Devotees experience faster 'Pahalik'
Devotees experienced a shorter and faster “Pahalik” at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila on January 8.
Jojo Apolonio, 33, said that he and his three cousins only took an hour to be able to touch and kiss the revered image of the Black Nazarene.
“Mga 7:40 a.m., nandito na kami. Nakahalik kami lagpas 9:30,” he told the Manila Bulletin. (We were here at 7:40 a.m. and we were able to kiss the image past 9:30 a.m.)
“Nakaraan, 5 a.m. nakapila na kami. Tapos nakahalik lang, magmamadaling araw,” he added. (In the previous year, we were lined up as early as 5 a.m. but were only able to kiss the image early morning of the next day.)
Like Apolonio, 65-year-old Dong Montoya did not expect that it would not take him long to reach the image of the Black Nazarene. He even set up a tent and camped out at the Grandstand since Tuesday morning.
“Kahapon (Tuesday) pa lang, nandito na ako. Hanggang mamayang madaling araw (Thursday) na ako dito, pagkatapos ng misa,” he said.
By 7 a.m., the Manila Police District estimated a crowd of 5,000 devotees falling in two lines—one was for regular believers, the other for persons with disabilities, senior citizens, and pregnant women.
By 10 a.m., the number of devotees fell to 2,000. The last line only reached the gate of the Luneta Hotel, some 500-meters away from the Black Nazarene.
Montoya said that this was because of the earlier schedule of the “Pahalik,” which started on Monday evening.
“Mas maganda ngayon, maaga nagsimula,” he said.
More than 500 police personnel and several medical personnel were deployed to the area. Quiapo Church personnel were also seen assisting the devotees, particular those who have special needs.
The MPD said that since the start of the “Pahalik,” no untoward incident was reported.
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