[nMage] Manila by Night – Plaza Miranda

Posted: January 5, 2012 by pointyman2000 in Articles, Mage: the Awakening, Roleplaying Games, World of Darkness

The public square known as Plaza Miranda is a prime example of the unique nature of the Philippines and its people.

Throughout its history, it has been known to be a symbol of fearless political discourse, and a rallying point for many a public demonstration.  Likewise, it is also right in front of the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, more popularly known as Quiapo Church, home of the widely revered religious image of the Black Nazarene, one that has inspired countless minor miracles and has garnered a massive population of Devotees.

Amusingly, the Plaza Miranda is also well known for being home to a number of fortune tellers, who ply their heretical trade in front of the very Church that decries their practice.  It is not uncommon to have churchgoers attend mass, then cross the Plaza to consult an old lady sitting in a makeshift booth to see if they will have good fortune for the year.

Little wonder then that the Free Council cabals of the Philippines consider the Plaza Miranda as one of their most powerful of sites.  The Libertines have essentially wrested control of the Plaza through favors and connections to the Consilium of Metro Manila, and they hold it as sacred ground.  Within it, Willworkers may come in the Plaza at night and discuss matters without fear of prejudice or reprisal.  Violence is forbidden between Willworkers within the Plaza, and the local cabal of Libertines work very hard to maintain the neutral status of the plaza itself, resorting to powerful wards, and even imploring local spirits for assistance to help them police this location and keep it free from outside tampering.

This sort of non-interference has made the Plaza a unique sort of phenomenon, as even the occasional member of the Seers of the Throne arrive to conduct their business and negotiations with the Pentacle orders, knowing full well that the Libertines would never break their own sworn Oaths to protect the sanctity of Plaza Miranda.

The plaza is rarely empty, and is a prime example of how Mages tend to conduct their activities by hiding in plain sight.  Minor gestures, symbolic phrases and the occasional rote mudras are all popular means for Mages to recognize each other, especially for more of the paranoid sorts who eschew any sort of electronic communication in case others might be listening in to their devices. In addition, there is often a police mobile or security detail assigned to the Plaza to prevent any sort of vandalism on the landmark’s features.  These are generally mortal police officers who have no connection to the Libertines.

  1. sheimaruen says:

    ah yes. I love the setting, after all, this is one of the few places where you can find a church entrance flanked by Fu lion statues watching the people who come and go. I’d imagine the spirit court politics will be interesting, considering how superstitious people are here.

    also, i do recall seeing a Blade ep. where he went to the Philippines ( Metro Manila to be exact if my memory serves me right) to hunt Aswangs.

    now… all i have to do is wait for you to run this : p

  2. Hikkikomori says:

    You forgot to include Raon. The street beside Quiapo church where you can purchase cameras for the cheapest prices. As well as the multitudes of hawkers selling pirated VCDs and DVDs . 😀

  3. james i says:

    this would make great source material for a (dare i say it ..yes i dare) teleserie. the characters one can come up with and the setup of the places is perfect.

  4. […] mine, Amiel Lapuebla put up a small collection of photos that he took in a photography workshop in Quiapo, Manila. There are some pretty striking images there that I felt would be great inspiration for […]

  5. […] off for a while now (Considering that I’ve got a few articles on it in several places on this blog.) I have to admit that I’m a little amazed that people would go for the setting, but I […]

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