* zooming in the Black Nazarene
2013 comes in with this new post. But first, a short background on what happened to my plan to put up all the tours here in Back Trails before 2012 ends: I was sick. It started as a cold then worsened as the year ended. Probably due to the draft from our window which was left open for two nights. Thus, a bunch of untouched photos for uploading and virtually no blog drafts. But nevertheless I am in an optimistic stance this year that it will be as fulfilling as the previous one as far as tours are concerned.
And so before making up with my late posts, let me share my first visit this year: the preparations for the annual Translacion of the Image of the Black Nazarene or Poong Nazareno which is housed in the Quiapo Church. It was only in recent years that this yearly procession was made to commence in the Quirino Grandstand. It was only a short walk from work so I thought it good to pay a visit and see the place since I cannot possibly join the actual procession the following day.
* people prepping for the annual Translacion
* playing marching bands; the one at the top is the Manila City Band
It was not called a feast for nothing. After crossing the road from the Rizal Monument in Luneta Park, people are already lined up for the pahalik where they were able to touch a portion of the revered image. The line was simply astounding, to think that the ‘devotees’ (I still have strong misgivings for the actual convictions of the attendees hence the quotation marks) were composed of elders and young ones under the searing afternoon heat. I contented myself with a brief view of the main stage. At that time marching bands were playing and a few minutes later a program of some sort started.
Groups, families were already pitching makeshift tents and some were laying silver-colored cloths (or were they plastics? I wonder) for rest. Integrated with the feast of course is business and so carnival rides were set up on one side of the grounds facing the Quirino Grandstand and on the opposite side of the grounds were stalls for toys and food. Kelangan din naman sigurong maglibang ng mga tao habang hinihintay ang prusisyon.
* replicas of the Poong Nazareno
In the end, as I walk back for home I thought of the possible motivations or perhaps societal factors which could have transformed this procession from a religious activity confined previously to the rich ones to this obviously mass-based devotion. Perhaps people tend to ride on what is hip or famous? Or perhaps religion, Catholicism in particular, has the tendency to be become more secularized in our times? Or maybe we are seeing just a transient period in the wide concept (or should I say history) of religious devotion in the Philippines? Questions abound indeed.
* carnival rides for the kids
* toys for sale
But one thing is crystal clear: that we are not seeing yet any signs of waning for this popular devotion and affinity to the Mahal na Poong Nazareno.