The feast of the Black Nazarene held on the 9th of January is considered one of the most glorious religious events in the Philippines. Every year, thousands to millions of devotees from all walks of life flock to the district of Quiapo in Manila to take part in the procession as a way of strengthening their faith and fulfilling their “panata” (vow) to the Lord. The life size image of the Black Nazarene shows a black Jesus Christ carrying a cross. The statue has been housed at the Saint John de Baptist Church in Quiapo also known as the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene since 1787.
The celebration begins as the huge doors of the Basilica opens and the image of the Black Nazarene is within sight. The ocean of devotees start to yell “Viva Señor” while others wave white towels and handkerchiefs in praise and respect. Devotees on their bare feet, as sign of humility, grab two long ropes and pull the carriage to start the procession. The closest to the image will attempt to touch the image, others will throw their white towels and handkerchiefs to the protectors to have it wiped on either the cross or the statue itself. Touching the Black Nazarene during the procession is believed to bring fast healing and good fortune.
On a sad note, two devotees died today. One of cardiac arrest, the other had multiple injuries. Close to 400 others were provided first aid treatment for various health conditions ranging from dizziness to foot injuries. The image of the Black Nazarene reached the Basilica shortly before 11 pm, more than 12 hours after it left Quirino Grandstand at around 8 am.
11:47pm, 9 January 2010.