(Third and final update)
MANILA, Philippines — Manila Mayor Isko Moreno said the number of devotees who participated in Thursday’s Traslacion of the Black Nazarene reached to around 2.3 million people.
Throngs of barefoot devotees accompanied in the procession otherwise known as “Traslacion” or transfer of the life-size image of the Black Nazarene (Jesus Christ) from the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta to shortened routes in downtown Manila to its cradle and home, Quiapo Church.
And so, Moreno described the event as the “fastest edition” of the annual procession that is among the world’s most spectacular displays of Catholic zeal.
Police led the “Traslacion” for the first time and as of early Thursday morning, the 400-year-old Black Nazarene was at Ayala Bridge in four (4) hours, when last year, it reached a nearby area past noon, said Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac, spokesman of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
The Catholic Church faithful, who waved white handkerchiefs and shouted “viva!” (long live), lined the streets of Manila from the Quirino Grandstand along Manila Bay to Quiapo Church hoping to touch or catch a glimpse of the image.
Some 2.3 million people were following the procession as of 9:27 a.m., according to the office of Manila Mayor Isko Moreno.
The procession moved too fast for some, who failed to catch a glimpse of the icon.
“More than the fastest, we wanted it to be the safest,” Moreno said.
The faster start to the procession was “unprecedented,” Banac said. (Stacy Ang/JGo/CurrentPH.com)