Since we are closing in on Lent, here are my photos and stories from the Feast of the Black Nazarene. I promised that I would cover it again after attending last year so read after the jump to find out more about this celebrated religious event in the Philippines.
I first went to Quiapo Church, the destination of the Nazareno sculpture. It stayed overnight at the Quirino Grandstand where devotees flocked, then paraded on a carriage being pulled by male devotees with a thick rope.
Then I walked from Quiapo Church to Manila City Hall.
It was already 10:30 A.M. and I had a hard time locating my friends. It got so chaotic that rumors of a bomb threat started spreading so they had to cut the lines and signals of mobile phones around the area because according to them mobile phones can be used as a bomb triggering device.
It was my fourth time to document the fiesta and I already had ideas on what was going to happen. People will be walking from Quiapo to to Quirino Grandstand or vice versa. And plenty of devotees will be resting or waiting in some areas between the two main points of the parade.
But the waiting took longer than I expected. Then I found out from friends, when I finally found them, that the carriage’s wheel at the back was broken. The people had hard time pulling and pushing the Nazareno.
To kill time, I roamed around and went shooting, using Manila landmarks as backgrounds.
The festival is not complete without barefoot men, sacrificing for the long journey.
And of course, the kids on the replicas of the Nazareno catching towels and wiping them to the face of Jesus’ face.
We started to notice the arrival of the Nazareno with the sudden influx of devotees and the sound of people shouting and waiving their white towels.
Finally, the Nazareno arrived in front of the Manila City Hall. You can barely see it through the thick crowd scrambling to touch it.
Check the time on the city hall’s clock.
The Nazareno arrived at Quiapo Church at 6 A.M. the next day, the longest parade in the festival’s 300+ year history.
It was tiring. But, I just considered the long wait as a little sacrifice for the blessings that Jesus has given me in a year. Next year, I will probably try walking barefoot from home to the Quiapo Church and then shoot again and wait for the Nazareno.