Yesterday was a really interesting day for me. I was out of the house for 18 hours and was with Jec and some friends the entire time. I was able to witness the Feast of the Black Nazarene for the very first time and got to visit plenty of ancestral houses around Quiapo.
Despite sleeping late, Jec called around 5:30 am to wake me up. We left the house at 7 am and rode the train from J. Ruiz station to Recto station. We weren’t able to ride the train from Doroteo Jose to U.N. because of some mechanical issues just as when we got there, so instead of staying there and waiting for an immeasurable period of time, we decide to just walk from the station all the way to the National Museum, where we had access to take pictures of the procession by the viewing deck.
Fun fact: during our train ride from J. Ruiz to Recto, Jec and I chanced upon a Black Nazarene devotee who was already wearing his Black Nazarene shirt, bare feet, and religious bracelets. Jec told me that they were permitted to ride the train without fee during that Feast Day, as a special privilege, I guess.
On the way
During our walk to the National Museum, I had interesting and some scary encounters. Naturally, all the roads going to the procession route were packed with pedestrians. Some were on the way to the Feast, some going to work. I’m glad that my backpack is a bit complicated. It has a zipper and an overlapping flap cover with locks, which makes it hard for thieves or snatchers to access. So that was one less worry for me. I was also carrying a camera bag slung across my body, so you can just imagine how bulky I looked and how much space I ate around me as a walked.
It was an arduous walk because, first of all, it was a long stretch from Recto to P. Burgos (National Museum), second, Jec and I were carrying loads of stuff with us, third, the more we walked, the hotter we felt. It wasn’t scorching hot, but when you walk for a long time and with a heavy baggage, you gradually feel its strain on you. I was also wearing a pair of flip-flops so I couldn’t walk as fast. I have no idea why I didn’t wear my pair of trekking sandals, but oh well, that’s a lesson for me.
We have arrived
When we finally got to the National Museum, we freshened up first before taking out our cameras and preparing for the Feast. I’m so glad that I met Jec because if not for him, I wouldn’t be able to watch the Feast of the Black Nazarene live, I wouldn’t be able to get a good spot for taking photos, and I wouldn’t be having all this experience, period. There were five of us listed for the access, but Jec and I arrived first, then his friend Johhan.
I took it as a good moment because Johhan shared some facts and stories about the Black Nazarene while we were eating the snacks I prepared myself the night prior. So we were just there eating, chatting, and chilling like the rest of the media personnel and photographers around us. I actually felt proud just being there, knowing that I was surrounded by creative professionals and that we all had the same goal – to document the Feast.
I really acknowledge their presence because being a photographer is no glamorous job. It entails long hours and patience – lots of patience. These are the people who would climb trees, sit on edges, and endure straining positions to get good shots.
Anyway, we had a good viewpoint from the deck because we were much higher than the rest of the crowd and we could clearly see what everyone else was doing. I took a lot of photos even before the carriage of the Black Nazarene arrived. Before noon, I have already taken as much as 500 photos. I’m glad that my brother lent me an extra battery and a memory card because otherwise, I would have only taken pictures for the first half of this wild adventure.
I’m going to end this post here because I want to chop the pictures per album/event. As I said earlier, we didn’t only attend the Feast, we also visited some ancestral houses in Quiapo, so I have more photos from those events. We also attended this talk covering the topic on why the Black Nazarene is actually black.
Sounds interesting? Well then, hang in there, because we’ll discuss that part soon. ??