It has become widely known as an awesome display of faith and fervor—a showcase of Filipinos’ profound devotion to an image believed to have wrought miracles in many lives, miracles as wondrous as the healing of a patient deemed “terminal,” or as commonplace as a job that materializes when urgently needed, a folk devotion that commands men (and a number of women) to set out barefoot before first light to take part in a ceremony that begins early in the morning and ends way past midnight, that grows ever bigger, more unwieldy, and more dangerous by the year, that threatens grave injury to devotees, even death.
By Conrado de Quiros
It was an awe-inspiring sight I saw on TV last week. That was the near-literal sea of humanity filling up every interstice of Quiapo and neighboring parts, sending ripples this way and that as the procession of the Black Nazarene went underway and a multitude pressed on, the more intrepid or unruly clawing their way toward the carriage and clambering aboard.
By Ma. Ceres P. Doyo
“This restless multitude, confused or orderly, the immensity of which terrifies us: this ocean of humanity whose slow, monotonous wave-flows trouble the hearts even of those whose faith is most firm…” A line from Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s “Hymn of the Universe.”
What could have been a black day for the Feast of the Black Nazarene of Quiapo has been averted. There was no terrorist attack, as President Aquino himself had warned. The mammoth procession that is the highlight of the annual feast pushed through with hardly a hitch, with devotees of the highly venerated Catholic icon swarming over it, their number seeming to have increased from last year’s celebration, fighting for a chance to get even the slightest tap or stroke of the wooden image, believed to endow whoever touches it with miraculous powers.
By Denis Murphy
Older people in Manila can remember the acacia trees that lined Taft Avenue before the cars and elevated train took over. They can remember, if they are somewhat older, the trolleys that ran through Sta. Ana, with bells tinkling gently like those of ice cream vendors. Jesuits, including Bishop Federico Escaler, remember the Pasig River [...]