Black Nazarene returns to Quiapo Church

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — After more than 22 hours traversing through old Manila's streets, the revered statue of the Black Nazarene arrived home at Quiapo Church shortly past 3 a.m. Tuesday to end this year's Traslacion.

As of 8:50 p.m. Monday, Metro Manila Police Chief Oscar Albayalde estimated that about 2 million people joined the procession and the "salubong." He added that the police "have not received reports of crimes committed, particularly robbery or snatching."

The six-kilometer trek started at the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta at about 5:30 a.m. earlier in the day.

The annual procession was slower this year compared to 2016. It lasted about 20 hours last year.

Traslacion-2017-Route_CNNPH (1).png  

Days before the procession, the police and military said that there were no clear terror threats to the Traslacion. Nevertheless, authorities maintained a high level of security throughout the day.

Drones were banned and the Armed Forces of the Philippines declared a no-fly zone in areas the parade passed through. Cellphone signals throughout the route were also jammed.

As of 10 p.m. Monday, the Philippine Red Cross said it tended to 1,340 patients during the procession, 859 of whom had concerns about blood pressure. No deaths were reported.

The annual event has constantly drawn hundreds of thousands of Filipinos over the past few decades. Most who join the annual event choose to walk barefoot. Despite the huge crowds, Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Public Affairs Executive Secretary Fr. Jerome Secillano explained on CNN Philippines' "The Source"  the devotees' unwavering personal conviction still makes them prioritize devotion over safety.

"Yung statue, sabi nila nakakatulong yan sa buhay nila — miraculous — yun ang pananaw nila eh, and these are personal experiences," he said.

[Translation: They say the statue is miraculous and helps them in their lives, that's their perspective based on personal experiences.]

Secillano said devotees could identify with the Black Nazarene's image — especially because it is known for its resiliency, having survived different disasters, including several fires and earthquakes.

He said most of the devotees participate in the Traslacion barefoot to reflect the struggles and humility of Jesus Christ.

"There's an element of purification process...tayo bilang makasalanan, minsan gusto natin naman magdaan sa sakripisyo...Ang ilan diyan ay hindi naman sasabihin para makatanggap sila ng biyaya. Sa kanila, 'para mapatawad man lang ako sa mga kasalanan ko.'" he said.

[Translation: There's an element of purification process — as sinners, sometimes we want to offer sacrifice. Some of them are not expecting blessings. For them, they just want to be forgiven for their sins.]

CNN Philippines' Ina Andolong and Christian Ver Marcelo contributed to this report.