Tayuman

Santo Nino, but with a money bag instead of the world
Manila is an old, old city, full of contradictions and strange ironies. Yesterday, trying to track down an interviewee, I found myself in the city that was my first beat assignment when I started as a reporter, more than 20 years ago.

Tondo, where I went, had changed, though the streets were still small, noisy and crowded. A big supermarket stands at the corner of Juan Luna and Tayuman, and what used to look like a new, modern building looked old and faded beside the big mall.
Jesus Christ crucified, and in plastic.
But the stores in Tayuman that sell religious icons are still there – Jesus Christ bloodied and half-naked, hands tied in front of him; Mary looking up to Heaven, rosy-cheeked and innocent; the Santo Niño with the world in his hands.
An uncommon statute of Jesus Christ.
There are less of those stores now: I remember going to the health department along Rizal Avenue and passing through rows and rows of Jesus Christ in white, his sad eyes following me as I walked to my beat.

How to get there:
On PUJ: from Espana, go down at the intersection of Gov. Forbes and Espana, or the first corner of UST. Take a Tayuman-Lardizabal jeep. The jeep passes by the stores.
On LRT: From Monumento, take the LRT going south, to Baclaran. Go down at the Tayuman station. There’s a Jollibee at the corner of Rizal Ave. and Tayuman. Cross Rizal Avenue going towards SM Manila (your back turned to Jollibee), and walk two or three blocks. The stores are along Tayuman St.

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