Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Quiapo fiesta of the Santo Jesus (Black Nazarene) in the 1800s

Dibujo [DIB158412] of the Quiapo Church from the album of paintings titled Vistas de las islas Filipinas y trages (sic) de sus abitantes (sic) by Jose Honorato Lozano in 1847. [Source:  Biblioteca Nacional de Espana]

Let us imagine ourselves on the tile roof of a gentry house east of the Quiapo church in 1847, probably in the vicinity of the Muslim mosque today, just like what Filipino painter Jose Honorato Lozano did when he painted the Yglesia parroquial de Quiapo (above). 

We are also looking at the solemn traslacion of the Santo Jesus (the Black Nazarene in our language today), the image mounted on an andasas it is about to enter the church.  There's a big but orderly crowd in the church square -- now called Plaza Miranda -- watching the procession in celebration of the feast day of the patron saint of Quiapo.  The clergy follow the image under a canopy (we don't see this anymore except during the procession of the Holy Sacrament on Maundy Thursday), and a brass band provides the religious music for this rite. 

Lozano tells us that the women who devoutly join the procession wear a lambong or a black mantle and carry lighted candles.  He doesn't say how the men dress up for the Quiapo fiesta although he informs that generally in every town fiesta or Pintacasi that usually lasts three days, the men wear their shirts over their trousers. He adds that everyone like musicians, cantors and altar boys, and those involved in church functions wear their reverent best during the occasion.  By the way, the painter says that aside from music and other festivities, the cockpits are open.  Today, we can't imagine the menfolk engrossed in cockfighting during the Quiapo event.

The original Itim na Nazareno (Black Nazarene) encased in glass, which we were able to photographed with permission from the church authorities.  It gets exposed only during the traslacion on 09 January.

Today, the procession started after the 6 o'clock morning mass from the Quirino grandstand.  With the reported initial crowd of half-a-million devotees, dominantly barefoot, yellow or maroon-shirted male, trying to get a hold of the rope tied to the andas, or mount it to touch the image, the procession probably would finally get inside the Quiapo church around midnight, just like last year.

Women carry the andas during the procession of Nazarene replicas on 07 Jan, 2013.
The women don't wear lambongs anymore; they wear pants or shorts and the yellow or maroon t-shirts. Nor do they carry lighted candles.  They now dare to get to the ropes or to climb over the heads of the male devotees to get on to the andas briefly and touch the image.
There are several replicas of the Black Nazarene around the Quiapo church for devotees.  One is the centerpiece of the altar, and there is an entry door on the Quiapo Blvd. side for those who want to kiss a foot of the image (the pahalik) behind the altar.  The exit leads to the room where the original Black Nazarene can be seen through a glass enclosure, and it can't be touched or kissed.  Hence, the frenzy that attends the traslacion today as the original gets exposed for adoration!


Lozano, Jose Honorato.  (1847).  Vistas de las islas Filipinas y trages (sic) de sus abitantes (sic).  Retrieved from the Biblioteca Digital Hispanica of the Biblioteca Nacional de Espana at

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