Every January it becomes a spectacle to not only Filipinos but the Catholic Christian world, whenever the Feast of the Black Nazarene is commemorated in Manila. Year after year live spectators and TV audiences have watched as devotees of the dark-colored life-sized icon of Christ carrying His Cross re-enact its solemn transfer from its original church in Intramuros to Quiapo, risking life and limb to perform one act or other by which they hope to receive the Nazarene’s blessing. The 2020 Traslacion might at first blush be much the same as the ones before, but there are actually certain modifications for the occasion this year.
CNN Philippines reports that there are certain changes to the carrying out of the Traslacion of the Black Nazarene to Quiapo Church this coming Thursday, January 9. The most prominent alteration is in the route, due to three bridges of the traditional path back to Quiapo church having been closed for construction work: Quezon Bridge, MacArthur Bridge and Jones Bridge. The alternative route, which is shorter but ironically has more road segments, is as follows:
From the Quirino Grandstand, which stands for the former site of the Recolletos church in Intramuros where the Black Nazarene was formerly enshrined, the icon will travel via Katigbak Road, then Finance Road through Ayala Blvd., Ayala Bridge, Palanca Street, Quezon Blvd., the Streets of Arlegui, Fraternal, Vergara, Duque de Alba, Castillejos and Farnecio, back to Arlegui St., then to the Steets of Nepomuceno, Concepcion Aguila and Carcero, Hidalgo through Plaza del Carmen, Bilibid Viejo thru Gil Puyat, JP de Guzman St., Hidalgo St., back to Arlegui St. and Quezon Blvd., Palanca St. and finally Villalobos through Plaza Miranda and Quiapo Church at the end.
It cannot be calculated yet just how the shorter alternate route (16.6 kilometers to the original 16.9 km) of the Traslacion for 2020 will shorten the travel time for the Black Nazarene. The matter of the number of devotees to the religious icon who will appear this Thursday would determine the actual pace of the procession. Last year, the Traslacion involved 4 million participants and lasted for about 21 hours.
The National Capital Region Police Office has announced its deployment of some 10,000 officers to help facilitate and provide security for the traditional procession. Certain protocols have also been proposed in controlling how many devotees can approach the Nazarene during the procession. In addition, a cellphone signal jamming will be executed along the route as a further security measure, to safeguard against potential communication-triggered explosives. The recent arrest of a terror suspect in Manila has necessitated this course of action.
Image courtesy of GMA News