By Jhon Aldrin Casinas
The image of the Black Nazarene arrived around 10:30 p.m. at the San Sebastian Church in Plaza Carmen for “Dungaw” after around seven hours of slowly snaking its way along the jam-packed streets of Manila.
Father Romel Rubio OAR told the Manila Bulletin in an interview a few hours before the arrival of the Black Nazarene, that the image of the Our Lady of Mount Carmel was a gift of the Carmelite nuns of Mexico to the Augustinian Recollect priests that arrived in the Philippines in 1618.
“It is already more than 400 years1 old and was placed in the San Sebastian Church since 1626 after the church was construcvted in 1621. She [Our Lady of Mount Carmel] has been in this church ever since,” Fr. Rubia said.
During the “Dungaw,” the image of the Black Nazarene, believed by many to perform miracles, makes a brief stop in front of the San Sebastian Church, while the image of the Our Lady of Mount Carmel is brought out to glance over the Jesus Nazarene.
Fr. Rubia said Dungaw is a “religious practice the Filipino Catholics inherited from the Spain wherein an image that was not included in the procession is brought out view over the window.”
And in the commemoration of the “Traslacion,” he said the image of the Our Lady of Mount Carmel is brought out of the church as a “religious” courtesy.”
Meanwhile, Fr. Rubia clarified the misconception that the “Dungaw” is a reenactment of the encounter of the sorrowful Virgin Mary and Jesus carrying His cross.
“Dungaw is ‘Dungaw’ [to view]. Not an encounter. It is just so happened that the patron saint here [in San Sebastian Church] is the Virgin Mary. It is not actually a biblical scene,” Fr. Rubia said.
Throughout its 6-km procession along the historic roads and bridges of Manila, the San Sebastian Church, admired by many for its architectural design, is the only stop that the Nazarene make.
Prior to the arrival of the Black Nazarane, devotees started to flock the Plaza del Carmel around 4 p.m. Four hours later, the plaza was already jam-packed that moving from one side to the other is a physical challenge.