Every year, Filipino Catholics and die-hard devotees take part in what is considered the biggest religious gathering in the country called Traslacion, attracting millions of participants and observers. This year would be no exception as 13 to 15 million devotees are expected to be in attendance.
For your welfare and safety, these are some of the things that you should and should not do before and during Traslacion 2018:
- Wear light, comfortable clothes and a towel.
The 20 to 22-hour procession will be hot, humid, and sticky to the skin. Wearing light and comfortable clothes and a towel to wipe the sweat can help you last throughout a very challenging day of devotion ahead.
- Bring transparent bags.
Devotees are also encouraged to bring transparent bags to help the police speed up security inspections.
- Stay hydrated and bring snacks.
Bring water in a refillable bottle and tiny snacks like candies and crackers to keep your energy up during the festivities. If you can (which you must, really), eat a full meal before you leave home. As long as you have an energy-filled breakfast like oats and fruits, you’re good to go.
- Bring an identification card with contact information.
Participating the traslacion spans multiple generations, from a grandpa who probably started it down to the grandchild who’s about to attend his very first. This is the reason why adults as old as 80 years old and kids as young as a year old can be seen yearly. Regardless of your age, it is imperative that you have an ID strapped around your neck. Go the extra mile and put in contact information of loved ones in case of emergency as well as existing health conditions.
- Cut your toenails.
This might sound petty but long toenails cause cuts to other barefoot devotees. As of January 4, 45 cases of foot open wounds were treated at the Quiapo Church Command Center by various medical and rescue volunteers. Before heading out your home for the feast, cut your toenails and spare fellow participants the unnecessary pain.
- Know the locations of medical stations, police offices and other authorities within the location.
The Philippine Red Cross will set up nine first-aid stations along the procession route situated at the following locations: Aquino monument, Round table (Manila City Hall), Liwasang Bonifacio, Plaza Mexico (Post Office), Lacson (Sta Cruz area), San Sebastian, Jones Bridge, and near Quiapo Church. At least 44 ambulances will be on standby as well as an emergency medical unit, an amphibian, a 6X6 truck, a fire truck, two humvees, four plastic boats and welfare desks in the following receiving hospitals: Jose Fabella Hospital, Jose Reyes Hospital, San Lazaro Hospital, Tondo Medical Center, Ospital ng Tondo, Ospital ng Sampaloc, Gat Andres Medical Center, Justice Abad Santos Memorial Medical Center, Sta. Ana Hospital, Philippine General Hospital, and Ospital ng Maynila. At least 2,000 MMDA traffic constables will also be deployed along the route so feel free to ask for assistance.
- Be vigilant.
As heartbreaking and sad as it sounds, crooks also join the procession. Report any suspicious activities that you observe and look out for other devotees.
- Be aware of your location and plan a safe exit.
The ultimate goal for participants is to touch the image of the Black Nazarene. It is ideal to pick one spot in the procession route and accomplish what you need to do before you stray too far. Break away from the crowd as soon as you’ve come down from the andas.
- Don’t wear shoes.
Traslacion is a feast known for its participants completing the procession barefoot as a sign of humility before the Nazarene. Unless you are a member of the media or the police, it would be respectful for you to do the same as the devotees.
- Don’t participate if you are pregnant or have an existing heart condition.
To prevent any untoward incident, you might want to skip this year’s festivities if you are carrying a child in your tummy or if you’re heart condition is at risk in huge crowds. The goal is to experience the Nazarene’s miracles and answered prayers not just during but also after the procession.
- Don’t bring babies and small children.
Millions of people flock to the procession and the congestion can be very harsh. Small babies will be a pain to carry and small children can easily get lost through the humid, crowded, and busy streets of Manila. It’s probably better to leave them under the care of a trusted relative than deal with the injuries they could possibly sustain.
- Don’t bring expensive valuables. (Avoid bringing cellphones, if possible.)
It’s not the perfect time to do a brag show (and it’s not like there is one). As mentioned earlier, devotees of the Nazarene come in humility so your Cartier bracelet or iPhone X can take a rest at home. If you can’t avoid bringing a cellphone, opt for a bar phone like that good, old (but revamped) Nokia 3310 and strap it to your body.
- Don’t bring selfie sticks, tripods, backpacks, and bull caps.
Authorities strongly advice against bringing unnecessary items and possibly hazardous items such as selfie sticks, tripods, backpacks, and bull caps. The crowd can be very unforgiving so these items could well be broken as soon as the procession is done.
- Don’t bring weapons, alcoholic drinks, and illegal drugs.
No matter how messy and unorganized people can get during traslacion, it’s no excuse to bring deadly weapons, alcoholic drinks and illegal drugs. The feast remains a solemn affair and should therefore be respected.
Featured image by Madel Crudo
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