The 9th of January marks the Feast of the Black Nazarene, wherein millions of Filipino Catholic devotees join the yearly traslacion (procession) of a dark-skinned Jesus Christ from the Quirino Grandstand to Quiapo Church.
The image is believed to be miraculous, and efforts of devotees to get close to its andas (carriage) may sometimes lead to chaos.
In 2017, the Philippine Red Cross attended to 2,566 devotees who suffered from dizziness, hypertension, sprain and fracture, and those who needed assistance in looking for missing companions. This year, the agency will release 2,000 volunteers. Medical stations will be placed in the Aquino Monument, the Round Table (Manila City Hall), Liwasang Bonifacio, Plaza Mexico (post office), Lacson (Sta. Cruz area), San Sebastian, Jones Bridge, and near Quiapo Church.
The Manila City government has declared a suspension of classes for all levels in both public and private educational institutions. Work in government except for the police, traffic, and disaster and risk reduction management offices, are also suspended. To maintain order, the National Capital Region Police Office will also deploy over 5,000 policemen within the six-kilometer stretch of the procession.
File photo from Kathy San Gabriel
Meanwhile, the Department of Health advised the public to follow these safety and health reminders:
- Eat and hydrate properly before the procession.
- Wear comfortable clothes.
- Avoid wearing unnecessary accessories, especially jewelry.
- Don’t bring gadgets.
- Avoid bringing bags.
- Liquor and cigarette are prohibited during the traslacion.
- Do not litter.
- People with medical conditions and pregnant are advised to stay at home.
- People with high blood pressure and diabetes should bring maintenance medicines.
- Be familiar with medical stations.
- Parents are discouraged from bringing their children.
According to PAGASA, good weather condition will prevail in the morning with passing showers in the afternoon or evening in the city of Manila and the rest of National Capital Region (NCR) on the day of the traslacion. The forecast range of temperature will be from 23 to 31°C.
This year, 18 million devotees are expected to flock to Manila for the tradition.