Work and classes are suspended in the city of Manila on Jan. 9 in observance of the Feast of the Black Nazarene, the city government announced Tuesday.
Mayor Honey Lacuna said she was set to release an executive order (EO) for the occasion and added that a liquor ban will be imposed in the capital for three days from Jan. 7 to Jan. 9.
For another popular Christian festival, the Cebu City government said it is working double time to prepare the new venue for Sinulog 2023 in anticipation of about 2 million spectators.
The Sinulog Foundation Inc. expects millions of spectators to descend on the Queen City of the South to witness the physical comeback of the festival, one of the grandest in the country celebrating the Feast of the Child Jesus or Señor Santo Niño.
In the past two years, the Sinulog was held virtually with a replay of past performances.
“Yes, we will issue an executive order regarding the liquor ban, and that includes the executive order declaring January 9 as a holiday in the City of Manila,” Lacuna said at the press briefing on the preparations for the Nazareno 2023.
On the other hand, organizers of the annual religious event issued a list of things that are allowed at the events in Quirino Grandstand and Quiapo Church.
Alex Irasga, Quiapo Church adviser, said devotees or attendees are allowed to bring water canisters, sandwiches and snacks, cellphones, registered VHF radios, and images of the Black Nazarene, two feet and smaller, that can be carried in one hand.
They may also bring a transparent raincoat/poncho, shoes and slippers, small cameras, wheelchairs, single-seat, light chairs, flashlights, portable/small candles, and matchboxes.
Irasga reminded the public that they are prohibited to bring the following: medium-size to life-size Nazareno images; istandarte or banners, carriages or “andas”; firearms and deadly weapons; pyrotechnic devices, professional camera and video recorders, selfie sticks, large bags, blankets, hampers, storage boxes, portable appliances, liquified petroleum gas (LPG) tanks and stoves, tents, tables, and other picnic items.
The public is also not allowed to bring umbrellas, alcoholic beverages, smoking/vaping devices, laser pointers, large chains, spikes and other big metal objects, scooters, skateboards, skates, vehicles, motorbikes, bicycles (unless authorized), heavy meals, plastic and glass bottles, food sticks, pets, black plastics, and jackets.
The image of the Black Nazarene will be on display at the Quirino Grandstand from Jan. 7 to 9.
Four Masses will be held at the venue—Jan. 7, at 12:01 am, for the devotees to be officiated by Fr. Hans Magdurolang and at 6 a.m., for volunteers, local government unit personnel, non-government organization (NGO) members, uniformed personnel and members of the media to be officiated by Fr. Earl Valdez.
On Jan. 8, the 12:01 am Mass will be presided over by Fr. Rufino Sescon, Jr., rector of Quiapo Church to be followed by the Walk of Faith.
Manila Archbishop Jose Cardinal Advincula will lead the Fiesta Mass at midnight on Jan. 9.
For Cebu, Sinulog this year will be held on the open grounds at the South Road Properties. A list of the activities was also recently released.
Councilor Jerry Guardo, who heads the Committee on Infrastructure, has been overseeing the construction of the amphitheater.
“We are also constructing roads that will lead to the venue. It will take until next week to get all the asphalting done,” said Guardo.
Meanwhile, the city police said augmentation forces will come from the provincial office.
P/LtCol. Mark Sucalit, deputy director of the Cebu Provincial Police Office, said it will be lending 600 more cops to the city for the event.
“It’s a big challenge to secure the Sinulog so it takes resources, which means personnel,” added Sucalit.
The kick-off of the festival will start on Thursday, as well as the beginning of the novena masses.