Today the Church in Quiapo is celebrating the feast of the Black Nazarene. Every year, thousands and thousands of devotees of the Black Nazarene, mostly males, would join the almost chaotic procession of the image of the Suffering Christ arrayed in kingly clothes but carrying a large cross and crowned with thorns. I attended mass yesterday at Quiapo Church and it was really very crowded. I had to settle standing outside of the Church and watch at the huge TV monitor broadcasting the mass inside. It was raining as well so it was a good thing that I brought my jacket with me. Perhaps it was my standing outside the rain that is making me quite under-the-weather today. Luckily, during communion, I was able to find my way inside the church where it was warm and also very crowded. After the mass, everyone took out their images of the Black Nazarene and their rosary beads, raised it high above their heads and the priest blessed them. Every one then rushed to touch some of these blessed objects, one object in particular which was almost a miniature size version of the Black Nazarene. I too rushed to touch "even just the hem of his garment" with faith that my prayers for my family and myself will be granted.
The Black Nazarene was not "black" originally. It was fair-skinned but it got caught in a fire shortly after the image arrived from Mexico. There were actually two Nazarene images sent to the Philippines. The first one was destroyed during World War II. The current one is the "newer version" and to protect it from exposure to the elements, especially during the procession, the Church decided to commission another image and then attach the head and hands of the original image to the new one.
It is important to note though that the patron saint of the Church of Quiapo is not the Black Nazarene but St. John the Baptist and January 9 is the feast of our Lord's Baptism.
Today it is expected that traffic jams will be all over Manila due to the procession of the Black Nazarene from the Luneta to the church in Quiapo. It would be interesting to participate in this religious event but I am not too sure if I have the physical rigor even to find my way towards the andas, the rope which pulls the carriage that bears the Black Nazarene.
Our deep attachment to the Black Nazarene reminds us that God too understands fully well our human sufferings. He suffered too and His sufferings were even greater.
Anyway, in anticipation of the procession, the following is an advisory from MMDA regarding traffic rerouting schemes:
Traffic Advisory: Quiapo Fiesta January 9, 2012
Route of Grand Procession of Black Nazarene / Closure Areas:
FROM QUEZON CITY - ESPAñA TO LUNETA (WEST BOUND)
Right turn at A.H. Lacson, straight ahead to Tayuman left at Rizal Avenue, right at Ronquillo left to Mc Arthur Bridge all the way to Padre Burgos to destination.
FROM QUEZON CITY - LAONG-LAAN & DIMASALANG TO LUNETA (WEST BOUND)
Right turn at A.H. Lacson, straight ahead to Tayuman, left at Rizal Avenue, right at Ronquillo left to Mc Arthur Bridge all the way to Padre Burgos
FROM QUEZON CITY - ESPAñA TO LUNETA (WEST BOUND)
Left turn at Lacson, right at Earnshaw, right at Legarda, P. Casal - Ayala Blvd. to destination
FROM LUNETA TO ESPAñA - QUEZON CITY (EAST BOUND)
Take Padre Burgos straight ahead to Finance, Ayala Blvd. straight to P. Casal straight to Legarda, left at Bustillos to destination.
FROM ROXAS BLVD. TO ESPAñA - QUEZON CITY (EAST BOUND)
Take U.N. Avenue left to Otis, left to Nagtahan, A.Lacson to destination
FROM ROXAS BLVD TO BLUMENTRITT (EAST BOUND)
Take P. Burgos, straight to Lawton, Mc Arthur Bridge, right to Carriedo, then keft to Avenida to destination
Route from Quirino Grandstand (Rizal Park), right Katigbak Drive thru P. Burgos, left Taft Ave(P.Burgos) thru McArthur Bridge, right Palanca, thru under Quezon Bridge, left Quezon Blvd, right Arlegui, right Fratenal, right Vergara. left Duque de Alba, left Castillejos, left Farneclo, right Arlegui, left Nepomuceno, left Aguila, right Carcer, right Hidalgo thru Plaza del Carmen, left Bilibid Viejo thru Puyat, left Guzman. right Hidlago. left Barbosa, right Globo de Oro thru under Quezon Bridge, right Palanca, right Villalobos thru Palza Miranda to Quiapo Chruch.
Affected Areas During Procession and Expect Heavy Traffic:
Stretch of Roxas Blvd/Bonifacio Drive from Anda Circle to TM Kalaw NB and SB Lane.
SB of Quezon Blvd. from Recto to Palanca (subway-Isetan Recto)
Stretch of Lerma from P.Campa to Quezon Blvd.
Taft Ave/ Finance (WB Lane)
Lagusnilad / P.Burgos (WB Lane )
P.Burgos / Taft Ave (Freedom Triangle NB Lane)
Villegas / N.A Lopez
25th Street / Bonifacio Drive (SB)
At 4:00 AM, January 9,2012 SB Lane of Quezon Blvd. (Quiapo), from Andalucia / Fugoso to Plaza Miranda and España / P.Campa / Lerma shall be closed to traffic for Public Utility Vehicles only.
At 5:00 AM, total Closure for All types of Vehicles shall be Implemented.
Re-Routing of Vehicles:
All vehicles coming from Quezon City using the stretch of España shall turn right P.Campa, left Andalucia, right Fugoso, left T.Mupua to point of destination.
All PUJ/ light vehicles coming España intending to proceed to South Pier Zone turn Nicanor Reyes, right Recto straight to JAS, left Riena Regente take Jones Bridge, right Magallanes Drive to point of destination.
All vehicles coming from Northern Part of Manila intending to utilize the stretch of Bonifacio Drive SB shall turn right Roberto S. Oca St., left Delgado, Left Bonifacio Drive ( for Port Area offices) or shall take right to A. Soriano to Magallanes Drive, right P.Burgos, go straight to Lagusnilad to Taft Ave.
All Vehicles coming from Southern Part of Manila intending to utilize the stretch of P.Burgos shall take TM Kalaw, left Taft Ave, right Ayala to Ayala Bridge to point of destination.
Private Vehicles coming from Southern Part of Manila intending to utilize the NB of Roxas Blvd shall turn right Quirino Ave and take Nagtahan Bridge to destination.
All PUJ'S plying Monumento-Gasak-Recto intending to utilize Andalucia thru Recto shall turn right Fugoso, right Oroqueta to point of origin.
All Vehicles coming from Legarda shall turn right Recto or left Mendiola to point of destination.
All Heavy Vehicles/ Cargo Trucks coming from the South shall take Pres., Osme–a, right Pres. Quirino to Nagtahan via AH Lacson to Capulong (vise-versa).
Other motorist intending to proceed to North of Manila or South of Manila shall advise to utilize the stretch of Lacson to Nagtahan (vise-versa) or to utilize stretch of Road 10 to Roxas Blvd. (Vise-versa) to point of destination.
All Buses coming from Eastern part of Manila particularly G-Liner / RRCG utilizing Legarda shall turn right Palanca St., to Quiapo Ilalim to point of origin.
All Buses coming from Taft Avenue going to Fairview shall turn right to UN Ave up to Otis, left Nagtahan go straight Lacson, right España to point of destination.
All Buses coming from Southern part of Manila (Laguan and Cavite) utilizing Taft Avenue Are Not Allowed to enter from 7:00 AM to 2:00 PM and Allowed Only up to Remedios Street right San Marcelino back to point of origin.
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