Quiapo is a district and city square of Manila. It derives its name from the water cabbage (Pistia stratiotes), which is named Quiapo or Kiapo in the Tagalog language. Referred as the "Old Downtown", Quiapo is known as the home of the Quiapo Church, where the feast of the Black Nazarene is held with over millions of people attending annually. Quiapo has also made a name for itself as a place where cheap buys or goods are being sold at rock-bottom prices.
Plaza Miranda in the heart of Quiapo District, is named after Jose Sandino y Miranda, who served as secretary of the treasury of the Philippines for 10 years beginning in 1853. It is a square in front of the Quiapo Church, which is also a popular site of political rallies. On August 21, 1971, while the Liberal Party held their Miting de Avance in the plaza, a bomb exploded, killing 9 and injuring almost 100 civilians.
The Quiapo district is also home to a sizable Muslim population in Manila. The Golden Mosque and Green Mosque are located there. A veritable army of fortune tellers and stores offering herbal products surround the Quiapo church. The biggest problem underlying the district is the sale of pirated goods and bandits. The largest area where you can buy pirated movies, software and pornographic videos can be found in Quiapo where the stores sprawl over four public streets.
Through the years, the glory of Quiapo steadily declined. During the American period until the late 1970s, Quiapo and its surrounding vicinities like Avenida, Binondo, Sta. Cruz, Escolta and the university belt, were the centers of trade, fashion, art, higher learning and the elites of Manila. However as the Light Rail Transit (LRT Line 1)was built over Rizal Avenue, dirt and vehicle emissions were trapped underneath, leaving the streets dark and gloomy. The results of this development were the exodus of many establishments and the arrival of ruffians and bandits. After the People Power Revolution in 1986, the vibrancy of Quiapo diminished, although some flea markets, handicraft stores begin to rise due to the presence of the widely visited Quiapo Church.
In recent years, the local government of Manila, spearheaded by then Mayor Lito Atienza, launched the Buhayin ang Maynila project which greatly rehabilitated Quiapo and its vicinities, most especially Plaza Miranda, the Lacson underpass and the University Belt. Parts of Rizal Avenue, starting from Carriedo St. to Claro M. Recto Avenue were converted into pedestrian shopping arcades.
Quiapo is geographically located at the very center of the city of Manila. It is bounded by Estero de San Miguel on the South, San Miguel on the East, Recto Avenue on the North and Quezon Boulevard on the West.