MANILA, Philippines – Policemen and volunteers were among the first to line up Tuesday morning, January 8, to touch or kiss the image of the Black Nazarene at the start of the traditional Pahalik at the Quirino Grandstand.
The Philippine National Police estimated 6,000 devotees lining up for the Pahalik as of 9:15 am on Tuesday.
Many devotees, coming from faraway places, even slept on the pavement and spent the night near Quirino Grandstand to make sure they will be first in line.
The Pahalik is the tradition of touching, kissing, and praying before the image of the Black Nazarene a day before it is brought in the hours-long January 9 procession around the City of Manila. (READ: 'Pahalik': The less tiring path to a Nazareno prayer come true)
Photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler
"Sana'y lahat tayo may pagkakataon upang mapalapit up, close, and personal sa Panginoong Hesukristo, (I hope all of us will get the chance to be up, close, and personal with our Lord Jesus Christ)," said Quiapo Church rector Monsignor Hernando Coronel in a live GMA News interview on Tuesday.
Before the start of the Pahalik, a send-off Mass was held at the Quirino Grandstand for policemen and volunteers helping secure the January 9 event, called the Traslacion.
The Pahalik continues the whole day of Tuesday.
Photo by Lito Borras/Rappler
At midnight on Wednesday, January 9, a fiesta Mass led by Quiapo Church rector Monsignor Hernando Coronel is scheduled at the Quirino Grandstand. Delivering the homily at the Midnight Mass is Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle.
The image of the Black Nazarene is set to leave Quirino Grandstand at around 5 am on Wednesday, and is expected to return to Quiapo Church around 2:30 am on Thursday, January 10. – Rappler.com
Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at email@example.com.