One of Quiapo’s well-known residents were the Ocampo Family. Jose Mariano Ocampo, a wealthy lawyer and realtor, owned a 1 hecatre property on both sides of the Estero de Quiapo. From 1936-1941, he built a Japanese-inspired tower of concrete, known to Quiapenses as the “Pagoda”. Ocampo was interested in Asian and Japanese culture, but he was a Catholic. In fact, he surrounded the Pagoda with a garden filled with cement statues of religious figures like San Agustin, Sta. Teresita de Nino Jesus and the Virgen del Carmen.
But the most prized possession of the family was the centuries-old image of their Sorrowful Virgin, Mater Dolorosa, a processional figure. One can still discern folksy elements in the carving style, a certain stiffness that does not distract from the beauty and reverence the image inspires.
MISS PHILIPPINES 1954, Blesilda "Bessie" Ocampo, offers her trophy to the Blessed Virgin as an act of thanksgiving, before vying for the Miss Universe Pageant where she placed as a semifinalist.
Familial devotion revolved around this heirloom Dolorosa, so that when daughter Blesilda Ocampo won Miss Philippines 1954, the first act of gratitude she did was to present her trophy to their patron. She did the same when she arrived from the 1954 Miss Universe Contest, where became the first ever Filipina semifinalist in the most prestigious pageant of the world.