A Paradigm Shift At Santo Niño de Tondo Church, Tondo Manila
Just when I think I might actually be getting to know Manila a bit deeper I visit Tondo and have my whole paradigm unearthed. I have been to Tondo and Navotas on numerous occasions pero it was always primarily to volunteer with different organizations in the area. I had never actually been in the heart of Tondo and my gulai was it an experience. Manila, my girl, you have so many layers and crevasses it would take me a lifetime to even scratch the surface but I am up for the challenge.
Santo Niño de Tondo Church (also known as Tondo Church) is a Roman Catholic church in Tondo, Manila in the Philippines established by the Augustinians. It houses an image of the Infant Jesus which originally came from Acapulco, Mexico and was handed over by a wealthy merchant to the Archbishop of Manila at that time, who later turned it over to the parish priest of Tondo, Manila. Since 1572, the image of Santo Niño has been enshrined in this church. Tondo Church is one of the most visited churches in the Philippines. [source: wikipedia]
I always get a bit nasasabik to venture to a new barangay in Manila. Each enclave of Manila has it's own flare and history - never believe someone who says Manila has no history or culture, it is overflowing at the seams. This particular day I was heading to Tondo with all sorts of kilig because I would become a Ninang (Godmother) for the first time. I was seeing Manila with new eyes, it always catches my off guard how often this happens. How silly of me to think that almost a decade here would grant me that privilege. I drank in my surroundings, always a bit overwhelmed at first, especially in the densest part of the densest city in the world. Naks, you should head to Tondo just so you can say that!
As I entered Santo Ninño De Tondo Parish my heart and eyes were taken aback by the ornate details. I have never seen a church rival the interiors except for those in Rome when I visited as a college student. Tondo can be a swim in the deep end of Manila but I highly recommend it, even if just for the experience to see another way of life.
The details in Tondo Church were ornate and never ending.
Seems fitting to find people taking refuge in the church.
Among many lessons this day I learned that my little bubble in Pasig can be popped in just a one hour drive across Manila. I learned that Manila's history and culture is deep and all that is required for me to find it, is to look in the right places (a.k.a get out of my comfort zone). The Tondo Chapel is miraculous and I am better each time I learn a bit more about Filipino culture and history.