Things to know for the Black Nazarene

Natashya Gutierrez

MANILA, Philippines – The annual Black Nazarene procession, which draws millions of people from across the country, is set for Monday, January 9, 2012. This year’s feast is expected to draw eight to nine million people, as devotees flock to touch the life-sized statue of Jesus Christ carrying a cross that is believed to have healing powers.

While the event is religious and holy in nature, it is not without dangers. To guide you, Rappler has put together a list of things you must know about the feast to help make your experience safer and more memorable.

Road Closures

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has released alternate routes for the whole day of Monday due to Black Nazarene road closures.

From MMDA’s Twitter account, here are suggested roads to take for travel to avoid heavy traffic caused by blocked roads:

ROAD CLOSURES FOR BLACK NAZARENE. Courtesy of the MMDA Twitter account. Posted January 7, 2012.

First Aid Stations

Every year, the Philippine Red Cross volunteers at the Feast of the Black Nazarene to assist the millions of devotees expected to attend.

As an attendee, it is important for you to know where their booths will be stationed. More than 350 volunteers from 10 Red Cross chapters will be situated along the procession route.

Here are their locations according to the Red Cross website:

– Quirino Grand Stand
– Luneta
– Roxas Blvd. Cor. T.M. Kalaw
– Round Table
– P. Burgos Cor. Taft Ave.
– Mc Arthur Garden
– PhilThrust Bank
– Lacson Plaza
– Sta. Cruz
– Legarda Cor. Arlegui
– Bilibid Viejo St. infront of San Sebastian Church
– Gonzalo Puyat Cor. Quezon Blvd
– Medical Station Quiapo Church near 7-11 Store
– below Mc Arthur Bidge – Muelle Del Rio Street.

Aside from first aid stations, Red Cross will also provide “foot patrol first aiders, ambulance service, water rescue and welfare desk.”

Procession Route

The procession will commence at 8:00am and is expected to take 14 hours to complete its path. Here is the route the Black Nazarene will take according to the procession committee of the Saint John de Baptist Church in Quiapo, Manila:

From the Quirino Grandstand at Rizal Park, the statue will turn left to Katigbak Drive upon exit and through to Padre Burgos Street, left Taft Avenue through McArthur Bridge, right Palanca Street through under Quezon Bridge, left to Quezon Boulevard, right Arlegui Street, right Fraternal Street, right Vergara Street, left Duque de Alba Street, left Castillejos Street, left Farnecio street, right ArleguiStreet, left Nepomuceno; left Aguila, right Carcer Street, right Hidalgo Street through Plaza del Carmen, left Bilibid Viejo through Puyat Street, left Guzman Street, right Hidalgo Street, left Barbos Street, right Globo de Oro through under Quezon Bridge, right Palanca Street, right Villalobos Street through Plaza Miranda, and then inside Quiapo Church.

Do’s and Dont’s

On Sunday, January 8, 2012, President Benigno Aquino III confirmed terror threats on the Feast of the Black Nazarene and asked that devotees do not bring three things to the feast: cellphones, weapons and firecrackers. Here are other do’s and don’t as advised by the authorities and Red Cross.

Don’t:

– Take or imbibe alcoholic drinks
– Bring any valuables with you because of high risks of theft
– Take children, pregnant women, the elderly and the sick

Do:

– Have and identification card, medical information and emergency contact numbers on hand
– Report any and all suspicious activity to security and police personnel
– Wear comfortable clothing
– Stay dehydrated and bring snacks
– Be aware of your location at all times and plan a safe exit

Police stations

According to National Police Chief Nicanor Bartolome, all 15,000 police in Metro Manila’s police force are on full alert as part of the increased security. Only 2,000 were initially deployed for the parade but security coverage was heightened after the terror threat.

On Tuesday, January 3, Senior Superintendent Fidel Posadas, the head of the Nazareno task group, said that policemen will be stationed along the parade route. There will be hundreds more on mobile units and on standby.

Quiapo church will also have at least 40 security cameras around, and inside the area. Rappler.com

For more of Rappler’s coverage of the Feast of Black Nazarene, click on the links below::