Fighting Maroons: Feast of the Black Nazarene

It is the only day of the year when Converse and Skechers seems to be invaluable; and Maroon, a very rare color to wear in this kind of tropical country especially during the mid noon, has been painting the town red. The borderline between natural hobos and licensed professionals have come invisible and nonexistent, and every people has been no one but a simple devoter. The great feast that will make the normal lives of all the Filipinos in idle: The Feast of the Black Nazarene.

A Replica of the Black Nazarene (From a certain district of Tondo)

The statue of the Black Nazarene was brought to the Philippines by a Spanish priest during 1607 through a ship. However, the ship was set on fire along its way causing the image to look burnt and damaged, but the Filipinos way back the Spanish regime have decided to preserve the image and honor it. Since then, as they quoted, the Nazarene had not failed to produce miraculous deeds among the people who believed on it, and because of the growing number of devotees, they decided to make an annual feast for the Nazarene through a procession that revolves around the major streets of Quiapo and Manila, commonly known as the Minor Hios de Nazareno Basilica.

The procession began at the Quirino Grandstand and will end at the Quiapo church, which is the home of the Black Nazarene (since it is where it normally lies). Of course, I didn't go to the major points of the procession, since we had our classes (still!) during the morning and obviously, it is really dangerous for a student like me. But still, I went to the streets where the Black Nazarene will pass while making its way to the Quiapo church. I managed to take some pictures of the devotees which were waiting for the Nazarene.

Finance Road (Beside the National Museum):

The people were very ecstatic at the mere sight of a camera. Wait, were they thinking that it was PBB's audition day?

Manila City Hall:

My classmates explained to me that each district of Manila are oblige to make a replica of the Nazarene on which they will carry along with the real (well, still a replica of) Black Nazarene.

In all honesty, the great frenzy of the people over the Nazarene has always been a mystery to me. I do believe in God, and in fact, I grew up with idols that represent Him and Christ, but something within me would just rather pray to what is unseen than to put my life on edge to honor something that is seen, yet is still man-made. Some Catholics, as I have asked, said that they do not worship the Nazarene and the other idols, they just use it as a sort of representation to keep their faith stronger. That actually, didn't answered the troubles I have in mind, but rather open another pond of questions: "What if these idols will suddenly disappear? Will they backslide to the point that they will forget what they believed in?", "Do they have some certain limits to assure that they won't just worship that dressed, piece of wood" and "Do they really know what they are honoring all along?".
These wanderings are still unsolved, and I doubt it would be sooner or later, but one thing is for sure, they are all deranged towards that statue.

The Early Birds:

That is 6 am in the morning, and I have seen this lady passing by the street of Pedro Gil, she looked exhausted that time, I can reckon she starte walking (bare-footed) from a long distance already.

The Common Ground- Dirty Feet:

This day was not just filled with soaring faith, but it was also teeming with "ironic" moments in the middle of people's devotion:

Money-makers in the middle of their "devotion":

Uncontrolled Vices:

I really didn't mean to take a photo of this guy who seemed to be overwhelming with thirst for the Nazarene... and for a cigarette as well. It just amazed me, or better yet it kind of scared me, that people are risking their lives for this form of devotion with the thought that they will be saved because of their sacrifice, yet they can never hold the urge of this kind of evil stuff even just for a day.

Water for the needy:

The Manila City Hall had opened their "windows" for the needy and the thirsty. Actually, they also call this as a form of devotion since they are still sacrificing something as they say. I also heard on the news that some people who can't manage to join the procession will just stay on their home and will prepare food for those who were exhausted because of their long journey.

I can say that this is a very memorable experience to me, since it was my first time to see this kind of tradition. But even though I was embezzled, my belief would never be shaken by anything: Prayers and having a save-worth life are always better than any form of devotion.

Oh and yes, my companions!

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