenue for businesses and religions. This place is also an important part of our history. Plaza Miranda tells some heartbreaking and inspirational stories of the past.
I was raised in a nearly quaint city somewhere in Central Luzon. So the first time I laid my eyes on this locale, I was astounded, not because of how beautiful the place is, but because of the different ambiance it has to the adjacent Quiapo Church. Fused sound of vehicles, vendors, consumers, devotees, and more, is the soundtrack of this place. Copper-skinned little boys and girls giggling around while making money by selling crafts and toys are there. Criminals are also waiting for their next victim, like a predator watching out his prey. The place was once a popular den of abortion pills. There are many movie-worthy scenes happening here. To complete the breath-taking actions that have occurred in this place, let’s turn back the page of history and recall what has happened.
History of the Plaza
The place was named after the ex-secretary of the treasury of the Philippines, Jose Sandino y Miranda. He served in the office for ten years beginning 1853. Plaza Miranda is located in front of St. John the Baptist Church, widely known as Quiapo Church. The place was a popular site for political rallies before. Plaza Miranda is also an active spot for businesses and one of the busiest commercial places in Manila.
History in this Plaza
I was grade six when I first learned about Plaza Miranda. I read about the bloody incident where nine were killed and 95 were injured. Two hand grenades were tossed in the stage where the Liberal Party is conducting their political campaign on August 17, 1971. On that day, the plaza was not busy selling their products nor to fumble political beliefs. It was busy saving lives of the victims of explosion like at the movies. The toys being sold in the plaza remind me of the five-year old kid who died in the incident. Also, the cameras at the Hidalgo Street, near the plaza, remind me of the Manila Times photographer Ben Roxas who died in the same incident.
Other than the sad events that happened in Plaza Miranda, it also worthy to mention that this is one of the bustling commercial spots in Quiapo, and in the whole City of Manila. Mercury drug, the one with the giant screen, the business spot under the bridge, and Manila City Plaza are just some of the popular money-making structures in Plaza Miranda.
If the tower in Plaza Miranda could talk, I know that it has a lot of stories to tell, more stories that we have not witnessed and numerous dramatic acts that need to be discovered. But after the tragic things that occurred in Plaza Miranda, it managed to lure more people to visit the place and experience the life there. I will never cease to remember the things I have learned in my sojourn in the middle of the busy suburb—Plaza Miranda