How the Nazareno strengthens the faith of Angeline Quinto, Coco Martin

MANILA, Philippines – Coco Martin and Angeline Quinto are just two of the many celebrities who are devotees of the Black Nazarene. 

In an interview on TV Patrol Friday, January 8, Coco and Angeline shared how the Black Nazarene played a role in their lives. Angeline, who rose to success as the grand winner of Star Power, was only 7 years old when she started her devotion to the Black Nazarene through her adoptive mother, Mama Bob.

"Pupunta kami ng Quiapo na nakapaa. Si Mama Bob medyo malakas pa noon kaya nakakasama pa siya (We would go to Quiapo barefoot. Mama Bob was stil strong then so she can still go)," said Angeline, who was invited to sing at the event at the Quirino Grandstand this year.

She said one of her prayers to the Black Nazarene back then was for her to win the contest. She recalled trying to get close to the statue and touch it.  (READ: Making sense of the Nazarene devotion)

"Yung faith mo talaga, buong puso iyon. Hindi ka magdadalawang isip na sumampa kahit delikado pa.  Nahalikan ko siya sa mukha. Alam mo, wala akong ibang inisip kung hindi mama ko," Angeline said.

(If your faith is strong, you won't think twice about the risks despite the dangers that come with it. I was able to kiss his face. At that time, all I thought about was was my mother.)

In the same interview, Coco said his devotion to the Black Nazarene started because of his grandmother. Despite his busy schedule, he would go to the procession to say his prayers, sometimes disguising himself to avoid attention.

"Ang ginagawa ko naghuhubad ako ng damit. Nagnininja ako, tinatakpan ko ang mukha ko. Tapos nandoon lang ako sa labas, nagdadasal (What I do is I would take my shirt off. I would cover my face and then would jus be outside watching)."

"Iniwasan ko din yung mga ganun bagay na...makagulo pa ako (I try to avoid these kiind of things, because I might cause trouble)," Coco said.

According to Coco, his prayer was simple – to have a decent job to provide for his fmaily. He never thought that he would become an actor. He also said that he tried to approach the statue so many times.

"Lumangoy-langoy ako sa mga tao, binuhat nila ako tapos, pagdating doon, napalapit na ako sa Nazareno...nakikpag anuhan ka ng lakas para makalapit sa kanya (I would wade through people, they carried me and when I got there, when I was near the Black Nazarene, I would try to look for strength to be close to it)."

"Nung nahawakan ko na siya, bumagsak ako, hindi ako makahinga.  Dito mo mapapatunayan kung ano yung faith mo sa kanya (When I was able to touch him, I fainted; I couldn't breath. This is where you can prove your faith in him)," Coco said. 

More than a million devotees troop to Quiapo to pay homage to the Black Nazarene, which celebrates its feast day on January 9. As of 10am, Saturday, Chief Superintendent Kim Molitas, National Capital Region Police Office spokesperson said that the number of devotees was estimated at 1.5 million. The statue expected is expected to reach its destination, Quiapo church, around late Saturday evening or early Sunday morning, January 10.

The procession is not without any problem, with accidents over the years. As of Saturday, Janaury 9, two devotees died of cardiac arrest at the sidelines of the procession. – Rappler.com