Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Forgotten Giants Of Ocampo Compound

Tuck inside the quiet streets in Quiapo is the Ocampo Compound. Well, in the first glance it seems there is nothing out of the ordinary in this compound... Until you enter inside.

There you will find a large cement sculpture of saints, a priest and the Blessed Mother.

I was wondering what are these sculptures are all about. Where did they come from, who placed them there?

It was said that the area was once the location of the estate of a rich  lawyer and realtor, Don Jose Mariano Ocampo. These large stone sculptures are part of his large garden. It was in 1939 that the whole mansion (plus the garden) was finished. Unfortunately, World War 2 entered Manila 3 years later. The whole mansion became a place of refuge.

After the war, the whole estate was sold and divided into separate parcels, yet the cement statues were left... Hidden by plants and some of the new residents' belongings.

In this very narrow passage, you can see the Virgin of the Alley (Birhen ng Eskinita). It is a representation of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Some residence of the area says that the statue is miraculous and have saved a lot of lives during WWII.

Fortunately, we have a clearer view of the  “Birhen sa Eskinita” courtesy of Mr. Rence Chan.

Ok... So what's with this fish? This is a Shachihoko (AKA sachi) a creature in Japanese folklore which is often depicted having a head of  a tiger and a body of a carp.

It was said that this creature has the power to make rail fall, so maybe that is why it is often seen as an ornament on top of temple and castle roofs to protect it from fire.

Don Ocampo's garden has ceased to exist, but at least his cement statues have withstood the test of time to serve as one of the heritage of Quiapo.

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