MANILA (UPDATE) - This year's Traslacion of the Black Nazarene is expected to end Thursday evening, an organizer said, after just 14 hours of procession.
Millions of devotees turned out for the start of this year's procession of Black Nazarene, popularly known as Traslacion, which began early at around 4:15 a.m.
"Sana makabalik ng alas-6 ng gabi kung mananatili 'yung kaayusan at disiplina," said Fr. Douglas Badong, vicar of Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, home of the 400-year-old statue.
"Maraming deboto 'yung may pasok ngayon. 'Pag naabutan kami, dodoble 'yung bilang ng tao. Sa mga papunta pa lang, sana po tumulong po na mas maging maayos nitong taon."
The Quiapo Church command center and emergency response integration center, however, estimated the Black Nazarene's arrival at around 8:55 p.m. Thursday, or after nearly 17 hours of procession.
The procession is expected to reach the Church of the Black Nazarene faster because of the shorter route compared to the 2019 gathering that lasted 21 hours and attracted some 4 million people, Badong earlier said.
Police also led the "Traslacion" for the first time to prevent devotees from blocking its path, he said in a separate DZMM interview.
Devotees, most walking barefoot in maroon and yellow shirts, jostle each year to touch the ropes pulling the carriage of the Black Nazarene or throw white towels to wipe the statue believed to have miraculous powers.
Some 2.3 million people were following the procession as of 9:27 a.m., according to the office of Manila Mayor Isko Moreno.
--With a report from Zyann Ambrosio, ABS-CBN News