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Feast of the Black Nazarene
January 25, 2010

Celebrated every 9th of January, the Feast of the Black Nazarene is a wooden sculpture of Jesus Christ held to be miraculous by many Filipino devotees.

Its original carver is an anonymous Mexican carpenter, and the image was transported by a galleon from Acapulco, Mexico by the Augustinian Recollect Missionaries on May 31, 1606. The image is currently enshrined in the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, Manila.

Roman Catholic tradition holds that the Black Nazarene came from a boat that caught fire, turning it from its original white into black or charred complexion.


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During the annual public procession, only the body of the Black Nazarene is displayed in procession to the public, while the original head portion of the statue is retained in the Basilica of the Black Nazarene within the high altars of the church. The Black Nazarene is also famously noted for its devotees who walk the procession streets barefoot, as to imitate Jesus Christ on his way to Mount Calvary.

The 360 VR (Click here to view) was taken atop the cover of the underpass in Lawton after an excruciating wait of seven hours. With the crowd estimated to be over 2 million, this is the only spot along the route where you can closely shoot and observe safely away from the highly charged emotional crowd. With only corns and ice creams for sustenance, and little water, least one runs with frequent urination, we waited on the rooftop from 7 a.m. until the procession arrived at about 2 p.m.


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Even from our height, you can feel the lack of breathable air below, the fury of cries, and even the smell of sweat and skin as bare feet scraped against hot pavement. The sight of the sea of devotees as they scampered, jousted, and struggled for a chance to pull the carroza (carriage or float) or to touch the Black Nazarene can only be described as one of “religious frenzy.”


Author’s Note: This article uses virtual reality technology to provide an immersive experience. Click the link to view the 360-degree VR. Adobe Flash 10 or higher is required. VR size is 2.0Mb. VR taken on January 9, 2010. With thanks to the guys at Manila Bulletin for using their ladder.

Fung Yu also blogs at Virtual Journals.


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