Throw-Blog-Thursday: Feast of the Black Nazarene

Hello Bumpers! (What I call readers of my blog) welcome to the first Bumpy’s TBT or Throw-BLOG-Thursday. Here in Bumpy’s TBT, I’ll share you some memories from the past and sometimes I would pull an old blog post from my old blogspot and put it here, just like this first TBT.

It was 2010, I was a 2nd year college kid from Manila, I was also working for the school paper as a photographer at that time and I was assigned to cover the Feast of the Black Nazarene. I was a young man seven years ago, excited, full of ideas, stubborn. And here’s what happened:


January 8, 2010
10PM
I was preparing myself to bed when I heard that my brother’s friend was going to throw a party at our house. The visitor’s lounge was next to my window so I can’t beat them to sleep easily, they were laughing and were very noisy. They were just having a good time. Time passed on and on until I just decided to hang out with them till 5AM of January 9 since I couldn’t sleep at all.
January 9, 2010
Feast of the Black Nazarene
6AM
Without sleep for 18 hours, I rode the transits MRT and LRT. The only possible transportation to get to my destination since almost all major roads were closed for the feast. I was meeting with a friend and told him to meet me at the center of the Philippine Archipelago, at the “0 Kilometer” marker.
7AM
I arrived at the marker and so does my friend Joshua who was a little late but it didn’t matter. So I told him to follow me because I knew the way how to get close to the Black Nazarene without much human traffic. I noticed there was a problem, around that time the mass should only be starting, what I saw was that the carriage of the Nazarene was already being moved out and it means that the procession has begun! So there I was, dragging my friend with me through the crowd of millions to get ourselves a worthy shot of the artifact.
1
The Black Nazarene with his guardians. They say that if you could touch any part of it, miracles happen to the devotees. As you can see, it’s crowded even when it’s raining.
After following it at Quirino grandstand, we were at Padre Burgos hoping to catch a closer glimpse and action of the 400 year old sculpture. We saw a TV network van, the “NHK” and Joshua asked if we could go up to where they were so that we can capture it at a higher ground. They were nice and let us up, so we were 4 in a roof of a van.
It was my second time to witness the Black Nazarene procession, yes you read it right. “To witness” because I’m not a devotee but rather a spectator to a magnificent spectacle that only happens every January 9. The first time I was at the procession, there were fewer people and for me what I saw at Quirino grandstand was cruel, but nothing prepared me to what I saw this second time.
2
While I was up in the van I reached for my cellphone which I kept inside my bag, I noticed it was missing. I checked and checked again if it was gone, it was gone. However, that didn’t stop from capturing the unforgettable scenes at the procession.
So I’ve lost my cellular phone. I believe it wasn’t stolen from me because when we took an early lunch at Jollibee, I was calling my phone and it was still ringing for almost 3 hours until it finally was turned off. Someone must have picked it up and decided to keep it. I understand that not all who join the procession are devotees, the procession is also swarmed with pick pockets. To forget the stupidity I did I just told myself over and over again that I answered someone’s prayer by giving away a one year old cellular phone.
3
1:00PM – We were at least waiting patiently for at least 2 hours for the Nazarene to pass by. Waiting for hours on the roof of a waiting shed along with other photographers is a bit boring. Good for me, I’ve got Joshua to keep me amused. We were singing and played a game we called “Spot the Nazarene babe” where we will find a beautiful woman and whoever sees her first scores. I won 2-1, yes the low scoring game was surprising amidst the millions who pass by our station.
4

At last! It finally came and as it came closer to the range of my Nikon D40 DSLR with a name I call him “UNO” or “One” with stock 18-55mm lens, I shot almost a hundred photos in 3 minutes! I felt the heat and smelled the odor of the people who were all barefooted. It is a rule that to join the procession, one must go barefooted.

I saw a lot of banging, shouting, people stepping on other’s shoulder using them as a bridge to get nearer. People were looking at us and were asking for water, so I threw in my bottle, he didn’t catch it but my bottle ricochet into another man’s eye and it hurt him. I’M SO SORRY! Miraculously, they gave the man the bottle to the person I was trying to give it to. I mean everyone’s thirsty but they respected to whom the bottle should be with. A simple nod and thumbs up from the man made my day, I hurt someone’s eye but helped someone’s thirst!
5
You can see at the picture above the kind of waiting shed I was seated. It was a safe place and actually the best seat in the house! From there I was only a few feet away from the Nazarene. It’s amazing how the image can move millions.

After the it passed by from where I was, Joshua wanted to go to Quiapo Church, where the Black Nazarene would be returned. I was tired, my feet hurts and I lost my cellphone. I called it a day and we bid goodbye to each other, I just had no energy left. I was awake for 26 hours straight and to be able to witness and cover the event was already a miracle to me.

When I got home, I just slept and learned that the procession took 17 hours. The longest in its history. 17 hours of procession in a distance that is about a 15 minute drive from Quirino Grandstand to Quiapo Church. 7 Million participants, what an awesome experience it was even if I lost something that day. I would love to be there to witness what does the Black Nazarene procession has to offer this coming January 9, 2012.

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