IN PHOTOS: Black Nazarene 2016

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – As of late Saturday evening, January 9, the procession of the Black Nazarene had hours and hours to go before reaching its home: the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene or the Quiapo Church.

Starting from the Quirino Grandstand at the Luneta minutes before 6 am, the procession was expected to end before 2 am on Sunday, January 10, about two hours earlier than the previously expected 4 am.

If the pace had not changed, the procession would have taken an agonizing 22 hours, longer than 2015's 19-20 hours. 

As in past years, too, the procession drew millions of devotees. Church officials have said the devotion is a vibrant expression of faith in a country of about 80 million Catholics. Avid followers pledge to participate in the procession every year, hoping for miracles or thankful for them. 

The Black Nazarene statue, crowned with thorns and bearing a cross, was brought to Manila by Augustinian priests in 1607. It is also believed to have been partially burnt and blackened when the galleon carrying it caught fire on a voyage from Mexico, another Spanish colony at the time.

Here are photos from the traslacion:

DEVOTION. Devotees try to get near the carriage carrying the image of Jesus of the Black Nazarene as the annual Traslacion starts at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila on Saturday, January 9, 2015. Photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler

DEVOTION. Devotees try to get near the carriage carrying the image of Jesus of the Black Nazarene as the annual Traslacion starts at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila on Saturday, January 9, 2015.

Photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler

MIRACLE. Some devotees hope for miracles or thank the Black Nazarene for blessings received. Photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler

MIRACLE. Some devotees hope for miracles or thank the Black Nazarene for blessings received.

Photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler

 GENEROSITY. Candies are shared with Black Nazarene devotees. Rappler photo

JOURNEY. The long march from Quirino Grandstand to the streets of Manila begins. Photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler

JOURNEY. The long march from Quirino Grandstand to the streets of Manila begins.

Photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler

with reports from AFP/Rappler.com