The MNL District Series, which we started last year, is heavily inspired by Manila’s most famous districts. Quiapo, referred to as the ‘Old Downtown of Manila’, is famous the world over for the feast of the Black Nazarene (Pista ng Itim na Nazareno), which draws millions of people and devotees annually. The statue is well-renowned in the Philippines and is believed to be miraculous and a religious pilgrimage to many Filipino Catholics.
The MNL Quiapo, although greatly inspired by the beautiful garments of the Black Nazarene, is also inspired by Quiapo’s many intricacies. The cap is made of velvety material, with a gold MNL embroidery in the front. This represents how beliefs are as strong as gold, and how any place or town is made sacred and special by the people who live and believe in them. The back of the cap has a golden embroidery of the Crown of Thorns, which is adorned atop the Black Nazarene’s head. There has been a lot of controversy surrounding it since some unruly devotees sometimes try to take it, or because it sometimes gets knocked over due to the crowded processions it goes through annually. Despite this, it is an important part of the Black Nazarene’s image as it pertains to the crown of Jesus Christ.
The upper bill is traced with an intertwining golden rope. This represents how everything is connected. This belief, contrary to popular opinion, is actually the basis of Esoteric traditions such as tarot, numerology, astrology etc. This represents another side of Filipino culture and belief: that although we are a dominantly Catholic country, we are still open to the concept of fortune-telling, which is made quite famous in Plaza Miranda, the Quiapo fortune telling corner, lined with palm readers, tarot readers, and the like. According to Angelique Manalad in her Manila Times essay, fortune telling is “an unscientific scam. But it can be therapy. Like religion, having possible answers to one dilemma to give one relief and hope. But as its Filipino term hula means, these are nothing more than possibilities foreseen.”
Lastly, the underbill: the most detailed part of the cap. This detailed embroidery is inspired by the same intricate golden embroidery that adorns the garments of the Black Nazarene, but with a twist. The symmetrical nature of the underbill’s pattern (which is based off a whole symmetrical circular pattern) pertains to a form of sacred geometry, used in the planning and construction of religious structures such as churches, temples, mosques, religious monuments and the like. It is also found in us and all around us. An unspoken form of Math and Geometry. The Golden Ratio, if you will.
Altogether, this cap covers both the religious and esoteric nature of Quiapo, whether conscious or not, creating an interesting duality all found in one place in Manila. The MNL Quiapo is definitely inspired by the power of belief.
The MNL ‘Quiapo’ will be available at our loyal stockists and partner stores, as well as our online shop, starting this Wednesday, February 26, 2014. The certificates will come with a little surprise when you make your purchase! :)