The Feast of the Balck Nazarene celebrated every January 9 brings millions of Filipinos flocking in Manila. Every year, devotees from all over the country would religiously walk barefoot and join the procession to catch a glimpse of the religious figure of the Black Nazarene.
Known to grant wishes and answered prayers, Filipinos identify with the figure of Christ as a symbol of passion and suffering. This is not only popular to the common public, but to religious celebrities who has grown accustomed to this annual practice of devotion to the Black Nazarene.
Actress and singer Angeline Quinto who won in the television show, Star Power: Search For The Next Female Pop Superstar in 2011 said on Thursday that she will be coming to Quiapo Church in Manila to join in the celebration of the Feast of the Black Nazarene.
“Last year, nakasakay ako kasama ng imahe, pero madaling araw na. Ngayong taon, pupunta din ako pero baka mamaya pang madaling araw. Sana nga ay naandiyan pa ang tumulong sa amin noong nakaraang taon,” the 24-year-old celebrity said.
According to Quinto, she has been joining the procession since she was 9-years-old, even walking on barefoot like most of its devotees. When asked about her petition this year, she said, “pagdadasal ko ang mga kababayan natin, ang mga Pilipino na hindi pa okay ngayon, lalo na ‘yoong mga nasalanta ng bagyo.”
Celebrity siblings John and Camille Prats also revealed in a television interview that they have been going to Quiapo Church with their family religiously for the past years. According to the brother and sister, they always visit Quiapo Church every Holy Week, and has adopted the customary veneration to the Black Nazarene.
“Kapag Holy Week, nakasanayan na talaga ng pamilya namin na mag-Bisita Iglesia. Binibisita talaga namin ang lahat ng simbahan, at napupunta din kami sa Maynila, sa Quiapo, at sa Baclaran,” Camille Prats shared.
Another popular actor, Coco Martin, is also a devotee of the Black Nazarene. In 2007, he was able to attend and document the annual feast while filming the independent film “Tirador” with director, Brillante Mendoza.
In an interview with a local news channel, he said, “Yung experience na ‘yun, hinding hindi ko makakalimutan kasi alam mo ‘yung ang hirap sa dami ng tao. Pwede kang mamatay.”
However, Martin said that after joining the feast and being able to touch the image, blessings have poured in his life.
“Mula noong araw na ‘yun hanggang ngayon, ‘yung blessing na dumadating sa akin, alam ko nanggaling doon kasi ‘yun ‘yung hiniling ko eh,” he said.
“Siguro sa 10 hiniling ko, 15 ‘yung binigay niya sa akin. Sobra-sobra pa,” the actor said.
Also an avid follower of the Black Nazarene is comedy actor and Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista, who said that prayer has always been a part of his life.
“Every evening I pray, pag-gising ko, I pray. Some people would say that it has a become a ritual, but to me, it’s not a ritual but a way of life,” the mayor said.
“Queen of all media” Kris Aquino has also been known to be a devotee of the Black Nazarene, who even asked for the help of the celebrated Christ-figure last year for the mother of her close friend in show business, television host, Boy Abunda. His mother was suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Aquino held a Black Nazarene handkerchief while publicly praying with Msgr. Clem Ignacio during one of her Kris TV shows in ABS-CBN. Aquino intended to send the handkerchief to Abunda’s mother, who was hospitalized at the time.
“I can send this, pwede kong ipadala ito sa ospital. Ilalagay ko sa ziplock para safe,” Aquino said after receiving a pray over from the priest.
Other celebrities known to be devotees of the Black Nzarene include: Vina Morales, Noli De Castro, Christopher De Leon, and Amy Perez, among many others. Sheila Mañalac