Fastest Traslación in over a decade draws 6.5 million devotees

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DESPITE a rope snapping and some devotees ignoring the rule not to climb the carriage or andas, Traslación 2024 ended up as the swiftest in over a decade, just 50 seconds shy of clocking in at 15 hours.

The image of the Black Nazarene arrived at Quiapo Church at 7:45 p.m., 14 hours, 59 minutes, and 10 seconds after the start of the procession at Quirino Grandstand at 4:45 a.m.

This marked the fastest Traslación since 2010, when the carriage entered the gates of Quiapo Church after more than 15 hours on the road. 

The Quiapo Church Command Post’s crowd figures showed more than 6.5 million people participated in the nearly four-kilometer procession, roughly three times what officials expected.

‘Yong nangyari pong kagabi na Traslasyon, masasabi po natin na matagumpay, naitawid po natin ng maayos at ‘yon naman po talaga inaasahan natin,” Police Maj. Philipp Ines, spokesman of the Manila Police District, told CNN Philippines on Wednesday, Jan. 10.

The streets of Manila turned into a sea of passionate followers wearing maroon and yellow shirts as the traditional Traslación was brought back after a three-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

A few hitches slowed the procession. 

While traversing Arlegui Street, the rope used to pull the carriage snapped, prompting some devotees to bring the rope back to Quiapo Church around 1 p.m.

But for Alex Irasga, technical adviser to Nazareno 2024, the rope incident did not delay the carriage significantly.

Hindi po nakakaapekto sa pangangasiwa ng ating andas ang lubid,” he said in a press conference on Tuesday, Jan. 9. “Sa marami pong pagkakataon siguro, namatiyagan ninyo na minsan, nauuna po ang andas kaysa sa lubid.” 

Ang lubid po ay andiyan para po sa mga deboto na may pamamaraan pa rin sila na tinatawag na pamamasan,” he added.

Some devotees also ignored the new rule not to climb the carriage, which was enclosed in a bulletproof glass case made by local jeepney manufacturer Sarao Motors Inc.

The return of the traditional Traslación also saw the return of images of people pushing each other amid a sea of devotees.

Marlou Jay Mata, 28, who joined the procession for the first time, said being sandwiched in the crowd was a different experience for him.

Sa agos ng andas, nag-aalinlangan din ako kasi nakaranas na rin naman na ako ng ganito ka-crowded at sobrang daming tao pero ‘yong siksikan kasi, sobrang nakakadiin,” he told the Varsitarian.

The Philippine Red Cross responded to more than 700 individuals needing medical assistance. Six of them were major cases, such as head trauma, severe chest pain, and a fracture on the left ankle, among others.

By 3 p.m., the carriage reached Plaza del Carmen, the site of the San Sebastian Church where the traditional “Dungaw” takes place.

Dungaw,” according to former San Sebastian rector Fr. Rommel Rubia, O.A.R., is a religious courtesy between the Black Nazarene and Our Lady of Mount Carmel, regarded as the “king” and “queen” of Quiapo. It does not reenact the meeting of the Our Lady of Mount Carmel as a weeping mother watching her son, the Black Nazarene, go into the calvary. 

Devotees at the sidelines of the procession were overjoyed at the return of the festivities. 

Leticia Soliven, 62, a follower of the Black Nazarene since high school, has been giving free bottles of water as her way of devotion to Jesus.

Alam naming uhaw na uhaw sila at pagod na pagod,” she told the Varsitarian, adding, “Nararamdaman namin ‘yong pagod nila. Ito po ay way namin ng pamamanata [kaya] pati buong barangay namin ay nagbibigay na rin.

Black Nazarene handkerchief vendor Angelo David, 28, said the mammoth crowds participating in the Traslación did not hinder him from going.

Parang hinihikayat Niya ang aking mga paa,” he told the Varsitarian. “Kahit na sabihin kong ayaw ko, pero magugulat ka, kinabukasan, andito na ako.A.B. Maestrado with reports from Sheila May S. Balagan and Fernando Pierre Marcel B. Dela Cruz

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