Who doesn’t know where Plaza Miranda is? But who is Miranda?
Plaza Miranda is (in) the heart of Quiapo District. It is a square or a public plaza in front of the Basilika Ng Nazareno or St. John the Baptist Church or the Quiapo Church as it is widely known. It is also a popular site of political rallies. In August 21, 1971, while the Liberal Party held their Miting de Avance in the plaza, a bomb exploded, killing 8 and injuring almost 100 civilians (Source) – and that made me aware of Plaza Miranda’s political significance as a young kid, I, being a Martial Law baby!
Plaza Miranda in Quiapo, Manila, is named after Jose Sandino y Miranda. Nothing much is known about Señor Miranda except that he served as secretary of the treasury of the Philippines for 10 years starting in 1853. (Source).
It used to be the vortex of the nation’s sensibilities, the focus of its attention on issues affecting the public interest. National leaders spoke here, as so did local politicians, all of them seeking the people’s approval and acclaim. Here were various ideas expressed either arrogantly or humbly, from the sublime to the absurd, to be accepted or disdained by the judgmental audience. It was here that governmental programs and proposals had to pass President Ramon Magsaysay’s cautious and imperative criterion: “Can we defend this at Plaza Miranda?” (Source.)
In recent years, Plaza Miranda have been rehabilitated under the administration of (former) Manila Mayor Lito L. Atienza, Jr., under his “Buhayin Ng Maynila” Project. Today, Plaza Miranda’s marker of rehabilitation stands and states:
Lungsod Ng Maynila
The Honorable Mayor JOSE L. ATIENZA, JR., reconstructed this Plaza Miranda to elevate the image of Manila as the “Cradle of Freedom and Dignity” and to serve as an everliving testimony to Manilas persistent pursuit for excellence and the good life through freedom of expression, of religion, of trade and commerce and of association which are nestled in this site, with the valuable technical cooperation and support from the following: Alicia Reyes, Chairperson, PAGCOR; Jose Acuzar, Developer, San Jose Builders; Arch. Virgilio Regala, Jr., Architect, Planner
Here are more images of the present Plaza Miranda.
In one corner of Plaza Miranda stands “Plaridel Corner,” named after one of our local heroes, Marcelo H. del Pilar, who had “Plaridel” as his pen name while a journalist for the Philippine Propaganda Movement against Spanish Colonization of the Philippines which eventually inspired the Philippine Revolution (Source).
The Plaridel Corner in Plaza Miranda is dedicated to the local “Samahang Plaridel,” a group that continues to be inspired by what Marcelo H. del Pilar did for the country.
The marker reads:
Ito ang Plaridel Corner. Nilikha ng Lungsod ng Maynila sa pamamagitan ni Punong Lungsod, Kgg. Jose L. Atienza, Jr., at ang Samahang Plaridel at Kapihan sa Manila, bilang tanging pook na laan sa lahat ng mamamayan para sa malayang pagpapahayag ng mga kaisipan at kuro-kuro.
“Tutol ako sa sinabi mo, ngunit ipagtatangol ko hanggang kamatayan and karapatan mong sabihin iyon.” VOLTAIRE (1694-1778)
Pinasinayaan ngayong ika-30 araw ng Agosto 2005, senteneryo ni Marcelo H. Del Pilar, makabayan, intelektual, at peryodista.
JOSE L. ATIENZA, JR.
True, the appearance of Plaza Miranda may have definitely changed. In fact, it served its purpose to “revive” Manila. If there is something left of the rehabilitation, it is the old feel of Plaza Miranda being preserved notwithstanding modernization. The usual trade and activity that went on for years dating back from old Manila still goes on in present times, because Plaza Miranda is Plaza Miranda! 🙂
More than the place, it is the people and the activity that goes on in a place which leave us with something important to remember. Hence, I am sharing below several images of Plaza Miranda and its people:
Oh by the way, may I share with you an image of a deer-head candle holder which I got from Friday Night Market at Plaza Miranda for 35-Pesos. The black part is made of steel and wrought iron and the base is wood.