MANILA—The annual Traslación of the image of Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno showcased the fervent faith of the Filipino devotees to Jesus Chirst. Traslación was a commemoration of the transfer of the image of the Black Nazarene from the Augustinian Recollect church of San Nicolas de Tolentino in Intramuros, Manila to its present shrine in Quiapo, Manila. This year, the procession of the Black Nazarene passed through Basilica Minore de San Sebastian where the venerated image of Nuestra Señora del Carmen de San Sebastian is enshrined and made a “dungaw,” Tagalog word for “looking from above.” For the devotees, the image of the Black Nazarene is the King of Quiapo while the Virgen del Carmen is the Queen of Quiapo.
“Dungaw” not “encuentro”
In an interview with Fray Rommel Rubia, OAR, former Parish Priest and Rector of San Sebastian Basilica, he said that the Dungaw was not based on the biblical event of the encounter of Jesus and Mary on the way to Calvary. Instead, it was an aged-old religious tradition where the venerated image of Virgen del Carmen de San Sebastian gives religious courtesy to the image of the Nazareno as it passes by her shrine. This tradition was also practiced in the provinces whenever a procession passes by houses and families open their windows so that an image cared by the family may give courtesy to the image in procession.
Dungaw was part of the activities of the Traslación. However, for an unknown reason, there were years when the Dungaw was not included in the procession of the Nazareno. Since 2013, it was re-introduced and included again in the route of the Traslación. It was also a chance to let the devotees see the two oldest images brought by the Augustinian Recollects that are now enshrined in Quiapo district. Since then, many devotees of the Nazareno and the Virgen del Carmen flocked at Plaza del Carmen to witness this religious activity.
Preparation of the Mother
Before the much-awaited Dungaw, the image of Nuestra Señora del Carmen de San Sebastian was prepared for her meeting with her Son, the Black Nazarene. At 2:00 PM, the image of the Virgen del Carmen was brought down from her altar and was brought to the camarin, a special room for the Lady where her vestments and jewelries are kept. After some prayers and veneration, all male present were asked to leave the room. Only the official camarera, the one who takes care of the image, and some members of the Congregation of the Augustinian Recollect Sisters were allowed to stay and change the vesting of the Virgen del Carmen.
The primera vestida was vested to the image. According to Fray Rubia, the vestment was made from precious metals. Vesting the Virgen del Carmen also took time. Sr. Ingrid Gueriña, AR, the designated camarera of the del Carmen, said that sometimes it took them hours to vest the image. It was not an ordinary vesting of a doll or a mannequin because “it is a venerated and canonically crowned image and a proper religious ritual should be given,” said Fray Rubia.
Finally, after an hour of vesting the Queen of Quiapo, the doors of the camarin were opened and those who were waiting outside the room were given an opportunity to kiss and venerate the image. OAR pre-novices and novices, AR aspirants and some OAR and AR religious and other lay faithful present took turns in praying the Holy Rosary.
At 6:00 PM, the Carmel image was brought inside the basilica. The religious and faithful present inside the parish church silently prayed in front of the image while waiting for the arrival of the image of the Nazareno.
Sea of People, Sea of Faith
The scenario outside the basilica was incredible. Thousands of people, both young and old, were anticipating for the arrival of the image of the Nazareno. While waiting for the Traslación, the Holy Rosary was also prayed and religious and Marian songs were sung. Constant updates of the whereabouts of the Nazareno and some announcements were delivered by Fr. Douglas Badong, Assistant Parish Priest of the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene. Also, medical personnel were present at the Plaza to give medical assistance to those devotees who fainted and got injured.
As the procession of the Black Nazarene came near Plaza del Carmen, more devotees arrived.
At 10:45 PM the image of the Nazareno arrived at Plaza del Carmen. White face towels where waved and shouts of “Viva Padre Jesus Nazareno” and “Viva Virgen del Carmen” made the emotions of the devotees more intense. As the Virgen del Carmen was carried on to the stage, the hymn “Bulaklak ng Carmelo” was sung by the choir.
From a noisy and “uncontrolled” crowd, the devotees became silent as the rite of the Dungaw was presided by Fray Edgar Tubio, OAR, Parish Priest and Rector of Basilica Minore de San Sebastian. Hands were raised in prayer as the sea of faithful whole-heartedly sang the Lord’s Prayer. After the final blessing was given, acclamations of “Viva Jesus Nazareno” and “Viva Virgen del Carmen” were once again heard. Then, the Traslación continued towards Bilibid Viejo then to Quiapo Church. The image of Our Lady was also brought back to her camarin.
The fervent faith of the devotees of the Señor Nazareno and the Virgen del Carmen was again shown in the recently concluded Traslación and Dungaw. It was a faith untarnished by present tirades against the Catholic Church and her teachings. As years passed by, more and more devotees join this religious event. Noticeable also was more young people join this event, a good sign that the tradition passed on by our predecessors will still be continued up to the coming years and generations, and a sign of a living faith that goes beyond fanaticism.
Viva Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno! Viva! Viva Nuestra Señora del Carmen de San Sebastian! Guapa!