History and Culture
45 Years After the Bombing in Plaza Miranda: The Many Faces of Quiapo That Brought It Back To Life
Rafael Reynante | Sep 21, 2016
Forty five years ago, on August 21, 1971, a bloody event in Plaza Miranda in Quiapo shook the world: as a crowd of over 4,000 people gathered to hear speeches by the Liberal Party’s campaign rally, two hand grenades were thrown on stage, instantly killing two civilians, and injuring several others. Once the smoke had settled, the casualties numbered to nine deaths and 95 injuries.
It was an event rumored to have been orchestrated and executed by the Communist Party of The Philippines, and was one of the many events that eventually led to the declaration of Martial Law a year later.
Fast forward to today, Plaza Miranda is as vibrant and colorful as ever, populated with personalities equally as vibrant and colorful. Their smiles and cheerful demeanor betray the bloody event that happened 44 years ago, but perhaps, being Filipino, that is how we rise up from tragedy and move on with our lives. The church still stands, and so does the marker that honors those who fell to the deathly attack.
Quiapo, and the streets that intersect with it, is a fine example of the resilience of Filipinos; no matter how much tragedy or atrocities we face, we always come out of it with smiles on our faces.
Smiling may not be an exclusively-Filipino trait, but it's one trait that defines us a people very well.
Today marks the 44th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law, under the dictatorship of the late Ferdinand Marcos. For some, it was a time of discipline and prosperity, and saw the construction of many public buildings and infrastructure: it saw the flourishing of the arts, under the tasteful guidance of Imelda Marcos, and was touted by many as “The Golden Age” of the Philippines.
However, the declaration of Martial Law was, for a vast majority of Filipinos here and abroad, was the start of a nightmarish age of fear and paranoia that has since been deeply ingrained in the Filipino psyche. Indeed, the Philippines seemed to have prospered, looking from the outside, but within its borders, police brutality, widespread corruption, the murder of innocents, and of course, the billions of pesos the Marcoses allegedly stole (and have yet to return) from the Filipino was enough for majority of us to revile the years the dictator was in power.
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