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Flight chronicles of the backpacker Tutubi, with travelogues, pictures/photos/videos, travel guides, independent and honest reviews, affordable, recommended resorts and hotels (including inns, guesthouses, pension houses, lodges, hostels, condotels, bed and breakfast and other cheap accommodations), commuting guides, routes (sometimes street maps and GPS coordinates/waypoints) and driving directions to answer "how to get there" questions, information and tips on tourism, budget travel and living in Philippines, Exotic Asia and beyond!

Backpacking, independent travel, and flashpacking are cheaper than the "cheapest package tours" and promotional offers around but you can also use travel information for family vacations, even romantic honeymoon destinations.

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    Kiapo: Where Quiapo, Manila Got Its Name

    The trip to Liliw, Laguna was an eye opener for me since I was taking pictures of those kawai green floating plants that remind me of my childhood in ricefields and on the shores of Laguna de Bay. My ate who saw me remarked, "Pati ba naman yang kiapo kinukunan mo ng picture? (You take pictures even of that water cabbage?)," when it dawned on me that those floating plants were actually what I was searching for for some time now.

    All the while I thought they're called azolla that I see almost everyday floating on a pond in Ayala Triangle! :(

    Some of you may ask why but these plants used to thrive in the area of Manila now called Quiapo, the seedy yet exciting district of Manila that I love to visit!

    Kiapo, water cabbage in english and scientific name Pistia Stratiotes, have fan-like leaves and brown, porous ends servings as roots and grow floating on stagnant water. Large concentrations of these floating plants make good hiding places for surface fishes like gouramies (freshwater fish species introduced in the Philippines possibly from Thailand).
    kiapo cuyapo
    kiapo cuyapo quiapoKiapo plants near 25 centavo coins to give you an idea of their size (taken somewhere in Biak-na-bato National Park in Bulacan)

    Now, all I need to look for and take actual pictures of is the elusive Nilad tree, a certain species of mangrove (bakawan) that used to grow profusely in Manila and where Manila got its name.

    I blogged/joked some time ago that Manila should change its name to Walang Nila since there are no longer Nila trees growing in the city; I don't think I can also joke about that when the same proposition applies also to Quiapo's long lost kiapo dwellers.

    Quiapo attractions:

    1. Quiapo Church - Church of the Black Nazarene where the fiesta is held every 9th of February. Within the vicinity of this church you can buy various herbal medicines including abortifacients. Also fortune tellers using tarot cards ply their trade here. Quite ironic for a place of worship
    2. Plaza Miranda
    3. Hidalgo Street- where you can buy cheap cameras, lenses, tripods, and other photographic supplies and equipment
    4. Raon (Gonzalo Puyat) - electronics, parts, musical instruments, trophies, hardware tools et al
    5. San Sebastian Church- an all-steel church in Asia, built in Belgium, and designed by the company of Gustave Eiffel
    6. Bahay Nakpil-Bautista on Calle Barbosa (now A. Bautista Street)
    7. Manila Golden Mosque on Globo de Oro St.
    8. Villalobos and Bautista: sidestreets full of pirated DVDs, CDs and bootlegged materials
    9. Evangelista St where to buy industrial pumps and generators
    10. Ronquillo St where to buy cheap eyeglasses and optical supplies

    Please refer also to my earlier blog post about this here where a picture of the Nila (not Nilad) is posted.

    How to Get to Quiapo

    Labels: , , , ,

    posted by GingGoy @ 10:45 PM,


    At May 31, 2007, 8:40:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    aba pers ako! heheh...

    mahal ng ganyan dito 70 pesos ang isa niyan. nalala ko tumutubo lang yan sa mga ilog.

    At Jun 1, 2007, 12:19:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


    edible ba yan?


    At Jun 1, 2007, 8:08:00 AM, Blogger carlotta1924 said...

    galing ba sa chinese yang pangalan na yan?

    At Jun 1, 2007, 12:21:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


    I never knew that it was called water cabbage! Thanks for sharing po.


    At Jun 2, 2007, 7:56:00 AM, Blogger Sidney said...

    Interesting info!

    At Jun 2, 2007, 9:33:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    ngayon ko lang nalaman na kiapo ang tawag dyan... kaya pala bibihira rin ang mga gurami.

    At Jun 4, 2007, 1:41:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    kahit hindi ako mahilig sa mga halaman, napatutok ang aking mga mata sa post mo.. hehe...

    very info...

    Godbless! :)

    At Jun 4, 2007, 6:19:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I heard about this before and felt pleasantly surprised that Quiapo got its name from the lilies that had once grown there in great numbers...

    At Jun 5, 2007, 9:44:00 AM, Blogger - said...

    ok sa trivia bago ko din lang alam yun..d naturo sa min nun elementary e.hehehe

    At Jun 5, 2007, 12:27:00 PM, Blogger Nick Ballesteros said...

    Uy... we were in Dolores, Quezon last weekend and those were being sold as well. hindi ko na tinanong how much kasi mahirap mag-alaga ng halaman sa sa Manila... Nalalanta dahil sa init.

    At Jun 6, 2007, 12:32:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    kiapo- - - quiapo, makes sense. but i did not know that until now.

    At Jun 7, 2007, 9:23:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


    mura lang yan sa amin nagkalat sa palayan :)


    all I know is that they're sometimes used as animal feed


    don't know yet but i'll try to research more hehe


    all along i thought, as i said, azolla :(


    at least now I know


    pareho tayo. miss ko manghuli ng gurami sa lawa

    ginoong lapis,

    naisulat mo na ba name? hehe

    major tom,

    yes, kiapo used to grow in abundance in that place years ago before the filth that pile up there


    absent din ako nang ituro yan :)


    they're being sold for aquariums but they can be found in the ricefields din...


    quiapo is the hispanized name of the place.

    At Jun 9, 2007, 3:41:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Very very interesting information. The kiapo is so beautiful. It looks too good to eat.

    At Jun 9, 2007, 4:33:00 PM, Blogger jhenny said...

    ahh, kiapo pala ang tawag dun :) nakikita ko yan madalas sa mga pond, at sa mga cross stitch patterns :)

    At Jun 11, 2007, 11:44:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    sa garden ni father blanco sa san agustin museum may mga kiapo din dun... weird pero dun lang ako unang nakakita nyan. haha!

    At Jun 12, 2007, 3:04:00 AM, Blogger punkiliciousss said...

    hahaha! ako rin nakaka-receive ng ganyang comments tipong "aanhin mo naman ang picture ng dahon"

    but see?

    ang ganda ng pic kahit kiapo lang. btw, kiapo pala tawag dun!

    At Jun 13, 2007, 10:13:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Very interesting. First time I've heard of kiapo and seen this plant. Thanks for sharing.

    At Jun 19, 2007, 2:37:00 PM, Blogger jenny said...

    may i use your pic of kiapo please? i posted your pic on my blog ( as part of my homage to quiapo with credit of course. i will take it down if it's not ok with you.

    At Jul 21, 2007, 1:10:00 AM, Blogger forevermonk said...

    ey ganun pala yun--- pero sa amin sa bikol tawag namin diyan ay daquiri plants--super super dami nyan sa mga ricefields na nakikipagsabayan naman sa pagtubo ng mga palay--- i remember noon- bata pa ako buong maghapon ako "naghihilamon" ng mga yan kasi they grew faster than palay kaya natatabunan nito at nagsisikip ang space na dapat ma occupy ng palay plant...

    At Sep 28, 2007, 9:43:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Sa UP Manila maraming Quiapo....

    Thanks na rin sa info kasi may botany class kami at dagdag info yan para sa herbarium project namin!!!!

    At Sep 19, 2008, 11:56:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    this is great trivia. i didn't know that.... thanks for the post.

    At Jun 29, 2011, 10:42:00 PM, Anonymous maria theresa estilong said...

    do you know where can i buy this plant? i hope you will reply... badly needed for my research....


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