Quirino Grandstand to be filled anew with millions of Black Nazarene devotees

By Leslie Ann Aquino

The Quirino Grandstand in Manila will again be filled with millions of maroon and yellow clad devotees of the Black Nazarene who are expected to participate in the annual "Traslacion" of the image tomorrow (January 9).

Thousands of devotees of the Black Nazarene wait in line for the Pahalik at the Quirino grandstand, ahead of the Traslacion on wednesday.(Ali Vicoy) Thousands of devotees of the Black Nazarene wait in line for the Pahalik at the Quirino grandstand, ahead of the Traslacion on Wednesday. (Ali Vicoy / MANILA BULLETIN)

In fact, church officials expect more than 5 million devotees will join the hours-long procession of the image alone.

Last year, a total of 21 million participated in the whole celebration of the Feast of the Black Nazarene (December 31, 2017 to January 9, 2018) and church officials expect this number to be surpassed this year.

The traslacion or procession, which commemorates the transfer of the miraculous image from Bagumbayan (Luneta) to Quiapo Church, is being held as part of the celebration of the Feast of the Black Nazarene.

The procession, which will start after the 4 a.m. morning prayer at the Quirino Grandstand, will take the following route: from Quirino Grandstand left to Katigbak Drive through Padre Burgos Street, left to Taft Avenue through Jones Bridge, right to Dasmariñas Street, right Plaza Sta. Cruz Street, left Carlos Palanca Street through under Quezon Bridge, left Quezon Blvd., right Arlegui Street, right Fraternal Street, right Vergara Street, left Duque de Alba Street, left Castillejos Street, left Farnecio Street, right Arlegui Street, left to Nepomuceno Street, left Concepcion Aguila Street, right to Carcer Street, right to Hidalgo Streer, through Plaza del Carmen, left to Bilibid Viejo through Gil Puyat, left JP De Guzman Street, right to Hidalgo Street, left to Barbosa Street, right Arlegui Street, left Quezon Blvd, right to Palanca Street through under Quezon Bridge, right to Villalobos Street, through Plaza Miranda all the way to Quiapo Church.

Similar traslacion will also be held in other parts of the country and the world.

They include Tagum (Davao del Norte), Catarman (Northern Samar), Nueva Vizcaya, Palawan, Bicol, Cagayan de Oro, Batanes and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Meanwhile, Father Douglas Badong, parochial vicar of Quiapo Church, said the number of devotees of the Nazarene continues to increase yearly and based on their observation the devotees are also evolving.

"The devotees are evolving. If before the devotees are composed mainly of men now you see children, youth, women, even the whole family there. We accept this change in the devotion but in general most of the devotees are men," he said in an interview.

"Maybe because they (men) feel that God accepts them for who they are," added Badong.

However, the priest reminded devotees not to be contended in just attending the procession.

"What is more important is that they also go to church," Badong said.

Within the procession route 14 prayer stations were set up to add to the “prayerful atmosphere” of the occasion.

The 14 prayer stations are in the Manila Hotel; National Museum; Victoria corner Padre Burgos near the Manila City Hall; Liwasang Bonifacio; Escolta Arc; Sta. Cruz Church; Carlos Palanca corner Ducos Street; Arlegui corner Quezon Boulevard; Duque de Alba Street; Arlegui corner P. Casal streets; Manuel L. Quezon University; San Sebastian Church; Puyat corner Guzman Street; and Carlos Palanca/Oscariz.

As in the past, the Eucharistic celebration will be held at 12 midnight at the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta on January 9 to be led by Quiapo Church Rector Msgr. Hernando Coronel with Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle as homilist.

The Black Nazarene is a life-sized, dark-colored, wooden sculpture of Jesus Christ that was brought to Manila by Augustinian priests in 1607. Tradition holds that it got its color after it was burned in a fire that hit the Spanish galleon carrying it.