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ANNUAL BLACK NAZARENE TO DRAW 15 MILLION


JANUARY 9 -Thousands of Black Nazarene devotees line up at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila for the traditional Pahalik, or the kissing of the statue (inset) on the eve of the main procession yesterday. EDD GUMBAN
It will be a record mammoth crowd: as many as 15 million people are expected to participate in today’s procession of the Black Nazarene from the Quirino Grandstand to Quiapo Church in Manila, organizers said yesterday. According to the situational report released by the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, the attendance today would surpass the crowd size during the past five years or since 2011. It said that from 2011 to 2015, about six million to 12 million people attended the event from Jan. 7 to 9, with an annual growth rate of 20 percent. For this year, organizers are projecting the number to swell to 13 million to 15 million, as people gather along the procession route from Rizal Park to Quiapo. “This is mainly due to the fact that this year’s celebration falls on a weekend. The growing number of fiesta devotees will add up to the regular Friday and Sunday devotees. Another factor is the declaration of the city government of Manila making Quiapo Fiesta 2016 as an international pilgrimage event,” the report said. This year would be the 410th anniversary of the Feast of the Black Nazarene. The religious event is celebrated every year in Quiapo during the first two weeks of January. It starts with a thanksgiving procession at dawn of Dec. 31, a Marian procession in the afternoon of Jan. 1, a replica procession on Jan. 7, the “Pahalik” or kissing of the Black Nazarene on Jan. 8 and the traslacion procession on Jan. 9. The usual novena masses and continuous fiesta masses are held in Quiapo Church. In preparing for the event, organizers came out with a list of “dos and don’ts.” It reminded the mamamasans (devotees) to behave accordingly and show respect for the altar at the Quirino Grandstand and at Quiapo Church, which are regarded as “holy ground” where masses are held. In previous years, the send-off and the traslacion have been chaotic, with the mamamasans climbing over security railings and going up the stage even before the mass ended. They try to beat each other to the image of the Black Nazarene and bring it to the metal carriage called the andas, which would be waiting on the left side of the stage. The organizers also reminded the mamamasans that they should be calm and humble, show respect to others and avoid wearing sharp objects that could injure their fellow devotees. READ MORE...

ALSO: SHE BELIEVES ‘FAITH WITHOUT WORK IS DEAD’ - A devotee’s wish: P30-M retirement fund for every Filipino


JANUARY 9 -Retired doctor Ma. Remedios Resurreccion, 64, of Tondo, Manila has a 30-million worth wish for the Black Nazarene. ANTHONY Q. ESGUERRA/INQUIRER.net
“After you work hard and eventually retire by the age of 65, you should have 30 million (pesos) in your bank.” Every year, this has been the wish of a 64-year-old devotee of the Black Nazarene, making it part of her “deepening” devotion to the ebony-hued 17th century image. Dr. Ma. Remedios Resurreccion, who’s has been a medical technologist, university professor and later in her life a hospital administrator, said that every Filipinos deserve at least 30-million-peso worth of retirement fund.
“That is too little compared to how much an employee pours in his or her entire life working and serving this country,” Resurreccion told INQUIRER.net in an interview. The P30 million, she said, should not be paid to people in cash but the government must allocate these to the healthcare and other needs of the retirees. The retired doctor, who hails from Tondo, Manila, said that employees cannot just live in a twenty-thousand-a-month salary. It must be triple, she said. “Whether you work in government or private companies, you should have at least 20,000 for yourself, 20,000 for your children and another 20,000 for your aging parents,” she said. Saying that crimes and disorder are brought about by injustice, people in informal economy should at least get 3,000 to 4,500 a month, she added. “But if we will have that kind of money in our pockets, our government and our commercial sector should not conspire to raise the prices of commodities. Then there’s no sense,” she stressed. She said that life for the retirees like her was always struggle especially that she and her husband had no children who can support them. “Ang mahal ng bilihin. Mahal ang magpagamot. Mahal ang kumain nang tama para maging healthy ka,” she lamented. (The prices are up. Healthcare is expensive. Eating right for your health is also expensive.) ‘Faith without work is dead’ But how will her “wish” come true? Or will devotion to the Black Nazarene alone suffice? READ MORE...RELATED, Big crowd prompts early ‘Pahalik’ ...

ALSO: Nazarene feast: 2 dead, 1,200 injured


JANUARY 9 -Devotees swarm the life-sized image of the Black Nazarene during the annual Traslacion held Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016. Philstar.com/Efigenio Toledo IV
  Two men died while over 1,200 were injured and treated for various conditions during Saturday’s Black Nazarene procession that drew over a million devotees.
During the procession, devotees traditionally jostled to get closer to the image of the Black Nazarene which they believe to be miraculous. Devotee, Alex Fulyedo, 27 of Sampaloc, Manila suffered from cardiac arrest and died on arrival at the Ospital ng Maynila at 12:44 p.m., said Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Chair Richard “Dick” Gordon. READ: Man, 27, dies during Nazarene procession Fulyedo, after joining the Black Nazarene procession, reportedly had a seizure and collapsed at 11:30 a.m. while trying to rest on the sidewalk. The PRC responders tried to revive Fulyedo, who was diagnosed with chronic liver disease two years ago, but did not make it to the hospital. Fifty-year-old Mauro Arabit, a candle vendor along Evangelista Street, Quiapo, Manila, also died due to acute coronary syndrome. He was rushed to the Jose Reyes Hospital by a medical team in Quiapo but died at 2:21 a.m. Saturday. The PRC reported that as of 6 p.m. Saturday, its personnel and volunteers treated at least 1,277 people for various conditions, including cuts, bruises, hypertension and dizziness. RELATED: 'Traslacion' injury toll grows to 1,253, says Red Cross THE FULL REPORT

ALSO: Black Nazarene returns to Quiapo after 20 hours


JANUARY 10 -After 20 hours, the Black Nazarene was finally home. The carriage or “andas” of the 400-year-old cross-bearing Christ reached Quiapo Church through Plaza Miranda at around 2 a.m. Sunday.
The “traslacion” left the Quirino Grandstand at 5:55 a.m. on Saturday. This year’s phase was considered one of the fastest in the past years, despite initial projection from organizers that it would finish by 4 a.m. Last year’s procession lasted for 21 hours and 35 minutes and arrived at the Quiapo Church at 3:45 a.m. As of midnight, the procession crowd was last estimated at 502,000, half the initial one million devotees at the start of the “traslacion.” Meanwhile, the crowd at the Quiapo Church vicinity, last pegged at 500,000, thickened as the procession progressed. No safety or security incidents were reported in the procession, but there were two fatalities during the feast. As of 9:30 p.m., the Philippine Red Cross said it served a total of 1,298 patients, most of which were for blood pressure monitoring and treatment of minor injuries. The revered icon of Jesus Christ, which was believed to be miraculous, got its ebony hue supposedly after catching fire in a galleon on its way to the Philippines from Mexico. The annual grand procession, the largest in the predominantly Catholic country, commemorates the first parade transferring the statue from a church in Intramuros to the Quiapo Church on Jan. 9, 1767. TVJ
RELATED STORIES
No mountain high enough for Black Nazarene devotees in Bohol THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO: Muslim convert still thanking Black Nazarene


JANUARY 9 -JOURNEY OF FAITH After spending Friday at Quirino Grandstand for the traditional “Pahalik,” the iconic Black Nazarene once again goes on the road today for the mammoth procession back to Quiapo Church. RAFFY LERMA
A Muslim convert amid a sea of Catholic devotees joined the long lines Friday to kiss and thank the Black Nazarene, showing how two different creeds can merge in a grateful heart. Married to a Jordanian since the late 1980s, 62-year-old Emma Pacheco Shami said her “very open-minded” husband had been allowing her to continue practicing the faith that gave her strength during her difficult youth. “I used to go to Quiapo Church and go down the aisle on my knees,” said Shami, who grew up in Muntinlupa City and is now based in Jordan. “My life before was not easy. Growing up, we didn’t have much. I promised myself that I would strive for a better life and I prayed to the Black Nazarene for that.” 
Everything she asked for, Shami said, had been granted: a loving family, a beautiful home, three children who are now professionals, and blissful years in retirement after working in Jordan’s hotel industry. Visiting the Nazarene now is all about thanking Him. “They (my family) just give me my plane tickets and pocket money. I’ve been able to do this for the past three years; I schedule my trip during the holidays so I can pay homage to the Nazareno.”  “In my heart, I am both Muslim and Christian. The two faiths are very similar—they both believe in one God. I am lucky that my husband is a very open-minded man,” she said. Muslims regard Jesus as one of the major prophets of Islam. He is depicted in the Koran as Nabi Isa, son of Maryam (Mary in the Christian Bible). READ MORE...

ALSO: Devotion to Nazarene a way of giving thanks, sacrifice


JANUARY 8 -Despite waiting in line for hours, siblings Asher and Keith Ayeras have braved the heat of the sun just to touch and kiss the statue of the Black Nazarene. “This has been our devotion. This is our sacrifice for the Lord,” 10-year old Keith told INQUIRER.net. 
His older brother, Asher, said their devotion to the Black Nazarene had been a family tradition. “Our family does this every year,” Asher said. The Ayeras siblings are among the millions of Nazarene devotees who troop to the Quirino Grandstand in Manila for the annual traditional pahalik or kissing of the 400-year old statue. Devotees who will be joining the Feast of the Black Nazarene this year are expected to swell to over nine million. Asher and Keith were with their parents and another younger sibling during the pahalik on Friday morning. “I hope that the bonds of our family will be stronger,” Keith said, adding that he also prayed for guidance in his studies. At an early age, the two siblings knew the importance of their devotion. “(Through this devotion) we hope to somehow repay Jesus for his sacrifice when He was nailed to the cross,” Keith said. The two said they would commit to continue their devotion as they grew older. “As long as we can (our devotion to the Nazarene will go on) because we know it is a way of praying and the Lord will listen to us,” Keith said. More than just tradition For 67-year old Mercedes Polintan, her 44 years of devotion to the Black Nazarene is more than just a tradition. Polintan said it’s a way of giving thanks for a miracle granted by the Nazarene. She recalled that her youngest daughter, who is now working overseas, was born with various complications. “The hospital has been her home,” a teary-eyed Polintan said. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Nazarene to draw 15 M


Thousands of Black Nazarene devotees line up at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila for the traditional Pahalik, or the kissing of the statue (inset) on the eve of the main procession yesterday. EDD GUMBAN

MANILA, JANUARY 11, 2016 (PHILSTAR) By Evelyn Macairan January 9, 2016 - It will be a record mammoth crowd: as many as 15 million people are expected to participate in today’s procession of the Black Nazarene from the Quirino Grandstand to Quiapo Church in Manila, organizers said yesterday.

According to the situational report released by the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, the attendance today would surpass the crowd size during the past five years or since 2011.

It said that from 2011 to 2015, about six million to 12 million people attended the event from Jan. 7 to 9, with an annual growth rate of 20 percent.

For this year, organizers are projecting the number to swell to 13 million to 15 million, as people gather along the procession route from Rizal Park to Quiapo.

“This is mainly due to the fact that this year’s celebration falls on a weekend. The growing number of fiesta devotees will add up to the regular Friday and Sunday devotees. Another factor is the declaration of the city government of Manila making Quiapo Fiesta 2016 as an international pilgrimage event,” the report said.

This year would be the 410th anniversary of the Feast of the Black Nazarene.

The religious event is celebrated every year in Quiapo during the first two weeks of January. It starts with a thanksgiving procession at dawn of Dec. 31, a Marian procession in the afternoon of Jan. 1, a replica procession on Jan. 7, the “Pahalik” or kissing of the Black Nazarene on Jan. 8 and the traslacion procession on Jan. 9.

The usual novena masses and continuous fiesta masses are held in Quiapo Church.

In preparing for the event, organizers came out with a list of “dos and don’ts.”

It reminded the mamamasans (devotees) to behave accordingly and show respect for the altar at the Quirino Grandstand and at Quiapo Church, which are regarded as “holy ground” where masses are held.

In previous years, the send-off and the traslacion have been chaotic, with the mamamasans climbing over security railings and going up the stage even before the mass ended.

They try to beat each other to the image of the Black Nazarene and bring it to the metal carriage called the andas, which would be waiting on the left side of the stage.

The organizers also reminded the mamamasans that they should be calm and humble, show respect to others and avoid wearing sharp objects that could injure their fellow devotees.

READ MORE...

For first timers, they should seek advice and guidance from senior devotees on the proper way of holding the rope and how to avoid accidents.

The devotees should not drink alcohol before joining the procession.

For the rest of the devotees, the organizers said that those pregnant or persons with disabilities should not attend the traslacion. They should also refrain from bringing their children close to the procession. They should also not wear any jewelry and not bring or use firecrackers.

They should also avoid narrow places and not position themselves close to the walls because they could be pinned when the crowd passes. They should not position themselves along the procession route.

Devotees are also prohibited from bringing selfie sticks.

Church officials said the Feast of the Black Nazarene should not be treated as a “trending topic” but a religious event.

As for vendors, they were advised to bring empty sacks to collect garbage along the procession route and to make sure that their surroundings are clean.

Nicolasito Salimbagat Jr., the procession marshal, gave assurance that the rope and andas to be used are ready for the difficult task ahead.

The rope, about 10 meters long and five centimeters in width, is made of abaca. They made it a point not to use new ropes because these are not flexible and could injure the mamamasans. The ropes are immersed in water to make them more pliant.

“Sometimes the rope will last for two to four years before it is replaced. But sometimes it does not even last for three years because when the image of the Black Nazarene arrives at Plaza Miranda, some of the devotees pluck out strands from the rope to put it on their altar. For them it is a symbol of their faith,” Salimbagat said.

The andas is made of metal and will still move even if there are 30 to 40 people atop the carriage. There are also two people underneath the andas holding on to a lever controlling the brakes.

Salimbagat said the two front wheels of the carriage are made of solid rubber and can turn in any direction.

The two men under the carriage also make sure they avoid trampling over the barefoot devotees.

As part of the preparation, the andas undergoes routine checkup at Sarao Motors and a technical team keeps it in top shape for the traslacion.

Authorities have deployed thousands of policemen and medical personnel along the procession route, which is the same as last year.

The Black Nazarene is a life-size image of Jesus clad in a maroon robe, wearing a crown of thorns and carrying a big wooden cross in a semi-kneeling position.

The image, which has survived earthquakes, fires, bombings and floods, is believed to be miraculous.

Many devotees brave the huge crowds to attend the traslacion to ask forgiveness for their sins, to ask favors as well as give thanks for favors or pleas granted. – Jose Rodel Clapano, Ghio Ong


INQUIRER

SHE BELIEVES ‘FAITH WITHOUT WORK IS DEAD’ A devotee’s wish: P30-M retirement fund for every Filipino SHARES: 28 VIEW COMMENTS By: Anthony Q. Esguerra @AEsguerraINQ INQUIRER.net 11:33 PM January 9th, 2016


Retired doctor Ma. Remedios Resurreccion, 64, of Tondo, Manila has a 30-million worth wish for the Black Nazarene. ANTHONY Q. ESGUERRA/INQUIRER.net

“After you work hard and eventually retire by the age of 65, you should have 30 million (pesos) in your bank.”

Every year, this has been the wish of a 64-year-old devotee of the Black Nazarene, making it part of her “deepening” devotion to the ebony-hued 17th century image.

Dr. Ma. Remedios Resurreccion, who’s has been a medical technologist, university professor and later in her life a hospital administrator, said that every Filipinos deserve at least 30-million-peso worth of retirement fund.

“That is too little compared to how much an employee pours in his or her entire life working and serving this country,” Resurreccion told INQUIRER.net in an interview.

The P30 million, she said, should not be paid to people in cash but the government must allocate these to the healthcare and other needs of the retirees.

The retired doctor, who hails from Tondo, Manila, said that employees cannot just live in a twenty-thousand-a-month salary. It must be triple, she said.

“Whether you work in government or private companies, you should have at least 20,000 for yourself, 20,000 for your children and another 20,000 for your aging parents,” she said.

Saying that crimes and disorder are brought about by injustice, people in informal economy should at least get 3,000 to 4,500 a month, she added.
“But if we will have that kind of money in our pockets, our government and our commercial sector should not conspire to raise the prices of commodities. Then there’s no sense,” she stressed.

She said that life for the retirees like her was always struggle especially that she and her husband had no children who can support them.

“Ang mahal ng bilihin. Mahal ang magpagamot. Mahal ang kumain nang tama para maging healthy ka,” she lamented.
(The prices are up. Healthcare is expensive. Eating right for your health is also expensive.)

‘Faith without work is dead’

But how will her “wish” come true? Or will devotion to the Black Nazarene alone suffice?

READ MORE...

“Dapat mag-kaisa tayong lahat. Tayong mga professional and sub-professional. Hindi na tayo pupunta sa mga senador. Hindi na tayo pupunta sa Congress. Hindi na natin kakausapin ang Pangulo kasi masakit na ang ulo nila sa bayan,” she said.
(Professionals and sub-professionals should unite. We will not reach out to the senators. We will not go to the Congress. We don’t need to talk to the President because they are burdened already.)

“We will talk to the banks. We will reach out to the bankers. They will manage the distribution of wealth,” she explained.

Resurreccion said the banks in the Philippines were only “transactional,” meaning they only provide services for savings and investment.

She said she believed that banks should manage and distribute the wealth properly for inclusive growth.

Asked if what she envisioned could be legal and realistic, she said nothing was impossible if the people will unite.

“We need to be united. We need to demand this. To do this as one holy Catholic apostolic church,” she said.

“Naniniwala nga tayo but are we working together? Sabi nga, ‘Faith without work is dead.’ Ano ‘yun naniniwala tayo pero wala tayong ginagawa?”
(We have faith but are we working together? Like the saying goes, ‘Faith without work is dead.’ What is that, we believe but we don’t put it into action?)
TVJ

--------------------------------------------

RELATED FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

Big crowd prompts early ‘Pahalik’ by Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos January 8, 2016 Share0 Tweet0 Share0 Email0 Share3 image:


BLACK NAZARENE REPLICA PROCESSION/JAN72016 Devotees with their Black Nazarene replicas trooped along Quezon Blvd. in Quiapo, Manila today in time for the blessing of Black Nazarene Replica Procession 2 days before the feast of Black Nazarene or Traslacion. MBPHOTO/CAMILLE ANTE

The influx of devotees of the Black Nazarene prompted the early start of the traditional ‘Pahalik’ or kissing of the image at the Quirino Grandstand, Thursday night.

The Pahalik was originally scheduled to start at 8 a.m. today, January 8, 2016, but due to the devotees who begun flocking at the Quirino Grandstand, it started at 6 p.m. yesterday, January 7.

Quiapo Rector Msgr. Hernando Coronel said starting the Pahalik 14 hours earlier from the original schedule is in response to the devotion of the crowd which was only getting bigger by the second.

Coronel also noted that this is the earliest Pahalik in recent history.

Devotees started forming long queues as early as Thursday morning and endured the heat in the morning and the rain in the afternoon. Some have even already set up camps near the Grandstand while waiting for the start of the Pahalik.

By 10 p.m. on Thursday, an estimated 3,000 devotees were already lining up for their chance to kiss the sacred image. And by 6 a.m. yesterday, the line has already reached the Roxas Boulevard.


PHILSTAR

Nazarene feast: 2 dead, 1,200 injured (philstar.com) | Updated January 9, 2016 - 6:58pm 0 94 googleplus0 0


Devotees swarm the life-sized image of the Black Nazarene during the annual Traslacion held Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016. Philstar.com/Efigenio Toledo IV

MANILA, Philippines – Two men died while over 1,200 were injured and treated for various conditions during Saturday’s Black Nazarene procession that drew over a million devotees.

During the procession, devotees traditionally jostled to get closer to the image of the Black Nazarene which they believe to be miraculous.

Devotee, Alex Fulyedo, 27 of Sampaloc, Manila suffered from cardiac arrest and died on arrival at the Ospital ng Maynila at 12:44 p.m., said Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Chair Richard “Dick” Gordon.

READ: Man, 27, dies during Nazarene procession

Fulyedo, after joining the Black Nazarene procession, reportedly had a seizure and collapsed at 11:30 a.m. while trying to rest on the sidewalk.

The PRC responders tried to revive Fulyedo, who was diagnosed with chronic liver disease two years ago, but did not make it to the hospital.

Fifty-year-old Mauro Arabit, a candle vendor along Evangelista Street, Quiapo, Manila, also died due to acute coronary syndrome.

He was rushed to the Jose Reyes Hospital by a medical team in Quiapo but died at 2:21 a.m. Saturday.

The PRC reported that as of 6 p.m. Saturday, its personnel and volunteers treated at least 1,277 people for various conditions, including cuts, bruises, hypertension and dizziness.

RELATED: 'Traslacion' injury toll grows to 1,253, says Red Cross


INQUIRER

Black Nazarene returns to Quiapo after 20 hours SHARES: 32 VIEW COMMENTS By: Yuji Vincent Gonzales @YGonzalesINQ INQUIRER.net 02:02 AM January 10th, 2016

After 20 hours, the Black Nazarene was finally home.

The carriage or “andas” of the 400-year-old cross-bearing Christ reached Quiapo Church through Plaza Miranda at around 2 a.m. Sunday.

The “traslacion” left the Quirino Grandstand at 5:55 a.m. on Saturday.

This year’s phase was considered one of the fastest in the past years, despite initial projection from organizers that it would finish by 4 a.m.

Last year’s procession lasted for 21 hours and 35 minutes and arrived at the Quiapo Church at 3:45 a.m.

As of midnight, the procession crowd was last estimated at 502,000, half the initial one million devotees at the start of the “traslacion.”

Meanwhile, the crowd at the Quiapo Church vicinity, last pegged at 500,000, thickened as the procession progressed.

No safety or security incidents were reported in the procession, but there were two fatalities during the feast.
As of 9:30 p.m., the Philippine Red Cross said it served a total of 1,298 patients, most of which were for blood pressure monitoring and treatment of minor injuries.

The revered icon of Jesus Christ, which was believed to be miraculous, got its ebony hue supposedly after catching fire in a galleon on its way to the Philippines from Mexico.

The annual grand procession, the largest in the predominantly Catholic country, commemorates the first parade transferring the statue from a church in Intramuros to the Quiapo Church on Jan. 9, 1767. TVJ

RELATED STORIES

No mountain high enough for Black Nazarene devotees in Bohol


INQUIRER

Muslim convert still thanking Black Nazarene SHARES: 349 VIEW COMMENTS By: Annelle Tayao-Juego @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 02:04 AM January 9th, 2016


JOURNEY OF FAITH After spending Friday at Quirino Grandstand for the traditional “Pahalik,” the iconic Black Nazarene once again goes on the road today for the mammoth procession back to Quiapo Church. RAFFY LERMA

A Muslim convert amid a sea of Catholic devotees joined the long lines Friday to kiss and thank the Black Nazarene, showing how two different creeds can merge in a grateful heart.

Married to a Jordanian since the late 1980s, 62-year-old Emma Pacheco Shami said her “very open-minded” husband had been allowing her to continue practicing the faith that gave her strength during her difficult youth.

“I used to go to Quiapo Church and go down the aisle on my knees,” said Shami, who grew up in Muntinlupa City and is now based in Jordan. “My life before was not easy. Growing up, we didn’t have much. I promised myself that I would strive for a better life and I prayed to the Black Nazarene for that.”

Everything she asked for, Shami said, had been granted: a loving family, a beautiful home, three children who are now professionals, and blissful years in retirement after working in Jordan’s hotel industry.

Visiting the Nazarene now is all about thanking Him. “They (my family) just give me my plane tickets and pocket money. I’ve been able to do this for the past three years; I schedule my trip during the holidays so I can pay homage to the Nazareno.”

“In my heart, I am both Muslim and Christian. The two faiths are very similar—they both believe in one God. I am lucky that my husband is a very open-minded man,” she said.

Muslims regard Jesus as one of the major prophets of Islam. He is depicted in the Koran as Nabi Isa, son of Maryam (Mary in the Christian Bible).

READ MORE...

Today, the darkened image of the cross-bearing Jesus Christ, housed by Quiapo Church for the last four centuries, is expected to attract millions of devotees in an annual grand procession also known as traslacion.

Authorities on Friday reminded the swarm of pilgrims, mostly males who come barefoot, to keep the procession safe for fellow devotees who will try to jostle their way to touch the Black Nazarene or have a towel dabbed on the image, which they believe to have miraculous powers.

Previous traslacions had seen devotees being injured or crushed to death in the chaos as the statue was paraded from Quirino Grandstand back to Quiapo Church. Two died and over 600 were hurt in last year’s procession.

On top of the security measures, the Manila Police District (MPD) will also try to address a longtime source of “confusion” among the devotees.

The 700 Black Nazarene replicas that will be joining the procession will be kept in line at the rear end, according to Chief Supt. Albert Barot of the MPD Ermita station. Before, he said, groups bearing the replicas were allowed the join in anywhere, sometimes ahead of the carriage bearing the original.

Many devotees thus mistook a replica for the real icon, adding to the chaos, Barot said.
With a report from Aie Balagtas See; Inquirer Research


INQUIRER

Devotion to Nazarene a way of giving thanks, sacrifice SHARES: 19 VIEW COMMENTS By: Nestor Corrales @NCorralesINQ INQUIRER.net 05:09 PM January 8th, 2016



Despite waiting in line for hours, siblings Asher and Keith Ayeras have braved the heat of the sun just to touch and kiss the statue of the Black Nazarene. “This has been our devotion. This is our sacrifice for the Lord,” 10-year old Keith told INQUIRER.net.

His older brother, Asher, said their devotion to the Black Nazarene had been a family tradition.
“Our family does this every year,” Asher said.

The Ayeras siblings are among the millions of Nazarene devotees who troop to the Quirino Grandstand in Manila for the annual traditional pahalik or kissing of the 400-year old statue.

Devotees who will be joining the Feast of the Black Nazarene this year are expected to swell to over nine million.

Asher and Keith were with their parents and another younger sibling during the pahalik on Friday morning.

“I hope that the bonds of our family will be stronger,” Keith said, adding that he also prayed for guidance in his studies.
At an early age, the two siblings knew the importance of their devotion.

“(Through this devotion) we hope to somehow repay Jesus for his sacrifice when He was nailed to the cross,” Keith said.
The two said they would commit to continue their devotion as they grew older.

“As long as we can (our devotion to the Nazarene will go on) because we know it is a way of praying and the Lord will listen to us,” Keith said.

More than just tradition

For 67-year old Mercedes Polintan, her 44 years of devotion to the Black Nazarene is more than just a tradition.
Polintan said it’s a way of giving thanks for a miracle granted by the Nazarene.

She recalled that her youngest daughter, who is now working overseas, was born with various complications.
“The hospital has been her home,” a teary-eyed Polintan said.

READ MORE...

But after someone told her about the miracles of the Black Nazarene, she started to pray to it.

“I prayed to the Nazarene for nine Fridays,” she said.

The Nazarene, Polintan said, healed her daughter from sickness. From then on, she became a devotee and would join the annual feast.

Source of hope

Another devotee, Mateo Cruz, said the Nazarene had been his source of hope despite extreme poverty.

“Because of poverty, we don’t have anyone else to seek help from,” Cruz, 67, said. “If we have problems we go to Him.”

As a laborer earning minimum wage, Cruz said he was able to raise his family despite extreme poverty.

He said he had been joining the annual traslacion or the procession of the Black Nazarene since 1968 to pray for the good health of his wife and children.

One of his sons joins him in the Nazarene procession.

Girlie Gonzaga of Cavite, a Nazarene devotee, says: "If there are problems we just pray to the Nazarene. Then like magic, there will be a solution."

As long as she can walk

92-year old Praxedes David, sibling of late actress Mitring David, also joined the pahalik. Despite her old age, she vowed to continue her devotion as long as she could walk and touch the Black Nazarene statue.

Another devotee, Girlie Gonzaga, also vowed to continue her devotion to the Black Nazarene.

Gonzaga, 42, was with her family and relatives who came from Cavite, carrying a replica of the statue.

She said she grew up with a family whose devotion to the Black Nazarene was beyond tradition.

When one of her children got ill, her devotion to the Nazarene only grew deeper, she said, until her son fully recovered.
“Life has been kind. Problems are only fleeting, like wind,” Gonzaga said.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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