Have you ever thought that there’s also a Muslim community in Manila?
I’m actually quite surprised myself. It’s true that we always see Muslim people in almost every business establishment possible but never I had thought there’s a community in the heart of the city.
Quiapo, where the Feast of the Black Nazarene is being held every January, is where the Muslim community in Manila lies within. Meaningful Travels PH gave us a remarkable trip to this community together with other bloggers and the crew of GMA 7 News Channel.

Quiapo Muslim Community Muslim Town Tour

I’ve been to Quiapo but little did I know that there is a Muslim community inside the streets of this place. You know, it’s probably because of the rumors circulating in and around the news that Quiapo is quite a dangerous place, especially at night. My girlfriend, Jane, who is a resident of Manila, do not know much as well regarding an Islamic community in the area though she’s quite frequent to the place primarily because she’s a student at a nearby university.
I didn’t even know that there was an arc in the area that signifies a lot for the Muslim community in Quiapo. Everything is new to me and we are to be a part of, what I know (and have experienced), an eye-opening experience for everyone.

Arab Asian Cafe Muslim Town Tour

Our first stop was the Arab Asian Cafe that served as our meeting place as well. It’s a small cafe in Norzagaray St. corner Gunao St. that serves Arabian cuisines and Filipino food. Here, we got to know each other’s names, who’s among us in the tour, and the coordinators that will give us a tour and explain to us what’s in the community.
Amanah Busran Lao, who is a lawyer by profession specializing in Sharia Law (or Islamic Law) and Nords Maguindanao, who is a Salaam Radio Host, and Ann Marie Cunanan, the founder of Meaningful Travels PH, were the tour coordinators and hosts who gave us a lot of insights and information regarding how the Islamic Community in Quiapo started.
Nords was also enthusiastic about the history of the Philippines and how the Muslims contributed a lot when there is a war on-going but was never written in the books. Hearing this side of the story is really interesting and if you are a history buff, this will really pique your interest and ask more questions. I mean, have you ever read in a book that a part of the Muslim Mindanao has been captured by any conquerors?
Amanah also shared quite interesting details about how the Sharia Law is different from the Law of the Land (Philippine Constitution) and how it is being worked on to become a part of or in line with the National Law.  Muslim Town Tour


Manila Golden Mosque or Quiapo Mosque

We head next to Manila Golden Mosque (Masjid Al-Dahab) which is located at Globo de Oro St. The mosque was constructed in 1976 for Libya’s President Muammar al-Gaddafi as a place to stay and pray in the Philippines during his visit. However, the trip was canceled but it has started the bloom of more Islamic culture in the area with people putting up shops and cafes around the mosque.
Muslims and non-Muslims are welcome in the mosque, provided that women will wear proper attire covering most of the skin and hair (hijab, long pants or dress, and sleeved blouses up to the wrist). However still, women with on-going menstruation are not allowed to go inside the mosque.

Halal in Food, Banking, Everyday Life

The most common thing that comes to our mind when we think of Halal is about the absence of pork in a dish. Yes, that’s correct, but that’s not all of it. Halal refers to the way or manner of preparing the food, cooking the food, from the ingredients to the utensils used making sure that everything is not contaminated. Halal also refers to their fashion, tourism (Halal tourism), and banking. Halal banks are not allowed to excise tax to a loan or any borrowed money.
There’s a rise now in restaurants serving Halal food. I know there’s one small shop in Harrison St. cor Gil Puyat St. But in the inside streets of the Muslim community, there’s a lot. There are cafes, small restaurants or carinderias, even the market serves Halal certified/processed foods. So if you’re one craving for Halal delicacies, then the Muslim Town in Quiapo is your go-to place. Muslim Town Tour
I’m also surprised that they are selling goods from Malaysia, a neighboring country near Mindanao. A ready to cook noodles I am most fond of is available in this town so I didn’t hesitate to buy one, Mi Sedaap. You should also try this (somewhat similar to Mi Goreng).
Some of the must-try food in the town is Pater, Dodol, and Palapa. Pater is a rice covered in banana leaf with some meat inside making it a snack at the same time. Dodol is a sweet made of sticky rice flour with coconut milk and sugar palm commonly served as dessert when there is a celebration in the house or in the community. Palapa, on the other hand, is a spicy Maranao dish that is best eaten as an appetizer to enhance taste buds.

Shops in Quiapo Muslim Town  Muslim Town Tour

There’s a lot of shops in the Muslim Town of Quiapo. Every corner you will see a store of different goods. There are also quite a number of shops for Islamic clothing as it one that is bounded by their law. Hijabs are common for women as it is a sign of their submission to Allah. Imagine wearing a Hijab in a tropical country, but that just means Muslim people are one with their religion and their religion is not just a reading but a way of life. Muslim Town Tour
You also will find shops that are selling condiments, goods, and foods originating from the Mindanao so if you are looking for ingredients that can only be found in Mindanao, this Muslim community in Quiapo might have them and you do not need to go far.


Insights from the Muslim Immersion Tour

The Muslim Immersion Tour we commenced was simply different. Among all the tours I’ve been into, this has been an eye-opening tour for me. Most people are usually afraid to go to Muslim places and I couldn’t deny I have been one of them. You know, from all the news we get from the media outlets that Muslims are the proprietor of bad things happening around, we got installed with the idea that some of the Muslims are not good. But hey, with this tour, I learned a lot! About the history with Muslims, about why they would want to be a separate state, their Islamic culture, and many more things that only you can experience in the tour.
This tour really breaks the stereotypes instilled in the minds of most people. Muslims are religious people that are living their lives thru the teachings of Islam. They are kind and friendly people being discriminated because of what they look and how they behave. These people are also the generous kind. Like the other ordinary people in other parts of the country, they are also pleading for equality, acceptance, and opportunities.  Muslim Town Tour
Meaningful Travels PH made a great move to be doing this tour. Not only they are creating a new way to travel differently, but they also are making great changes to human’s minds about how the people in the community are doing and what they need to help them or understand them. A real immersion within a couple of hours experience. I’m excited to see what’s in store for the next mission that the founder of Meaningful Travels PH, Ann Marie Cunanan, will have in the future.

Meaningful Travels PH

Quiapo Muslim Immersion Tour starts at ₱1,500.00
Get in touch with them via their Facebook Page.
Contact: 0905 559 9040 Muslim Town Tour



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