Manila, and the Philippines in general, has always been described as a melting pot of eastern and western cultures. Religion has been no exception as with the case of this curious religious item called the Santo Cristo de Longos.
Legend tells us that sometime in the 16th century, a deaf-mute Chinese guy was getting water from a well in a barrio called Longos, when he managed to draw along with the water an image of a crucified Christ. It was said that this guy’s deaf-mute condition was healed at that moment. And word soon spread about the image’s supposed miraculous powers.
the original site of the well at Barrio Longos where the original Santo Cristo de Longos was found, now near the corner of San Nicolas and Sto Cristo streets in San Nicolas District, Manila
The image was fitted to a cross and was placed in a small chapel where it stayed until the chapel was destroyed in the 1863 earthquake. The image was then transferred to Binondo Church where it remains to this day.
But while the original image is in Binondo Church, its showcase of veneration can be seen in this alley side off Ongpin St. as a replica of the image painted in shining gold-like color stands.
The practice of veneration to the Santo Cristo de Longos has been quite popular over the years, particularly with the Filipino-Chinese community in the Binondo area that over time, this practice has become a curious sight of how eastern and western traditions converge in the matter of faith. In this case, Catholicism and the traditional Chinese religions. The sight of people praying while holding incense sticks in front of the image surrounded by sampaguita garlands and fruit offerings is something some might find surreal to see.
That’s Filipino for you.
Acknowledgements as well to Traveler on Foot
© The Urban Roamer