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What happens in Traslacion 2021 amid COVID-19

By PhilSTAR L!fe Published Jan 06, 2021 7:55 am

The Traslacion—the grand procession of the Black Nazarene from the Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park to Quiapo Church held every January 9—is not happening this year. 

As early as October last year, the Manila City government had already announced the cancellation of Traslacion 2021 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

"Iwasan po muna natin ang mga parada at prusisyon ngayong may COVID-19 pandemic. Maaari pong mapahamak ang ating mga deboto, mailagay sila sa alanganin," Manila City Mayor Isko Moreno said in a tweet in October. 

Aside from the procession, the traditional pahalik—or the kissing of the image of the Black Nazarene—is also not pushing through this year. 

What happens now?

The Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene—better known as the Quiapo Church—is holding a number of smaller scale Black Nazarene commemoration activities in place of the grand procession. 

Instead of the Pahalik, devotees can do a “Pagpugay” and “Pagtanaw”—paying tribute and viewing of the image instead of the traditional kissing. 

Quiapo Church will also hold 15 masses on January 9. The schedule is as follows:

Morning masses:

4:30 A.M.
5:45 A.M.
7 A.M.
8:15 A.M
9:30 A.M.
10:45 A.M.

Afternoon masses:

12:15 P.M.
1:30 P.M.
2:45 P.M.
4 P.M.
5:15 P.M.

Evening masses:

6:30 P.M.
7:45 P.M.
9 P.M.
10:15 P.M.

This is to allow more devotees to attend the January 9 mass while adhering to social distancing protocols. 

Only 400 people will be allowed to enter the Quiapo Church per mass. 

Nearby churches—specifically Sta. Cruz Church in Sta. Cruz and San Sebastian Church in Intramuros — will also hold a mass on January 9 in commemoration of the Traslacion, to minimize devotees attending masses at Quiapo Church.

The first mass of the day will be celebrated by Archdiocese of Manila Apostolic Administrator Bishop Broderick Pabillo at 4 A.M.

To further reduce people inside Quiapo Church, 14 praying stations within the area will be installed. 

Devotees below 16 years old and 65 years old are not allowed to attend the January 9 masses inside the Quiapo Church. 

‘Mini’ Traslacion

The image of a Black Nazarene was also brought to different churches, chapels, and places as a localized version of the grand procession. 

This started on December 30 and will end on January 8. This is to encourage people to pay tribute to the Black Nazarene before the actual January 9 Traslacion, reducing the devotees who would flock to Quiapo Church. 

The Black Nazarene image will be at Brgy. 394, Manila and Baclaran Church on Thursday, January 7, and at NCS-BEC’s Community, Sto. Domingo Shrine, Quezon City on January 8. 

Why are roads closed?

Road closures and road re-routings were also announced by the Manila City government earlier this week, prompting people to ask if the Traslacion will push through despite the pandemic. 

Moreno said in an interview with CNN Philippines that the road closures and traffic diversions are in anticipation of the devotees who might still flock Quiapo Church starting January 8 despite the cancelled Traslacion. 

"Sa loob ng simbahan wala kaming problema kasi mayroon kaming ibibigay na mga mask at face shield at susundin pa rin nila 'yung [limited] numbers na required. Ang only challenge ay 'yung labas ng simbahan,” he said. 

Manila City will deploy 6,000 police personnel in the area, Moreno said. Face masks and face shields will be provided to devotees inside the church. 

Here is the list of road closures, re-routings, and parking plans for January 8 and 9:

January 8, 2021: 10 P.M. onwards

Road closures

  • Southbound lane of Quezon Blvd. from A. Mendoza/Fugoso to Carlos Palanca St.
  • Northbound Lane of Quezon Blvd from Carlos Palanca St. to Fugoso St.
  • Westbound lane of España Boulevard from P. Campa to A. Mendoza St.
  • Stretch of Evangelista St. from P Paterno St. to Recto Ave.
  • Stretch of Palanca St. from Carriedo/Plaza Lacson to P Casal St.

Re-routing of vehicles

  • Vehicles going to southbound lane of Quezon Blvd from A. Mendoza: turn right to Fugoso St. then left to Rizal Avenue.
  • Vehicles going to southbound lane of España Blvd: turn left to Nicanor Reyes St., or turn right to P. Campa St., then left to A. Mendoza St., then right to Fugoso St.
  • Vehicles coming from McArthur Bridge intending to utilize Palanca St shall go straight to Rizal Ave. to point of destination.
  • Vehicles coming from Ayala Bridge intending to utilize Palanca St. shall go straight to P. Casal St. to point of destination
  • Vehicles coming from P. Burgos Ave. intending to utilize Quezon Bridge shall go straight to McArthur Bridge or Jones Bridge to point of destination.

January 9, 2021: 12 A.M. onwards

Road closures:

  • Stretch of Ronquillo St. from Rizal Ave. to Plaza Sta. Cruz
  • Stretch of Bustos St. from Plaza Sta Cruz to Rizal Ave.

Re-routing of vehicles:

  • Vehicles utilizing southbound lane of Rizal Ave. going to Ronquillo St. shall turn right to CM. Recto Ave., turn left to R. Regente St., to J. Luna St. turn left to Plaza Cervantes to Jones Bridge or go straight to Muelle dela Industria to Escolta to point of destination.
  • Vehicles coming from McArthur Bridge intending to utilize Bustos St. shall go straight to Rizal Ave. to point of destination.

Devotees who will go to Quiapo Church, Sta. Cruz Church, and San Sebastian Church on January 9 can also register online for contact tracing for Traslacion 2021.

Those attending the Traslacion commemorative activities on January 9 are asked to practice caution and follow safety health protocols to avoid spreading COVID-19. 

Masses will also be livestreamed on Facebook. 

“Pray inside your home. Stay at home. We already posted the different prayers for the family in our Facebook page,” Quiapo Church Rector Monsignor Hernando Coronel said.

Banner photo and thumbnail from, AFP/Ted Aljibe