Feast of the Black Nazarene : Traslacion 2017

Feast of the Black Nazarene is one of the biggest Catholic procession and festival that any Manilans would encounter .

The early dawn mass was presided by Manila’s archbishop Antonio Tagle . Seen hearing Mass were Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, who was the hermano mayor of the Feast of the Black Nazarene; wife Loi and daughter Jackie; former vice president Noli de Castro, a known devotee of the Black Nazarene; and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairperson Thomas Orbos.

Feast of the Black Nazarene
Quiapo Church


The Black Nazarene was carved from a dark wood in the 16th century in Mexico, and then transported to Philippines on May 31, 1606. It depicts Jesus en route to his crucifixion. Pope Innocent X granted recognition to the lay Confraternity of Santo Cristo Jesús Nazareno in 1650 for the promotion of the devotion to Jesus through the icon.

In 1608, the Poong Nazareno was transferred to the church of San Nicolas de Tolentino. in what was then Bagumbayan.  It was only in 1787 when then Archbishop of Manila Basilio Sancho de Santas Junta y Rufina, S.P. arranged for the transfer of the image. The January 9 procession reenacts the image’s Traslación (literally, “transfer”) in 1787, or solemn relocation to the Minor Basilica from its original shrine in what is now near Rizal Park.

The statue (in recent years a replica) is brought out of its shrine for public veneration three times a New Year’s Day (the first day of its novena) , Good Friday  and January 9.

Black Nazarene altar

The church was painted cream after the original Mexican Baroque edifice was burned down in 1928.

Juan Nakpil, an architect, was the one that handled the rebuilding of the Quiapo church. He was well known to make several notable buildings. He is also renowned as a “National Artist for Architecture”. He was responsible for erecting a dome and a second belfry to the church.


Quiapo interior-pre-war
Quiapo church interior-pre-war

The church had undergone a lot of rebuilding and reconstruction due to calamities such as great fires and powerful earthquakes.

It is expanded to its current form in 1984 for accommodation of thousands of devotees by José María V. Zaragoza and recently hailed as ” National Artist for Architecture ” . The minor basilica is also known as St. John the Baptist Parish.

Feast Day and Celebration

majorettes accompanied by brass band parade within the Quiapo district

Quiapo is also a place where there is also a  number of old families which takes their roots . The district is often known as downtown Manila during the 1940’s until mid- 1960’s .

Feast of the Black Nazarene
devotees walking barefoot

There are a lot of symbolism behind the colors , walking barefoot and waiving of towels . The mood is very festive and solemn at the same time.

blind street performers

People from all walks of life would come to the district to pray and participate .  Street vendors ,hawkers  and business owners would also have a brisk business during this time of the year.

ambulant vendor selling t-shirts

The most saleable products during the festival are food , water , t-shirts , towels and anything that is connected to the devotion to the black nazarene.

Feast of the Black Nazarene
a young devotee

The devotees would also bring a replica of the black nazarene, some are simple made from ordinary plywood , on top of pedicabs , tricycles and ornately -made processional carriages.

devotees on top a processional carriage

There was the “pahalik” (kissing of the statue of the Nazarene and other statues of saints), “pasindi” (lighting of candles for prayers), “pabihis” (the changing of garments of the Nazarene), “pabendisyon” (sprinkling of the Holy Water), “pagpasan” (the carrying of the carroza on shoulders or the rope attached to it”), “paglalakad ng paluhod” (processing to the altar of the church on bended knees) and many others.

devotees of the black nazarene while waiting for the processional image

It will still take hours before the processional image of the black nazarene will return to the basilica , but the fond memories and deep rooted faith of the Filipinos are a big testament that this tradition is alive .

PSST.PH family is part of the story and Happy Feast of the Black Nazarene.


Rence Chan

writer and contributor

social media writer, food lover, heritage advocate, philatelist , deltiologist , numismatist , notaphilist , toy collector, key chain collector, bibliophile , orchid fancier , plant lover , environmental advocate, freshwater aquarium fish hobbyist, tour consultant, memorabilia and art connoisseur.