Metro Manila · Feast of the Black Nazarene (January 9)
Every January 9, the streets of Old Manila get flooded by ecstatic crowds trying to touch - or at least catch a glance at - the revered religious statue of the Black Nazarene. It is a spectacle worth experiencing, but it can be pretty stressful if you are not used to these kinds of events.
The Black Nazarene is a life-sized wooden statue of Jesus carrying the cross, brought in from Mexico in the early 1600s. Usually enshrined in Quiapo Church, Manila City, it is publicly processed on New Year's Day, Good Friday, and January 9, the Feast of the Black Nazarene.
Roads surrounding the area are closed on this day in order to accommodate the thousands upon thousands of devotees who join the largest procession in the country – many of them barefoot. Catholic Filipinos believe that the statue has miraculous powers. If you get close, you will see a lot of people throw their towels at the carriage with the Nazarene, hoping it will get rubbed against the cross and thrown back to them.
The devotees, from senior citizens to children, will undergo hardship just to show their devotion and faith to the Black Nazarene, they even accept to faint or to get injured, all while shouting "Viva! Viva!". The city officials set out more than 4,000 policemen and a number of medical stations to give assistance to the participants.
Megacitizens safety advise
Visit this event only if you are in good physical condition and if you do not mind huge crowds. Don't bring anything of value to the Feast. Bring a cap and some water and hide some small money for beverages, food and transportation at different locations in your clothes.