Traslacion first-timer ‘endures all pain’ to kiss the Nazareno

Loreben Tuquero

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Traslacion first-timer ‘endures all pain’ to kiss the Nazareno
After kissing the Nazareno, Jamwell Pelaez vows to come back and join the Traslacion, year after year

MANILA, Philippines – Millions of devotees experience the hardships that come with following the Black Nazarene during the annual Traslacion: the pushing, the heat, the incredible force of the crowd with a singular goal of getting close and touching the holy image.

Traslacion first-timer Jamwell Pelaez was no different. During this year’s procession, he got stepped on, got multiple bruises, and all with only 2 hours of sleep.

But to him, it was all worth it, because he got to climb up the andas and kiss the image of the Black Nazarene. 

Pinilit talaga naming makaakyat, makahawak, makahalik, ‘yung matupad ‘yung wish ko para sa anak ko,” he told Rappler.

(We really tried to climb up, touch, and kiss the image, so that my wish for my daughter will be fulfilled.)

His prayer to the Nazareno: good health and a bright future for his 2-year-old daughter.

As a first-timer, Pelaez didn’t expect it to be so hard to reach the Nazareno. But Pelaez said the experience  of kissing the Black Nazarene gave him peace of mind, especially after all the hardships that he’s been going through in his personal life.

“‘Yung feeling talaga sa akin na makahawak, makita nang malapitan for the first time, tas nakaakyat din agad ako. Sobrang sarap sa feeling, sobrang fulfilling nung pagpunta dito, nung lahat ng pagod, nung lahat ng sakit na nadanas, first time ko hindi ko inexpect na ganun pala kahirap,” Pelaez said.

(The feeling of touching and kissing the image for the first time, and I was also able to climb up immediately. It really feels great, coming here is really fulfilling, all the exhaustion, all the pain that I experienced, it was my first time so I did not expect it to be so hard.)

Because of this experience, he promised to come back, year after year.

Hindi ko akalain na aabot ako sa ganitong point na talagang gagawin ko lahat, makahawak lang, makahila lang sa lubid, kahit sobrang hirap. Makaakyat lang, makahalik, makapunas ng towel dun, mabigay ko ‘yung dasal ko, hindi ko inexpect na aabot ako sa ganun na talagang i-endure ko lahat nung pain, ‘yung sacrifice, makalapit lang,” Pelaez said.

(I did not expect to reach this point that I will really do everything just to touch the image, pull the rope, even if it was so difficult. Just to climb up, kiss the image, wipe my towel, offer my prayer, I did not expect that I would go to the point that I would endure all the pain, all the sacrifices, just to get closer to the Nazareno.)

Meanwhile, Pelaez’s cousin, Aaron Salvador has been joining the Traslacion for years. This year, on his fifth time to attend, he finally got to kiss the Black Nazarene.

Iba rin po sa feeling po. Habang pumupunta po kami, akala ko po sa una hindi ako maiiyak, pero nung natalon ko po nung nahalikan ko, naiyak po ako. Kasi sobrang fulfilling po, ang sarap po sa pakiramdam na lahat po ng paghihirap namin, worth it naman po,” Salvador said.

(It’s a different kind of feeling. On the way there, I thought I wouldn’t cry, but when I was able to jump on and kiss the image, I cried. Because it was really fulfilling, it feels really great to know that all of our suffering has been worth it.)

Salvador wishes for good health for his family and to be able to repay his family for what they’ve done for him.

Siguro kita naman ng lahat ‘yun na halos lahat talaga gusto makahalik, makapagpasalamat, tsaka makahingi ng dalangin. So ‘yun din, talagang ginawa talaga namin ‘yun, kasi panglimang taon ko na ‘to eh. So parang ayoko talagang umalis nang hindi ko pa nahahalikan,” Salvador said.

(It’s common knowledge that almost everyone wants to kiss the image, thank Him, and offer their prayers. In the same way, we really did everything to do so, because this is already my fifth year. I did not want to leave until I haven’t kissed the Nazareno.) –

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Loreben Tuquero

Loreben Tuquero is a researcher-writer for Rappler. Before transferring to Rappler's Research team, she covered transportation, Quezon City, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government as a reporter. She graduated with a communication degree from the Ateneo de Manila University.