A World Record
This year’s Feast of Black Nazarene: Three million devotees on a 22-hour procession that started at around 7 am of January 9 and ended approximately 6 am of January 10.
Holy cow! This should be on the Guinness book of world records! What a long day it was especially for the devotees! The Arroyo transfer from St. Lukes Medical Center to the Veterans Memorial Medical Center detention was “light-speed” compared to this.
The event highlights the 405th celebration of the feast of the traslacion, which commemorates the transfer of the sacred image from the Recollect Church in Intramuros, Manila to the Quiapo Church in 1787.
Wow! So it was really about a “transfer” after all. I just hope it won’t take us the same number of years before we could finally “transfer” Arroyo to her choice of prison cell.
Last January 8, a day before the event, Noynoy Aquino warned of a possible terror threat to the Nazarene procession. He urged the devotees to stay at home. He said the terrorists could carry out an attack during Black Nazarene procession.
Stay at home? Devotees? That doesn’t equate during the Feasts of the Nazarene. It has been a tradition even passed on to generations. The faith of these devotees are so strong, it could not be fazed by mere terrorism threats. Their faith is as strong as Laila De Lima’s defiance of the Supreme Court.
Despite the terror threats, the Black Nazarene procession continued and millions of barefoot devotees eagerly participated. All of them wearing the traditional colors, and armed with their face towels that they kept spinning around in the air during the procession. These towels would later be used to wipe on the image to bring good luck to whoever owns the towels.
It is said that the owner will wipe the towel all over himself, then wipe the same towel on his family members to share the luck. Eeewww ! – talk about sanitation and health issues. I’m sure if Kris Aquino was a devotee, she would also rub a towel on Noynoy and her sisters faces – just after soaking it in alcohol.
The carriage carrying the image was already on the road since the early morning of January 9, and travelled for several hours before it was returned to the church. The procession used the old long route to decongest Quiapo area but the return route was shortened due to problems, like rear tires and ropes connected to the carriage breaking down, while the worst was when several devotees got hurt after a metal fence at the Quirino Grandstand collapsed. Many of the injured suffered from broken bones and were taken to the nearby hospitals. Unfortunately, they were not VIP enough to be taken to St. Lukes presidential suites, so they ended up in PGH wards.
National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Director Allan Purisima heaved a sigh of relief after saying that the procession ended relatively peaceful, amid earlier threats of a terror attack aimed at the devotees of the procession. Peaceful? While many would not admit it, I’m sure the ones who heard of the terror threat still felt a bit worried especially when Noli De Castro didn’t joined the crowd of devotees.
Tension also ensued during the Black Nazarene procession in Manila after devotees refused authorities’ efforts to shorten its route. Police and devotees engaged in a shoving match after authorities tried to implement the decision of Monsignor Clemente Ignacio, rector of Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, to no longer follow the original route and instead bring the religious icon directly to the Quiapo church. The devotees became angry when police tried to direct the carriage carrying the image left towards a different path. Some even made a human barricade to force the procession to follow its original route.
The same way the senators are angry about the prosecution teams’ showing of evidence in media. They want them to do that during the Impeachment trial instead so that they’ll have more airtime. No shortcuts! The longer exposure infront of the camera, the better. 2013 is so f*cking near already!
For the uninformed, it was also a day of deadspots or no cellphone signal: The reason was because Malacañang ordered the telecommunication companies to temporarily disconnect or stop services within the Nazarene area. All cellphone signals were intentionally jammed or brought down, and 15,000 policemen were on full alert to counter the terror threat. Aquino thanked the police and the military for successfully securing the Nazarene feast.
However, some later got angry of Aquino because when they got home, their wives and girlfriends scolded and nagged them endlessly thinking they turned off their cellphones.”Kanina pa ako tawag ng tawag at text ng text sa iyo pero di mo ko sinasagot!…Nambababae ka ano!”
Mga “Feeling” Devotees
From television, I could see that there seems to be different types of devotees present in the crowd. Here’s some of them that you can find among the “real” devotees.
1. This person would follow every move of a real devotee: wave their towels in the air, hold the rope of the carriage carrying the image of the Black Nazarene, and so on. He doesn’t really know what to do during the procession so he focuses on the real devotee instead of the the image. “Kaya ayun nabugbog. Akala kasi nung tinitigan niya ay katulad siya ni Piolo Pascual na isang Becky.”
2. This person is as fast as Judge Jesus Mupas for at the end the day he has already collected several brands and models of cellphones and wallets. “I have fast hands that I could work part-time as a magician…. or part of the dagdag-bawas team during an election!”
3. This person decided to wear “steel toe shoes” because he doesn’t want to be stepped on during a crowd stampede. “Mas mabuti ng ako ang mang-apak kaysa ako ang maapakan.” But a disgruntled crowd was heard shouting “Tangina this!” when he started climbing up the carriage and stepped on the devotees faces.
4. This person has invented a retractable mechanical hand that would be able to stretch out and reach the image even from a distance. “This is what you call a long-distance love affair with our beloved Nazarene.” Though when his invention came back to him it carried back more than just his towel. “Hoy! Ibalik mo ulo ng Nazareno!”
5. This person is wearing a T-shirt having the Nazarene colors but contains the text ” Today, the Nazarene… Tomorrow, 2013″ and gives away free white towels containing the name of a re-electionist politician. “Daig ng maagap ang masipag…hehehe”
6. This person is a reporter for a top TV station who wants to impress his bosses by becoming a part of the “sea of devotees”. “Wala lang, di na kasi sumama si Ka Noli kaya it’s my turn to shine naman!” However, it was reported by a rival TV network that he was immediately rushed to the nearby hospital only after 30 minutes in the crowd.
7. This person has a bucket full of bottled mineral water that he sells for twice the normal price. “Eh, ano ngayon! The law says if there is a demand and so little supply, then I can increase my price! Negosyante ko, pre!”
8. This person brought his entire family with him but left them at a nearby Jollibee restaurant so he could freely follow where the carriage goes. “Then later magpapa-picture with the kids while eating Crispylicious Chicken Joy! Langhap-sarap!”
9. This person brought with him a DSLR camera as he takes several snapshots of every creative opportunity. You won’t find him anywhere near the carriage as he would position himself from afar to get a better view. “Picture -perfect shots!”
10. This person never went out of the house but wears a devotee shirt while monitoring the event on television from start to finish. Then blogs about it and tells the whole world “I was there!”
Was the Nazarene terror threat real?
I do not fully understand the zealous phenomenon of the Black Nazarene, but I am awed by the devotion of the millions. I am more interested to know what the devotees prayed for as they risked their lives in the Black Nazarene procession. I hope some of them were selfless enough to wish for something good for our country: like a full conviction of all the already charged evil scumbags of the past Arroyo government, and for more charges filed against the rest of them professional government crooks.
Was the Aquino administration wise in publicly announcing the terror threat? I even heard of a comment saying he “used fear to cover his incompetence.” Some have said threats like that should not be broadcasted to prevent public panic or fear. Was the threat ever real? In Hollywood movies, no government has ever announced an immediate threat in public specifically to avoid chaos. Enough time to say a prayer. The only time they announced it to the citizens was when a meteor was about to strike with just a few hours left, or when the danger is already looming around and is about to attack the town.
A strange thing was Aquino discouraged the bringing of cellphones, but encouraged everyone to report to 117. How the hell could we call if we don’t have a phone in hand? Look for payphones? In the middle of an emergency?
Apparently, cellphones would have been useless after all because Malacanang ordered the Telecomm companies, both Smart and Sun, to kill all service within the area. Globe was not contacted anymore because most of the time they have no signal already.
Meanwhile, the swarm of people near the Quiapo church has all gone home. Street cleaners from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the local city government of Manila have started sweeping the garbage left by the devotees along the route of the procession.
After the Black Nazarene procession, all that was left were the pile of trash and the toxic stench of urine from the overflowing portable toilets.
Are we going to see the same mounds of garbage after the impeachment trial? Are we also going to be smelling a similar despicable stench?