Wednesday, January 09, 2008


Today is the largest and the most celebrated religious event of our neighbors in the Philippines – the Procession of the Black Nazarene.

Barefoot devotees from all over the country come by the thousands to participate in the procession. All wanted to get a glimpse of the 500-year-old, life-size, dark-skinned statue of Jesus Christ; down on one knee, carrying a cross; it is taken off its shrine and paraded in the streets of Manila.

The Chaos. Some describe it as a pandemonium! Imagine thousands of people pushing and shoving, almost in a state of trance... the moment they see the statue taken out of the church doors! Chanting “Viva el Señor!” with only one thing in mind – to get close to the Black Nazarene.

Devotees toss white cloths to the “guards” (on the carriage) asking them to rub it on the statue. Why? – It is believed that the Black Nazarene is miraculous. People claimed to be healed throughout its 200-year history and devout Filipino Catholics are hoping for the same miracle.

The statue was brought to the Philippines by Spanish priests from Mexico in 1606. It is believed that it was carved by an Aztec craftsman. The statue was housed in different churches until 1787; the statue is enshrined to where it is today – the Quiapo Church.

Why is it black? I asked a Filipino friend if the Black Nazarene supports the “theory” that Jesus Christ was actually dark-skinned (North African) like what the Ethiopians were claiming. Well, I was told that it is not the case. According to one legend, while the statue was on its way to Manila, the galleon caught fire and charred the image. But despite its condition, Filipinos still kept the burnt statue for veneration. Interesting, isn’t it?

The Procession of the Black Nazarene is a window to our neighbor’s culture and heritage. A glimpse of their belief, their devotion and their hope.

” Viva el Señor!"


BISEAN's 400th blogpost!

*Photo credit: Manila Times, and Michael Cohen


curbside_puppet said...

nice post you got here pisanu! bravo!
although i'm not a catholic, i still felt proud that you featured this filipino procession!

i never thought you'd feature this one!

merci fre!

Jake Tornado said...

@Pisanu...Man, you always blow me away with your well-researched posts. I sometimes think you are more Filipino than I am hehehe.

Gee, I wonder how many people will be brought to the hospital after this Black Nazarene fiasco. There was 1 reported death two years ago.

Benz said...

i admire all the brave devotees who went there for the procession. Imagine thousands of people gather just to get a glimpse of the black nazarene. Its just sad that alot of poeple got hurt. Just saw in the news an old lady died of cardiac arrest. One guy was even run over by the carriage. Ouch!


I heard in the news this afternoon that at least two people had died in the procession. Tragic.

Q The Conqueror said...

two people died and a lot more got trampled @_@.

Beg to differ though, largest and most celebrated religious event is still Christmas :P Hehehe. This is the most celebrated and largest religious procession though.

Carlos Javier said...

Galing ah. Here I actually learnt the origin of the Black Nazarene statue.

To add to this, the Philippines' Vice President Noli de Castro is also a devotee (since 1969) and every year actually joins the thousands of other devotees during the procession, even when he was already VP!

Xanderj said...

pandemonium is the word to describe this procession, not only thousands but 2.4 million people joined the Nazarene's procession that took over 8 hours...

a bit of trivia: the Black Nazarene being paraded on the streets today is just a replica, the original (very very old, almost rotting) statue is enshrined inside Quiapo church for protection

Anonymous said...

Q the Conq....Christmas is a season in the Phils. Not a single festival. I think the author used the words "most celebrated" in the context of "most famous" not as in like "everybody" is celebrating it.

This is my first time here. I'm impressed with this blog's awareness of what's happening around the region. Bravo!

- Pico Schneider, Manila

Pisanu for BISEAN said...

Thanks Curb, Jake, Benz!, Misterhubs!!!, Q, Carlos, Xander and Pico. You guys are cool.

I was watching it yesterday on the news and I was like "whoa!". The carriage was like a small boat floating in a sea of people! What a spectacle.

Those who perished would go staight to heaven (I think, in your beliefs) or they would be reincarnated as priviledged and super lucky (in my belief). =)

Xanderj said...'re welcome!! hehe, keep up the good work! i really enjoy reading ur blog

Anonymous said...

Hi u all! i heard dat what they use in the procession is what u called a half-half. The head is original placed on a replica body, while the orig corpus is bolted with a replica head (i just dont know which is which is being processioned. The logic behind dis was dat if any untoward incident happens with the one being procesioned, at least part of the orig statue is left in the church!

Now wait for the celebration of the Sto.Nino (child Jesus) happening this 3rd Sunday of January. Most famous among which are 1. (d orig) de Cebu, 2. de Tondo, 3. Pandacan. Trivia, this probably is the most common statue of Jesus garbed in different attire (usually according to one's profession) and is altar-ed in all Pinoy Catholic Homes!!!

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