10 M devotees expected to attend Black Nazarene Feast
Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) - January 7, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - With the procession happening on a weekend and in the middle of two church events, more devotees are expected to attend the traslacion of the image of the Black Nazarene tomorrow.

The Manila Police District yesterday said around 10 million devotees are expected to participate in the event. 

Quiapo Church rector Monsignor Hernando Coronel said they expected hundreds of people to start gathering for the Feast of the Black Nazarene as early as yesterday.

“There will be lots of people this Thursday because it signals the start of the procession (of the replicas of the Black Nazarene). Tomorrow until Sunday, the crowd will still be jampacked. The traslacion will be in the middle of these events so people would continue to come,” Coronel said.

Friday is regarded as Quiapo Day since devotees flock to the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene or Quiapo Church. Sunday, meanwhile, is the day for worship.

The image of the Black Nazarene was transferred to the Quirino Grandstand around 10 p.m. last Wednesday.

The “Pahalik” or the kissing of the Black Nazarene was supposed to start at 8 a.m. today, but seeing a crowd of devotees already gathered at the Quirino Grandstand, Coronel said they would start it earlier than scheduled.

At 6:30 p.m. today, they will begin the Liturgy of the Hours – Evening Prayer. By 7 p.m. the overnight vigil will start.

By midnight, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle will preside over the Eucharistic Celebration. The vigil will resume at 2 a.m. tomorrow.

At 5 a.m., they have scheduled the Liturgy of the Hours – Morning Prayer, followed by the procession sendoff for the image of the Black Nazarene or the traslacion.

The procession route starts at the Quirino Grandstand, then left to Katigbak Drive then Padre Burgos Street; left to Taft Avenue then Jones Bridge; right to Dasmariñas Street; right to Plaza Sta. Cruz; left to Carlos Palanca Street under Quezon Bridge; left to Quezon Boulevard; right to Arlegui Street; right to Fraternal; right to Vergara; left to Duque de Alba; left to Castillejos; left to Farnecio; right to Arlegui; left to Nepomuceno; left to Aguila; right to Carcer; right to Hidalgo through Plaza del Carmen; left to Bilibid Viejo through G. Puyat; left to Guzman; right to Hidalgo; left to Barbosa; right to Globo de Oro under Quezon Bridge; right to Palanca; right to Villalobos through Plaza Miranda before entering Quiapo Church.

Early birds

More than 200 devotees, most of them seniors, children and disabled persons, trooped to the Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park yesterday for the Pahalik.

Edgar Santos, 52, a resident of Makati City, said he was the first to arrive at around 2 a.m. “to avoid the millions of devotees who would fall in line.”

Maria Bolanos, 65, said she and her friends arrived at 3 p.m. to make sure that they will be first in line but was disappointed to find out that hundreds were already standing behind the barricade.

Security ready

The Manila Police District yesterday said it is ready to secure the millions of devotees who will be joining the Black Nazarene feast.

MPD spokesperson Supt. Marissa Bruno said more than 4,000 cops will be deployed by the MPD during the traslacion.

“The MPD has adopted the concept of security operational template during the papal visit and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in the preparations for the procession of the Black Nazarene,” Bruno said during a press briefing at Camp Crame in Quezon City.

Bruno said that Philippine Coast Guard, Metro Manila Development Authority, Bureau of Fire Protection and Department of Health will be part of the task force to ensure peace and safety during the procession.

According to Bruno, last year’s procession lasted for 19 hours but authorities are expecting a shorter time for the procession tomorrow if the planned routes will be followed.

No terrorist threat

Meanwhile, MPD director Chief Supt. Rolando Nana yesterday assured the public that they have not monitored terrorist threats on the Feast of the Black Nazarene but they are not letting their guard down.

“We are on top of the situation. All government agencies, especially law enforcement units, have joined hands to assure that no untoward incident will happen during the event,” Nana said.

He denied earlier reports that they have requested the National Telecommunications Commission to cut cell phone service in areas where the traslacion will pass to ensure that any plans to use improvised explosive devices triggered by cell phones would be thwarted.

National Capital Region Police Office chief Director Joel Pagdilao added that cell phones are not banned during the procession. – With Janvic Mateo, Rey Galupo, Jose Rodel Clapano, Non Alquitran, Ghio Ong, Sheila Crisostomo, Cecille Suerte Felipe



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