Procession of the Black Nazarene

Trip Start Jun 22, 2008
Trip End Jul 04, 2013

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Flag of Philippines  , Luzon,
Saturday, January 9, 2010

They revised the death and injury toll from New Year festivities.  Now they are saying deaths and injuries were actually higher by 17% this year with 3 people killed and more than 800 seriously injured.  And they're saying that 40 people were hit by stray bullets which is more than twice as many as last year assuming these are really the correct numbers. Filipinos love to celebrate but they sometimes pay the price.  Like Mom used to say, it's all fun and games until somebody gets hurt. 

Yesterday there was reason for more festivity-related deaths and injuries.  January 9 was the annual procession of the Black Nazarene.  Three people died and more than 400 were injured as hundreds of thousands of barefoot devotees took part in this procession through the streets of Manila.  The Black Nazarene is a wooden statue, carved in Mexico and brought to the Phillipines in the early 17th century.  It is a dark skinned Christ carrying a cross and dressed in maroon robes. The black color is said to be the result of damage from a fire that broke out on the ship transporting it to the Philippines.  It has survived earthquakes, bombings, and fires.  Every January 9 it is taken out of the Quiapo Church and paraded through the streets as people risk their lives trying to claw their way to touch the statue or the ropes that carry it to receive blessings and answers to their prayers.  Police estimated up to 2 million people took part in the 5 kilometer procession or lined the streets as it passed.  We decided to let others get the extra blessings and stayed home where it was safe.
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