MANILA - Both wearing maroon like the rest of the devotees, couple Armando and Erminiana Torres on Wednesday waited for hours along Palanca Street just to get a glimpse of the Black Nazarene.
The iconic image of the suffering Christ housed at the Minor Basilica of Quiapo played an important role in the life of the couple, as Armando shared that he met his eventual wife in a canteen just beside the church in the early 1970s.
"Nakilala ko 'to sa canteen tapos dito kami nagtagpo. Nagdedeliver ako ng yelo sa canteen nila noon," the 72-year-old Armando told ABS-CBN News on the sides of the Traslacion.
Both devotees at the time of their meeting, Armando and Erminiana would always find time to hear Mass at the Quiapo church every Friday until they both fell in love with each other.
"Wala lang basta nagkaintindihan na lang kami," the 64-year-old Erminiana told ABS-CBN News when asked how they ended up married to each other.
As their love for each other grew stronger, so was their devotion to the Black Nazarene. They have been attending the Traslacion since the 1970's, even if lately, Armando's asthma attacks have worsened.
"Galing lang akong ospital nung November, asthma. Nag 50-50 ako. Sabi ko, makaraos lang ako, maglulubos ako," Armando, who bought his inhaler with him, said.
"Habang nabubuhay na ito," he said of his devotion, adding that their only son, now in his 40's, is now among the men pulling the ropes of the Nazarene's carriage.
Millions of barefooted devotees join the annual procession of Black Nazarene from Quiapo church to the narrow Manila streets and back to the church. Some carry with them prayer requests while some bring prayers of gratitude.